What ghost orbs are: Paranormal light phenomenon

You might have seen light orbs showing up in photos or videos. Some think ghostsOpens in a new tab., spirits, or energies cause the lights – others that they have natural causes. Let’s look at the phenomena and figure out what they might be.

Paranormal orbs are thought to be ghosts or spirits manifesting through light. Ghost orbs are light anomalies that show up in photos and videos. Many ghost orbs have natural causes such as lens flares, optical illusions, and reflections. Not all orbs can be explained, though.

Ghost orbs are a paranormal light phenomenon that is often shown in photographs or video recordings. There are different theories of what the cause of the light phenomena is. Some think they are paranormal and some natural. In this article, we deep-dive into the world of ghost orbs.

What ghost orbs look like

Ghost orbs are light phenomena that occur in photographs and recordings. They are often seen on infrared monitors. Light anomalies are often called ghost lights when seen with the naked eye.

The orb might twinkle or have a steady shine to them. The movement of the spheres varies; some move erratically, and some very smoothly. Many anomalies can be traced back to natural causes, but not all of them (Ghost-Hunting for Dummies).

Orb phenomenon is very common as many use digital cameras nowadays. Back in the day, it was much harder to take photos.

You can catch orbs using both digital and analog devices. It’s easiest to see them during the dark hours as the lights can be faint. Orbs are more common in digital media, though. The 1990s are often referred to as the “Orb Age.” (Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits).

My take on this is that the availability of cameras and the “unlimited” number of photographs you can take might cause this. It has changed the way we use cameras overall.

As with everything paranormal, there is no definite answer to what they are or what is causing them. Some think they are ghosts, spirits, or entities manifesting with the help of light. Others think they might have natural causes, such as lens flairs, reflections, and optical illusions.

The ghost orbs can appear as streaks of light as well. Some orbs emit light, and some are transparent and sheer. At times they might be well defined, in others, more diffuse. There are examples of ghost orbs in the shape of diamonds or “tic-tacs.” It is not uncommon to notice nuclei. You can see a motion tail as well.

It is not uncommon for orbs to interact with the living. You can see them following a walking person or shying away when someone comes too close. This is a sign that some of the orbs might be intelligent hauntings.

In the videos below, you see different examples of ghost orbs.

Lens flares and optical illusions

Most orbs are not seen with the naked eye but in photos and videos. Orbs are the most common paranormal activity, and EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) is caught by ghost hunters and investigators. Lense reflections or errors in pixelations are considered probable causes for this phenomenon. In the early days of digital cameras, the sup-par technology created white spots or pixelation noise. The white areas were mistaken for ghost orbs or other paranormal light anomalies.

In the article below, you find other ways ghosts and spirits might manifest. There are different light phenomena than orbs as well. Mists and ghost lights are a few examples.

What ghosts look like: Everything you need to know

Learn more about the different ways ghosts manifest.

What ghost orbs are

There are many theories about what ghost orbs are. At this time, we have no conclusive evidence of the nature of the phenomenon. Many think that the orbs are a sign of human or animal spirits. It is not uncommon to notice the orbs in the vicinity of people. A theory is that the orbs are spirits attached to the person in the photograph.

Most ghost orbs have natural causes, though. In the Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits, Rosemary Ellen Guiley states up to 99.9% of all ghost orb sightings have natural causes. Zak Bagans, in his book “Ghost-hunters for dummies,” states the same. Most orbs are natural phenomena.

Most paranormal investigators agree that the overwhelming majority of orbs – some say even 99.9% are due to natural causes.

Rosemary Ellen Guiley

As many of the photographs are taken during dark hours, flashes and night mode can cause objects appearing near the lens to light up. This can cause the appearance of light orbs. Pixelation errors might also be a cause of light orbs appearing in photos and in videos.

Many sites for paranormal activities are very old or abandoned, so the prevalence of dust and debris is high. Walking around the scene can quickly stir up dust and particles.

Another natural causes for orbs are artificial lighting. It is easy for reflections to occur on wet or shiny surfaces. Water droplets tend to create orb-like appearances. A car driving by in the distance is all it takes for reflections to occur.

Insects are also prone to create orb-like phenomena. If they fly close to the camera, they might appear as orbs. The same goes for pollen. If the air is moist or is hit by artificial light, it is not uncommon for the particles to light up.

Another common cause of orbs in photos is hair hanging in front of the lens. A lens cover on a sting that, by accident, dingles in front of the camera can leave strange formations in the photo. A finger in front of the lens is a classic. I can’t even count the time my mom created ghost orbs when taking pictures; she always tends to place her finger on the smartphone camera lens.

