Pretty pesky poltergeists? Or maybe it’s just carbon monoxide

girl in carbon monoxide smoke

Haunted By Carbon Monoxide

Carrie Poppy believed she was being haunted by an evil spirit.  She visited an occult bookstore and when she came home she got spooked. She was living in a guest house that was old and hadn’t had the best upkeep over the years. That night she got a feeling like she was being watched. She told herself not to be silly but the feeling persisted. As she lay in bed she got a feeling of pressure in her chest and a certain disquiet like when you have gotten some bad news. The pressure got stronger and came back that night and the night after that. And over the course of that week, this feeling got worse and worse, and she started to become convinced that something was there in her little guest house, haunting. When she left during the day the feeling would go. But when she came home the feeling would return. Then it escalated, she started to hear sounds that shouldn’t have been there. A “whoosh,” kind of whisper, like something passing through me. She called her best friend, 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 her friend said “I don’t think you’re crazy. I think you just need to do a cleansing ritual.”

So she tried it. She went to the store and bought some sage and tried to tell the ghost to go away. She said, “Go away! This is my house! I live here. You don’t live here!” But the feeling stayed. Nothing got better. And then she felt like the ghost in addition to haunting her also probably didn’t respect her because the ritual hadn’t worked and she lost any credibility she may have had with the ghost. You know like when your kids figure out that they can ignore you with impunity because there are no consequences? No, just me?

Every day she would come home and sit in bed and cry. The feeling her chest got worse, physically painful. She even tried get a diagnosis of schizophrenia so at least there would be medicine (the doctor declined because she wasn’t schizophrenic). So she did what every hauntee does and she jumped online and looked up real life ghostbusters or skeptics. She reached out to these puncturers of paranormal phenomenon and asked “OK, smart guys, this is what’s happening to me, and if you have an explanation for me, I would love to hear it.”

And one of them said, “OK. Um, have you heard of carbon monoxide poisoning?”

Poppy said, “Carbon monoxide poisoning is when you have a gas leak leaking into your home. She 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, she called the gas company. She 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.”

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.” The levels of this odorless, invisible gas were at dangerous levels. They fixed the furnace gas piping and the ghost disappeared for good.

How can I protect myself and my family from carbon monoxide poisoning?

Every house should install a least on carbon monoxide detector per household, near the sleeping area. Gas appliances should be serviced yearly by a qualified service technician. Stove burners should be cleaned and adjusted to minimize the amount of carbon monoxide produced. Before making changes to a house that might affect the ventilation of fuel-burning appliances, contact your Boer Brothers Heating and Cooling. When replacing heating appliances, purchase appliances designed to reduce dangers from carbon monoxide, such as sealed combustion gas furnaces, direct vent gas fireplaces, or induced draft gas water heaters.Other Signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may include:

  • Dull headache.
  • Weakness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Confusion.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Loss of consciousness.

Learn More about Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carry Poppy tells her story on the TED Stage (if you haven’t checked out the Ted Podcasts yet you are  in for a treat)