Friday, February 10, 2017

She May Know Ghosts, But She Doesn't Know Orbs

Skeptical blogger Hayley Stevens (who describes herself as a "ghost geek") has a new post trying to push the untenable “orbs are dust” theory that I have thoroughly debunked in this post. In the post she scolds some people for doing a “lack of research,” but she gives us no sign that she has done any serious research on the topic of orbs.

She speaks as if orbs are something photographed only in dusty old buildings, for she concludes her post by asking, “Is it so odd to photograph out-of-focus particles in the air when taking photos with a flash in an old, dusty, draughty building?” But the truth is that 99% of orb photographs are not taken in buildings that are old and dusty. 99% of orb photographs are taken outdoors or in buildings with ordinary clean air, such as the homes of orb photographers. If you doubt this, look at the photographs on this blog, and look at my “Paranormal Photos by Others” link which has links to the photos taken by many other orb photographers.

The “orbs are dust” hypothesis falls apart once we do some simple math that Haley forgot to do. The area in front of a camera lens is about 10 millimeters in  length or 10,000 microns (a micron is a thousandth of a millimeter). That means the area (length times width) of the region right in front of the camera is about 10,000 microns times 10,000 microns, or a total of 100 million microns. But indoor dust particles in ordinary air get no bigger than about 10 microns in length (which is an area of 100 microns). That means a dust particle in ordinary air can block no more than about a millionth of the area right in front of a camera. Such a degree of blockage obviously can't explain orbs that appear as 10 percent or more of the original photo height. In fact, ordinary dust particles are about 1000 times too small to produce decent-size orbs in photos. The dust particles in dry outdoor air are even smaller, with an average size of only about 1 micron. 

Below is an orb I photographed that took up 15 percent of the original photo height.  Try throwing dust right in front of your camera, and you will never get something that looks like this. Notice also the sharp, clear edges and fine details, which is completely different from the way "out-of-focus" particles look (Hayley would have us believe that orbs are "out-of-focus" particles). When you throw dust in front of a camera and photograph it, or squeeze a dusty rag in front of the camera, what you get (as shown here) are tiny circles that are dim, featureless, colorless, and with blurry edges, looking nothing like any of the more impressive orb photos.

big orb
 
Such math proves that dust cannot explain the more dramatic orbs appearing in photos. But there's another way to prove the same thing without math. You simply consider the fact that if dust particles in ordinary air were sufficient to produce orbs, then everybody would be constantly getting orbs in most of their flash photos. No such thing happens. 99% of people who have no interest in getting orbs never get a noticeable orb in their photos. But those who have a sustained interest in photographing orbs get orbs in their photos in astonishing numbers, even when photographing in clean, dry air. I never got a single orb in a photograph until I first expressed an interest in getting something paranormal in my photos. Three photos later I had my first orb photo.

Haley mentions looking down at a flashlight pointing up, a consideration that is irrelevant. Such a thing causes an amplification effect in which invisible dust particles suddenly become visible. Such a thing is irrelevant because no orb photographer ever photographs with a high-beam flashlight underneath his camera. It is a known fact that ordinary air contains invisible dust particles. It is also known that in ordinary air such particles get no bigger than about 10 microns, way too small to produce orbs in photos.

Of course, an “orbs are dust" hypothesis is completely unable to explain the dramatic colors that so often appear in orb photos – such as blue, purple, orange, green, yellow, and pink. On this blog I've published more than 1000 such photos, including 875 photos of blue orbs and 373 photos of purple orbs. And such a hypothesis is completely unable to explain the fact that photos very often show orbs moving at astonishing speeds, with a “string of pearls” effect showing very rapid motion. You can't explain that with a dust hypothesis (indoor dust particles move about at a speed of only 2 miles per hour). On this blog I've published more than 500 photos of speeding orbs.

As shown here, I have photographed more than 200 orbs with dramatic stripes, and no one ever reported seeing a stripe in a dust particle prior to my first photographs of striped orbs. Many of these striped orbs show recurring patterns, in which you will see the same very distinctive pattern repeated between 2 and 11 times. See here for a post collecting these recurring patterns, which are completely inexplicable under any dust hypothesis. If there were 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 orb photographers scattered throughout the universe, and they were photographing merely natural particles like dust, we would not expect that even one of those photographers would coincidentally get as many distinctive pattern recurrences as I have documented. 

I may note that all of these 200+ photos I have taken showing striped orbs are all photos showing sharp, clear details in orbs, something we would never see if orbs are just "out of-focus particles" as Haley maintains. You cannot see sharp, clear details in some out-of-focus particle near your camera.  The existence of sharp details in so many orb photos is one of the reasons why the physics Ph.D Klaus Heinemann has concluded that natural particles such as dust absolutely cannot explain such anomalies. 

