The Big Orb Thread

What do you think 'Orbs' are?

  • Nothing, just an artefact on the camera lens or lens flare.....

    Votes: 5 55.6%
  • I dunno.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Might be something but I'd have to take pics of them myself before making up my mind....

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • They are extremely round ghosts.

    Votes: 1 11.1%
  • Usually dust, water droplets, or the like, but you never know ...

    Votes: 3 33.3%

  • Total voters
    9
A

Anonymous

Guest
#1
I think they are just lens flare. Also they were practically unheard of until the widespread use of digital cameras these last couple of years. That's just my opinion of course.......

lots of orb threads merged here. stu
 

Mythopoeika

I am a meat popsicle
Joined
Sep 18, 2001
Messages
35,787
Likes
21,851
Points
309
Location
Inside a starship, watching puny humans from afar
#2
Well, there are some pretty old stories that pre-date digital cameras and don't involve cameras at all.

My Dad told me about his brother who, when he was a young man, took a young lady into a local graveyard in Blaenavon for a snogging session (there weren't many places a lad could take a girl way back in the late 40s). They both saw a greenish blob rise from one of the graves and float slowly along the top of a wall towards where they were sitting. Suffice it to say, they were terrified and ran away.

Back in the 70's I heard a story from some friends about their next door neighbours. They'd seen some blobs of light floating around inside the house, and reported some major poltergeist activity (including the moving of a cast-iron bench from the back garden to the front garden, where it ended up being wedged between the house and their car).

My sister reported seeing a ball of light during a storm (so it could have been ball lightning). This ball of light entered the lounge through one wall and exited through the wall directly opposite, making a fizzling noise as it did so. This was back in the 80's.

Yes - unfortunately, no pictorial evidence of these events exist. But they do occur...
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#3
Mythopoeika said:
Well, there are some pretty old stories that pre-date digital cameras and don't involve cameras at all.

True, you hear about them all the time. Even recent ones like the Paulding Lights which include pics while the people can actually see them with their own eyes. Same for ball lightening, I think I saw a b/w picture of one about 20 years ago...........

But these people that take these pics claim not to see anything when they take the pictures (for instance in houses or graveyards, usually in the dark or poor lighting conditions) but when the pics are developed they have these 'Orbs' all over them, to me that suggests lens flare or some contamination on the lens which a person wouldn't see normally anyways until development.
 

Mythopoeika

I am a meat popsicle
Joined
Sep 18, 2001
Messages
35,787
Likes
21,851
Points
309
Location
Inside a starship, watching puny humans from afar
#4
Art_Vandelay said:
But these people that take these pics claim not to see anything when they take the pictures (for instance in houses or graveyards, usually in the dark or poor lighting conditions) but when the pics are developed they have these 'Orbs' all over them, to me that suggests lens flare or some contamination on the lens which a person wouldn't see normally anyways until development.
That's true. In those cases, it may be due to a lens flare effect - the CCD in some cameras may have some latency which records an after-glare.
I have experienced a case of 'orbs n' digital cameras' myself: a friend took a photo of me with a digital camera, then she printed the picture immediately with an inkjet printer. The picture looked fine in the camera's viewing LCD and on-screen (in Photoshop), but when it was printed, we saw a strange grey blob like a giant amoeba hovering in front of my face. This could not be explained, as it was not present in the Photoshop file.
Unfortunately, I can't show the picture, as it's a bit 'naughty' and embarrassing...:eek:
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#5
Let's face it 'orbs' are lens flare. No doubt. No discussion. I just can't believe anyone would look twice. Unless they wanted to promote a website, by any chance? Ooh, look, a rare purple flare... My fuzzy butt. Lens artifices, that is all.
 

augustverango

Ephemeral Spectre
Joined
Aug 12, 2001
Messages
264
Likes
7
Points
49
#6
I just love the 'They are extremely round ghosts' option! :D

But, I have to agree with Lard's enthusiastic response. I've never seen a photo of am 'orb' that wasn't obviously a photographic artifact which can be easily recognised and explained.
 

