Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Will 'paranormal' orbs make a comeback?

OrbFew, if any, serious paranormal researchers now think there is anything mysterious or anomalous about orbs. They are out of focus bits of dust, water droplets, insects and so on. However, I get sent photos of orbs all the time from the general public who clearly think they are weird. Now, obviously, though paranormal researchers are likey to be familiar with the compelling evidence for the true nature of orbs (see here), most people in the general population are apparently not. It is clear that, in popular culture at least, orbs remain mysterious, possibly paranormal.

This is why I think they may make a comeback in the 'paranormal community' at some stage. My reason for this is the parallel with ghosts. Back in the 1980s most serious ghost researchers agreed that ghosts existed but few thought they were spirits. And yet, now the idea that ghosts are spirits is commonplace among ghost researchers, despite the lack of any compelling evidence to support the idea. If anything, the case for ghosts as spirits is even more tenuous that it was in the 1980s. Since then the new house effect and haunting hot spots have much better known and neither exactly supports the idea. So what has changed?

I believe that ideas from popular culture have managed to overwhelm the evidence from real life ghost cases through the 'ghost hunting boom'. And so we now have widely used assumption-led methods which only serve to reinforce the idea of a ghost as a spirit. Though the evidence for ghosts as spirits is weaker than ever, the idea nevertheless holds centre stage.

So, don't be surprised if the idea that orbs are paranormal makes a comeback! I mentioned yesterday that OBEs are now part of mainstream science but don't expect them to be generally considered 'normal' any time soon. Ours is a curious field of study where popular culture somehow holds inordinate power.

No comments:

Post a Comment