The Oddity of Orbs

To listen to this week’s podcast episode on The Oddity of Orbs, visit https://anchor.fm/storiesinthecemetery/episodes/E28-Oddity-of-Orbs-ebvba1

Orbs have been caught on camera since the invention of the picture capturing device. This is a known fact. You, dear reader, have probably caught some miracles of light on photos without even realizing it. Go ahead, go through some old photographs, I dare you.

But what exactly is an orb? Some would say that it’s dust, pollen, an insect, an infrared flare of light reflection, or any other normality to debunk the situation. But what about those that can’t be debunked? What are they? Let’s dive in.

Orbs Defined

By definition, an orb is just a spherical globe. This could be a number of things including a crystal ball, a soccer ball, or the earth. By definition, all these physical objects meet the criteria for the definition.

In the paranormal world that I live in, if someone says orb, my mind automatically goes to a floating ball of light in a picture or in a video. On my Stories in the Cemetery Interactive Ghost Hunting Experiences, I encourage my guests to take plenty of pictures during the tour of downtown Charleston. And I always encourage to take two pics of the identical placement. This is to ensure that if something is caught, then we can either debunk it with the following or previous picture. The following is a picture taken by one of my guests.

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At first glance, we were interested in the top right corner and the middle left side of the original photo. We were able to debunk this as streams of light coming in from other corners outside the photo.

But a deeper look at the photo, we noticed a blue streak. Analyzing this streak, we first thought it to be a dragonfly as they are common in Charleston. But the blue depiction doesn’t reveal the body of a dragonfly and is independently depicted as a streak.

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The photographer who analyzed this knows the different cameras on phones and was able to debunk the top right mass and left side mass rather quickly. However, the blue streak of light in the foliage cannot be debunked since the foliage is in clear focus. This could possibly be a dragonfly in flight or could be a mysterious blue streak of light caught in a haunted area of Charleston. Leave your comments below.

Orb Colors

For the rest of this post, we are going to allege that most orbs that haven’t been debunked by skeptics are that of the spiritual world in which we can’t fully understand or explain.

The defined colors found in orbs hold meaning. To some, it shows the mood or personality of a spirit. There’s an excellent article on orb colors by Beth Asaff entitled “The Different Colors of Ghost Orbs and Their Meanings”. The article explains how orbs are spiritual energy and how each color refers to what type of energy you are dealing with. I urge you to use this article for the colored orbs that you will find in your own photographs and videos. But here is a simple breakdown of the article’s color meanings:

  • Clear: Communicative energy
  • Black/Brown: Unsafe area
  • Red/Orange: Safety and Security
  • Green: Human spirit/one with nature
  • Blue: Psychic energy/truth
  • Gray: Fear
  • Pink: Love

As much as I want to believe that the blue streak in the picture above is some type of anomaly and part of the supernatural world, I can’t justify that it’s not a dragonfly like the shape depicts. I’d love to hear what you think. Drop me a line in the comments below.

Michael Newton, Ph.D

I, for one, believe that the colors of the orbs do hold significant meanings. Most of my fiction work is based on a surreal reality of studies done by Michael Newton, Ph.D. He wrote two volumes of his studies of reincarnation and life between lives called “Journey of Souls.”

The study he did was through hypnosis of subjects outreaching into their souls and revealing the in between life of a soul. The significance of these hypnotized subjects is that they all explain a divinity of colors that advance the soul through each reincarnation. Fascinating topic for a fiction author who needed a description of the afterlife. All of my works reflect this depiction of Newton’s study. Check out “Byron” if you would like my take on the study.

In the conclusion of Volume 1 of Newton’s “Journey of Souls” he writes:

“We are divine but imperfect beings who exist in two worlds, material and spiritual. It is our destiny to shuttle back and forth between these universes through space and time while we learn to master ourselves and acquire knowledge. We must trust in this process with patience and determination. Our essence is not fully knowable in most physical hosts, but Self is never lost because we always remain connected to both worlds.” —Michael Newton, Ph.D from “Journey of Souls” 1996

Newton’s theory shows the color hierarchy of souls in a succession pattern. Taken from an article that explains chakras, the color scheme matches that of Newton’s theoretical pattern of the age of the soul:

newtons stages of reincarnation
Diagram from https://eternalcircleblog.wordpress.com/consciousness-and-spirituality/auras-soul-age-colors-and-chakras/

Along with the article about the energy of orb colors, I highly recommend you use the chakra/soul chart as well. By using both charts, we begin to understand the orb and why it may have shown itself either in photograph form or in video format.

Proof of an intelligent orb

This video was sent to me by a Facebook fan who wanted some answers. It shows an orb coming in from the right side of their porch and intelligently moving through a plant and then behind the left pillar.

Notice how the orb goes through the plant while the plant moves in the opposite direction. This debunks any wind that could be passing through the area.

The orb also goes behind the pillar. I’ve blown this video up on my screen to see if it is depicted on the left pillar and it is clear that it moves behind the pillar.

