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Orbs and Beyond
Revelations from the Wider Reality
By Katie Hall, John Pickering
John Hunt Publishing Ltd.Copyright © 2013 Katie Hall & John Pickering
All rights reserved.
AN INTRODUCTION TO A PHENOMENON
As mentioned, our book, Beyond Photography was not only the first book to examine orbs in any detail, it was also the first book in the world to photographically document one couple's encounters with a wide spectrum of unfolding paranormal phenomena. This included, Orbs, Luminosities, Light Rods, Light-Forms and Light Beings. We must stress again that although we applied terms to all the phenomena, such terms are descriptive only – not definitive!
ORBS AND BEYOND is divided into two distinct parts. Part One: Orbs in Focus, deals specifically with orbs and is the shorter of the two, because the phenomenon of orbs is covered extensively in our previous book. Part Two: Beyond Realities, deals specifically with events and phenomena beyond orbs, and includes experiences and new photographic evidence that only occurred after the publication of Beyond Photography.
In ORBS AND BEYOND we have included many images never before published and have tried to convey both the mystery and the wonder of our experiences, which still continue to unfold.
Over the years we have had to question many things: not least the nature of what exactly it is we were photographing and how it was possible for us to photograph paranormal phenomena in the first place. Our personal experiences with unusual phenomenon began many years ago, when we were both only children. Our quest into the paranormal for both of us is essentially a personal one: to try to gain more understanding; to discover the truth – whatever that may turn out to be.
All the extraordinary events leading up to this present moment have been like the focussing of a lens in which things which were once hazy, have come into sharper focus.
In retrospect it seems rather synchronistic that at the very same time we ourselves were questioning the phenomenon manifesting in and around our home in the United Kingdom, across the other side of the Atlantic in the USA, similar photographs of orbs were being taken and similar questions asked by other researchers. The Orb Project, by Miceál Ledwith and Klaus Heinemann was published the year after our own Beyond Photography. More recently, and in my opinion the best book so far on orbs to come from the USA in the past few years is the great book by Sandra Underwood, Orbs, Lightwaves, and Cosmic Consciousness, which we thoroughly recommend.
From both sides of the Atlantic, orbs have now entered the public perception. All over the world today awareness of paranormal phenomena is increasing. This has both positive and negative aspects for the search for truth, because popularising anything can easily blur the distinctions between fact and fiction; opportunism and marketing forces are, as we have all seen in the whole 2012 debacle, as alive and well in religion and the New Age as in mainstream business.
Once the existence of orbs had filtered into the "New Age consciousness" it was almost inevitable that someone with an eye on the market would link orbs to angels or faeries – or even aliens. Orbs appear in various colours, and some have attached (bogusly, I think) a significance to this and have related the colours of orbs to the colours (so far unproven) of certain angels. From there it was only a small step to then state categorically that orbs are angels!
Now, there is nothing wrong with someone believing that orbs may be angels, but to be dogmatic about this seems to me less than intellectually honest in the circumstances. The exact nature of angels is open to question anyway and there is no evidence whatsoever that certain colours in the spectrum relate specifically to particular angels. It's all purely arbitrary, and in some cases complete fiction; we may as well believe that all red orbs are Santa's elves or that different colours relate to various flower faeries or that grey orbs are alien greys. Although the New Age movement contains some progressive concepts and cutting-edge thinking, we must all be aware that it also contains some very fuzzy thinking and largely unfounded notions often incorrectly claimed by some to be the incontrovertible truth, about Orbs, UFOs, Crop Formations or whatever. Dogmatism is just as alive and well in some areas of the New Age as it is in fundamentalist religion; we all need to be careful to keep that balance of wonder and reason. Today there is much "received wisdom" as to the meaning of life and events coming not only from the tabloids but also from certain popular gurus and channellers who just like some professional debunkers, make a business out of being right all the time about "spiritual" or "paranormal" matters. In the whole area of metaphysics and paranormal phenomena too many tenuous opinions are purveyed as facts to the unwary. The fact is there are far more opinions than there are facts – and that is a fact!
This is why we have been careful in our presentations and in this book to place clearly our views, insights and opinions within the context of our own subjective experiences, both as intuitive individuals and as rationally inquiring human beings. We claim no supernatural assistance; neither do we know all the answers. Our quest is the human quest; it has both a rational and a spiritual dimension, and that is true for every one of us; we are each on our own individual journey through the mystery and wonder of Life.
Over the past seven years we have photographed an unfolding phenomenon which although it began with orbs has included, Luminosities, moving columns or Rods of Light, swirling, dynamic Light-Forms, and Light Beings; but throughout it all, orbs have been the one consistent factor.
This book is not only an account of our personal experiences and speculations, it is also intended to be an informative guide to the whole phenomenon of orbs. So before we proceed further here is a quick summary of Seven Common Aspects of the Orb Phenomenon, as we see it:
1. The most notable aspect of orbs is the consistent ubiquity of the phenomenon. Thousands of individuals all over the world are photographing the same phenomenon with different cameras in widely different conditions.
