Carrie Poppy was 25 years old and she had just moved into a small, dilapidated house in LA.
On her first night there, she had a sense of foreboding, she could feel someone watching her.
It was so threatening she developed a physical pressure in her chest.
Then she began hearing sounds, things whooshing past her head.
She knew the house must be possessed.
She dreaded going back to it, and cried herself to sleep every night.
Eventually she told a friend what was happening.
The friend suggested a ‘cleansing ritual’.
Carrie should burn sage while demanding the spirit leave her house.
So she burnt the sage and ordered the spirit out.
But it became worse than ever, clearly she’d just angered the spirit.
Eventually in desperation she turned to the internet.
She googled “ghosts”.
One of the sites that came up was a group of sceptics: ghost hunters.
Carrie was at the point where she’d try anything.
So she explained to someone at the site what was happening.
Their response wasn’t what she expected.
They asked her to look up carbon monoxide poisoning.
At first she was angry, what the hell did that have to with ghosts?
But what she found shook her.
The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning were: pressure on the chest (which she had), auditory hallucinations (which she had), and an unexplained feeling of dread (which she had).
Still not sure what to make of it, she reported it to the gas board who sent a technician straight round to check.
After the inspection he said “It’s lucky you called us, this leak could have killed you.”
She didn’t have a ghost, she had carbon monoxide poisoning.
That was a life-changing event for Carrie.
She became an investigative reporter specialising in the spiritual and the paranormal.
From her experience she decided there are two kinds of truth: an Inner Truth and an Outer Truth.
The Inner Truth is what we believe to be true, often with our whole being.
The Outer Truth is what is rationally, provably real.
Which is why we have to keep an open mind for the possibility that, much as we believe something, it may not be the real truth.
In our business, we often fall into this mindset.
We believe the truth is big data, or programmatic, or storytelling, or native advertising, or social media, or whatever the current fad is.
And no matter how often our Inner Truth was proved false before, we can’t accept the possibility that it might be false again.