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Orb Photography

camera images orbs result

Rochester Institute of Technology

Attempts to photograph ghosts began as early as 1861, with a Boston photographer named William Mumler. He claimed that while he was taking a picture of himself in a chair, an unexpected second image appeared in the photograph. For a while this amazing phenomenon was accepted; suspicions arose when it was discovered that the images he produced were of people who were still alive. Mumler was accused of photographic fraud and died in poverty in 1884. His work was imitated by others during that time.

Although not common, during the 1960s a photographer claimed that he could capture images in his mind when using a Polaroid camera. He did this by holding the camera in his lap, aimed at himself, and after a long period of time and with a jerk, trip the shutter. He claimed the jerk was a result of the mental image being projected into the camera. He apparently convinced himself and many others of his powers, including an editor for a major news magazine. When challenged and asked to perform his phenomenon under controlled conditions, he failed completely after two days of attempts. After careful monitoring, he was observed using sleight of hand to trip the shutter. In spite of the photographer’s failure and fraud he continued to convince others of his mental powers.

Spirit photography takes various forms, including the recording of invisible energy fields (auras) and personality projections (astral projections), psychographs (invisible handwriting), and even the alleged photographs of flying saucers. With the advent of electronic imaging new forms of spirit photography will undoubtedly emerge.

Today this type of photography has experienced a new following as a direct result of digital technology and the Internet, which provides forums and a high visibility for the photographic results. The photographic recording of what are referred to as orbs, as well as an increased interest in the paranormal is common. The word orb is a name for a round object, especially a sphere. In the world of the paranormal, orb photos are common and can easily be found on the Internet as mysterious balls of light in images. While there are genuine photographs of unexplained phenomena, real spirit photography has been debated since the medium was invented. The majority of orb photos are not paranormal, but rather images that result from the internal reflection of light on the camera lens. Orb photographs can also be a result of something being grossly out of focus in front of the lens. This occurs when the camera’s flash bounces back from something reflective in front of the camera that is out of focus, becoming a large, white, ghostlike structure in the photograph. When this happens, it creates a round ball of brightness that is actually just an out-of-focus image. Many people often mistake these orbs for genuine evidence of ghosts. False orbs can also be created by bright lights in an area where the photo is being taken, by angles of light, and by many types of artificial lighting. Despite the hypothesis that different colors of the orbs in photos represent what mood the ghost was in, the colors are actually non-focused images and represents the conditions present when the photos were taken.

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