Pulling up in front of Malone Mills’ new home in Brentwood, I almost feel sorry for her. Tucked away up a long and winding canyon road, the house’s facade borders the street closely and is barrack-like in its simplicity – almost ominous. One would think that a cast off from society lived here, someone who didn’t like the world. High up and narrow windows with shutters half way tilted run along the top of the wall near the gutters. I knew Malone Mills better, though, than to judge the book of her house by its cover. Although I had only met her three times (and of course we are friends on Facebook), I already knew that nothing about Malone Mills is what it appears to be. She herself is cloaked in an air of mystery, colored by the timeless. Her pale eyes are nearly colorless with only a drop of grey-blue, her features fine and pretty. Starring in her homemade videos, she flits between classical beauty and horrifying spectre, her face and body registering the roller coastery emotional passages of the human equation. Her vids were not the subject of our talk, though: I had come to speak to her about her Orb photographs, a show which recently closed at Laurie Frank’s Gallery at Santa Monica’s Bergamot Station.

I ring the bell. Malone answers and smiles, her pale eyes shining. She has a streak of black on one side of her head, her hair a color not quite white, blonde, or pink, but somehow a combo of all three, pulled back. She is slender but not weak. There is a steel caliber strength about her.

Malone swings the door open and inside is just what I expected: the complete opposite of the drab exterior of the house. It’s an oasis of modern, mostly white furniture, shiny dark wood floors and huge photographs of her orbic adventures, hanging on all-white walls. Mag-worthy, this new homestead of hers. There are two outdoor patios, and an overhanging tree with petals shaped like bright red alien penises dangling from the branches, as well as artistically scattered on the ground. Woven straw cushions surround an infinity pool that peeks over the edge of the canyon. It’s a little byte of paradise behind the barrack wall, inhabited by artists and children. Birds flutter and call while Malone’s conspicuously cute writer boyfriend, Greg, reads a book he’s trying to option. It feels as if there’s something unexplainable hanging in the air, something about to burst. What could it be? Perhaps, in that vast Invisible, a party of congenial Orbs is in full swing, or an amorphous blob of exploding ectoplasm – the primary matter of the universe- is about to consume the bedroom. Who knows? It’s Malone Mills’ house. Anything could happen. I mentally take out my eyeballs and polish them up for the possibility of beholding the little known world that surrounds the grosser obvious to which we are accustomed.

Malone pours two Perriers and we tour the house, which continues to be nothing like its first impression. She is recently moved here after her year ago separation from her husband, a television writer. She lives here with her son Lucien, 11, and precocious 7 year old daughter, Zola. Their rooms are colorful and whimsical, art and photographs everywhere.

“You have to see my books,” Malone says, so I go to the bookcase to peek at what she calls the “Spiritual Nuttiness Reading List, Part One.” This includes many books that contain the word ‘secret’ in their titles, among them The Secret Doctrine, by Madame H. Blavatsky and The Ancient Secret of the Flower of Life, Volume 2, by Drunvalo Melchizadek. There’s Coming Back to Life, by the Queen of Near Death Experiences, PMH Atwater, and The Master Alchemist, by Fulcanelli. Power Vs. Force, by David Hawkins. Coming to Our Senses, Jo Kabat-Zinn. Michael Bernard Beckwith’s Spiritual Liberation. The Secret Teachings of All Ages, by Manley Hall. The Power of Your Subconscious Mind. No More Secrets No More Lies. Atlantis Rising. And so on. Malone Mills dances her vampirey dance in the Realms of Spirit. Need I say more?

Well, yes because we want to know about Orbs. So we sit down, and though we are often tangentially tempted, and we do indulge, I try to track and wrangle the mystery of the Orbs and the mystery of the Orb Finder in one sitting. At various times, Malone snacks on Goldfish (not the kind in the water bowl), pretzels, the large size of Smarties (heartily recommended), and alternately smokes numerous cigarettes. “I’m not interested in food,” she says, and her boyfriend pops in for a minute to verify “She hasn’t eaten anything today.” Apparently, this Wizardess has managed to find a boyfriend who cooks for her, which confirms her supernatural powers in my book.

Sea: First of all I want to apologize for any questions that I am about to ask that you’ve already been asked a thousand times.

Malone: No problem.

Sea: Malone Mills – the name rings a bell – where are you from? Who is this Malone Mills?

Malone: (Provocatively, with a little vamp thrown in) Do you really want to know? Chattanooga, Tennessee. My grandfather was Olan Mills, the portrait guy. We had portrait photography studios. And he and my Grandmother Mary started in a shed in their backyard and then it grew to be the largest studio in America, until competition and the advent of the digital age. My Dad and my Uncle ran the company and we were always getting our pictures taken, so I grew up around all that.

