Mango, do you believe in the supernatural?

December 8th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

I was working my company's booth at a trade show last weekend.  I know - mistake.  But it did provide some excellent entertainment.  I had the most interesting customer strut up to me and ask if I believed in the supernatural.


I thought about this.  I'm pretty open-minded.  I certainly don't disbelieve that there are things unexplainable by natural laws.  But quite frankly, I'm a programmer.  I'm pretty analytical.  So far, I haven't personally experienced anything that I don't have a good explanation for.  So I said, "You know what, I don't really think too much about it.  But what's on your mind?"

The customer got all excited.  "Have you...have you...have you ever seen an orb?!"

Heck, the show is slow, and I'm curious.  So I said, "Dude, why don't you tell me all about that?"

He could barely get the words out, he was so excited.  "It's...it's...it's a phenomenon," he explained, bolding and italicizing the word "phenomenon" as he spoke, for emphasis.

"Ok," I said, so far unimpressed, but still curious.

"They're everywhere," he said excitedly.  "But we don't know where!  The only time you can see them is if you're in a place with the right kind of energy...and if you take a picture of them with a digital camera!"

"Ok," I said, still unimpressed, but even more curious.

"Here, I've even been lucky enough to take some myself!  I'll show you," he said.  He whipped out an HP Photosmart camera which honour prevents me from laughing at, because it is the same as the first digital camera I ever owned.  "I've got 1400 pictures on this thing...I'll be a little while," he explains.

When I got back from my coffee, he had found his picture of the orb.

Now, I admit, I am incredibly curious at this point.  If working a trade show was going to be the difference between old-Mango and new-Mango that experiences the supernatural, (with his digital camera) I would have to start volunteering to do more trade shows to see what else would happen.

As I looked at his picture, my hopes were quite quickly dashed.

"Dude, that's lens flare.  It's when you have a bright light source and the light bounces around between the lens elements in your camera.  Sorry."

He looks at me disbelievingly.  "It's even on Google," I add, for credibility.  This is apparently quite effective.

I feel a little bit bad, because the look on his face changed to one that was as if I had taken away his pudding pop.

"But...my friend told me they were a phenomenon," he said sadly.

I probably shouldn't have helpfully added, "You can just edit those right out in Photoshop!"

The story doesn't end there.  So far, I have told this story to three people.  The fact is, twice I've gotten part way through, and the person has said, "Oh yeah, and they show you a picture and it's lens flare or dust on the sensor, right?  I've got a friend who totally believes that.  Crazy nutjobs."

The Cult of Those Who Believe Lens Flare is Supernatural is ostensibly trying to take over the world.  I would be afraid if they weren't so entertaining.
 
  1. TheWatcher
    February 8th, 2011 at 07:14 | #1

    It gets worse - there was a study done recently on these "orbs", using pairs of digital cameras arranged in stereo and triggered simultaneously. They found that, even removing sources of lens flare, they would get orbs.. but never in the same position on both cameras at the same time. They proved pretty conclusively that 100% of the "orbs" they had captured in pictures were actually dust motes close to the lens reflecting the camera flash.
     

  2. December 1st, 2011 at 10:16 | #2

    That was hilarious, thanks!
     

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