How accounts on balls of light from the 60s may shed a light on contemporary accounts on orbs


  • Mara Steenhuisen University of Wales Trinity Saint David


Sir Alister Hardy, marine biologist and professor at the University of Oxford and Fellow of the Royal Society, and moreover, the founder the Religious Experience Research Centre, endeavoured to collect accounts from ordinary people about extraordinary occurrences and brushes with the anomalous. In that sense, contemporary spiritual experiences with orbs, those often luminous balls in photographs and videos may find their precursors in accounts long before the term "orb" was mainstream in popular culture. To assert if such accounts are present in the RERC archives, preliminary online research was conducted. Although it might be suggested that indeed the results yielded those accounts as early as from the late 60s, it should be cautioned that the search terms employed were kept as close as to the basis designation of "lightball" as possible and therefore may have left out accounts that could have been included in a wider scope. However, it can be posited that the archives present similar accounts on spiritual experiences with lightballs comparable to contemporary accounts on orbs as perceived on camera and with the naked eye. However, additional research is much needed as it only yields results from touching lightly upon the vast wealth of accounts presented in the RERC archive. Many more may stem from it for future research to elucidate the spiritual experiences with orbs.

Author Biography

Mara Steenhuisen, University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Mara holds a Bhealth in pain management consultation, with a special interest in chronic pain management as related to altered states of consiousness as well as an MA from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, where she studied orbs as a cultural phenomenon, at the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture in particular with regard to the cosmological views on orbs by orb enthusiasts. In her PhD, also at the University of Wales TSD, she takes this further attempting to bridge the occurrences of orbs as spiritual experiences with the views from conventional optics and paranormal manifestations.