Sea: What do you think is the Chatanooga or Tennesseen influence on you? Is there one? That Southern mystique. ‘Cause you have that mystery about you.

Malone: I don’t think it comes from the South.

Sea: Well, where does it come from? Is it your Vampiric background? Because I do see you (cockney accent here) as a bit of a Renaissance Vampire.

Malone: You do?

Sea: Before I got here I said that to myself. I don’t mean Vampire in a negative way, I mean it in a romantic way.

Malone: Because they’ve been around since the beginning of time.

Sea: Yes. You have that timeless quality. Which is interesting because your photographs of the orbs mix 2 worlds, really. Modern, and spiritual. But you would say…

Malone: Visible and Invisible. I call it Po-Co, Post Contemporary.

Sea: But you’re a modern Vampire.Your skin is so white. Are you a Vampire?

Malone: I’m not really a Vampire. I just keep Vampire hours.

Sea: Did you sleep last night?

Malone: I went to bed at 4 AM. I find that the energy is totally different than during the day. There’s a less frenetic kind of chaos. So it’s clearer when everyone else is asleep. I just read that the priests back in the day would also stay up all night because they would get a clearer channel.

Sea: Is that what you’re trying to do?

Malone: I always felt that it’s calm and serene at night and during the day you have all the other people’s energy muddying the stream.

Sea: Just tell me, for God’s sake, what are these Orbs?

Malone: I think they are energy/spirit of some sort. I don’t think they’re ghosts but I think it’s more than just energy, as in the usual 3D definition of energy. I tend to lean towards it being more spiritual energy. I think they’re good; benevolent, kind, friendly.

S: You mean they’re like Casper, the friendly ghosts?

M: Exactly.

S: But they’re not ghosts.You think they only come out at night, or are they always there? Are they perceivable at all to the naked eye?

M: I think that they are around all the time and I’ve read that some people can see them with the naked eye.

S: The other night I was with a date and he said that he could see them with his naked eye. I told him to go ahead but he said “I don’t want to open it right now,” as if the Third Eye was some kind of magical yet loaded aperture, and there’d be hell to pay for the opening of it.

M: Come to the Mothership!

Malone pulls me over to the Mothership- a big wooden desk upon which sits the large screened computer – to open a photo of a man who is reclining on a couch with his dog. Before she pulls it up she tells me he had been taking care of his Mother, who had recently passed away, and he was feeling deeply depressed. She pops the photo open on the screen. The figure of the man is completely doused in white light. I can only recognize his legs, below the knees, as evidence of a human form. It’s essentially an outline of a human being, shrouded in bursting light. We look at each other silently. Then she shows me a photo of a healer in front of whom is suspended, in mid air, what looks like a spikey Christmas ball of light. Hanging just in front of the seated cross legged figure, and as plain as the proverbial nose on your face, an Orb is as clearly there as if it were a mini disco ball. But with pointy spokes of white, green, blue and yellow light emanating outward, hovering in front of the healer who, Malone says, was calling them in at the time. Intention seems to figure into the Orb Equation.

S: What do people usually ask about them? Give me a list of questions.

Malone: “What are they?”

S: And they defer to you like you know.

M: Exactly, and I don’t know. I can’t tell you for sure. I can just tell you what I think.

S: But Malone, they do appear for you and not for everyone else. Though I do know friends who photograph them, they don’t show up the way they do for you. Do you go looking for them? Or how do you account for the way they show up en masse like that?

M: My intention when I first learned about them…

S: ‘Them’ …

M: Right! I just had the intention to go out and photograph Orbs. It was on Thanksgiving, how many years ago now- 2006.

S: They’re, like, dancing for you!

M: I took a couple of shots and there was nothing there. Then on the 3rd or 4th shot, there they were. And I continued to take pictures every night for a year. Every night. Sometimes after everyone went to bed, in the middle of the night. Hence, they are responsible for the sleeping disorder.

S: Bad Orbs! When you say intention …

M: I think there’s something about focusing, having the intention strongly, and doing it consecutively every day and night. The more you photograph them, the more they show up. So, now they’re good friends of mine.

S: You don’t think the same ones follow you, right? They are different in every place?

M: They are different in each place. A good friend of mine told me that I was the Ambassador to the Orbs, ushering them in to the dawn of the New Age. (Laughs diabolically)

S: I thought that too! Because they have an understanding of your background and how important photography is to you. That it’s in the DNA of your structure.

M: That it’s in my soul. And that I would get it (the phenomenon) out there and seen publicly. There are other people like Micaela Ledwith, who is in “What the Bleep,” and he did a study of them. He took thousands of photos of them, as have I, but no one has seen his pictures because he didn’t turn it into Art. Whereas mine, – I wouldn’t say they (the photos) are in the main stream, but more people are exposed to my images. Not just people who saw “What the Bleep” get to see them. I’m talking about the people who don’t necessarily believe that there’s anything else besides What They See, which is completely INSANE!

