Every week, Glasgow Paranormal Investigations receives a high volume of photographs and video clips from our followers asking if they have caught paranormal activity on film. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible for us to answer this conclusively from a single photograph or short video clip. There are so many other factors that can create anomalies on film that all we can do is give an educated guess based on our experience. Capturing paranormal activity on film is quite rare – we’ve been trying to do so for many years, with only a handful of ‘unexplained’ pieces of footage. However, while we usually offer suggestions which could debunk the anomaly, we will always be respectful of such material – there was something that prompted you to turn on the camera and without being there at the time we cannot say what that was. With that being said, a large percentage of the images submitted to us for review are concerning ‘Orbs’. The consensus among our team is that around 99.9% of all orbs are nothing more than dust, moisture or bugs. It is a very polarizing topic in the paranormal community, so we thought we would offer a little more detail into our thoughts on Orbs.
What is an Orb?
Orbs are round, translucent anomalies that often appear during flash photography or while recording video in low light conditions. They mostly appear white but can also be a range of other colours. Depending on what type of airborne article is causing the orb, it may have a fuzzy edge or a halo effect. Orbs are almost unheard of when using ‘old-fashioned’ film, the effect is a relatively modern one caused by digital photography. There is a highly technical explanation as to how digital cameras work and why they are most likely to produce orbs, but we won’t go into that here! If you are interested, it is relatively easy to find an explanation online.
It is unclear who first determined that orbs were evidence of the paranormal, or why, but it seems that after the initial excitement most paranormal investigators have come to agree that orbs have a logical explanation rooted in the science of photography. However, there are still many people who believe orbs are a paranormal event despite evidence to the contrary.
Why Do Orbs Appear in Images & Videos?
There are a number of different environmental factors that can contribute to the appearance of orbs in flash photography. These include, but are certainly not limited to: small insects, rain, snow, pollen, dust and other airborne particles. Orbs show up in everyday photographs all the time – not just those taken in haunted locations.
Dust Vs Spirit Manifestation: How to Tell the Difference
In the introduction to this post, we suggested that around 99.9% of orbs captured can be debunked. So, what about the remaining 0.1%? These are the anomalies that we would label as unexplained. The question is, how can we tell the difference between dust and a potential spirit manifestation? As with most areas of paranormal research, there really are no hard and fast rules to follow. However, based on our own personal experience over the years, for us to consider an orb as unexplained it would need to meet the following criteria:
- Visible to the naked eye rather than only on camera
- Rapidly changing shape, direction or speed (aside from the clearly identifiable flying insects)
Frequently Asked Orb Questions
When discussing orbs with guests on our investigations, or people who have submitted their pictures to us for review, we often come across the same questions on a regular basis. We’ve decided to answer some of these here.
Q – Are You Saying My House is Dirty?
A – When told that the orbs in their photo/video are likely just dust many people do get a little defensive and think we are saying they don’t keep their home clean! This is certainly not the case. No matter how often you dust and vacuum there will always be dust and other airborne particles present in the air. Humans are constantly shedding dead skin and hair. If you have pets, they will also produce large volumes of dander. Every time you move a cushion, curtain, or duvet cover you will disturb airborne particles – it’s unavoidable. It is also important that when we say ‘dust’ we are also including things like pollen or even moisture in the air.
Q – Why Are There Faces in my Orbs?
A – One of the things that often convinces people they have captured a spirit manifestation rather than an orb is that they are able to pick out faces, letters or other shapes in the middle of the anomaly. This can almost always be explained by pareidolia, a natural psychological reaction where the brain attempts to process data into a shape it recognizes. The best example we can give of pareidolia is how we are often able to pick out the shapes of animals and other objects in the clouds. We know there isn’t really an elephant in the sky, but our brain convinces us we can see the shape of one in the clouds. The same applies to orb images. If you look at the same zoomed in orb for any length of time, your brain will begin to pick out shapes.
Q – Why Are my Orbs Coloured?
A – Some people believe that if an orb is coloured then it is not only an indication of a spirit presence but also a guide to what type of spirit it is. For example, red is often considered an angry spirit. However, when colourful orbs appear on film, it is most often caused by moisture. The atmosphere is always filled with moisture that we cannot see with our naked eye, but cameras are particularly adept at capturing them and depending on the frequency of light it can create a stunning array of colours.
Our own research and experience in investigating the paranormal have led us to believe that the majority of orbs are caused by small foreign objects. However, we do not claim to be infallible and we would encourage you to be your own investigator. Ask questions. Consider the surroundings and the circumstances that culminated in your orb picture. Were you moving around and therefore likely to have disturbed debris in the air? Was there a source of light causing reflection (Phone cameras are notoriously bad for this)? Is there a reasonable cause for doubt that this is paranormal? Asking these sorts of questions will help you to form your own conclusions about orb photography.
