What are orbs? There are countless photographs on the internet of these round balls of light, and a large number of speculations by people about what they are. There are a fairly small number of books published on the subject, by authors with varying perspectives. Some people claim to have seen orbs with their naked eyes. In most cases, people's experiences with orbs have been in the photos they or others have taken. There appears to be no conclusive evidence as to what exactly orbs are, although there are some perspectives which appear more substantial than others. One of the most scientifically researched and fascinating books on the subject is "The Orb Project", by theologian Miceal Ledwith, D.D, LL.D. and experimental physicist, Klaus Heinemann, Ph.D.. In this book, both authors share the results of several years of careful independent research. At the time the book was written, Ledwith had taken over 100,000 photographs of orbs in many different environments and conditions: both indoors and out of doors, in the day and night, in atmospheres with many people and no people, and in many different kinds of weather. So if the variables for orbs appearing are so many, how can anyone ascertain what they truly are?
Some authors and teachers have definite statements about what orbs are. In the foreword to "The Orb Project", spiritual teacher JZ Knight suggests that orbs are what we are "out of our bodies". Diana Cooper has written two books about orbs, both of which describe orbs as angels. One unique explanation of orbs comes from William Bloom's book "Orbs Speak", where Bloom writes from the perspective of the orbs themselves. In this book they are benevolent beings, messengers of connectedness... here among us to remind us that we are, like them, interconnected and not separate from each other.
What makes Miceal Ledwith's perspective on orbs so engaging is that he has approached the study of orbs from a scientific perspective, taking note of when and how the orbs appear. He comes up with some possible ideas about what orbs might be, but doesn't at any time suggest a definitive answer. This allows us to weigh up the evidence he presents and come to our own conclusions.
Orbs Appear to be Conscious and Willing to Communicate
According to Ledwith, Orbs seem to be able to respond to thoughts or verbal statements. He actually found a way to communicate with the orbs at one time during the course of his study. For a period of time, the orbs appeared in the shape of hexagons in some photos, while continuing to appear in their circular form in other images. He decided that the truncated, hexagonal images should signify "yes" and the ordinary orb images would be "no". In this way he posed questions to the orbs and received answers. They also seem to appear more frequently in images when they are requested to do so.
Orbs can appear in a whole range of colours and can be anywhere from faint imprints on the photos to brightly glowing balls of light. If the photo of an orb is clear, one can zoom in and see what Ledwith calls "the orb fingerprint", which varies from orb to orb and can be used to identify the same orb from image to image.
Locations and Conditions Where Orbs are Photographed
Orbs have been photographed in all kinds of locations. Indoor places of spiritual significance such as shrines or churches are common places for orbs to appear, as well as outdoor locations like crop circles, stone circles and sites of pilgrimage. Hope and Randy Mead's film, "Orbs: The Veil is Lifting" shows orbs appearing frequently where groups of people are enjoying themselves, such as when they are making music, either indoors or out of doors. It is also common to find orbs in tranquil natural ion-rich environments where no humans are present.
Skeptics and False Images
Some sceptics suggest that orbs are a result of lens flares, dust or moisture. Even Ledwith himself writes that dust, pollen or moisture droplets can appear in photographs with some similar qualities to orbs, but that one must take care to look at them closely. He writes that it takes only a little experience to determine the false images from the real ones.
The Infrared Light Spectrum and Digital Cameras
It is suggested by Ledwith and others that orbs are visible in the infrared light spectrum, and that the reason orbs are now appearing so frequently in people's photos is because of the widespread use of inexpensive digital cameras, which have the capacity to photograph realms of the visual light spectrum that our eyes are not accustomed to seeing. Cheaper cameras do not contain what Ledwith refers to as "hot mirrors", present in expensive SLR digital cameras and which block infrared. It is also worth noting that while it is most common that orbs appear with digital cameras, according to Ledwith, he was taking photos of orbs as early as the 1990's with a regular film camera.
How Orbs May Generate Light
Ledwith suggests a reason why orbs appear to emit light is that they do not reflect the light of the flash, but that they generate a light "within themselves" which is triggered by the flash. He suggests the process of 'ionization' is an explanation for why this occurs. It could also be why orbs often appear in moist environments. Ledwith explains that it could be that the atmosphere's electrons have been 'excited' by the rainfall and that if the free electrons generated by the rainfall bombard the atoms of the orbs (if they have atoms), it can cause ionization in the orbs which then results in fluorescence. According to Ledwith, it may be that when light photons from the camera strike an orb, that the orb can absorb these photons and then convert them into electrons. When the light from the flash is no longer present, the orb then releases the surplus electrons as photons, which generates the light which is picked up by the camera.
A Summary of Common Observations about Orbs
Orbs appear to respond to thoughts and intentions, seeming to indicate that they are conscious and are willing to communicate with us.
Orbs appear in many different environments, but particularly seem to be attracted to groups of people who are enjoying themselves.
Orbs seem to appear in abundance during rainfall at night, but can be observed in images in sunny daytime pictures, indoors and in many other conditions.
Orbs appear in pictures in many colours, intensities and sizes.
Individual orbs appear to have a unique 'fingerprint', which can be used to identify them.
Orbs can appear in front or behind subjects in photographs.
A light source such as a flash appears to increase the chance of of orbs appearing in photographs.
Sources and Further Reading
Miceal Ledwith, D.D., LL.D. & Klaus Heinemann, Ph.D. "The Orb Project". 2007. Beyond Words Publishing.
Katie Hall & John Pickering. "Beyond Photography".
William Bloom. "Orbs Speak: How Beings From Another Dimension are Helping Transform Human Consciousness".
Diana Cooper & Kathy Crosswell. "Enlightenment Through Orbs".
DVD by Hope and Randy Mead: "Orbs: The Veil is Lifting".