Jan 12, 2007
GALESBURG - Ectoplasm? Ghost balls? The energy from a trapped spirit?
Or is the strange floating orb Allan and Joyce Faust captured on their digital camera nothing more than a lens flare or a trick of light?
Whatever you decide, the Fausts just don't want to be thought of as a pair of squirrels.
"People will think we are nuts. Squirrely. Really, I'm worried about it," Allan said Thursday morning while he sat in the kitchen of the couple's brick Cape Cod style home at 1343 Jefferson St.
Allan held an enhanced picture in his hand and studied it. It showed a small ball of light floating not far from him.
"But when we saw these pictures and saw the orb, Joyce said we should maybe call the paper," Allan said. "I never believed in ghosts before - but I do now. I believe in orbs."
The Fausts think they captured photographic evidence of the ghost orbs on New Year's Eve, while Allan rang in the year on a bell in the couple's backyard.
The bell, which hangs in the Fausts' backyard, is part of a family tradition. Allan rings it at midnight on New Year's Eve and every Fourth of July.
"I was standing right out on our back steps while Allan rang the bell," Joyce said. "I had the camera in one hand and I was talking to my son on the cell phone.
"I took those pictures and I never saw a thing."
The Fausts didn't attempt to make prints from the camera's memory card until Tuesday. As they scanned through their photos at Walgreens, Joyce noticed a small orb in some of the pictures. The couple enhanced the photos through enlargement and sharpening.
The round glow appeared large in one photo, then smaller in the next.
The Fausts admitted they have seen supposed photos of ghost orbs before. They attended one of Barb Huyser's presentations at Carl Sandburg College.
Huyser considers herself an investigator of paranormal activity.
The ghost hunter viewed the Fausts pictures and said she doubted they captured any paranormal activity.
"I usually look for something that has more mass and is brighter," Huyser said. "There are a lot of light sources in the picture and it looks like a reflection."
She pointed out that her decision was based only on the two pictures.
Huyser isn't the only one who thinks the Fausts captured something other than spirit activity with their digital camera.
Bill Dickerson and Steve Ingram of Dickerson Photography examined the pictures. They were dubious.
Both concluded the orbs were most likely the result of moisture on the lens, a reflection from another light source or any number of natural occurrences.
"Any other light in the area could reflect off the lens and show up," said Dickerson, who has 31 years experience as a professional photographer.
"It's most likely a reflection from another light source," said Ingram, who has 15 years experience as a professional photographer.
The Fausts are fairly certain the digital apparition is the result of some kind of paranormal activity.
Allan said the orb could have been the spirit of his mother or father. Both lived in the house before Allan and Joyce made it their home in 1992.
"My mom dropped dead right here in the kitchen in 1970," Allan said. "My died in the backyard."
After Allan explained a possible source of the orb, Joyce recounted the Faust's first experience with what might have been a ghost.
"One day I was standing in the corner of the kitchen and I could see right in the room just off it," she said. "It's just an extra bedroom. I was facing the bedroom and I saw a women wearing a blue flowered dress - kind of like a housedress - walk right by.
"I couldn't see her head or her feet. But I saw the rest of her."