Ghost/Spirit Photography has become an exciting new hobby for many paranormal researchers and Ghost Hunting groups looking for evidence to confirm the existence of ghosts. While I believe that photos can document paranormal phenomena, not all photos are of a paranormal nature. Strange anomalies or images showing up on film can have a rationale explanation for it.
In the past few years hundreds if not thousands of paranormal and ghost hunting groups have sprung up around the world, many calling themselves investigators, and researchers. Since ghost hunting doesnít pay anything few are willing to devote their own time or money to do any type of research into Orbs or the Orb Phenomena.
What is an orb, it is word used to describe a type of anomaly, a ball of light. An orb is not a ghost.
What is the Orb Phenomena?
It has convinced many people that orbs are ghosts, demons. angels, aliens, dust or what ever you want to believe they are.
It has convinced some who walk down a dirt road that the hundreds of orbs in their photo is now the most haunted place on earth.
It has convinced some who take a photo from a moving vehicle that the hundreds of orbs in their photo is from a portal they are driving past.
It has convinced some that the place they are investigating must be haunted because of the orb in the photograph.
It has caused some to claim that the orb above John Doeís grave is in fact John Doe.
It has prevented membership in ghost hunting groups.
It has cost friendships between ghost hunting groups.
Caused competition between groups to see who has the best orb photos.
Caused competition to see who has the most orb photos on a website.
Caused people to trespass on private property just to get an orb photo.
Caused people to vandalize, spray graffiti and trespass after hours at Gettysburg National Park, which is now considering closing at dusk.
Itís a moneymaker for some who charge a fee to look at orb photos submitted by others.
Its photos sent to me that I have rejected as being paranormal and show up on other websites as authentic ghost photos.
Quite a controversy this Orb Phenomena.
Now people are certainly entitled to their opinions and beliefs but they are not willing to separate fact from fiction ďghosts arenít every whereĒ orbs are every where.
There are a number of reasons that orbs show up in photos and here are a few. Dust, dirty camera lens, moisture in the air, rain, snow, wind, pollen, insects, or supernatural phenomena, etc.
Just because you donít see something doesnít mean its not there that includes ghosts, dust, or other airborne particles not visible at the time the photograph was taken.
The process of elimination must be used when determining just what orbs in photos are and this is what most of us fail to do.
If I sound critical itís to get your attention, we need to take a good hard look into the orb controversy. Iím suggesting that more guidelines and common sense should be used when doing any ghost photography.
Iím not talking about the protocols made up by others such as not taking photographs in certain weather conditions we all know that. What I am talking about is using the instruments to get physical readings at least it confirms that something is there since the instruments do not give readings on dust and it offers a little more evidence then just snapping a picture. Does getting physical readings on an orb mean itís a ghost, of course not but we need to find out if it is. Thatís why research is so important; we are no closer to proving orbs are ghosts since this craze started although Iíd like to believe some orb anomalies are.
I also realize that most people canít afford to purchase some of the instruments that others use and please donít go in debt trying to buy them, however it would be wise not jump to the conclusion that going to a cemetery, or battlefield and snapping a photo means that the orb you just got in your photo is a ghost.
This also applies to other types of anomalies being photographed.
Photos showing up as ectoplasm could be smoke (fire- cigar-cigarette-pipe) fog, your breath, supernatural phenomena, etc.
Photos showing up as vortices could be a camera strap, your hair, rope or wires, reflection, lens flare, supernatural phenomena, etc.
Photos showing up as apparitions could be fake using various photo shop techniques on the computer, most I have seen are. There are very few authentic photos of apparitions the most famous is the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall.
What do you say to people who want to show you a photograph? The best thing you can do if someone wants you to comment on a photo is to say itís interesting, this way you are not committing yourself to an answer either way.
If youíre not sure about the photograph donít be afraid to tell someone, itís safer to say I donít know what it is then to say itís definitely a ghost or something paranormal. Some so called full time ghost hunters who have done very little research would rather coin a word (orb) (super charged) (dimensional shift) for a photo than to do research, this mis-leads others into thinking they have something paranormal in their photos.
I have now made a policy of not viewing or commenting on any anomalous photos unless instruments were used. This has drastically reduced the number of phone calls and photos I receive by e-mail. I have also come up with a classification system to separate what I believe is and isnít an anomalous photo.
Class 1, Supernatural - anomalies that canít be explained, instruments were used to gather physical readings or measurements. Photos should show readings and instruments being used if possible.
Class 2, Psychic - anomalies that are seen, sensed, or heard. Examples would be seeing or feeling a presence, cold spots, scents, voices. Photos should show anomalies as the event is occurring.
Class 3 Natural - anomalies that can be explained. Examples would be reflection, lens flare, dust, rain, snow, fog, breath, insects, pollen, etc. Photos should be disregarded as paranormal.
Donít be afraid to try and experiment and recreate things on your own, how else will we learn.
Using digital cameras is great way to learn. Go out and deliberately take photos in all types of weather conditions, take photos of bright objects, lights, what ever you can think of and you will learn what reflection is, what lens flare is, what rain is and hopefully what dust is.
No certified course can teach you what you can learn on your own.
For anyone wanting to learn more about ghost photography, I recommend the Field Guide to Spirit Photography by author Dale Kaczmarek, Visit Ghost Research Society for more information.
Can we photograph ghosts? I believe so but we need to take a more serious approach to it.
An orb has never been captured and tested in a lab so no one can tell you exactly what an orb is, it is what ever your belief system is and with so many theories and opinions as to what an orb is, is it truly safe to say it is a ghost?
We need to work together; separate the serious researchers from the not so serious, encourage the use of equipment, and to recognize only Class 1 or Class 2 photographs, we need to find out just what that orb anomaly is. And most importantly we need to disregard that dirty four letter word ďdustĒ thatís been responsible for causing so many problems in what is called the Orb Phenomena. Wonít you join me?
Copyright 2006 - 2009 by Rick Fisher