4 comments:

  1. Your accusation that I have done no research is false. I have been involved in paranormal research for over a decade and I base my conclusions about alleged "orb phenomena" on research conducted by the education charity, The Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena (ASSAP) which can be found here: http://www.assap.ac.uk/newsite/articles/Orb%20Zone%20Theory.html

    Although skeptical of the paranormal I am always willing to change my opinion about something when new evidence is presented to support a claim. However, your claims are pretty irrational, and you clearly lack impartiality when it comes to this subject.

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  2. How many of your orb photos did you take without a flash?

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  3. This post does nothing more than demonstrate your lack of knowledge in photography, a gross misunderstanding of perspective, and no grasp of proper experimentation. You do show your superb ability in confirmation bias though.

    "99% of orb photographs are taken outdoors or in buildings with ordinary clean air, such as the homes of orb photographers" - How did you come up with this percentage? And what do you mean by "clean air"? Are you trying to say that the air in the homes on "orb photographers" is free of dust? If so, you're showing more and more how much you do NOT know about your environment.

    "The area in front of a camera lens is about 10 millimeters in length or 10,000 microns" - What lens are you using for your equation? 10 mm is about 0.4 of an inch, which would fall within some of the consumer level cameras...right at the lens. But Circles of Confusion - what dust particles and other out of focus objects become - are a few inches in front of the lens...not butted up against the lens. Your "calculations" are ridiculous and invalid...and basically falls under Cherry Picking the data to suit your own ideas.

    "Below is an orb I photographed that took up 15 percent of the original photo height." - This is where your lack of understanding perspective really shines. First, you manipulated the data by cropping the image first before posting it. Then, you assume that the out-of-focus dust particle is actually being shown actual size. There's a cool trick called perspective...and when you change perspective, objects get bigger, smaller, longer, shorter, or change shape. If you walked closer to the wreath on the wall and took another picture (with the same focal lenght), it would take up a larger percentage of the image. I know, it must be dark magic at work. But I assure you, it's not. A dust particle was a few inches from your lens, and because the camera was focused on the far wall, it could not focus on the particle that was now illuminated by the flash of your camera.

    "Notice also the sharp, clear edges and fine details, which is completely different from the way "out-of-focus" particles look " - Yeah, well...that's actually how dust particles look when photographed without someone like you deliberately manipulating the way they're being photographed. Your example with the dirty rag is invalid, since the camera was focused on your fingers, which was the same plane (or close enough for Depth of Field) where the particles were. Even the second example image still has the camera focused on the same plane, rather than the far wall - ya know, like your 15% orb image. You compared two images under two different conditions. Poor form, M.

    "Haley mentions looking down at a flashlight pointing up, a consideration that is irrelevant. Such a thing causes an amplification effect in which invisible dust particles suddenly become visible. Such a thing is irrelevant because no orb photographer ever photographs with a high-beam flashlight underneath his camera." - What do you think the freaking camera flash is? Seriously, this was a dumb statement.

    "It is a known fact that ordinary air contains invisible dust particles." Dust particles are not invisible, they are simply too small to be noticed by our vision most of the time. However, they show up quite nicely in sunlight, flash light, projector lights, and...oh...the camera flash. All visible light, I might add.

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  4. "It is also known that in ordinary air such particles get no bigger than about 10 microns, way too small to produce orbs in photos." - You really should do your own research before making such claims.
    Textile Fibers range between 10 - 1000 microns.
    Asbestos 0.7 - 90
    Atmospheric Dust 0.001 - 40
    Auto and Car Emission 1 - 150
    Cement Dust 3 - 100
    Clay 0.1 - 50
    Coal Dust 1 - 100
    Dust Mites 100 - 300
    Fiberglass Insulation 1 - 1000
    Household dust 0.05 - 100
    Human Hair 40 - 300
    Human Sneeze 10 - 100
    Pet Dander 0.5 - 100
    Pollen 10 - 1000

    All pretty common contributors that are over your 10 micron benchmark

    "Of course, an “orbs are dust" hypothesis is completely unable to explain the dramatic colors that so often appear in orb photos – such as blue, purple, orange, green, yellow, and pink" - Background colors often bleed through the extremely out of focus and transparent image of dust particles that show up in buildings and outside. This allows them to appear to contain colors. In addition, pollen comes in various sizes and colors, adding to the variations seen. Of course, the white lite of the flash, combined with the out-of-focus nature of the dust, causes a blue tinge...exactly like the examples you give. The common yellow lights inside many buildings also can change the color appearance of everything in an image...even dust. Lens flare is also an issue, but I doubt you'll care.

    "As shown here, I have photographed more than 200 orbs with dramatic stripes, and no one ever reported seeing a stripe in a dust particle prior to my first photographs of striped orbs." - False, ghost hunters have been reporting these things since the Sony Mavica was released. Such patterns on out-of-focus objects are not "completely inexplicable under any dust hypothesis", it means you have to clean the crap from your lens and/or sensor. You get these shapes because something has gotten on your lens and is blocking the light from properly reaching the sensor. Same thing happens to telescopes.

    Lastly, Ph.D Klaus Heinemann, is an idiot. His book "The Orb Project" was a complete joke, and demonstrated an even greater lack of understanding than you have here.

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