All About Orbs


The concept of orbs is very controversial in the field of paranormal research.  While there may be some evidence of spiritual orbs, the majority of the ones captured on still and/or video cameras consist of dust particles illuminated by the flash or infrared lights, bugs, moisture particles, lens refractions, etc.  As you will read below, the advent of digital technology has produced way more orbs than older technologies, such as Polaroid, Instamatic and 35mm film cameras.  In fact, it is extremely rare to capture orbs on 35mm film or 8mm video tapes.

Paranormal phenomena is not a black and white science…much of the field is based on theory.  However, there are occasions where it is easy to explain away certain types of activity – explain away, meaning that they have a natural cause.  This is the case with the majority of orbs – 99%.  Additionally, some researchers completely discount orbs altogether; however, I personally feel that some doors need to be left open – in other words, I do believe that some orbs are paranormal (spiritual) in origin, but only a few.


1.  Self-illuminating:  NOT being illuminated by a camera’s flash or reflection off of Infrared (IR) cameras.  In the case of the orbs on your video camera, the majority of them most likely are illuminated by the IR lighting.  Could there be a few paranormal ones mixed in with the majority?  Possibly, yes.  We would need to analyze them. But for the most part, they are particles of small dust reflected off the IR lighting.
a. Sizes will differ depending on how far away or close to they are from the IR camera.
b. Orb opacity will also differ depending on how far away or how close to they are from the IR camera.  The closer they are to the actual IR, the brighter
they will be.  As they move farther from the IR, they will get more translucent.

2.  This leads me to describe the next tell-tale sign:  orbs with a paranormal origin have an intelligent flight pattern – they move in erratic ways (back and forth, side to side, up and down, etc).  If there are natural air currents or currents produced by air conditioning units or heaters, this can also cause orbs to move in erratic ways, thus indicating a natural cause as well.  However, keep in mind that dust does move in erratic ways as well as it swirls in all directions.

3.  Having a 3D effect.  Is it clearly in front of something?  Does the orb come through the wall?  A tell-tale sign of this, is if you see half of the orb protruding out of a wall.  If you see this, then it could signify something other than dust or moisture particles, bugs, etc.  Again, there could be a natural cause.

4.  Are there CLEAR faces and/or numbers in the orb?  This is rare, but we have documented this.

In my opinion, orbs need to have at least two to three of the above hallmark signs to really classify them as having a paranormal or spiritual origin.  The orb phenomenon is still being researched.  There is NO concrete, absolute reason for why or how spiritual orbs manifest.  We may never know, as the concept may remain entirely elusive.  We apply theories to possibly explain it, but we may never know all of the reasons why spiritual orbs exist.  The “Great Orb Debate” as we paranormal researchers like to call it, is ongoing and what necessitates continued research.


Prior to the coming of the digital age, it was extremely rare to capture orbs on camera or video.  However, orbs have appeared a lot on DIGITAL cameras and video cameras.  One reason for this is that their sensors are highly sensitive to IR, as opposed to 35mm cameras and  8mm tape video cameras.  Not to get too technical here, but another reason for why DIGITAL cameras produce more orbs has to do with its pixels and the CCD (charge coupling device).  So, again, the majority of orbs on digital devices can be explained away logically.  Technologically speaking, this concept is explained more in detail by PARASCIENCE at:


Troy Taylor is a well-known paranormal researcher.  SDPRS’ founder, Nicole Strickland, has worked with him before, so she can attest to his knowledge about the paranormal.  Below is a link to an article he wrote on orbs.  It will also explain more in detail about the technological reasons why orbs appear more on digital still cameras and video cameras, including DVR / IR (infrared) security systems.

Here is a quote from the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena’s website (the organization has conducted many experiments into the orb phenomenon):

Very occasionally, you can actually see orbs in a camera (e.g. through a viewfinder) while taking photos or filming with a video camera. If you look for them with your naked eye at the time, you won’t see them. This can happen with video cameras using a powerful illuminator (e.g. low light or infrared) or when the flash fires while using a DSLR. This is to be expected as orbs are purely photographic artifacts. Generally, the human eye has a very different depth of field to a camera so it will rarely see out of focus dust, even when strongly illuminated. When orbs show up in video, they often drift around and appear and disappear. This appearance and disappearance depends on how they drift in and out of the orb zone.


1) I suggest that you play with the settings (the sensitivity in particular) on your cameras and/or DVR system.  You may discover that the lower the sensitivity, the less orbs will be produced and vice versa.  Also, try experimenting with lighting:  put every light on in your location and see if orbs appear as common as they do with less lighting.  You will notice that there will be less orbs in a lighter and brighter condition.  If you notice a difference with either of these, let us know.

2) Turn on your cell or smart phone’s light in a darker room.  You will be able to see dust particles illuminated by the phone’s light.  This is very similar to dust particles coming very close to your security camera’s IR lens.   You will notice how the dust moves in all kinds of directions.  Thus, the orbs you see on your camera are these exact dust particles you see illuminated by your camera’s light.  Could there be a spiritual orb mixed in with all of these dust fragments?  We certainly cannot say for certain that there are, but the answer to this is “possibly, yes.”

I hope you find this information helpful and interesting.  Please, don’t hesitate to contact us with additional questions and/or further research you have found on orbs. As always, we would love to hear from you.