Electric_Monk

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Sep 12, 2001
Messages
535
Likes
6
Points
49
#7
Every time I see these television programs (admittedly, mainly on Channel 5) with pictures of "orbs", I end up shouting at the TV. I'm willing to believe there are real "orbs", but those things in pictures definitely are not it ;) I can recreate as many of those "orb" pictures as I wanted by sticking my grimey finger on the lens of my digital camera, thus placing a big mucky finger print on it, which has successfully created pictures that look just like the "orb" ones when my friends have ignored my "don't touch the lens"-based warnings and then taken photos. A wipe of the lens, and all is well again.

Also, last year I took a picture of the snow in the back garden at 1AM, using the flash. This had the affect of illuminating the snow in the effect I desired, but also illuminating a snowflake that was very close to the lens, thus creating a huge white blob right in the middle of the picture ;)
 

evilsprout

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Jul 27, 2001
Messages
1,218
Likes
19
Points
69
#8
Yeah, I saw one of those C5 documentaries, or, if you will, spookumentaries. The orbs to me looked like lens flare on the stills, and small out-of-focus flying insects on the film.

Ball lightning should not be confused with orbs. Ball lightning can be seen by the naked eye and stuff, and orbs only seem to show up as "spooky" artifices that weren't noticed when photos were taken.
 

hachihyaku

Devoted Cultist
Joined
Sep 23, 2001
Messages
183
Likes
2
Points
49
#9
I have never, ever in my life seen an "orb" picture that was not clearly a lens flare, piece of dust, or chemical error. Same with "streaks" and "vortces," many of which are quite obviously a camera strap or thumb in front of the lens.

To me, "orbs" give people who always wanted to take a "ghost picture" an easy way out. I'm sick of it; all the recent galleries and ghost hunting sites are flooded with "orb" photos. If I turned in every photo I'd ever taken with an error or dust particle, I'd have a stack of ghost photos as tall as myself.

The funniest thing about this I ever read was a line saying that orbs liked to show themselves to digital cameras more often than normal ones. Now doesn't that just point to a quirk in the cameras, rathen than the whims of ghosts?

Occam's Razor anyone?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#10
Well, how many here then agree with me that there exists phantom thumbs? You do not see them when you take the picture, but they still show up on the film. And it can´t be your own of course. They must be some sort of extra-dimensional being partly crossing into our realm.
 

mikelegs

Ephemeral Spectre
Joined
Jul 31, 2001
Messages
364
Likes
23
Points
49
Location
Pacific Northwest
#11
"the camera picks up some things the eyes cannot see" - explanation just doesn't work for me. Otherwise, one could closely scan their old photo-albums and find 'unseeable' phenomena in wedding photos, baby photos, etc. I'd say that any 'orb' photographed but not seen was one of: stray bug/particle in front of the lens, stray particle on the lens, 'flares' within the lens, particles inside the camera, or an imperfection in the media/chemicals/process of printed photos. The orbs one CAN see, however... well that's another story.
 

bagins_X

Devoted Cultist
Joined
Aug 6, 2001
Messages
170
Likes
53
Points
59
#12
mike_legs said:
"the camera picks up some things the eyes cannot see" - explanation just doesn't work for me. I'd say that any 'orb' photographed but not seen was one of: stray bug/particle in front of the lens, stray particle on the lens, 'flares' within the lens, particles inside the camera, or an imperfection in the media/chemicals/process of printed photos. The orbs one CAN see, however... well that's another story.
except in didgital cameras that can "see" into the near infared were it is possible to take a picture of somthing you cannot see, but even then it could still be lens flair!

