Paranormal Orbs & Spook Light Theories + Curious Encounters

Updated June 2, 2021
A Glowing Pink Orb

For centuries, people have reported seeing strange balls of light mysteriously glowing in the night. The puzzling nature of these lights has frightened some and mystified others. So far, nobody knows their origin, but so many people have encountered orbs and spook lights, it's clear something is happening.

Mystifying Orb Encounters

Many people have observed eerie and inexplicable balls of light either on video camera or with the naked eye. Discover true accounts of orb encounters from people who remain mystified by what they've seen.

Police Chaplin Encounters Several Orbs

Pastor Monzell Ford was lying in bed when his camera surveillance motion detector went off. He looked at the camera feed using his phone and was shocked by what he saw. He watched an orb move about his living room for several minutes before he walked into the living room still watching the orb on his screen. He states in an interview with the local Daytona Beach news Channel 2 that he couldn't see the orb when looking around the living room, but it was very clear on the screen of his phone. He watched the orb split into several different sized orbs and move about the room for hours.

Cat Chases Blue and Red Orbs

Another orb encounter comes from the author, Sally Painter.

"About a week after we moved into a new house, my husband and I settled in bed for the night. Exhausted, he immediately fell asleep, but I was still lying wide awake when I heard the cat bounding up the stairs outside our bedroom door. I turned slightly on my side to look at the door just as a brilliant blue orb darted into the bedroom and flew into the opposite corner, hovering above the armoire.

"The cat darted into the bedroom and looked around for the orb. Not seeing it, he wandered back out of the room. By now, I was lying on my back, staring at the blue orb. It was self-illuminated. I wanted to turn on the light, but I knew if I did whatever the orb was, it would dart out of the room. Instead, I lay in bed, watching it, waiting for it to move. Suddenly, I noticed a small red orb above the bathroom door. I rationalized that it must be a light on a smoke detector, since I was still unfamiliar with the house and where everything was.

"I wanted to wake my husband, but I didn't. I wanted to reach over and turn on the bedside lamp, but I didn't. I couldn't. I just stared at the blue orb and thought about how fast it was and if I ran for the bedroom door to trap it inside, well, that wouldn't work. Obviously, it had come into the house, even though all the doors and windows were closed and locked. I lay there for the longest time, trying to figure out what I was looking at.

"Once more, I wanted to turn on the light, but in my mind, I saw the orb attacking me the moment I moved. This was such an odd and unexpected thought, but I felt the orb had placed the image in my mind as though communicating with me. I don't know how long I lay there, but eventually I drifted off to sleep. The next morning, I was surprised to find there was no smoke alarm over the door, much less a red light. So, I had seen not one orb, but two. The blue orb was the size of a baseball, perhaps a bit larger. The red one was much smaller. I have no idea what I witnessed that night, only that I wasn't able to move, turn on a light, or wake my husband, even though I wanted to do all three."

What Causes Orbs?

There are several theories about paranormal orbs. Some investigators have suggested that many of the orbs reported are nothing more than headlights from vehicles in the distance. Other possible causes include environmental, such as ball lightning. While both of these explanations may be true in some instances, some orbs remain a mystery, such as those found in haunted places with no possible way for headlight reflections or ball lightning to be the cause.

What is the explanation for orbs seen entering a home, moving through walls, or those that are self-illuminated? Many people theorize they are spiritual or something else yet to be understood.

Ghost Visitors

Paranormal orbs are often attributed to ghosts. Some people believe photos of orbs, especially colored orbs, are spirit manifestations. The different colors have been interpreted to have specific meanings or messages. Ghost orbs can be seen in places believed to be haunted.

Angelic Beings

Spirit orbs are believed to be either angelic beings or spirit guides. These orbs appear to individuals and offer encouragement or a specific message to individuals during challenging situations. A spirit orb might be seen by someone in mourning or going through a spiritual crisis.

Demonic Entities

Some orb colors are believed to be of lower frequency entities, such as demons. These orbs are menacing and often dark colored. The feeling of malevolent energy is immediate. If a demonic entity has attached itself to a place or person, it can use the orb form as the easiest shape that requires the least expenditure of energy to manifest.

Dust Particles

It's easy to discern that some orbs captured in photos and videos are simply dust particles. In videos, these particles can move with air currents, that can be very swift. They can move up and down, sideways, angled, and in swirling directions, depending on air current. This can be photographed or video recorded outdoors and indoors.

Baffling Spook Light Sightings

One category of orbs is the spook light. These strange orbs are the subject of much mystery and speculation.

Spook lights have been reported moving about the skies, above the ground, and often even inside homes. While hypotheses exist, science has yet to fully explain these anomalous visible orbs. Many believe these strange lights are similar to ball lightning. There are a number of hot spots in the U.S. where locals and visitors see such lights regularly. Some spook lights don't have an orb shape, but are similar to drifts of smoke, only they are lights.

Hornet Spook Light in Missouri

Devil's Promenade is a famous 4-mile gravel road in Hornet, Missouri where people observe spook lights almost nightly. Often referred to as the Joplin Spook Light, witnesses have reported seeing this phenomenon for more than a century with written mentions extending as far back as 1881, when the popular publication Ozark Spook Light featured an article about it.