S: That the only thing we can believe is that which we can see? Is in the material?

M: Yeah! Insane! Crazy.

S: And not just crazy- it’s solipsistic.

M: If this is IT! Oh I’ve got to get all this STUFF because this is IT- stuff- yeah. The physical. They’re not looking at the spiritual, or they don’t see the spiritual.

S: What do you think is the camera’s part in all this? Are the Orbs using the camera as a means to…

M: I think we’ve gotten to the point in our evolution as a species that technology is advanced enough so that we have digital cameras. So we can see the phenomena around the same time. We as beings are more open to this sort of thing than we would have been a hundred years ago.

S: Yet, you always hear ghost stories- those have always been around.

M: Most people don’t believe in ghosts. It doesn’t cross their minds.

S: Unless they’ve had a first hand experience. Or know someone who has.

M: Every time I go out with my camera at night, no matter where I am, I get them (Orbs).

S: But these are populated areas?

M: Yeah. I do think it has something to do with me and my frequency or vibration. Resonating to the Mass Orb Community. (Laugh)

S: “Sing hail to the Queen of the Orbs” (ET voice)… So, Malone, ARE you the Ambassador of the Orbs?

M: Yes. I think they’re drawn to more positive, uplifting things than cemeteries or what-not. I tried to shoot in a cemetery in Aspen in the pitch black dark and our flashlights went out so we couldn’t see to shoot. I took pictures but it was so dark, it was freaky, and we ran. We had the dog with us and he helped us back. But I got some great pictures of Orbs once I got back to the house and everyone went to sleep. They tend to show up better when I am by myself than when I have a person with me. They were all over my In-Law’s house at Christmas, on the inside of the house, when I was taking pictures of everyone-

S: Just taking holiday photos?

M: Of the kids.

S: Is there a feeling to them?

M: It’s good. It’s positive.

S: I think they’re more like angelic-ish spirit.

M: The Orbs never appear to have bad energy to them. I got some weird stuff the year I shot every night that freaked me out…

S: Such as?

M: I’d be in the backyard taking pictures of Orbs and it wouldn’t be foggy or anything and I’d look on the screen at what came up and it would be totally white -ectoplasm- or something that wasn’t there with my naked eye.

S: I shot a vortex once.

M: You did?

S: In New Hampshire, at my friend’s house. The family’d been on that land for over 200 years. I thought that I had shot a clothesline spinning in the wind, but there was absolutely nothing there when I went back.

M: Ooo. I have chills.

At this point Malone takes me to the Mothership again to pull up the creepier goodies from her desktop. These are the photos she took during the year she shot every night. When she’d point the camera to catch Orbs, she’d later find a wall of white in the frame. When looking at the pictures on the desktop, the white revealed itself as amorphous shapes that sometimes appeared less than friendly. No Caspers here. Rather, menacing faces peek from the cloud like substance; the figure of a man flying upside down, a huge bunny consuming the side of the house. Looking at the photos, our backs went cold. We exchange a chilly glance.

S: Will you keep taking them?

M: Yes.

S: But what about the forays into the ectoplasmic matter that shows itself?

M: I’m not going to pursue the ecto.

S: Do you have a thought about where you’re going to shoot next?

M: No, because I just had a show (at Laurie Frank’s Frank Gallery). I’m about to sell a house, I have two kids, I’m working on a divorce. I have no idea what I’m up to next. I’ve been doing videos for a year. I’m doing a video for my friend Jeff Martin’s band ‘Idaho’ this summer. I’m really into that right now.

S: Who are you inspired by creatively?

M: If you see my videos, they’re such a collage – layer after layer – of everything, putting it all together. I don’t think I’m influenced by anyone whatsever to do my Orb work.

S: What kind of camera do you use?

M: A digital camera, with a flash. It may have something to do with the flash.

S: The camera itself is the only vessel through which this phenomena is revealed. They’re not choosing to be seen by the naked eye, or on video, but mostly through cameras, some digital, mostly with flash. Why would it only happen through the vessel of the camera?

M: Because we haven’t evolved to the extent that we’d be able to see other dimensions of space and time. The camera is an electronic eye of sorts, a mechanical appendage to our limited sight. It’s able to capture something that is invisible and spiritual, which we, as spiritual beings, will be able to see, or could see, but we just haven’t yet. The veil hasn’t lifted. Or it is lifting, but it ain’t done yet.

You can see Malone Mills’ photos and projects at http://www.MaloneMills.com

Sea Glassman is a filmmaker, director, painter and writer, including writer/editor of the forthcoming on-line Spirit and Arts Ragazine, Omvelope.