Webster's defines an orb as “a spherical body; a globe." So how could such a tiny word with a simple definition cause so much debate in the paranormal community?
The noun Orb takes on a much more complex meaning to most that study spirits, along with a variety of opinions. There are those that have the belief that “orbs” are spirits seen in photographs that are identified by being an image that takes the shape of a sphere, may or may not contain an image within that sphere, and contain their own source of light or color. Then there are those that believe “orbs” are not the spirits themselves, but an energy source that the spirit can draw power from to communicate or manifest, like a static in the air.
This process is believed to be made easier with the use of digital cameras and the idea that digital cameras are more sensitive to infrared light than 35mm. However this theory has had backlash from others believing this is simply a processing error with how digital cameras break down the image within; though “orbs” have been seen in 35mm photos as well. Then there are the ones that believe orbs are nothing more the natural world reflecting off the camera’s flash, such as water spots, airborne particles like dust or plant particles, or even bugs. These objects will appear out of focus when photographed at close range.
From our experience, we fall somewhere in the middle. We don't consider anything we feel could be recreated to be paranoramal. Light can and will reflect natural items such as dust or bugs which are hard to avoid in most locations. Even if a room was recently cleaned, there is no way that all dust particles could be removed. I haven’t found a cleaning product yet that truly leaves your home spotless. You would need a NASA level scientific controlled environment to test that theory, in my opinion. However there are moments that cannot always be explained, and this is where the hope lies that there is some truth to the spiritual connection between “orbs” and paranormal study, such as when we see a ball of light in a photograph at the same moment as we receive another piece of evidence such as a reading on an EMF meter or an EVP.
We have seen spherical shaped lights move on camera and with our naked eyes that do not follow the pattern of dust falling or a bug in flight. We do believe these “balls of light” can have a spiritual connection to the events that we are investigating at those moments, though we try to avoid using the term “orbs”. For us, that word carries too many different meanings within the paranormal community. We do believe that at times these balls of light can be caught in digital photos, but we only examine their relevance when accompanied by supporting evidence.