Research Paper Review: Mara Steenhuisen – On Orbs -Journal for the Study of Religious Experience

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ORBS: A PRELIMINARY SEARCH IN THE RERC ARCHIVES by Mara Steenhuisen University of Wales Trinity Saint David

An article about ORBS written by Ms. Steenhuisen for the Journal for the Study of Religious Experience

Mara was a PhD student at the University of Wales TSD, upon submission of her article.   Prior to that she earned her Masters via distance learning. Her bio states that she has studied the cultural phenomenon of orbs and she has attempted to bridge the occurrences of orbs as spiritual experiences with the views from conventional optics and paranormal manifestations”.

Ms. Steenhuisen accessed the archives of the RERC but designated the search term to “ lightball” instead of orb since, according to her research, the origin of the term “orb” stems from the word lightball.  (Dr. D. Oester, is credited with creating the term “Orb”). *I now muse if this is the same Dr. Dave Oester who was ordained in 1999 in the Universal Life Church and has two honorary degrees through his church religious studies. He was head of the International Ghost Hunters Society. If you know that they are one in the same, let me know.

She describes orbs as”…luminous opaque or translucent spheres that are visible in still digital photographs and video footage and interpreted as circular anomalies”.  She goes on to say that, the same description applies to orbs observed by the naked eye and the observer may refer to orbs as spirit, ghost, or a term I had not heard of “soul spheres”.

Her paper includes researching the written accounts of those that have had spiritual experiences with orbs, especially those prior to digital photography. 

Her paper touches on the debate of orbs being paranormal or just lens flares, dust, moisture etc.  However, my interest here is in the following…

The numerous accounts from those who had seen orbs but did not consider themselves religious or spiritual. This point I found interesting.  I muse if they would find the experience in and of itself spiritual.

  • Experiences with orbs seem to take place in all types of settings, AND hours of the day – another interesting observation. 

I believe I mentioned where I was when I saw an orb with my naked eye.  I will not revisit that admission, but you can read about it, in the “About” section of this webpage.

Ms. Steenhuisen references accounts involving incidences prior to observers seeing orbs.  Please note that if you read her article be mindful that some information can be sensitive, as accounts deal with incidents surrounding death and illness but go on to describe encounters with orbs after said incidents however, I actually found the results of those accounts to be uplifting because they conveyed comfort/hope to the observer.

  • I am interested in her statement regarding the solace and companionship that some individuals have expressed in regards to their experiences with the orbs.

This may be a topic worth exploring for I too have experienced such states.  Why would that be? I have not had a recent loss, sure I know many that have passed away but not in the period surrounding the orbs’ encounters with me.

I would recommend this read to anyone interested in some of the history or perhaps the academic approach regarding ORBS.

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