So a few of my kids and I went on a nighttime walking ghost tour in the wickedly infamous Salem. We were told by the tour guide that we could try to get pictures of orbs.
Orbs? I had heard the word before but never really knew what they were supposed to be. But regardless of our working knowledge of the word, Rosie was snap-snap-snappin' away with my camera at the various "haunted" houses and the ancient graveyard.
Tour over, we headed home and loaded our pictures onto the computer. Rosie proceeded to point out to me the orbs she captured on film.
I squinted hard and yes, I saw a little smudge by the window of the haunted house.
[In this picture it's the little white mark by the left third floor window]
That's an orb, she explained. It's the energy of a ghost. Or something.
OK. But then in the next picture, which was essentially the same shot, it was not there. Hmmm. Had she cleaned my lens?
She went through a few more and we had fun spotting the spots. It was an entertaining game.
But I have to say, I got totally creeped out when she pulled up the cemetary shot. This graveyard is original to Salem, with many markers dating back to the 1600s.
Although you can't see it all that well when the picture is this small, they were everywhere.
[Click the picture to enlarge it and you can see them better]
When I later looked it up online, the photography experts claim orbs are simply dust particles. Which would explain why there were far more orbs in the graveyard than in the shots of the houses. But (raising hand), why then, were there none in the shots she took in the gardens of one of the homes? Dirt, flowers, pollen, dust galore, but no orbs.
Good ol' Wikipedia says "Orb artifacts are captured during low-light instances where the camera's flash is used, such as at night or underwater – or where a bright light source is near the camera. The orb artifact can result from retroreflection of light off solid particles (e.g., dust, pollen), liquid particles (water droplets, especially rain) or other foreign material within the camera lens."
But when I checked with the good people over at GhostStudy.com (ie, the first thing I pulled up in a Google search on orbs), I read that, "Orbs are believed (by many) to be ghosts in the form of balls of light. They are life forms that travel in groups and are believed to be the human soul or life force of those that once inhabited a physical body here on earth. It is said that they are those spirits that have willingly stayed behind because they feel bound to their previous life or previous location for whatever reason."
So. Dust particles? Ghost energy? Dirty lens? You be the judge.
As for this brown button here, it is not a smudge on your screen. It is the voting button. Click it to cast a vote for me!