In closing, we would like to add that there was probably a reason you reached for the camera. Perhaps you felt a presence, saw a shadow or heard a sound? These are things we are unable to ascertain from a still photo or 10-second video clip. The presence of orbs in your capture may not be evidence of the paranormal, but that doesn’t mean you haven’t encountered a spirit. Why not try other ways of communicating? In any situation, the best evidence of paranormal activity will always be personal experience. Ask the questions. Debunk as much as possible and what you will be left with is those unexplained moments we are all searching for!
*** Disclaimer *** Paranormal research is largely about making educated guesses. Modern science has yet to pinpoint conclusive proof to support or debunk paranormal activity. As such, anything we discuss here cannot be taken as an absolute fact. All we can do is offer our own opinion, based on our own experiences in the paranormal. We encourage you to always ask your own questions and to seek out your own evidence.
Welcome to the GPI News Blog?
We decided to add a GPI News Blog to our new website, as if you are a paranormal geek like ourselves you will love reading all the stories connected with the paranormal. Our blog will cover all these stories and more and hopefully you will enjoy reading them, just as much as we enjoy writing them.
We would love to hear your stories too, so if you have any you would like share and add too our blog then feel free to forward them on to ourselves and if suitable we will enter them on for you to share with others.
So it begins ………..
The team have lots of investigations organised right through to next year and some of these are for strictly by invite only. So for those who would like to have a chance of an invite to these locations please could you send us your email address and we will keep them on file. The invite only investigations will also only be for a limited number of people, so if you receive an invite and it is of interest too you I would recommend booking your place asap. The locations will mostly be in Scotland with some others within the UK.
We look forward to hearing from you.
GPI Team x
The stories of the black eyed children seem to go back through the centuries and witnessed all over the world, this is not just something that has been documented recently and in one location. Do we think the stories are true? Well, they are strange but is it paranormal, we are not so sure. For those who have not heard anything about the black eyed children here is a recent article of one incident, as it really sums up all the other stories of what others have witnessed over time.
“I believe I have seen the black eyed child on more than one occasion over the last 12 months.”
The man explained how he often walks his dog in the haunted countryside area of Cannock Chase.
Yet during one of his usual late night walks, he revealed how he came face to face with the “jet-black eyed” creepy spectre.
“I almost fell over when I noticed her eyes were jet-black.”
But the child didn’t respond.
And despite feeling a little disturbed, he carried on walking.
“Suddenly, the child appeared again in front of me. This time with her hands down at her sides,” he added.
“I almost fell over when I noticed her eyes were jet-black.
“Again, my dog went mental, this time pulling me in the opposite direction.
“In the blink of an eye, the child was gone.”
The man said he was incredibly shaken by the encounter.
Yet he explained that his friends and family laughed at him about incident, up until they saw the news coverage earlier this week.
Many posted online about how they’ve been left too scared to leave their homes at night, just in case they come across the demonic spirit.
White noise is a type of noise that is produced by combining sounds of all different frequencies together. If you took all of the imaginable tones that a human ear can hear and combined them together, you would have white noise.
The adjective “white” is used to describe this type of noise because of the way white light works. White light is light that is made up of all of the different colors (frequencies) of light combined together (a prism or a rainbow separates white light back into its component colors). In the same way, white noise is a combination of all of the different frequencies of sound.
Sound exists on all frequencies and voices through white noise are said to vibrate at high frequency as realities consist of multidimensional grids created by sound, light, and colour. If you tune into a frequency signature, station, channel and you can hear whatever is on that station. Some believe that there are particular frequencies that are more attuned to pick up spirit voices.
An intelligent haunting is also known as classic or traditional haunting and is unlike a residual haunting as the entity is aware of its surroundings and can interact with it. Researchers say that entities can communicate with the living through EVP on Dictaphones, bumps, bangs in response to questions and actually moving objects.
It is often thought that these entities are the spirits left behind of those who once lived and have not crossed over to the other side and remain in our world. A traumatic event such as a murder or even unfinished business has been thought to result in these hauntings. Researchers have proposed that spirits often linger because of the emotions that tie them to the earth, from anger to love. It may not have been that the person did not pass because they couldn’t. It may have been because they did not want to or in other cases, there is the chance that the spirit does not realize they are dead. This can occur when the death involved is sudden or unexpected. They may also linger as they realize a person can feel, see or hear them. Spiritualist mediums have suggested that these spirits may require assistance to move on to the other side and often ask them to go towards the light.