However, it's likely the phenomena has been around even longer than that. Several Native American stories tell of encounters with this lighted orb. For example, in 1836, Native Americans reported seeing the lights journeying along the Trail of Tears.

The eerie lights continue until this day. Local witnesses have reported an intense orange ball of "fire" that appears to expand from a baseball size to a basketball sized orb. The light moves about freely. Witnesses describe it as dancing, swaying, and even spinning as it moves along the road, often traveling in an east to west direction. The orb has also been seen hovering above treetops and performing high-speed maneuvers. Locals claim the best viewing time is between 10 pm and midnight.

Several theories have been tossed out into the arena of explanations, but the lights still remain a mystery. Even the Army Corp of Engineers studied the phenomenon and failed to provide a conclusive explanation.

  • One group attempted to explain the lights by claiming the orbs were car headlights from vehicles on an adjacent mountain; however, the lights existed long before there were vehicles.
  • Another theory suggested the lights were from luminescence, possibly created by organic matter.
  • The most plausible but unproved theory is an atmospheric electrical discharge from the shifting of tectonic plates along the New Madrid fault line.

Dover Lights in Arkansas

In Dover, Arkansas, if you take a dirt road just off of Highway 7, locals claim you can see the Dover Lights on a nightly basis. Light orbs appear along the valley of the Ozarks and often put on a show for visitors.

Eyewitnesses claim the Dover Lights appear in a wide range of colors. Witnesses say the lights sway and flicker and at times, they light up the entire valley. Some people report receiving responses from the lights when they interact by shouting or shining flashlights.

Most of the explanations for these lights involve ghost stories. These include coal miners who perished in a mining accident, Spanish Conquistadors searching for their buried gold, and spirits of a Native American burial site.

Brown Mountain Lights of North Carolina

The Brown Mountain Lights are a famous phenomenon of Brown Mountain in North Carolina. There are many stories about the lights. One tells of a Cherokee battle in 1200 AD. Some suggest the lights are Native American women searching for the men from their tribe.

The lights appear to move in an erratic manner about the mountain slope ascending to the top. Witnesses claim that on some dark nights, there are too many lights to count. The lights have a wide range of colors, from a bright white to green, orange, yellow, and red. Various sizes range from small orbs to massive drifts of color that move about the mountain.

In 1771, German engineer Gerard Will de Brahm first reported seeing the strange lights. Since then, nobody has offered a solid explanation for the manifestation, even with two investigations by the U.S. Geological Survey, the United States Weather Bureau, and others. The popular hypothesis to date is that the lights are the result of refracted natural light.

Marfa Lights in Texas

Along the mountain range in Marfa, Texas, balls of light known as the Marfa Light have delighted locals and visitors for over a century. There have been claims of the lights moving near vehicles and even giving chase. Mike Shurly of Shurley Ranch allows viewing the lights from an area he's designated Starlight Gazing Parking, located about 22 miles south of Marfa.

Witnesses describe the Marfa lights as flickering with varying degrees of intensity. Many say the lights are gigantic, and the balls of light can appear white, green, red, or orange. They can appear instantly and disappear just as quickly. Aside from the various theories of ghost lights, most people seem to embrace a natural Earth cause of the lights. That theory states the lights are the result of underground gases, aka ball lightning, being released.

The famous Marfa Lights in Marfa, Texas, USA

Cloverdale Spook Lights in Alabama

In the 1970s, hundreds of people witnessed the phenomenon of the Cloverdale Spook Lights. Today, the lights appear almost nightly and are so commonplace that locals tend to ignore them. These orbs are large; some are estimated to be eight feet in diameter. The orbs appear in a range of different colors and travel from a few feet off the ground to treetop height.

There have been many reports over the last decades of UFOs in this region. Many people believe these large luminous orbs are some form of spacecraft. However, some researchers believe the orbs are a natural Earth phenomenon, either as the result of gases or another atmospheric reaction to underground gas release. The Cloverdale UAP (Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena) Project seeks scientific explanations for the Cloverdale Spook Lights.

Current Research on Spook Lights

Some significant scientific research is under way to discover what might cause the spook light phenomenon.

Earthquake Lights Hypothesis

Scientists researching earthquakes identified lights that were seen before earthquakes but often mistakenly reported as UFOs. These lights may assist in predicting earthquakes. Physicist Friedemann Freund suggests fault line stresses create various charges within the Earth's crust. The charges rise quickly to the surface of the Earth, where they ionize the atmosphere. In the mid 1960s, Japanese researcher Yutaka Yasui presented photos of "earthquake lights" in support this theory.

Mirage Hypothesis

NASA astronomer Dr. Sten Odenwald provides one of the most comprehensive and scientific investigations of the most famous hot-spots of orb and spook light activity throughout the U.S. His detailed notes are available on his website, Among the expected earthquake lights, gas releases, and ball lightning, Odenwald discusses three types of mirages, Inferior, Superior, and Lateral and the many natural conditions that can cause them. He states that mirages could account for many of the orbs or spook lights witnessed.

Studying Paranormal Orbs and Spook Lights

The expansion of scientific technology and the knowledge it brings may soon provide a definitive understanding of these phenomena. Until then, eyewitness accounts and photographic evidence all point to something real taking place in these regions, whether it's paranormal in nature or a geophysical phenomenon.

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Paranormal Orbs & Spook Light Theories + Curious Encounters