Orbs: Mystical or Misidentification?

Have you ever taken a picture only to discover a strange ball of light photo bombing? If so, you’re certainly not alone as the concept of orbs have floated (hehe) around for years, along with theories meant to disprove the phenomenon. Many paranormal experts and investigators believe that these artifacts are spirits in another form while others in the field and skeptics deem them as nothing strange or unusual.

The controversy surrounding orbs has always been a fascinating one. Simply scrolling through Instagram, I’ll sometimes see others go nuts over orbs and photographic anomolies that are hard to distinguish. Some will see faces in the orbs while some say it’s nothing paranormal at all. It can be a challenging subject to discuss and agree on.

Possible Explanations

Example of backscatter photography by Earth100

When it comes to every paranormal and mysterious topic, there are possible scientific and common explanations. One is often referred to as backscatter photography, where it may look like a spooky ball of light but it may be nothing more than an optical phenomenon where the camera’s flash is reflected from unfocused dust or air particles, or water droplets. This often occurs with ultra-compact and compact digital cameras in areas with low or poor lighting. It can also occur as the result of foreign objects or materials within the lens that you are not aware of. The orbs caused by this are usually white or semi-transparent, similar to how paranormal orbs are often described. When it comes to rain droplets, light may be captured through the drop which may create a rainbow-like effect on the image.

Bugs may also be misinterpreted as a ghostly orb if you’re taking a still photograph as rapid wing movement or rapid movement in general may cause a blurred effect that could be circular. But on video, bugs are usually easier to distinguish due to the movement of their wings and how they move overall.

Example of circular artifacts caused by Rain (public domain)


You may be reading this, thinking that all I’m trying to do is debunk them and say that they’re fake but that is not it at all. To me, distinguishing an orb is one of the trickest parts about the paranormal and I’m not sure where I stand on them just yet. I’m by no means an expert but I’m discussing this to alert people on what to look out for as mistakes rigarding orbs are especially common. Hell, I’ve mistaken dust and camera flashes for orbs plenty of times and it can be frustrating. Ghosts and spirits can reach out in many ways so it wouldn’t surprise me that some take on this circular shape to appear and make contact. Whatever you believe, make sure you take practicality into account so you don’t make the same mistake over and over again.

Thank you for reading this week’s post! If you learned anything or enjoyed it, consider liking this post and subscribing below to keep updated with Paranormal Ally! Happy Haunting!

5 thoughts on “Orbs: Mystical or Misidentification?

  1. I think that it’s easier to distinguish a real orb when it’s caught on video instead of a photo. That way, you can see the way that the orb is moving (e.g. moving straight up, down, in strange jagged movements) because it’s unlikely that a bug would make those movements. That’s just my experience, though.


      1. I see! I just realized you had said the exact same thing in your post lol, must have accidentally skipped over that part. I was actually agreeing with you because I meant like it’s harder to distinguish between orbs and bugs in photos but it’s easier in video, by the movement of their wings and overall, like you said. 🙂 Great post, by the way!


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