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(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

When materialization medium C. V. Miller went to Europe in 1906, he visited Germany and gave a number of test séances at private residences in Munich. His materialization would often begin as luminous globes, orbs, or clouds appearing near the ceiling. Professor Charles Richet witnessed some of the sittings in Paris, France. C. deVesme reported in Annals of Psychic Science (#21, 1906), “A white ball, as of gas, about a quarter of a yard in diameter appeared in the air at the upper extremity of the curtains. Finally it came down, rested on the floor, and in less than a minute changed into a long shape, was transformed into a draped human form, which subsequently spoke.” In Looking Back (1955), British medium Arthur Findlay writes of a séance with the medium John Campbell Sloan, “Lights the size of half a crown floated about the room, but I could not catch them, however hard I tried.”

Sir William Crookes wrote in Researches In the Phenomena of Spiritualism (1874), “I have seen a solid luminous body, the size and nearly the shape of a turkey’s egg, float noiselessly about the room, at one time higher than anyone could reach on tiptoe, and then gently descending to the floor. It was visible for more than ten minutes, and before it faded away it struck the table three times with a sound like that of a hard solid body. During this time the medium was lying back, apparently insensible, in an easy chair.” Similar orbs were seen with the mediumship of William Stainton Moses.

Sometimes when photographs are taken, a small “orb” is seen on the print when developed. This is indicating psychic energy present, or is an indicator that spirit is with the person/people in the photograph. The orbs that are seen on many photographs may or may not have the potential for forming into materialized spirits. It probably depends upon the person in the photograph, and whether or not they have the potential to be a physical medium. It seems, however, that more and more photographs are showing these orbs.

Examination by experts have brought no explanations for the photographic orbs. They are not generally visible on negatives and they even show up on digital (negativeless) images, when there is no apparent fault with the camera or film used.


Findlay, Arthur: Looking Back. Stansted: SNU, (1955)
Fodor, Nandor: Encyclopedia of Psychic Science. London: Arthurs Press, 1933
Shepard, Leslie A: Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology. New York: Avon Books, 1978
Ouija® see Talking Boards
References in classic literature ?
They were held as in horrid fascination upon the glittering, lidless orbs of the great brain that faced her.
The two remaining sailors eyed him with a strange, baleful light in their sunken orbs.
First, from two lovely blue eyes, whose bright orbs flashed lightning at their discharge, flew forth two pointed ogles; but, happily for our heroe, hit only a vast piece of beef which he was then conveying into his plate, and harmless spent their force.
Ordinarily grey and cold and harsh, they were now warm and soft and golden, and all a-dance with tiny lights that dimmed and faded, or welled up till the full orbs were flooded with a glowing radiance.
He stood at Miss Temple's side; he was speaking low in her ear: I did not doubt he was making disclosures of my villainy; and I watched her eye with painful anxiety, expecting every moment to see its dark orb turn on me a glance of repugnance and contempt.
Noon arrived without the orb of day showing itself for an instant.
Yon orb That pales upon the flood of broad Kiang, When did she first through twilight mists unveil Her wonders to the world?
Now could the sun be brought in contact with this orbit, and had the latter solidity to mark its circumference, it would be found that this circumference would include but a little more than half the surface of one side of the sun, the diameter of which orb is calculated to be 882,000 miles
The too vast orb of her fate had crushed her; and she had seen too many seasons, too many cities, too many men, for her abilities, and even with Cecil she was mechanical, and behaved as if he was not one son, but, so to speak, a filial crowd.
When the great orb of day disappears beneath the horizon the effect is precisely as that of the extinguishing of a single lamp within a chamber.
On the edge of the great orb lay a faint rim of shadow, while a smoky hue grew and gathered upon its bright surface.
Above him was a clear blue sky, and the sun's vast orb quivered like a huge hollow, crimson float on the surface of that milky sea of mist.