Visual Forms of Etheric to Physical Phenomena

by Tom and Lisa Butler

Spirit photography is generally considered to be photographs of nonphysical entities as they manifest in the physical. They are “caught” in the scene by the camera. For instance, in the photograph sent to us by ATransC website visitor, Paul Franklin, you can see the two orbs that he was concerned with. They are marked with vertical arrows. He later agreed that the orbs were caused by his camera flash reflecting from the two windows situated on either side of the fireplace. When we asked him who that was peeking around the corner, he admitted that he had not noticed the face, and that he was very much alone in the apartment. You can see in the enlargement that Morrison a person is watching Franklin. Assuming the person was not a nosey neighbor, we would consider the person to be a photographic “extra,” and the example would be considered spirit photography containing an apparition.

franklin_orbs_and_face_web     franklin_face_web

Visual forms of Instrumental TransCommunication (ITC) is the opportunistic use of chaotic visual energy to form features, such as human faces and animals. The features are not always, but are sometimes considered communication, as faces of recognizable people have been found, including loved ones. Tom Butler’s father appeared on request in one experiment, as shown here. It is common for the lower portions of the face to be obscured by noise, but it is also common for the face to be profiled in a way that will be recognized. For instance, Tom had just placed the picture of his father, shown here, on his desk.  The ITC image is transfigured optical noise generated using a video camera – television loop.

Reflected light phenomena
is a form of visual ITC that depends on optical energy from light reflecting off of surfaces and sometimes light coming directly from a bright light source. We believe that the presence of the features in this form of phenomena is not a form of communication, and is most likely not the face of a local entity. Instead, reflected light ITC gives us one of our most important views of the operation of reality. The “how” of it is probably the same as other forms of energy transfiguration, but the “why” of it is even more of a mystery because, without communication as a motive, why are the features there. It is as if the features are part of the background that determines the shape of “unassigned” energy.

A second point to ponder is that the features in optical noise generated via the video feedback loop are most often those of people, as opposed to reflected light ITC, which frequently contains the features of entities who appear more elfin. We see a similar technology dependence in audio forms of ITC. If the features are the result of intelligent action, then the message is that some entities are more able to access one kind of technology than another. For instance, there is evidence that earthbound entities find it easier to access random number generated processes than they are able to access audio frequency noise. In Spiritualism, we know that there is a need for energetic agreement between the physical and etheric communicators for communication to occur. The above observation would seem to take that understanding a step further and add an objective way of testing it with technology.

In the example shown here, a picture of a turned off television screen was taken by AA-EVP member, James Jones. What you see is light from the surroundings reflecting onto the camera lens. If you look at your turned off TV, you will see something similar. The texture of the screen seems to be ideal for forming the optical noise used for feature formation. The picture on the left is the TV screen cropped from the original picture. The contrast has been increased a little. The white arrow is pointing at the feature in question. The middle picture is that feature alone with the contrast increased even more. The picture on the right has been enhanced to exaggerate the feature to help you find it. Such features can be found in just about any optical noise.

jones_tv_screen     jones_elf_and_dog     jones2003_Elf

In the case of orbs, most of us who study these things were initially perplexed by them and many thought they were phenomenal. However, subsequent studies have shown that most orb pictures are bright light reflecting back onto the camera lens from shiny surfaces or the camera flash reflecting from particulates in the air. Because the flash is so close to the lens in most cameras these days, dust is easily illuminated where the lens can still detect the small objects. With that said, some orbs do seem to be evidence of etheric life. The problem is that we have no way of telling which is which if the orb is stationary. We usually look for a bright object in the scene, but not necessarily in the picture. Then we look for things like rain, fog or snow somewhere in the scene, maybe just outside of what is shown in the picture. Here is an example of orbs caused by snow and breath on the left, and then a flying insect on the right. The photographed were taken by Kathy Conder, as part of her catalogue of camera artifacts.

conder_snow_breath     conder_insect

We are able to study some forms of orbs. For instance, here is a dark, fuzzy ball that seems to be about the size as a softball. It can be seen moving in the White Noise DVD bonus feature that is of us recording for EVP in a supposedly haunted house. Look at about three minutes into the feature. We did not see it at the time, but the orb moved by us about the time that Lisa recorded the EVP, “Betty’s in there,” in response to Lisa saying that we were going to go into a bedroom. We sensed the presence of a woman in the bedroom the first time we visited it, but not the second. The orb itself (white arrow) is shown enlarged as an inset. Click on “Betty’s in there” to hear the EVP.


We need more such examples to be able to speculate with any intelligence. As for possible faces in orbs, as discussed above, it has become evident that something will transfigure appropriately noisy light to form recognizable features. These are usually human faces, but dog and other animals are not uncommon. JPEG picture compression noise also produces faces, and as such, emailed or Internet photographs may be somewhat different on different computers. Because of the nature of these features in orbs and optical noise, we do not think the faces are anything more than opportunistic use of the optical noise. In other words, they probably are not the face of a local ghost, and are not evidence that the orb is etheric. Finally, we are more inclined to think that, if some orbs are evidence of etheric life, the life is more probably an etheric critter than a loved one.

The Face on the Wall was found at a previous meeting place for the Spiritualist Desert Church in Las Vegas.  In this example, it is possible to see a faint representation of a face on the painted wall.  The members of the church painted the wall after they moved in, so they know there was nothing under it that might show through.  Also, it is evident that they used something like a sponge to provide texture in the blue paint.  Whatever they used, it was far to course to have produced the detail shown in this example. (Click on “Face on the wall” to see article.)

Face was almost invisible in the white paint. Contrast in this example is exaggerated to improve visibility.

By the way, we have received many emails from website visitors telling us that they have seen other faces on the wall. It is the nature of Visual ITC for any available optical noise to be used for feature formation. We do not understand why or how. We are aware of the other faces but are focusing on the main feature.

Faces on a turned off television sets is the final form of photographic phenomena we will address. In the example shown here taken by “Cathy,” the boy’s mother, the boy is taking his first steps. In the uncropped version of this picture, you can see that the TV is incidentally in the scene and was clearly turned off. Cathy recognizes the face as that of her sister, Gloria, who is discarnate. We have had many emails claiming that the picture is of Candace Bergman and that the lower part of the face is missing because the camera caught the TV mid-scan of a television program. We assure you that the picture is phenomenal and that this sort of picture is rather common. In every example we have seen, there has been a child in the scene. It is also common, as witness the picture of Tom’s father above, for the lower portion of the face to be poorly formed or missing.


Photographic technology is complex and offers numerous opportunities for artifacts that sometimes appear much as we expect nonphysical phenomena to appear in film or digital frames.  Even the experts in photographic technology have difficulty explaining how some artifacts are formed by the technology, even though it is relatively certain that the features in question are known to be an artifact.

Leave a Comment