Wm.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#13
Mythopoeika said:
Yes - unfortunately, no pictorial evidence of these events exist. But they do occur...
If there were, we would all say it was lens flair, anyway...;)
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#14
I found it rather worrying to see so-called ghost experts called GHOST DETECTIVES, on the UK HORIZONS channel getting all excited about orbs of light. They are unusual but that doesn't point to ghostly phenomena at all, and only until we understand the 'orbs' can anything be pinpointed. I have seen orbs on camera and never saw them as souls, but either something to do with the camera or the atmosphere. I have had orbs appear during cold and frosty days, and one appeared on a photo I took at Highgate Cemetary...but why did only one appear ? The programme I saw about the 'ghost hunters' basically dismissed the idea of people seeing actual figures and then all of a sudden brought the orb theory into practice which just didn't make sense.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#15
I found it rather worrying to see so-called ghost experts called GHOST DETECTIVES, on the UK HORIZONS channel getting all excited about orbs of light. They are unusual but that doesn't point to ghostly phenomena at all, and only until we understand the 'orbs' can anything be pinpointed. I have seen orbs on camera and never saw them as souls, but either something to do with the camera or the atmosphere. I have had orbs appear during cold and frosty days, and one appeared on a photo I took at Highgate Cemetary...but why did only one appear ? The programme I saw about the 'ghost hunters' basically dismissed the idea of people seeing actual figures and then all of a sudden brought the orb theory into practice which just didn't make sense.
 

marion

Ungnoing.
Joined
Nov 3, 2001
Messages
1,574
Likes
172
Points
94
#16
'Orbs' are a real pain , I have ruined some good digital pics because of 'orbs' , it looks to me like insects and dust etc caught in the flash ,
Marion
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#17
Well...Just do it.

I've only read a few posts, but I've noticed that the most popular word here besides ghost is lens flare. Being a graphic designer with some photo experience who worked with and dated a professional photographer for seven years, I've witnessed and many lens flares. I never even heard of orbs before this previous spring. After reading that you could get them on any type of camera and anyone could take the pics, I decided what the hell I'd drag a friend around to the different cemetaries in the area late at night to do some picture taking of my own. I figure that's what being a Fortean wingnut is all about. At least to me it is.
:)
In the first cemetary I got nothing, nada nil. I got some flash reflections off the monuments but nothing hanging in the air. No lens flares, no bugs, no dust zero. I was careful to keep my lens clean and since it was early spring here in eastern Canada, there were no flying bugs about yet. The second cemetary I went to was only like a kilometer from the first at most. I took 11 Pics there and finally I got an orb on the very last pic. When I image enhance it, it does show some characteristics of a lens flare except that the flare would originate high in the trees. There is no reflection of the monuments as I had taken the pic at an oblique angle so the flash would bounce away at an equal angle as basic physics tells us it should. I also noticed a strange break up of the rgb levels in the camera on pic #11 only. the other pics are all clear but the orb pic is fuzzy. I have to mention at the risk of sounding crazy that my companion and I took the last pic when we thought we heard something in that direction, a rythimic sound of some sort. Needless to say many crazy senarios went through our heads at the time but eventually we reasoned that it was probably the sound of the Nashwaak river in the distance lapping at the shore. sounds can carry far at night. Hope I am not over rationalizing but we didn't investigate the sound further so there is no way to truly tell now. I have never encountered this before day or night and I've never gotten a lens flare in pics at night in town with a flash where there is far more potential to have an accident with a reflective surface like a car or a window.
If I had not gotten anything I would have dropped the whole thing there. Instead I had found something, inconclusive or not so I decided to go out again the next week. This time at an older and far larger cemetary in Forest Hill My same friend and I began taking lots of pics. On this trip we got a lot of orbs in all manner of circumstances.
I then took pics in enclosed pitch black bathrooms and on ordinary street corners to try an simulate a lens flare fro reflective surfaces. I got nothing. I tried to draw lines to connect the orbs with lights in the extreme distance, this seemed to have some corelation but not in every picture, some had no background lights in the distance.
I'm pressed for time in this letter but in a nutshell I do not believe that the orbs I found were lens flares, dust, or bugs. I am not saying that all orb pics aren't lens flares just that I don't have any evidence that mine are. I've certainly seen many orb pics that were obviously lens flares. I am not saying that they are ghosts either. Frankly I found no evidence that they were ghosts. In two pics I took of a purportedly haunted house one was at normal range the other was optically zoomed, In the zoomed image the orbs were larger which does not follow the standard lens flare arrangement and indicates that the orbs may be independant of the lens. Flares also tend to "Travel" in straight lines which I could not always find was the case. Oftentimes the flare will also restrict it's shape to the light sensitive retina of the camera which in some cases is hexigonal. I'm not sure if it's the same with a digital camera. Apparently orbs have been captured on video cameras as well although I have no personal experience wit it.
My best guess as to what my orbs would be is gas. I know I know Swamp gas eh? I noticed that I also got orbs on a black lonely stretch where railway tracks used to be until they were pulled up a few years back. Why would orbs be there? Maybe the orbs are floating pockets of gas that ooze up from decaying matter in the ground. Perhaps they are faintly IR luminescent. I really don't know. What I do know is I looked into it myself and there is a bit of a mystery here. Wether it's an undead mystery I'm really not sure. I plan on doing more trips this year. Maybe I should put some of my pics online eh?
:)
 