2. The vast majority of orbs cannot be adequately explained in prosaic terms, i.e. they are not dust, moisture, digital errors or the planet Venus etc.
3. There is reported evidence of a definite interactive aspect to orbs and luminosities, often relating to people as specific individuals.
4. In psychological terms the circular image of the orb recalls the archetypical symbol of Unity and Oneness. Coincidentally this symbolism is appearing at a time when the concept of Oneness is critically meaningful to us in planetary terms, and is also particularly significant in light of the new perspective of a connective reality underpinning our physical universe.
5. Orbs cross faith and cultural boundaries. All across the planet interest in orbs is increasing by people of all beliefs – or none at all.
6. Incidents of synchronicity are regularly reported as being experienced by many who photograph orbs and luminosities.
7. Many individuals from a variety of professional backgrounds report both purpose and intentionality associated with the visual phenomena.
In Part One we shall examine each aspect of the orbs phenomenon through our photographs and experiences. Some of this is covered in our previous book, but here you will also find much that is new, as here published for the first time, are many events and photographic encounters that happened well after Beyond Photography was published.
The Study of a Phenomenon
As mentioned some of this is covered in depth in Beyond Photography but before we take a step beyond orbs we must, for the sake of continuity, begin with an overview of orbs as we have come to understand them through our own experiences, research and photographic encounters.
From the context of our study of the orbs phenomenon we divided it into two basic categories:
In our experience, orbs are part of a wide range of interconnected anomalous phenomena which includes Orbs, Luminosities, Light Rods, Light-Forms and Light Beings.
In endeavouring to convey the essence of what we have photographed, as we perceive it, we have of necessity used various terms such as Sprites, Light Beings etc, but please bear in mind that the terms we use in relation to this phenomena are descriptive – not definitive. We are all on a learning curve in the area of paranormal phenomena. In that context it is only sensible for us all to hold our personal beliefs and speculations on an open hand.
Some people will wrongly tell you categorically that orbs are angels, aliens, spirits of the dead, unborn spirits etc. These are all beliefs or opinions: not facts! They may or may not be correct.
All we can honestly say is that so far nothing in our experiences or study of this phenomenon incontrovertibly confirms any such views or beliefs. In fact the indications seem to be that orbs can be seen as manifestations of any of the above, or none of them!
We cannot tell you what the paranormal is anymore than we can tell you what God is: all we can do is share our views, experiences and photographs. This does not mean that we know nothing, in fact through our experiences and photographs we have learned much that is of value about the paranormal in general and we shall be discussing some of that later in this book. However, whatever views or opinions we each may have about paranormal phenomena, we should always be ready to revise or modify those views: for the paranormal, like the quantum universe, is never exactly what it may seem and is always full of surprises.
As mentioned in our first book, Beyond Photography, we began by sceptically questioning the nature of the orbs that appeared on our photographs; we tried to eliminate all natural causes before we moved on to examine the possibility of some kind of paranormal association. This took both time and patient examination and comparison of hundreds of photographs and the conditions in which they were taken. For example, we did not do any screaming or running around such as you may have seen in some psychic entertainment programs on TV; it is impossible to do serious research into psychic or paranormal phenomena in such circumstances.
A year after Beyond Photography was published by O-Books in 2006, another book, The Orb Project by Miceal Ledwith and ex-NASA scientist, Klaus Heinemann was published in the USA, this qualified our own view that genuine orbs were the interactive indications of a wider reality interfacing with our own. This is not just about the photographs but about the reality of a ubiquitous phenomenon seen and experienced by people all over the world. In our case, as with many others, this has gone far beyond the photographs, and has in effect informed and changed our own lives in ways that would not have happened otherwise. Certainly in our experience of this phenomenon the associated synchronicities have been so many and so accurate that pure chance seems extremely unlikely as an explanation. In line with the late Carl Sagan's eclectic approach to science, our own experience in studying the phenomenon of orbs qualifies that by being open to both wonder and reason we may all learn something new.
This is a point made in our Ben's World cartoon, as in this strip below:
Sometime we may be just walking along, minding our own business, when for no apparent reason a piece of the universal puzzle falls right in our path. When that happens, whatever it is, we can choose to ignore it or to walk round it – or we can choose to try to figure out where it fits. Whenever we do that, as puzzling as it is and as incomplete as our answers may be, we are no longer mere bystanders in Life, but active participants in the mystery and wonder of Existence!
