Field Discussions and Theories

Which Orbs In Photos Are Real?

The Great Debate About Orbs

There has always been a debate in the field about whether or not orbs are simply a photographic fluke, or something paranormal. And if they do exist, what are they exactly? I do believe some orbs are more than just dust or humidity.  Roughly five to ten percent of photos have something that is more than bugs, dust, or humidity. My theory is that if orbs are the energy of the spirits, that energy is always there. However, it is invisible to the naked eye, just like electricity. Of course, you cannot photograph electricity unless it is reacting with something else, such as a lightbulb or neon sign. And if you are truly lucky, lightning. What if orbs are just energy reacting with the environment around them, and we happen to be lucky enough to catch it in a photograph?   

Over the last decade of researching, I have taken thousands of photos at locations. Having that experience, you start to become familiar with what is dust, humidity, and more easily, bugs. Genuine orbs tend to stick out in photographs. They are more defined, almost appearing to emit a light source of their own. They are nearly perfect spheres, and not opaque. I’ll show you a few examples of which is which. 

Dust In Photos

Dust in photos tends to be easily definable. Orbs caused by dust come in clusters, and when appearing in videos, are relatively transparent. They do not have much detail inside of them, and almost never contain more than one color. They tend to look like bubbles rather than anything emitting a light source. In videos, dust particles will all flow in the same direction and at the same speed. While there is always dust in the air, two things can increase dust content in the air. The first is moving a lot of equipment and shifting furniture around a location. The second reason, as is with the photos below, is having large groups at outdoor locations. These photos were taken at a cemetery with mostly dirt paths, and about a hundred people attended. That foot traffic will stir up quite a bit more dust compared to a smaller group.

While the above photos have objects that do appear to be orbs, they don’t emit their own light, only reflecting it faintly back to the camera. Dust orbs also tend to have a faint outer ring to the orb, with a solid color inside that looks like static. True orbs will also have an outer ring. but it is much more bright, and an equally if not brighter middle.

Bugs In Photos

Bugs in photos are easier to tell. They will appear as bright smears with irregular shapes, and sometimes even wings brightly lit by a camera flash. Most lights that appear to be rods, or long trails I pass off in photos as bugs, due to the fact that they are moving so quickly. The rapid movement, especially if they have large wings, can create blurred objects that may appear paranormal in nature, but are not.

Genuine Orbs

True ghost orbs have unique qualities that, while dust and bug orbs can have them, they will not have all of them. True orbs will have a glowing edge, almost appearing to have an internal source that glows rather than simply reflecting light. They have brighter colors, including yellows and blues as shown below, and sometimes reds. The outer edge you can sometimes see small rays of light extending from the outer ring. Some will even have shadows to the edge, appearing to be more three dimensional in shape compared to dust orbs.

  • ghost orb 4
  • ghost orb 6

When analyzing your photos for which are potentially genuine orbs, remember to look for the following details:

  • Edges that appear to glow, and possibly have rays of light
  • Bright colors that almost appear textured
  • Shadows around the edge suggesting three-dimensional shapes

If you have any further questions about orbs or your photos that you would like an opinion on, email them to or comment below! 

Are Paranormal TV Shows Worth The Paycheck?

When I started to delve further into ghost hunting as a profession in 2008, I was eighteen. At that time, paranormal reality shows were on a steady rise across networks. Because of that, the scent of landing a spot on a show was in the air for everyone. It was something I was hopeful for in the future as a chance to see more locations and have hands-on experience. Over the last decade, shows have come and gone. Some reached extremes to attract viewers and crashed along the way. There are still shows left focusing more on the ghosts again. I still love researching, but my goals have shifted away towards personal projects. The truth is that being on paranormal shows isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and not worth the paycheck.

The Paycheck Isn’t Always Great

The paychecks that many researchers on paranormal shows receive are not enormous, certainly not what you’d expect. And because most networks pay per episode, all the work behind the camera goes unpaid most of the time. Any additional time spent traveling to and from filming locations or publicity events is on your dime. They may pick up the expenses, but not pay extra income. This was the primary reason why I had second thoughts about wanting to be on a show. The other compelling reason was for my privacy, and control of my reputation.

