jesse_the_k: Alan Cummings, all glammed up in blue eyeshadow and filmy red dress vamps in lime green room under the words "drama quee (Alan the drama queen)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k
As Spring pops up all around, I’ve noticed an uptick in shiny spheres in my neighborhood. Known as gazing globes or mirror balls, I find “yard orb” stutters off my tongue pleasingly.

They’re sorta mysterious! I don’t get why people like them, so I’m crowd-sourcing.

A best-case photo from Flickr user Patrick, aka [ profile] fionnmccueil, generously licensed under CC by-nc-sa 2.0

bird sits atop smooth mirrored globe reflecting sunlight, a split-level ranch, and sparse yard

Please, help a nerd out!

Poll #18363 Yard Orbs
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 29

So, why yard orbs?

View Answers

Never seen one.
13 (44.8%)

They're all over my neighborhood
6 (20.7%)

I've busted one, it's fun to do
0 (0.0%)

Let us never speak of this again.
2 (6.9%)

9 (31.0%)

I love mine, explained in comment
1 (3.4%)

Wow, that sure is weird
10 (34.5%)

Discovering that is a Wisconsin company may explain their local ubiquity.

Date: 2017-05-12 06:28 pm (UTC)
replyhazy: (Default)
From: [personal profile] replyhazy
Mine, at the moment, is living at my sister's house, and we covered it in shards of colorful glass for a more fractured reflection.

Personally I think they are a strange old custom that will become its own religion by 2125.

Date: 2017-05-12 07:05 pm (UTC)
capriuni: Text: If you want to be a Hero, be Good to the Storyteller. (Default)
From: [personal profile] capriuni
I don't have any, personally. But I have seen them.

As I understand it, they're an old folk custom/belief meant to keep malicious spirits out of the house. Apparently, the spirit becomes so fascinated with its own reflection in the moonlight that it stays there, gazing, until dawn -- when they have to leave.

Kinda like flypaper for the supernatural? See also Bottle trees

Aesthetically (if well placed in the landscape) they can fulfill the role of a reflecting pond -- but you don't have to worry about mosquito infestations, or mold.

Date: 2017-05-12 11:29 pm (UTC)
capriuni: Text: If you want to be a Hero, be Good to the Storyteller. (Default)
From: [personal profile] capriuni
...And, of course, once I made that claim, I had to double check to see if I remembered correctly. I mostly did. This page gives an overview of of all the different variations on witchballs, fairy balls, and gazing balls.

Some of the uses are magical, and some are more practical (such as scaring predators away from your garden's ornamental fish pond).

And then, there's the giant version of the same idea in Chicago, by Anish Kapoor (Yeah, that guy).

Not only won't they harbor mosquitoes, but since they're elevated, it's a more universal design.


Date: 2017-05-13 03:39 am (UTC)
sanguinity: woodcut by M.C. Escher, "Snakes" (Default)
From: [personal profile] sanguinity
Gazing balls freak me the fuck out. But that's because my first introduction to the objects was Patricia Clapp's Jane-Emily, in which a malicious ghost is trapped in a gazing ball and... You know, I don't remember what it does. I only remember that gazing balls freak me the fuck out.

Date: 2017-05-13 10:43 am (UTC)
capriuni: Text: If you want to be a Hero, be Good to the Storyteller. (Default)
From: [personal profile] capriuni
Completely understandable. *nods*

Date: 2017-05-12 08:19 pm (UTC)
hollymath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hollymath
My mom loves these things. She used to have tons, but that was like ten or fifteen years ago. I think there might still be one or two in their yard though. And yeah, that's Minnesota, so might explain local ubiquity.

Date: 2017-05-12 11:32 pm (UTC)
capriuni: Text: If you want to be a Hero, be Good to the Storyteller. (Default)
From: [personal profile] capriuni

Date: 2017-05-13 08:19 am (UTC)
hollymath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hollymath
Ha! I think my mom brings the holders as well as the globes inside in winter.

Date: 2017-05-13 03:10 am (UTC)
julian: Picture of Julian Street. (Default)
From: [personal profile] julian
I've seen them mostly at lawn stores, but as far as I know no one in my neighborhood has any. (I'm in Boston.)

I don't see much point to them, but on the other hand, shiny iridescent things are nice, so why not?
Edited Date: 2017-05-13 03:11 am (UTC)

Date: 2017-05-14 04:54 pm (UTC)
wohali: photograph of Joan (Default)
From: [personal profile] wohali has a reasonable summary of their history. I remember them from friends' summer homes in Wisconsin and Illinois where most people said "We've had it for years" and "It's just an ornament," so I'm guessing the folk history of them as witch or spirit stoppers may not be a universal truth - though it is very interesting!


jesse_the_k: Macro photo of left eye of my mostly black border collie mutt (Default)
Jesse the K

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