Watch the video several times to see how the wind patterns and plant movement differ from that of the orb. This is clearly an intelligent orb and with the yellowish hue, it tells me that this is a middle stage soul passing through and not just a dust particle on the lens of the camera.

Conclusion

My conclusion on orbs is that they need to be debunked before any mysterious conclusion can be made. Skeptics will bash this post and try to debunk any circle of light that appears at the bottom in the comments, I’m sure of it.

However, as I’ve stated in my fiction work “Growing Dim”:

“We are raised in a society where we are taught to believe a more logical reason for an illogical happening rather than the illogical reason for something which may be of the unknown, hence, why the logical answer is illogical to the logical person.” —Nicholas McGirr

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Stories in the Cemetery Tours

Whether you’re a local or someone on vacation, you can take an Interactive Ghost Hunting Experience tour with me through downtown Charleston. We’ll visit many haunted locations using real ghost hunting equipment and possibly discover new activity! What will you discover on your tour?

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References Used to Inspire this Post

ArtMart. “Ghostly Orbs: Fact or Fiction?” n.d. ArtMart The Creative Marketplace. https://www.artmartstl.com/ghostly-orbs-fact-or-fiction/. 25 March 2020.

Asaff, Beth. “The Different Colors of Ghost Orbs and Their Meanings.” n.d. Love to Know. https://paranormal.lovetoknow.com/Ghost_Orbs_Different_Colors. 25 March 2020.

Broome, Fiona. “Ghost Orbs: An Overlooked Question.” 12 September 2008. Ghosts and Hauntings at Hollow HIll. https://hollowhill.com/orbs-the-overlooked-question/. 25 March 2020.

Newton, Ph.D., Michael. Journey of Souls. Woodbury: Llewellyn Publications, 1996. Print Book.

Smedley, Jenny. “10 Things You Need to Know about Orbs in Pictures.” n.d. Soul and Spirit Magazine. http://www.soulandspiritmagazine.com/10-things-you-need-to-know-about-orbs-in-pictures/. 25 March 2020.

“Stages of Reincarnation.” Auras, Soul Age Colors and Chakras. n.d. https://eternalcircleblog.wordpress.com/consciousness-and-spirituality/auras-soul-age-colors-and-chakras/.

 

A Piratey Powder Magazine?

With 307 years worth of history (as of the year 2020), the Powder Magazine has seen centuries worth of tragedies, restorations, and faces. Not to discount any previous work from historians, paranormal investigators or other Charleston fanatics, but to narrow down one of these elements and tie it to an alleged haunting has been quite the task.

A brief timeline of tragedies

Let’s get started with an overview of the history of the Powder Magazine to give you a scope of the historical timeline the building has suffered through.

  • Wars served:
    • Yamasee War
    • Tuscarora War
    • Stono Rebellion
    • King George’s War
    • French and Indian War
    • The Cherokee War
    • American Revolution
    • Civil War

Although the magazine wasn’t a major factor in all of the wars listed above, it did partake a role in some format.

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“Pirates and the First Revolution” Guide Panel

The Powder Magazine is said to be the oldest building in Charleston, SC being built in 1713. However, research shows that the Pink House on Chalmers street could date back as far as 1694 -1714. Regardless of which building is older, there is no doubt that The Powder Magazine has survived a much more tragic lifespan than that of the infamous Pink House.

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The Structure of the Building

There’s something to be said about the structure of the Powder Magazine and its lifespan. With 35-inch thick walls, sand in the attic and slate rooftop, the design was meant to contain any explosions from the gunpowder that resided here. I find the sand-filled lofted roof to be very interesting and the 307-year-old sand is still laid inside the loft. The nine pillars that make up this building were constructed in a groin-vault style. Along with the sand in the roof and groin-vault construction, this was meant to contain internal explosions and to shield the powder from enemy projectiles. The magazine could house up to five tons of black gunpowder.

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(The Old Powder Magazine, Cumberland Street)

Pirate History?

So, amidst all the wars served and survived, Charleston has had an attraction for our Pirates. Connected to the history of The Powder Magazine is that of Anne Bonny and Mary Read. Through any historical tour in Charleston (especially one based on the bloody scoundrels), you’ll hear stories of these pirate ladies along with Stede Bonnet and even Blackbeard himself. I’ve mentioned a bit about Bonnet and Blackbeard in my White Point Garden post.

Ghost stories and lore will tie the spirit of Anne Bonny to The Powder Magazine with alleged sightings and shadows.

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Bonny’s story is lacking details, to say the least. Just like the absent blueprints for the Powder Magazine, such is the written history of this female villainous pirate. Legend has it that Bonny, from Ireland, moved to the Carolinas with her father. It is said that her mother was a servant and Anne was born out of wedlock. Bonny’s defiance of authority led her to piracy where she married James Bonny, another pirate. She would soon leave James and meet up with Mary Read aboard the ship of Calico Jack, with whom she fell in love.

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Notice the groin-vaulted walls. Photo by Nicholas McGirr. Cannot be used without permission.

