Orbs on stills cameras and camcorders were not
identified and called 'orbs' until the mid-1990s.
What we today know as orbs did exist before this
time but were so rare that they did not excite interest in the
paranormal research community.
Photographic evidence of orbs has been traced
back to the early twentieth century but none were published or linked
with the paranormal until 1980 in Rickard and Kelly's Photographs
of the Unknown. This book defined the phenomena as unusual
but natural. No other examples of pre-mid 1990s orbs being linked
with the paranormal have come to prominence as yet.
The effective 'discovery' of orbs took place
when, entirely suddenly, paranormal researchers were startled by orbs
appearing on dozens of photographs of 'haunted houses'.
This coincided with the mass production and
distribution of digital stills cameras.
Orbs became increasingly noted by paranormal
researchers in the years that followed.
In 2002 there was an explosion of paranormal
investigation groups following the airing of the first season of UK
cable TV show Most Haunted.
Most Haunted made the assertion that orbs
are the manifestation of spirits, convincing thousands of fans, many of
whom went on to become paranormal investigators themselves.
In the years that followed 2002 orbs became
derided as investigators saw them too often and the rational theories
of orbs gained popularity. These rational theories were
unscientifically tested by scores of researchers but no scientific
evidence has been established until now.
At the time of writing most paranormal groups
appear to be sceptical of orbs: some rule them out wholesale and many
rule them out unless they fulfilled certain 'characteristics' (see
your questions answered)
whilst a few researchers dogmatically cling to the idea that orbs are
Many of those who do rule out orbs have a very
poor understanding of the theory involved and, thus, make many errors
Despite the OfCom ruling that Most Haunted
is a program for entertainment and "should not be taken seriously" they
have not retracted their assertions about orbs. As such many
armchair enthusiasts are still convinced that orbs are paranormal.
At the time of writing many families become
distressed, feeling they have ghosts in their house, with the main
reason being orbs captured on their digital cameras.
We hope this website will help dispel some of
the myths about the orb phenomena and educate the public at large.