TED talk: Carrie Poppy: A scientific approach to the paranormal
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
TEDxVienna · Filmed October 2016 · 13:37
0:11 Eight years ago, I was haunted by an evil spirit.
0:19 I was 25 at the time, and I was living in a tiny house behind someone else's house in Los Angeles. It was this guest house, it had kind of been dilapidated, not taken care of for a long time. And one night, I was sitting there and I got this really spooky feeling, kind of the feeling like you're being watched. But no one was there except my two dogs, and they were just chewing their feet. And I looked around. No one was there. And I thought, OK, it's just my imagination. But the feeling just kept getting worse, and I started to feel this pressure in my chest, sort of like the feeling when you get bad news. But it started to sink lower and lower and almost hurt.
1:15 And over the course of that week, this feeling got worse and worse, and I started to become convinced that something was there in my little guest house, haunting me.
1:29 And I started to hear these sounds, this "whoosh," kind of whisper, like something passing through me. I called my best friend, Claire, and said, "I know this is going to sound crazy, but, um ... I think there's a ghost in my house, and I need to get rid of it." And she said — she's very open-minded — and she said, "I don't think you're crazy. I think you just need to do a cleansing ritual."
2:06 "So get some sage and burn it, and tell it to go away."
2:14 So I said, "OK," and I went and I bought sage. I had never done this before, so I set the sage on fire, waved it about, and said, "Go away! This is my house! I live here. You don't live here!" But the feeling stayed. Nothing got better. And then I started to think, OK, well now this thing is probably just laughing at me, because it hasn't left, and I probably just look like this impotent, powerless thing that couldn't get it to go away.
2:47 So every day I'd come home and you guys, this feeling got so bad that — I mean, I'm laughing at it now — but I would sit there in bed and cry every night. And the feeling on my chest got worse and worse. It was physically painful. And I even went to a psychiatrist and tried to get her to prescribe me medicine, and she wouldn't just because I don't have schizophrenia, OK.
3:21 (Laughter) So finally I got on the internet, and I Googled "hauntings." And I came upon this forum of ghost hunters. But these were a special kind of ghost hunters — they were skeptics. They believed that every case of ghosts that they had investigated so far had been explained away by science. And I was like, "OK, smart guys, this is what's happening to me, and if you have an explanation for me, I would love to hear it."
3:54 And one of them said, "OK. Um, have you heard of carbon monoxide poisoning?"
4:03 And I said, "Yeah. Like, gas poisoning?"
4:11 Carbon monoxide poisoning is when you have a gas leak leaking into your home. I looked it up, and the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include a pressure on your chest, auditory hallucinations — whoosh — and an unexplained feeling of dread. So that night, I called the gas company. I said, "I have an emergency. I need you to come out. I don't want to get into the story now, but I need you to come out."
4:45 They came out. I said, "I suspect a gas leak." They brought their carbon monoxide detector, and the man said, "It's a really good thing that you called us tonight, because you could have been dead very soon."
5:00 Thirty-seven percent of Americans believe in haunted houses, and I wonder how many of them have been in one and how many of them have been in danger.