This is essentially where we are in relation to the question of orbs: what are they really, what do they mean? How do we fit the orbs phenomenon into what we know about life in general: our own experiences and the experiences of others. Then there are the wider questions of how something like orbs fit into what we may know of physics, the paranormal or consciousness. No phenomenon whether normal or paranormal exists in isolation; whatever it is and however it manifests, it is always connected through many levels and in many different ways to everything else that makes up Reality as we all experience it. But this of course does not mean that our current scientific or rational paradigm of Reality can explain everything – of course it cannot, for science as methodical and precise as it may be, only offers the best approximation of what is. It is always subject to updates and modifications. Once a scientific view of the Universe becomes moribund and un-bending it ceases to be scientific progress and becomes the same kind of dogmatic orthodoxy you find in some religions. We humans are capable of lapsing into static thinking about a whole variety of things: orbs and the paranormal included. We have probably all met such people at conferences: those who know all the answers, or have a rigid view of science, religion or what constitutes truth about anything and everything! The fact is there are always more opinions than there are facts, especially in relation to paranormal or spiritual matters – and that is a fact! If you don't believe it, check it out!
Some people just want to have everything tied up in a neat package labelled, The Answer to Everything! Unfortunately real life is not like that; as Charles Schultz, creator of the famous Peanuts comic strip, once remarked through his erstwhile hero, Charlie Brown, "In the book of Life, the answers aren't in the back!" Whether we are believers or sceptics we still have to keep that balance of wonder and reason to stand a chance of discovering the truth about orbs, but even then, as in quantum physics, we always have to allow for the unexpected.
The worst kind of sceptic is not one who intelligently disagrees with you but the one who is both opinionated and uniformed. There have been many sceptical misconceptions about orbs; a wide spread misconception amongst uninformed sceptics is that orbs are only photographed by digital cameras. This is a complete fallacy. Orbs have been photographed by all kinds of cameras: film, digital, analogue video, even by mobile phones and CCTV!
The fact that the majority of people photograph orbs with digital cameras today is solely due to the proliferation of digital technology. Another sceptical misconception is that orbs are merely the result of CMOS errors in digital cameras; this in totally incorrect. The fanciful notion that the same digital error affects every make of camera in the entire world causing them all to photograph orbs, is as unlikely as every Crop Formation in the world being made by two old men with wooden planks! Interestingly we had our first digital camera for two years; we took hundreds of shots but never photographed even one single orb with that camera! If orbs are a digital effect then one would have thought that we would have photographed them as we were then taking shots of similar subjects in the same places in similar conditions as we did later photographing orbs with different cameras!
Recently at a conference we met a professional photographer who had the latest Nikon digital SLR. He pointed out that according to the sales pitch this camera would not photograph orbs and said that he had never taken orbs with any camera and so was understandably sceptical.
Even so he listened patiently as Katie presented our photographs and related our experiences. Half jokingly he asked how he too could photograph orbs; Katie advised him to just ask! He said he'd give it a go but he had no real expectations. However, the very next day he was back to excitedly show us the photographs of orbs he had taken the night before with a camera that was advertised not to photograph them! This is but one of a number of similar instances we have encountered on our travels.
If as sceptics claim they are simply a product of digital photography, why are they discovered on film negatives by people looking back through their old photographs? The fact is orbs seem to have been around a long time, and as we shall see later they go back to before the earliest days of photography; when it comes to orbs we have learned to expect the unexpected!
Orbs Before the Digital Age
Orbs and other strange luminosities have been with us for a long time, much longer than digital cameras or even photography itself, as shown by this Woodcut of mysterious spheres over Basle in Switzerland in 1566. Interestingly a few hundred years later Basle was the location for the enigmatic shot below left, one of the earliest photographs of a strange orb-like luminosity. This was taken in the Zoological Gardens in Basle in 1907. Compare this with the photograph opposite it, which is a shot of a similar luminosity taken by us in our garden in 2004!
Excerpted from Orbs and Beyond by Katie Hall, John Pickering. Copyright © 2013 Katie Hall & John Pickering. Excerpted by permission of John Hunt Publishing Ltd..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
ContentsForeword by Mike Oram,
PART ONE: ORBS IN FOCUS,
1. An Introduction to a Phenomenon,
2. The Enchanted Garden,
3. Cats' Eyes and Orbs,
4. Seeing the Lights,
5. An Interactive Phenomenon,
6. Cosmic Connections?,
PART TWO: BEYOND REALITIES,
7. Photographing Faeries?,
8. Moving Columns of Light,
9. The Water Ceremony,
10. The Light-Forms,
11. Light, Beings and Angels?,
12. The Circle of Spirit Healing,
13. The Green Man,
14. Synchronicity and a Wolf,
15. Light Streaming,
16. An Angel Visitation?,
17. An Alternative Afternoon,
18. Concerning Prophetic Apparitions,
19. Light before Birth?,
20. From Orbs to Beyond,
21. Images of Oneness,
Appendix A: More about Orbs and How to Photograph Them,
Appendix B: Further into the Light and Questions About Dark Entities,
Appendix C: Through the Looking Glass and Thinking Out of the Box,
Websites Worth a Second Look,
Photo and Image Credits,