Bunny and I arrived back in Cassadaga well in time for the 8:00 pm Historic and Nighttime Orb Photography tour. We walked up to the bookstore and found a few people sitting around waiting. It turned out that one of them, an older gentleman who looked and sounded like Donald “Screetchboy” Sutherland was actually the Reverend Ben Cox, our tour guide for the evening.
He was a wonderful speaker and story teller. He lead us around Cassadaga, telling us the history of the place, along with the various spirits that supposedly live in the various buildings.
He then took us to the main Spiritualist Temple in town and explained how not only the church service works, but how séances are conducted in the small red-lit room at the back of the temple.
Now, about those orbs …
After the tour, he lead us to a small clearing behind the temple and told us that this area was rich with orbs and that we should have no problems with catching one or two, but for the best results, we should use flash photography.
I took a bunch of photos with and without flash.
Here's a pair (the first is the actual photograph, the second photo has been processed with histogram equalization to pull out more detail) taken without the use of flash:
and here's a pair with flash (the “orb” is along the ground just below the tree):
I took twenty photographs, some without flash, most with, and in every one with flash, there were orbs (in most cases, they were only visible when the image was equalized). In this pair, I present the picture with the most visible orb, along with the equalized version, showing even more orbs floating around:
What's going on here are light reflections, either from pollen, dust, bugs or even reflections in the lens from the flash. I seriously doubt they're really any form of “ectoplasm” (which Rev. Ben explained is similar to salt water).
Overall, Bunny and I felt the tour was worth the price. It was entertaining and informative, and everybody enjoyed themselves. It was interesting to see a real séance room and learn how séances “work.” The Reverend Ben is an excellent speaker and story teller.
And overall, Cassadaga was an interesting place to visit. Quite peaceful, and laid back. It might even make a nice place to take a vacation, if one can keep from tripping over all the crystals.