Upon being captured, both Mary Read and Anne Bonny claimed to be pregnant and were released. To this day, it is unsure if the two women went on to live the pirate life or if they settled and lived out their days with children at their feet.

I have no doubt that either of these two female pirates knew of The Powder Magazine or had raided its contents at one point in their piracy.

However…

In all the research for a tie to either pirate that is said to have had their spirits seen at the Powder Magazine could I find ANY tie to this historic building. I could find no pictures, video or any personal claims of persons visiting the Powder Magazine of such ghosts or haunting activity.

My Visit

I visited the Powder Magazine in the late afternoon just before their closing and told the staff why I was there: to research ghosts and paranormal activity. They welcomed me to do my research and then sold me a copy of the building’s history, The Arsenal of History by R. Alan Stello Jr. A fantastic read for this ghost enthusiast, I might add.

With my EMF detector running and spirit boxes gurgling out static, I took plenty of pictures and waited for any activity while touring the building and outside yard reading the guide panels and listening to other guests whisper to each other showing respect to the old building.

My EMF gave a “blip” (I should really define this one day) of just outside the green zone on occasion, but I couldn’t relate it to any other activity to the spirit boxes or specific location of an artifact inside the museum.

The Spirit box app, “Ghost Detector” gave me one word that stood out: “Writing”. I took this as I should really dive into the book I purchased as well as other research, in other words, the “writings” about the building would give me what I was looking for. Coincidental enough, I took the clue and ran with it.

The manual spirit box, spit out static and nothing else. Not even a whisper of any kind of activity came through this device.

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“The Walled City” guide panel.

So, I dove into the book, by Stello Jr. and read from cover to cover. Stopping at the Anne Bonny page, I read it over several times looking for any connection or tie into the Powder Magazine. Without a direct relation to Anne Bonny, Mary Read or any other pirate, I was baffled as to why she was even mentioned in a book strictly about the magazine and its history.

I dove into an online search looking for more about Bonny and her whereabouts in her life. Not one indication of historical videos, articles related to her history, or other experts on Bonny could I find any relation to the Powder Magazine. I researched evidence of sightings or shadows and came up with zilch.

In Conclusion

As a writer who needs evidence and physical proof of alleged hauntings, I have to say, the whole Anne Bonny and Mary Read correlation with the Powder Magazine feels more like a tourist trap attraction to liven up such a historical building. Let’s face it, when someone starts rattling off dates and war heroes, most of us get a little bored and/or if nothing else, a little confused about how things tie together. Throw a pirate into the mix after a few blockbuster hits with a big name actor and the history juices start flowing again with interest.

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The Powder Magazine and front yard. Photo by Nicholas McGirr. Cannot be used without permission.

I pass by the Powder Magazine on my Interactive Ghost Hunting Experience tours, mainly because I didn’t know much about the history of the building other than haunting “claims”. In the future, I will take my guests closer to the structure (it’s closed in the evenings) and do a bit more researching with gadgets we use on my tour. The Grid Pen will come in handy in this scenario as well as any thermal imaging from our camera.

In the event that any new evidence is found with an actual piece of evidence, this blog post and podcast episode will be updated with such evidence. For now, enjoy the legends and lore on other tours as they will heighten your attention to look closer at the history of Charleston, even if some of the stories are a stretch to attract attention.

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Photo by Nicholas McGirr. Cannot be used without permission.

If you’d like to support this blog/podcast, you can always

Buy Me A Coffee

Stories in the Cemetery Tours

Whether you’re a local or someone on vacation, you can take an Interactive Ghost Hunting Experience tour with me through downtown Charleston. We’ll visit many haunted locations using real ghost hunting equipment and possibly discover new activity! What will you discover on your tour?

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References

Bartelme, Tony. “The true and false stories of Anne Bonny, pirate woman of the Caribbean.” 21 November 2018. Post and Courier. https://www.postandcourier.com/news/the-true-and-false-stories-of-anne-bonny-pirate-woman/article_e7fc1e2c-101d-11e8-90b7-9fdf20ba62f8.html. 29 January 2020.

National Park Service. “The Powder Magazine.” 15 February 2018. National Park Services. https://www.nps.gov/places/powder-magazine.htm. 29 January 2020.

Sandlapper Water Tours. “7 Spooky Charleston Ghost Stories to Get Those Goosebumps.” 21 March 2019. Sandlapper Water Tours. https://www.sandlappertours.com/7-spooky-charleston-ghost-stories-to-get-those-goosebumps/. 29 January 2020.

Stello Jr., R. Alan. Arsenal of History: The Powder Magazine of South Carolina. Charleston: History Press, 2013. print book.

The Old Powder Magazine, Cumberland Street. Charleston, 24 November 1860. https://lcdl.library.cofc.edu/lcdl/catalog/lcdl:281?tify={%22panX%22:0.489,%22panY%22:0.531,%22view%22:%22info%22,%22zoom%22:0.479}.

Traveler of Charleston. “6 Spookiest Places in Charleston.” 10 October 2017. Traveler of Charleston. https://travelerofcharleston.com/6-spookiest-places-charleston/. 29 January 2020.