False Ghost Pictures: Dust Orbs

Kathy Owen from Bodfish, California and founder of Lake Isabella Paranormal Society sent us her and her group's following experiments in creating false orb ghost pictures, produced by dust in front of the camera lens. Many people do not understand that we are surrounded by dust that is very small to the eye. If a person looks into a ray of sun coming in through a window, dust particles floating around in the light can easily be observed. The camera lens can still "see" this dust when it is right in front of the lens and the camera flash illuminates it. The camera's flash will reflect off of dust that is close to it, and will create little balls of light - orbs. Many times, dust orbs will sometimes have a center to them, indicating the point of reflection. We use the term "dust" loosely as other airborne particles, like moisture, pollen, and lint, will also produce balls of light (false orbs -not ghosts) in ghost pictures.

Here is Kathy's report about producing dust orbs after conducting experiments for Angels & Ghosts:
"This experiment was conducted to show that simple products around the house can produce the effects of orbs, by taking a couple of Kleenex tissues in my left hand and crumpling them about six inches above the lens. The dust particles from a tissue gives off the effect that appears like an orb. This was done in the first picture. Then I used a kitchen paper towel, and by doing the same thing in my hand, it gave off the same effect. In the third picture, I used a Kleenex in my bedroom with less lighting, and it also looks like orbs - the third picture is using the paper towel again. Even though they look like orbs, they are just simply small particles that have fallen from a Kleenex tissue and a paper towel."

Orbs in this experiment were created by crumpling either a Kleenex or paper towel above the camera and its lens while taking photographs. The irregular shapes and having a center of reflection are hallmarks of dust orbs.

One of the easiest ways to spot dust orbs is if there are a multitude of orbs in the picture. This is a "dead give-away" that dust is most likely the culprit. Of note, orbs may also be created by accidentally photographing moisture in the air such as fog, rain, snow or near water fountains, which tend to "atomize" the water droplets quite nicely. Orbs can also be created by photographing undetected flying insects (even at a distance) and reflective surfaces, such as glass, mirrors, metal and even smooth paneling on a wall.