austen27

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Nov 9, 2001
Messages
1,187
Likes
11
Points
69
#18
More complete orbs...

Just a couple of thoughts about orbs. Most of the pictures I have seen look like dust or snow caught in the flash but I could suggest an alternative possibility for images on CCD cameras. Could some orbs be caused by cosmic rays or similar radiation? High energy particles from the sun or deepp space could theoreticaly hit the cameras CCD chip and cause a mini aurora in the final image. With conventional film radiation can cause odd blobs and streaks on the image. Also ststic electricity can cause odd tree like patterns.

None of the above would be apparent whilst the photo was being taken.
 

rynner2

Great Old One
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,252
Likes
8,932
Points
284
Location
Under the moon
#19
Re: Well...Just do it.

PikaChris said:
What I do know is I looked into it myself and there is a bit of a mystery here. Wether it's an undead mystery I'm really not sure. I plan on doing more trips this year. Maybe I should put some of my pics online eh?
:)
Yes, we want pics! Definitely! Pictures! Images! Wimmin! - Oops!
 

DerekH16

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Aug 2, 2001
Messages
867
Likes
6
Points
49
#20
Looks like an angelfire logo to me. :)


Aaah, got the picture 2nd attempt...... Looks like a pale blue sphere.

Reflection of the moon?

Spot of water on lens?
 

hachihyaku

Devoted Cultist
Joined
Sep 23, 2001
Messages
183
Likes
2
Points
49
#21
Let's not forget human error either. Unless you personally develop your own photos, there's a huge possibility any anomalies are just artifcats of sloppy film handling or chemical errors.

So, we have :

Orbs, which are in my experience always reflections off of dust particles, artifcats of the diaphragm in the camera, chemical errors, dirt on the negatives, fungers in front of the lens, etc.

Vortices, which are invariably camera straps. I've never seen one that wasn't obviously a camera strap, even if the explanation says there wasn't a strap on the camera.

Little wispy things, which are upposed to be "orbs moving very fast." They're small white streaks. But on the negative, they'd be small black streaks, which is exactly dirt or hair in the developer.
 

austen27

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Nov 9, 2001
Messages
1,187
Likes
11
Points
69
#22
mr chopper said:
i think this link should be more reliable even though you may need to try a couple of times.

http://www.angelfire.com/tv2/mrchopper/index.html
Is it just me or can any one else see a standing figure holding a shield and with its other hand on its hip within the orb? :eek!!!!:

I think its just a simulacra caused by jpg image compression but It does give the impression of one of those Lira pieces.

My guess would be some kind of lens flare.
 

The late Pete Younger

Venerable and Missed
Joined
Jul 31, 2001
Messages
5,891
Likes
130
Points
129
#23
Originally posted by Austen


I think its just a simulacra caused by jpg image compression but It does give the impression of one of those Lira pieces.

I think your probably right about the compression, looking at the original that image is not apparent but othewise it's a fair representation.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#24
How about widening the argument to include the possiblity of these strange Orbs being created by Marsh Gas or reflections from Planet Venus?

