I Doubt It

Scientist and skeptic Sharon Hill, a geologist and blogger who goes by the handle "idoubtit," has recently launched Doubtful, featuring a great entry on blobjects, a new cultural meme referring to objects that are too indistinct to be undisputably what they purport to be, e.g. grainy photos of Nessie. (For another meaning of blobject, go here.)

By coincidence, I was recently in conversation with some friends about a type of blobject called "orbs," those white circles that sometimes show up in photos you have taken. Are they just artefacts of light? Or as some argue, are they ghosts?

Sharon has also published a piece on hauntings in Cape May, one of my favorite spots in New Jersey or anywhere.

So how does this fit with my usual musings here at Here We Are. Now What? Normally I keep my interest in the strange and unexplained separate from this blog, but in this case, I'm making an exception.

Sharon Hill does a nice job of straddling the everyday world of consensus reality and the realm of possibility. She writes:

This blobject phenomenon is fascinating because the question of what was captured in the photo remains. We can be assured that a long parade of blobsquatches and other indistinct visuals will continue to appear for our scrutiny. We can view them at all angles, zoom, crop, enhance, and speculate all we want – they will never be the solid scientific evidence we need to prove that something unknown really exists. But they can inspire us to debate, imagine, discover and learn.

Nice. I have always believed in the truth of Shakespeare's line:

“There is more to heaven and earth, Horatio, than is dreamt of in your philosophy.”

Our "philosophy" toward life can be open or closed. What is your philosophy? Are you open to possibility?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 12/30/06


Don Blohowiak said…
You wrote about "orbs," those white circles that sometimes show up in photos you have taken. You asked: "Are they just artifacts of light? Or as some argue, are they ghosts?"

Photographers know them as "chromatic aberrations." They occur when a bright light source is refracted multiple times between lens elements. It's basically a reflection -- even a reflection of a reflection -- of that bright light from within the lens itself.

It's bedeviling, yes. And sometimes ghastly. But definitely not ghosts.


Don Blohowiak

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