ParaNexus is an association of paranormal researchers and paranormal investigators who conduct paranormal research and paranormal investigations involving ghosts, spirits, alien abductions, UFOs, unknown creatures, unexplained phenomena, psychic phenomena, and other mysterious events. Visitors can report a UFO sighting, hauntings, and other paranormal events via our 24 Hour Helpline. ParaNexus also offers paranormal investigator certification, paranormal certification, training, paranormal classes, and paranormal courses.

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Orbs and Credibility
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Written by Doug Kelley on June 15, 2009, 01:03:57 AM
This blog entry was inspired by a recent post in the forum and was originally written as part of my reply to that post. However, I decided to not hijack the post and add my comments here instead. I have much more to say on the topic of researcher credibility and will do so over time. For now, here is a reminder for members concerning orbs.

In addition to the info in the CPI Course that proves typical orbs are airborne particles, there is another huge and insurmountable problem with orbs: Let's assume for a moment that a particular orb is really, actually, in all reality a spirit or ghost. My question is, How on earth can you prove it is a spirit?

Even IF an orb is a spirit (and a BIG "IF"), it is impossible to prove especially in the light of the preponderance of evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that shows orbs are the result of airborne particles and have nothing to do with the paranormal.

Some investigators say that "if an orb emits light, it is a spirit or ghost." The problem with this is that you cannot tell whether an orb is emitting light or whether it is within the depth of field and reflecting most of the flash back to the camera. The only other way I can think of to prove that an orb is emitting light is if it lights up a hard surface nearby, and I've never seen an orb do this. I never fail to chuckle when I see a pic full of orbs and the investigator says in the caption that one of the orbs is a "true orb." How can they know?

Another popular argument with some investigators who believe in orbs is that they claim to ask the spirit to appear in a photo, then snap the pic, and see an orb. They may do this several times and seemingly get favorable results. Unfortunately, this is extremely flimsy evidence at best and still cannot be verified. We can never know if the airborne particles just happened to be reflecting light when the investigator asked the spirit to appear.

On the flip side, am I saying that there is no chance that a spirit can manifest as an orb? No, I'm not. I'm saying that even if a spirit did, how on earth could we prove it was a spirit and not dust? Occam's Razor must come into play here, "the simplest explanation is likely the correct one."

I will be so bold to say that belief in typical orbs is a result of pop culture, watching too many paranormal TV shows, and/or one's deep need to believe in the afterlife. It also indicates inexperience on the part of the investigator. Furthermore, belief in orbs kills the credibility of the investigator in the minds of seasoned and grounded investigators. Again, even IF some orbs are spirits, we simply have no way of proving it. Therefore, orbs must be thrown out as objective evidence for the existence of spirits. My intent here is not to belittle anyone's beliefs, but to encourage researchers to remain objective and grounded. We desperately need grounded and critical researchers in this field that is so dominated by people too willing to believe on scant evidence.

Folks, remember... photographic and video evidence is almost always worthless. Be very careful about proclaiming any kind of evidence to be paranormal in nature because when you do, you are staking your reputation as a credible researcher on the line. If you make a bad call, or if it later comes to light that the evidence was a false-positive, it will likely hurt your credibility with any other evidence you have. And when an investigator has lost credibility, he or she is finished. Safeguard your reputation! Be extremely careful about calling any evidence paranormal in nature.

Doug Kelley

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Hey Doug,

Great point of view and I couldn't agree more.  I happened to read a book recently thats called "Ghost Worlds" and is written by Melba Goodwyn that you may wish to check out.  I think its a good example of your point totally =).

by Juan Torres on June 15, 2009, 10:44:10 PM
I have performed my own experiments with different particles and they all show up as orbs in my digital camera.  I have only seen one picture that I questioned as possibly paranormally significant.

by loripablo on June 15, 2009, 11:10:41 PM
I've found that putting a polarized filter on my digital camera removes almost all 'orb' presence from my photos.

Adding to the "The only other way I can think of to prove that an orb is emitting light is if it lights up a hard surface nearby, and I've never seen an orb do this." thought:

If the 'orb' was caught on camera without the aid of IR lighting or any type of flash, meaning that if the picture is taken in total darkness, and the object alone provided enough illumination to be seen on camera.  

by John Eagen on June 16, 2009, 12:50:41 AM
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This blog discusses various issues of importance to anomalous researchers.
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Doug Kelley (View Profile)

Doug is an accomplished speaker, trainer, coach, and author of six published books, and numerous eBooks and articles in the field of human development, leadership, management, and relationships. This is all in addition to his dedicated work in the anomalous research field.

In an effort to further general education and professionalism in the paranormal field, Doug founded ParaNexus, a professional association of paranormal and anomalous researchers, in early 2008 along with his close friend and colleague, Jari Mikkola. In the fall of 2007, he completed the ParaNexus Paranormal Investigator Certification Course (CPI), a cutting-edge home study course designed to train researchers to be professional and competent investigators of anomalous phenomena. A year later, he completed the ParaNexus Leading Paranormal Investigator Certification Course (CLPI), a comprehensive leadership and management course for anomalous research group founders.

Doug has an open mind and a deep belief in the indomitable power of the human spirit. His greatest area of interest and research in the paranormal field is the impact that a person's unique socio-religious and cultural beliefs have on the type and extent of any paranormal activity experienced by the individual. Doug is also a certified Hypnotist, and for two years, co-operated a hypnosis center in Port Charlotte, Florida along with his best friend and wife, Tracy. He uses hypnosis to conduct research into the alien abduction phenomena. Doug holds a degree in electronics and an Advanced SCUBA diving certification.

Doug is the host of ParaNexus Universe Radio, has spoken to many groups in the paranormal field, has appeared on several radio programs, and is available for media interviews, paranormal talk shows, documentaries, and speaking to groups about paranormal topics. Doug may be contacted via, by email at, or by phone at 941-740-2900.

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