ASSAP: Paranormal Research
ASSAP: Paranormal Education
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Flying rods and orbs: the connection!

Insects are responsible for many photographic artifacts labeled as paranormal. In this video you can see a swarm of insects where part of it produces flying rods while the rest shows up as orbs. If the insect is in focus it can appear as a rod, if out of focus as an orb.

The orbs in this video are diamond shaped. This is due to the shape of the aperture control in the video camera. You can see the diamond orbs against the wooden structure and in the foreground of the final shot.

For more information of flying rods, see here. For more information on orbs, see here.

Video here
Flying rods: three tips for videoing them!

Turning insects into flying rods can be frustrating. This video has three helpful tips for videoing flying rods successfully.

These can be summarised as: (1) the insect must be flying fast, (2) the insect must be in focus and (3) you should choose a dark background to make the video camera use a slow shutter speed.

You can get reasonable videos of flying rods without obeying these tips but they are unlikely to be good. Instead, they will resemble the accidental videos of rods seen all over the web.

Video here 
Flying rod in front of a tree

An insect becomes a flying rod in this video. It is interesting because (a) the 'rod' changes shape (due to changing flight direction of the insect) and (b) it flies in front of a nearby tree (so dispelling ideas that rods are metres in length and fly at extremely high speed).

If you want to video flying rods, try to find a swarm of insects which are well illuminated but against a dark background (to ensure a slow shutter speed). The insects need to be in focus (or they will appear as orbs like the first ones in this video) so you need to focus on something at a similar distance, like the tree here.

Video here
Orange UFOs

Orange UFOs are now being commonly reported around the world. Often seen in groups, they float silently, frequently flickering or 'pulsating'. As well as orange, they can appear red (usually when in the distance) or yellow (when nearby). They are generally caused by sky lanterns, often released in groups to mark celebrations.

An interesting point about this video is it shows a sky lantern out of focus, appearing as a pulsating diamond shape, not unlike a classic 'flying saucer'. That's because that particular image is out of focus. Many UFO videos show circles or diamonds solely because the image is out of focus!

Three lanterns floating together in a group might give the impression of a triangular UFO. They would keep together as a group because they would all be subject to the same wind.


Video here 
EVP experiment with pictures

This is an experiment with EVP. The same EVP can often be interpreted in different ways according to who the listener is. But can other factors affect how we interpret EVPs? Try this video and see what you think. Please send answers to the two questions in the video to here to help with our research.

The same EVP clip is used throughout the video, several times. It comes from the EVP gallery, experiment 1, sample 1. Go there to try those experiments too and find out the origin of this particular EVP clip.

Video here 
Diamond shaped UFO

There are a fair number of video clips and photographs of diamond-shaped UFOs. There are also many photos and videos of fuzzy circular UFOs. In many cases these do not show the true shape of the object. That's because they are out of focus!

Many cameras use an autofocus system nowadays. Unfortunately, when you are taking a photo of a small object in the sky, particularly if it is dark, the autofocus system can struggle to get the focus sharp. This results in circle or diamond-shapes, depending on the aperture of the camera.

Video here
Shadow ghost in the snow

Like many paranormal photos and videos, this 'ghost' was only noticed AFTER the original filming. It shows what appears to be a dark figure, or animal, running (or bounding) along in the snow, in the distance, behind a bush.

There are certainly moments in the video where it really looks as though there is someone real there. Eventually, though, it becomes obvious it is a leaf in the foreground, rather than a person/animal in the background. The walking/bounding motion comes from the person walking while shooting the video which is, perhaps, why it seems realistic. Like all misperceptions some people will not see it!

Video here 
Watch dust turn into orbs!

Orbs are out of focus bits of dust, insects, water droplets etc caught in a bright light source, usually the flash of a still camera (see here). Some people think orbs are paranormal but there is no evidence for this.

In this video, dust is shown floating around in front of a bright light source. As the the camera zooms in, the dust goes out of focus and turns into diamond-shaped orbs. This illustrates just how orbs form. They occur in an 'orb zone' where things are too close to the camera to be in focus and are strongly illuminated, so showing up as orbs. There are diagrams to illustrate how orb zones form with still and video cameras.