15 natural causes for ghost orbs

  1. Optical illusions
  2. Pixelation errors
  3. Lens flares
  4. Artificial lighting
  5. Dust
  6. Moist
  7. Water droplets
  8. Dust particles
  9. Insects
  10. Pollen
  11. Hair in front of the lens
  12. Loose lens covers on strings
  13. Fingers
  14. Slow shutter speed
  15. Flashlight too close to the lens

Not all ghost orbs can be explained by natural causes, though. These orbs are paranormal anomalies that we can’t explain. The phenomena are thought to be caused by ghosts, entities, energies, or extraterrestrials manifesting with the help of light. Another theory is that orbs are signs of interdimensional portals or astral bodies. There are reports of orbs near crop circles. Of course, there is no conclusive evidence for this at this stage.


Light orbs are also thought to be extraterrestrial. These are often seen high up in the sky, but not always. There are theories that extraterrestrial technology makes it possible for aliens to travel long distances. The orbs are like android drones and travel with the speed of light. There is no conclusive evidence that this is the case.

My take on this is that depending on what the investigator is looking for, the answer is in line with that wish. If it is a UFO enthusiast, it is a sign of a UFO or extraterrestrial technology. If you ask a ghost hunter, it is a ghost. I hope you follow my thought.

This phenomenon is very noticeable in paranormal TV shows. If it is a UFO show, the conclusion is a UFO sighting. If it is a paranormal show, it is probably a ghost.

Different colors of ghost orbs

Ghost orbs can have different colors and shine to them. The colors might represent other messages, but as with most paranormal activity, there is no falsified evidence at this time. Experienced paranormal investigators have slightly different opinions on the colors and the meaning of the orbs. As negative energies at times have a way of disguising themselves as harmless or friendly entities, this might cause this happening.

Red-colored orbs are seen by some as a sign of the demonic, but by others, safety and protection. The wicked can disguise themselves as friendly entities. It might be a cause of ambiguity. It is not uncommon for the demonic to mimic the voices of children or women in distress who need help.

BrownWarning | AttackNegative
WhiteProtection Positive
RedSafety | DemonicPositive | Negative
PinkFemale essenceNeutral
Light blueMale essenceNeutral
Cred: Everydayknow.com and Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits

Are ghost orbs dangerous?

In most cases, ghost orbs are not dangerous. As up to 99% of orb phenomena have natural causes, you don’t have to fear them. Of course, there are instances when negative spirits are involved, but that is so seldom that you don’t have to freak out if you ever encounter an orb in a photo or on camera.

As ghost orbs are thought to be spirits of deceased people or animals, they have less power than demonic entities. Demons can shape-shift, but it is not common for them to manifest as orbs. Even if the orb you encounter is negative, it is not demonic.

You seldom see a ghost orb with the naked eye, so you can’t get “jump” scares. It might feel creepy knowing the orb was there when looking back on photos or recordings. This is entirely understandable.

There are different opinions of colors and meanings, so you don’t have to freak out if the color is red. I know many think that red color means demonic, but people are thinking the opposite. Red can also represent friendly spirits, so don’t make too much out of the colors of the orb.

Try to use your gut feeling and rational mind. Did the situation where you caught the orb feel uncomfortable or scary? Did the temperature drop significantly? Were there bugs in large numbers present? All these clues can give you a direction.

If there were unnatural amounts of bugs, a creepy and scary feeling, and maybe you felt sick to the stomach – perhaps you were up against a harmful spirit. Remember that negative spirits gain power through fear. If you think it was a negative spirit manifesting as an orb, try to stay away. You should never interact with negative energies if you are not a professional.


Ghost orbs are lights that twinkle or have a steady shine. They can be faint or very dense. Orbs are most often seen in photographs or video recordings. It is common to notice them on infrared monitors as well. They are referred to as ghost lights when you see them with the naked eye.

Ghost orbs are, in most cases, of natural origin. Some say up to 99,9% have natural causes. Common causes are lens flares, pixelation errors, fingers or hair in front of the lens, water droplets, or like. There are cases where there is no natural explanation for the light phenomena.

In these instances, it is believed that the orbs are spirits, entities, energies, or extraterrestrials. There are also theories that the orbs might be interdimensional portals.

Ghost orbs have different colors. They can, for example, appear white, blue, red, lavender, yellow, or dark. Depending on the color, the essence of the orb might differ. There are different options for this, though.

You don’t have to be afraid of ghost orbs in most cases. The “risk” of it being an evil or dark spirit is very low. Most orbs are not paranormal but optical illusions.

References and cites

Claudette Beaulieu

A certified paranormal investigator, accredited demonologist, and psychic stuck in the Victorian era.

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