Incidentally, has an Orb ever been photographed from 2 or more different angles at the same time?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#25
Angles

Actually my plan this spring is to take pics with two cameras on tripods at a 90 degree angle to each other in a crossed pattern to see if my friend and I can get the same orb from two angles. We actually thought of that last year but our schedules conflicted and we never got the chance. If the are dust etc. We won't get the same patterns plus we'll have very dirty cameras.
:)

I'm not going to come to a solid (Assumed) conclusion until I findout for myself.
 

rynner2

Great Old One
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,252
Likes
8,932
Points
284
Location
Under the moon
#27
Re: Angles

PikaChris said:
Actually my plan this spring is to take pics with two cameras on tripods at a 90 degree angle to each other in a crossed pattern to see if my friend and I can get the same orb from two angles.
the trouble with that idea is you'll get two completely different views, and unless you take very great care it might be difficult to match the appropriate pics from the two cameras. You'll also need a way to synchronise the two shutters, in case orbs are fast moving.

It might be better to mount the two cameras side by side - no need for great separation - aimed in parallel directions. This will still give triangulation information, and would make it easier to find a way to synchronise the shutters - this method was used for some of the Gulf Breeze photos.

If the pair of cameras are rotated through say 30 degrees between shots, each pic from each camera will be unique, making it easier to match them up if they accidentally get shuffled! ('Ah yes, this is the one with the tree dead centre', etc.) For double security, mark each set of prints "L" and "R" before comparing them!

Good luck with the experiment!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#28
Thanks for the info!
:)
That's kinda what I was thinking I just wasn't sure how to state it at the time. You're completely right. 30 Degrees is much better. I'll gear up as soon as the snow clears. Which should be in about 3 months.
:(
A note about the jpeg compression thingie. It is certainly possible that there could be a jpeg compression error with some orbs but, I am not sure if they would just arbitrairly form round or globular patterns. JPEG which stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group (The group who came up with the compression method) is a format that extrapolates the colour and brightness of a given picture and divides it into equal square matricies. It then adjusts the colours within each block of pixels so less colours are used. The higher resolution the jpeg (Using less compression) the smaller and tighter the matrix division, so more colours are kept making for a larger file size. If orbs are errors in the compression process, then they would be more likely to form in square or at least blocky arrangements since the same colours are not all represented in every part of the picture. If you've seen a broken jpeg or breakup on satellite television It would be more representative of a jpeg corruption. Even if it were possible to get data corruption on the jpeg image that resembled an orb, It would probably appear smaller on higher resolution pics than it would in a lower resolution pic. This is because the breakup may not carry over to all of the matricies and since they are smaller in a higher resolution image, the errors should appear smaller. I'll keep an eye out for this on my next venture. Usually they are made up of opaque white or single colour blocks of Missing or corrupted data. I've never had that happen on my camera, If it did It would be in the shop.
The other possibility is that during the colour extrapolation process the compression algorythim extrapolates similar colours in a partially filled circular arrangement and of course makes them all the same. most orbs are more than one brightness and some are of more than one colour albiet with minimal variation. Even in a dark area, I would figure that if the compresson process found anomalous similar brightness or colour levels, they would be dark like their background, and they would have varying shapes based on the vague darkness. Why spheres? It makes no sense to me at this time, Hopefully I'll figure it out for sure. At this point given my current knowledge of the jpeg process. I would say If the compression extrapolates a circular shape, there was probably a circular pattern of colour or brightness in front of the camera.
 

rynner2

Great Old One
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,252
Likes
8,932
Points
284
Location
Under the moon
#29
Some more thoughts on a two-camera experiment:

It would be best if both cameras have the same focal length, to simplify comparisons. (Although maths could be used otherwise to scale measurements.)

And synchronising the shutter release may not be necessary if you are shooting in the dark - just open both shutters, fire off a flash, close shutters.

Focussing? Both the same, probably, maybe at infinity to start with.

Having said all this, I still suspect that orbs are something tiny, close to the lens - there were lots on TV this afternoon at the Arsenal game - rain on the cameras!
 

DerekH16

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Aug 2, 2001
Messages
867
Likes
6
Points
49
#30
rynner said:
.... I still suspect that orbs are something tiny, close to the lens - there were lots on TV this afternoon at the Arsenal game - rain on the cameras!
Notice how often they became hexagons as the camera's focus changed?

Now pentagons, that would be spooky.....
 
Top