According to paranormal investigators, residual hauntings are the commonest type of haunting. It has been described as a playback of a past event.
These playbacks can result in repeated auditory, visual and other sensory phenomena. This is often attributed to a traumatic event or even a routine in a person’s life or a place. It is thought that unlike an intelligent haunting, a residual haunting does not involve a spiritual entity that is aware of its surroundings or the living world around it.
One of the first to promulgate the hypothesis of residual haunting was Thomas Charles Lethbridge in books such as Ghost and Ghoul, written in 1961. The subject was explored in Peter Sasdy’s 1972 television play The Stone Tape, written by Nigel Kneale. The popularity of the programme has led to residual haunting becoming known colloquially as the “Stone Tape theory.”
“Poltergeist” is a German term for “noisy spirit”…. which is an excellent description for this terrifying phenomenon. This kind of paranormal activity has made many victims literally run for their lives, completely abandoning their homes and possessions.
It is even more alarming that it is commonplace for people to encounter this. Indeed, many normal people in normal situations have experienced it. Several popular films and books have been produced on this very subject, giving the viewer a first-hand look at what a frightening occurrence it must be for those affected.
This activity has been reported as early as Medieval times, however many of the stories have several versions and/or inconsistencies. Lithobolia, or the Stone-Throwing Devil, is a pamphlet that records poltergeist activity that took place in the tavern of George and Alice Walton in 1682. Two copies of the pamphlet exist in the British Museum. The Waltons’ tavern was located in New Castle, New Hampshire, then known as the Great Island. Lithobolia was written by “R.C.,” one Richard Chamberlain, the secretary of the colony of New Hampshire. In 1682 Chamberlain was boarding at the Walton tavern and witnessed the attack. The pamphlet was later printed in London by Chamberlain in 1698.
William Roll, Hans Bender, and Harry Price are perhaps three of the most famous poltergeist investigators in the annals of parapsychology. Harry Price investigated Borley Rectory in 1937, and called it “the most haunted house in England”, a phrase which caught the imagination of the press. The family would report various phenomenon such as servant bells ringing (on which the lines had been cut), windows shattering, stones vases and other objects being thrown and unexplained footsteps. Family member, Marianne Foyster reported to her husband a whole range of poltergeist phenomena which included her being thrown from her bed. Twice, Reverend Foyster tried to conduct an exorcism, but his efforts were fruitless. In the middle of the first, Foyster was struck in the shoulder by a fist-size stone.
Dr. Friedbert Karger was one of two physicists from the Max Planck Institute who helped to investigate perhaps the most validated poltergeist case in recorded history. Annemarie Schneider, a 19-year-old secretary in a law firm in Rosenheim (a town in southern Germany) was seemingly the unwitting cause of much chaos and controversy in the firm, including disruption of electricity and telephone lines, the rotation of a picture, swinging lamps which were captured on video (which was one of the first times any poltergeist activity has been captured on film), and strange sounds that sounded electrical in origin were recorded. Fraud was not proven despite intensive investigation by the physicists, journalists and the police. The effects moved with the young woman when she changed jobs until they finally faded out, disappeared, and never recurred.
In the Rosenheim case of 1967, The Rosenheim Poltergeist (1967), Friedbert Karger’s whole perspective on physics changed after investigating the events. “These experiments were really a challenge to physics,” Karger says today. “What we saw in the Rosenheim case could be 100 per cent shown not to be explainable by known physics.” The phenomena were witnessed by Hans Bender, the police force, the CID, reporters, and the physicists. The case was made into a documentary by the BBC in 1975 as part of a TV series called “Leap in the Dark.”
Some skeptics propose that poltergeist activity untraceable to fraud might have a physical explanation such as static electricity, electromagnetic fields, ultra-, and infrasound and/or ionized air. In some cases, such as the Rosenheim poltergeist case, proponents claim that no evidence of fraud was ever found, even after an investigation from the police force and CID.
Several claim poltergeist phenomena could be caused by more mundane phenomena, such as unusual air currents, air vibrations such as in acoustic levitation, or tremors caused by underground streams.
In the 1930s, noted psychologist and parapsychologist Nandor Fodor theorized that some poltergeist disturbances were caused not by spirits but by human agents, acting as a poltergeist “focus”.
In the 1960s, William G. Roll, the project director of the Psychical Research Foundation in Durham, North Carolina, expanded this theory and identified it as Recurrent Spontaneous Psychokinesis (RSPK). Roll researched reports of poltergeist occurrences over four centuries, which resulted in his belief that, most often, the “poltergeist” was an angry child or teenager who subconsciously caused the disturbances.
