Gill Finlayson Orbs.

Mind Over Matter

David Calvert.

A Brief History.

edinburgh_st_andrews_1St. Andrew’s and St. George’s Church, Scotland, was the setting, in 1843, for one of the most significant events in 19th-century Scotland – the ‘Disruption’.  Fuelled by increasing concern and resentment about the Civil Courts’ infringements on the liberties of the Church of Scotland, around one third of he Ministers present at the annual General Assembly walked out, cheered by onlookers outside, and constituted the Free Church of Scotland. (Wiki).

Gill Finlayson’s (edited) post to Ghosts, Hauntings and the Paranormal Group.

‘Just wanted an opinion or two on this photograph which was taken in St. Andew’s & St. George’s Church, George Street, Edinburgh – a beautiful Georgian church with a pervasive atmosphere of chaos.

I am rather keen about taking pics of doors so, seeing this open box pew, I snapped a photo with a regular Nikon Coolpix digital camera. Obviously, the automatic flash activated.  I was wearing a coat without cuffs, and was gloveless.’

Image Analysis.

church orbs

Red arrow notations read:

‘This brightly lit amorphous blob may be the result of a cluster of dust particles being in extreme proximity to the flash when it was triggered. The resultant reflection would therefore be very much brighter, ‘washing out their circular appearance, making it appear as a single form due to the albedo effect.’

“Albedo effect”

The fraction of incident electromagnetic radiation reflected by a surface.

Triple line text reads:

‘Small dust particles near to the lens, showing up as individual blurred circles. Probable cause of dust is the carpet.’

dust orbs

Dust orbs are relatively common features in images and are often mistaken as balls of light or some other paranormal phenomenon such as ghosts and UFOs. If one looks closely at the fainter images in the above selection you can make out internal features to some of them. But why do they always appear to be circular? The reason for this is down to the camera.

In optics, a circle of confusion is an optical spot caused by a cone of light rays from a lens not coming to a perfect focus when imaging a point source. It is also known as disk of confusion, circle of indistinctness, blur circle, or blur spot.

Defocused object points are imaged as blur spots rather than points; the greater the distance an object is from the plane of focus, the greater the size of the blur spot. Such a blur spot has the same shape as the lens aperture, but for simplicity, is usually treated as if it were circular. The circles seen in Gill’s photo fit the criteria for dust particles.

Conclusion: Camera artefacts.

Whilst my interpretation would stand up to the rigours of scientific scrutiny, this is not the last word on this subject. Karen Han of Ghosts, Hauntings, and the Paranormal came up with an elegant summary, managing to create an harmonious relationship between science, psychology, and spirituality. Here are her thoughts on the matter:

‘I tend to take a more ‘Jungian’ perspective, and I think it is related to the Collective Unconsciousness. ” Apparitions/visions” are produced by the psyche or subconscious; that is, they can’t announce their presence unless they “manifest” in the physical realm through visual symbols in our environment, with the aid of suggestion, or in your [Gill’s] case, through “Tribal Memory”. The dust particles (manifesting as orbs), in a sense, are helping to make the presence of your ancestors known; that is, it doesn’t negate the fact that this was a significant personal experience a journey to find the soul, so to speak.’

Charles Finlayson, Gill’s grandfather, was married in the 1850s in the very same church where the photo was taken, hence the Jungian ‘Tribal Memory’ allusion  made by Karen.

© David Calvert 2012

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