Video here 
UFO light in the sky

A light moves silently across a cloudy sky before vanishing. Is it a UFO?

Many UFOs are essentially 'lights in the sky'. The fact that they are silent is usually taken to imply that they cannot be a conventional aircraft. Sometimes they are silent simply because they are distant or, as in this case, where other noises are more prominent.

Only the light was visible in the original sighting so that when it vanished it appeared to confirm that an unusual 'craft' was present. In fact, the light disappeared behind cloud and was simply not noticed afterwards. The plane goes out of shot at the end because it was not seen at the time!

Video here 
Strange blurred object in photo

Some paranormal, or anomalous, photos contained unexpected blurred objects in an otherwise crisp image. They can be quite prominent, right in the foreground of the picture, in front of the subject. There can be various causes for such an effect that need not be paranormal.

Still photos capture an instant, often just a fraction of a second long. By contrast, we humans are used to a world that is constantly changing. It would be much easier to work out what causes some paranormal photos if you could see a movie version of the whole scene when the object appears. This video demonstrates how some such effects can occur.

Video here 
Black orb

Not all orbs are light coloured. Some are dark and usually found in daylight photos and videos.

The black (or dark) orb here is seen near a pheasant on a sunny day. When played in slow motion the object looks weird and puzzling (as it might in a still photo). Played at normal speed it becomes obvious that it is an insect. It is too close to the camera to be in focus, just like other 'light' orbs.

The orb is diamond shaped due to the shape of aperture in the video camera. Dark orbs are usually more noticeable on video than in still photos because their movement draws attention.

 Video here
Levitating leaf

Here you see a leaf floating above leaf litter frantically gyrating. But what is keeping it in the air? Clearly not the wind because it would lift the other leaves too. The leaf behaves as though it was suspended from something but there is no visible thread.

In fact, it is caught in a thread of spider silk so thin that, not only does it not show up on the video but was almost impossible to see by witnesses present!

While it is not, after all, a paranormal event, it might easily appear so. Look particularly at the early shots with the leaf behind vegetation. It is difficult to make out what is going on and it might appear paranormal.

Video here 
Flying rods hovering

While it is generally accepted that insects cause flying rod images in video sequences and still photos, it can be difficult to demonstrate easily.

Hoverflies offer a way of doing this because they alternately hover and fly quickly. This video shows a group of hoverflies doing just that. They hover and then fly away, so appearing as flying rods.

Video is, effectively, a series of still images. When insects fly fast enough to show up as a motion blur on one or more video frames, they appear as flying rods in the moving picture. The same affect can occur with still photographs.

Video here 
Daylight orb

In this video you can see a small, fuzzy, whitish object moving swiftly across the top right area of the scene. It is shown twice at normal speed and then in slow motion.

Most orbs appear in photos using flash where a bit of dust, insect or water droplet is out of focus (see here). With daylight orbs the strong illumination is provided by the sun. The object appearing as an orb is still too close to the camera to be in focus (which is why it has its characteristic circular shape).

Daylight orbs are usually caused by insects and can be quite a long way off, as here, when a telephoto lens is used. More info on orbs is here.

Video here
Shadow ghost

The apparent shadow ghost was seen while the video was being made. It looks like the head and shoulders of someone with the suggestion they are wearing a bowler hat!

The misperception only works during the initial pan shot. Only some people will see it as a figure at all - that is the nature of misperception. Stills destroy the illusion and close-ups reveal it is just a natural pattern of shadows.

It is impossible to capture misperception in still photos, which allow lengthy examination. Even in video, it is no easy thing to do and this is not the best example possible. More info here.

Video here 
Bright green orb

All sorts of photographic anomalies get reported as 'orbs'. In this video there is a bright green, circular 'orb' in a tree. It is actually a brightly lit leaf mostly obscured by darker, less well-illuminated leaves in front.

Many odd things are noticed in video playbacks that were not observed at the time. We generally notice little around us when we are filming a video. Most such oddities have simple, natural explanations.

There is an odd effect in the bit of the video which zooms in on the green orb. Though the photo being used is a STILL, some people get an impression the leaves are waving in the wind! See here for more.

Video here 

© Maurice Townsend 2010, 2011