How do video cameras show ghosts?

This article is from 2021 and may be outdated. We're working on restoring a newer version.

Videos can show the same kinds of anomalies we see in ghost photos.

The difference is, those anomalies move in most ghost videos.

The most popular — and reliable — anomalous images in ghost videos are orbs and shadow people.

Apparitions are highly suspect in ghost photos or videos. They’re so rare, you’re more likely to win the lottery than capture one in a picture.


Apparitions are ghosts that look like people. They might seem solid or translucent.

In photos, most “apparitions” are people who stepped into the frame when no one noticed. Enlarging the frame usually helps the team identify who it was.

If possible, one team member should take a photo of everyone at every investigation. That includes staff members, visitors, and so on. Each should be a full-length photo. That way, you have a reference if someone’s arm, leg, or foot shows up in the frame.


“Floating orbs” are among the most common and controversial images.

To rule out normal dust, experiment with your video camera in dusty attics and basements. Also film outdoors in fields and dirt roads.

orb at Gilson Road Cemetery, Nashua, NHDust, dirt, insects, and pollen may be easy to detect. Gravity causes them to sink slowly towards the floor or ground. The exception is when a fan or ventilation duct creates an updraft. That keeps the dust (etc.) to continue bobbing along in mid-air.

Sometimes, orbs float in a steady line, or even seem to climb or bob up and down. If the activity can’t be explained, those videos are some of the most interesting evidence we have.

Shadow People

Shadow people are unexplained, shadowy figures. Usually, we see them moving. Sometimes, they show up in our photos and videos.

If you want to study those unexplained shadows, video footage is much better than still photos.

When we see an unexplained shadow in a regular (still) ghost photo, we must return to the site. We have to see what might have cast that shadow.

When a video camera captures a moving, shadowy figure, it’s far more compelling evidence of paranormal activity.

Other Anomalies

Learn what’s normal (but sometimes weird-looking) for your video camera.  Just like regular cameras, it’s important to experiment with video cameras, too.

Test them with dust, pollen, dirt, and in locations with lots of insects.

bug in ghost photo
Two photos taken seconds apart. The lower one shows an insect, not a ghost orb.

Moths and mosquitoes are the leading culprits when you see an orb in your photos or video recordings.

They’re also the easiest to identify, once you know what to look for.

After dark, take lots of photos and video footage of different insects.

Learn the irregularities that separate highlighted bugs from anomalous orbs.

Usually, I try to take two photos in a row. I don’t move between photos. I try not to breathe. My goal is to capture two nearly identical photos.

Comparing the two photos, I can usually see if an orb was a flying insect.

Tip: If you’re not sure if the site has a lot of bugs, wait until dusk or slightly after it. Then, look up at nearby streetlights. Usually, if insects are nearby, you’ll see them highlighted by the streetlight.

If you think you’ve filmed a ghostly anomaly, run tests. Try to recreate the effect.

If there’s no normal explanation for what you photographed, then — by definition — it’s paranormal.

Author: Fiona Broome

Fiona Broome is a paranormal researcher and author. She describes herself as a "blip analyst," since she explores odd "blips" in reality. But mostly, she investigates ghosts and haunted places.