In his paper, “Theories of Haunting”, Peter A. McCue points out various theories on poltergeist activity, held by Roll and other prominent parapsychologists, among them:
- In 1943, G.N.M. Tyrell suggested that some poltergeist activity might be the result of a living agent stimulating a spirit or vice versa.
- G.W. Lambert theorizes that at least some reported poltergeist activity is due to location, postulating that the “coastal strip seems to produce an undue number of cases” and that the activity may be the result of the proximity to rivers, streams, and patterns of rainfall as well. Lambert believed that large amounts of water seepage had an unsettling effect upon buildings where alleged poltergeist activity occurred and that such seepage was the cause of the disruption in many reported cases.
- After researching a case where the residence sat on a fault line, M.A. Persinger and R.A. Cameron theorized that seismic activity could cause poltergeist activity.
- A. Budden (1998) attributes the phenomenon to the “Hutchison effect”. Hutchison was a Canadian researcher who found that you can produce poltergeist activity by bringing together certain types of electrical equipment and applying a low level of electrical power to them. Budden suggest that the phenomenon could be created naturally at electromagnetic “hot-spots.”
In Roll’s research, he found that the average report of an occurrence of poltergeist activity was 5.1 months in duration. Poltergeist activity usually stops as quickly as it started.
What was that strange dark figure you saw at the corner of your eye? Maybe you just encountered a shadow person. In recent years, there has been a lot of interest in these entities that appear to have a human shape or outline. For many, shadow people are different from actual ghosts/apparitions as they are darker and more shadow-like.
Witnesses also note that on encountering ghosts, they are generally misty or vaporish and have more discernible features, style of clothing or other such features. Shadow people’s appearance seems to be lacking and often these sightings are so quick, the witness can only say it was a dark human like figure.
The theory put forward by sceptics and mainstream science is that it is simply our imagination, our minds playing tricks on us or our eyes seeing things in a fraction of a second that aren’t really there – illusions… real shadows caused by passing auto headlights, or some similar explanation. And without a doubt, these explanations probably can account for some if not many experiences. The human eye and mind are easily fooled. But can they account for all cases?
Due to the dark appearance and malevolent feelings experienced during sightings, it has lead to researchers to speculate that they are demonic in nature. If we are to assume they are demonic, one can only speculate on what their purpose is in allowing themselves to be seen in this way.
Another interesting idea is that these figures are the essences of people in astral travel or an outer body experience. Jerry Gross, an author and lecturer on this subject, advises that when we are asleep, we all travel out with our body. So in theory, we are seeing the ephemeral astral bodies of these twilight travellers.
Some also propose that these shadows are time travellers; people from our own future who have found the means to travel into the past. However they are able to accomplish this incredible feat, perhaps in that state they appear to us merely as passing shadows as they observe the events of our timeline.
Mainstream science is fairly convinced that there are other dimensions other than the three we can reside in and if so, who or what are the inhabitants of these dimensions? Some theorists say that these dimensions exist parallel and very close to our own, although invisible to us. And if there are inhabitants in these other dimensions, is it possible that they have found a way to intrude on our dimension and become, at least partially, visible? If so, they could very well appear as shadows. It has long been held by psychics and other sensitives that beings on other planes of existence are of different “vibrations.” Science is beginning to look at reality, on a quantum level, in the same way – that particles of the smallest size exist as vibrations. Perhaps, some theorize, the vibrations of our existence are beginning to mesh with those of another dimension, which accounts for the increase in such phenomena as ghosts, shadow people and possibly aliens.
The alien and abduction phenomena are so bizarre that it’s no surprise that extraterrestrials are suspects as the shadow people. Abductees have reported in many cases that the alien grays seem to be able to pass through walls and closed windows, and to appear and disappear abruptly, among other otherworldly talents. Perhaps, too, they can go about their alien agenda disguised in the shadows.
There’s a good deal of overlapping among the above ideas, of course. Aliens and ghosts could be inter-dimensional beings, or aliens could be time travelers – and some believe demons are responsible for all of these disturbing phenomena.
There is no way to prove or disprove any theories about a phenomenon that is so mysterious, that happens so quickly and without warning. Science finds it virtually impossible to catalog or study such phenomena in any methodical way. All we can do, at present, is to document personal experiences and try to piece together what the shadow people phenomenon might be. Perhaps it’s an old mystery becoming more recognizable… perhaps it represents a doorway to and from different planes of existence… or perhaps it’s just shadows.