There is much evidence on the Internet about the
causes of orbs. However, the sticking point is what constitutes
Use the links, below, to be taken to various
What Science is Not - and what is Not
What Science is
Should you Accept the Scientific
What is the Scientific Evidence?
Download the Original Research Article
in PDF format
What Science is Not
- and what is Not Evidence
Many people mistake 'science' and 'logic'.
Whilst logic is a strong element of the scientific method, with the
controls of science, logic can easily be faulty.
Every 'Internet experiment' encountered has been
scientifically flawed. In many cases the experiments do not
consider 'chance'. So for example someone fluffs a cushion and
takes a photo, producing an orb. The theory is declared proven
with no consideration of other factors that might have caused the orb
or whether an orb would have been present whether or not the cushion
was fluffed. There are dozens examples, online, of experiments
that make conclusions that have not applied the scientific method.
It may seem picky, but unless the scientific
method is applied some very fundamental mistakes can be - and in the
case of orbs, have been - made.
What Science is
Whole books cannot define what science is, but
there are some useful rules that can be described briefly:
Scientific experiments should 'control
extraneous variables'. For example there is little use conducting
an experiment across very different rooms, or with very different
cameras, or in different environmental conditions. The reason is
because any of these 'varying' factors could interfere with what you
are studying. This is made especially difficult as not many
people know all the 'variables' that could interfere with whether orbs
are produced or not.
Scientific experiments should have 'control
conditions'. This is because it is important to know whether
something would have happened 'anyway'. For example taking a
photo when dust is produced compared to taking a photo when dust is not
produced. Similarly, in the case of orbs, conducting experiments
in both places said to be haunted and said to not be haunted.
Experiment results should be 'statistically
significant'. This is because one, two or ten repeats could be
the result of 'fluke'. For example this is why opinion polling
companies ask a set number of people, which is usually quite high,
rather than just asking 100 people for their opinions. Certain
'tests' should be applied to results, to ensure they are not the result
of 'fluke', in order to adhere with the scientific method.
Should you Accept
the Scientific Evidence?
The purpose of publishing 'scientific research'
is to let others judge for themselves whether your method - and
therefore your results - is really scientific. Again, it can be
difficult to judge this with limited knowledge of the scientific method.
However if you accept the method as scientific
then - if you believe in science - you should accept the evidence.
The scientific method also tries to ensure that
results from one place and one study can be applied to other places and
Because of the difficulties with this process
science tends to make it as easy as possible to accept methods.
So most research is conducted by professional academics in Universities
and then all the details are checked by other academics before studies
are published. Then other academics can publish problems they
find with the research.
PSI are not professional academics, but several
academics in UK Universities did assist with, and oversee, the design
and the conduct of these experiments.
What is the Scientific
In order for a study to be scientifically
credible it must pain-staking provide all the necessary information in
a way that follows the conventions of science. Unfortunately this
tends to result in research articles that the general public do not
feel are 'accessible'.
This is the purpose of this website, to present
the theories in a way that is accessible to the general public.
However we also have provided the original article, below, which people
can study and scrutinise.
The basic results were as follows:
1. The number of orbs captured in places that
were 'haunted' was not significantly different to numbers capture in
places considered to be 'not haunted'. This suggests that the
presence of a 'haunted environment' makes no difference, so orbs have
nothing to do with 'haunted places'.
2. When all variables were forced to be constant
there was no significant difference between the number of orbs captured
when using different rates of megapixelage.
3. Digital cameras captured significantly more
orbs than 35mm cameras.
4. An enhanced 'depth of field' lead to
significantly more orb photographs than a normal depth of field.
5. Significantly more orbs were photographed
where the flash was closer to the lens of the camera.
6. Significantly more orbs were photographed
when the flash was activated compared to not.
The experiments demonstrated that mundane
factors, like camera type, depth of field and flash distance,
correlated significantly with orb numbers. By contrast, whether the
location was haunted or not had no significant effect. It therefore
follows that orbs are caused by normal, rather than paranormal, causes
This still leaves the question of exactly how
orbs are photographed, this is addressed in the explanation
Some researchers may still believe that 'fake
orbs' are natural but 'real orbs' are paranormal. This is
addressed in the questions
original research article in PDF format*
*As published in varying formats in the Journal
of Investigative Psychical Research, the Journal of Paranormal Research
and is currently under review by the Journal of the Society for