Dunning countered that orbs simply appear when a piece of dust, drop of water or insect floats into the frame just as the camera flashes. And if it’s close enough to the lens, the object will appear bright yet blurry, a combination that creates the white, circular orb.
Indeed, the practice of spotting – or even producing – ghosts in photos has been around for decades. And one of the most notorious peddlers of ghost photography was American William Mumler, a jewelry engraver who took pictures as a hobby. But it was a self-portrait that he developed in 1861 that presented a shocking result.
The photo, of course, showed Mumler in the forefront, but next to him hovered the form of a young woman. The amateur photographer assumed she had transferred from an old negative, but others who viewed the image told Mumler she looked like his cousin who had passed away. But then, the spiritualist community caught wind of what he had captured.