Your Privacy Is At Risk

When on a show, you allow the public to zoom in on you. The more your name is recognized, your privacy slowly disappears. Yes, you can have private social media accounts for close friends and family, but fans will still try to find back doors. Your public accounts can be a way of putting targets on your back if the wrong thing is said. Jokes can interpret out of context, and one post can become a PR nightmare. Sometimes, when it comes to social media, minimal is best when dealing with public affairs. While you can control what you post, what the network editors present on a screen can cause issues on its own.

You Can’t Control How You Appear On Air

The problem that can arise with reality shows is that editors are at work. They need to take hours of video and shrink that down to the final twenty to forty-five-minute cut. Hopefully, the editing process and the final cut cast you in a good light, but it may not always. If a scene is cut short, the audience will rarely know what happened before or after. The network essentially puts ratings first, and what you may feel is important for the audience to see, may not be crucial enough for the final edit. Giving up the ability to control how you may be perceived can be a significant risk.

Be Sure To Weigh Out The Pros and Cons

Now, there are exceptions to the points I mentioned above. It’s rare, but some networks put greed aside and do work with cast members. If you decide to be on a show, have a lawyer go over the contract thoroughly. Talk about what you do and do not want, and make sure any necessary revisions are made to protect yourself. As far as privacy, contracts may cover some aspects, but the public and social media are beasts that change every day. Those beasts, along with the network can significantly impact your reputation. While I understand the appeal of being on a show, take time to weigh out the pros and cons, and decide if the risks are worth it.

Provoking A Spirit May Produce Results, But It’s Also Dangerous

You Shouldn’t Provoke Unless as a Last Resort

Provoking spirits to cause them to make contact is something that unfortunately has become a common practice in the ghost hunting industry on television. When people see this happening, they think that doing the same will get more results. The only time that I feel it is appropriate to do so is if a homeowner is being troubled by a malicious entity, and the ghost has not made contact with investigators despite past attempts. Sometimes, the only way to deal with a bully spirit is to stand up to them. Unless an investigator faces this situation, I do not believe it is right to provoke a ghost. Not only out of respect, but also for safety reasons.

Provoking Is Disrespectful

The most important reason that I do not provoke spirits is out of respect. Spirits are merely people without bodies. Though you may not be able to see them, souls still deserve to be treated with respect. Often the place where a spirit stays behind is one that they are attached to, or, they were afraid to move on, and the location gives them a sense of comfort. It is the same way that a place you and I consider to be home provides us with a sense of security.

Imagine if someone were to come knocking on your door. You answer, and a man that you have never met before inquires to ask you a few questions. This encounter with the stranger will go one of two ways; you may say yes, and proceed to answer the questions. After giving your answers, he leaves, and you finish what you had been doing before answering the door. The other option is that you politely say no, and ask him to go. But he does not, and instead, begins to ask more questions. Again, you say no. At this point you may be getting frustrated. He sees that being polite will not work with you. So he puts his foot in the doorway and edges himself inside. If you do not answer his questions, he will stay until you do. Now what you do?

It Can Cause a Safety Concern

Feeling threatened, you start to think of solutions. You can tell the visitor to leave, and if he does not, you will call the cops. You may force the door shut and lock it. Or, depending on what personality you have, you may throw a punch or two. Either way, you feel like your personal space is under threat. Provoking spirits is the same way. If they do not want to answer your questions, please do not force them to do so.

They may feel scared, and during that moment they may throw something at you, or try to hit you. Imagine yourself in the situation with the man asking questions at your door. If you feel that they will try and force their way into your home, you are going to stop them. Ghosts cannot call the police. They may ignore you, eventually give up and make contact, or get aggressive. Now, if they should get aggressive, which is rare, you cannot blame them for that. They are defending themselves just as you or I would do in the same situation.

Patience Goes Further Than Provoking

If a spirit does not reply to your questions after a few attempts, the best thing do is leave. There is no reason to waste precious time when you could find evidence elsewhere. Either try another area of the location or call it a day. If you decide to leave, try going back to the site and ask different questions. Often results will not turn up until the second, third, or even fourth visit. So please ask yourself this before provoking a spirit: How would you feel if someone did the same to you?

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