She kind of felt like she was trapped in her own mind. She could hear her heart pounding in her chest, beating a million miles per hour. Her hands were shaking, and feet were tingling. She had no idea what was happening, but she was starting to feel like she was going crazy. It was a big old blurry mess, kind of like she was watching a movie on TV. She needed help, and she needed help fast, but she would’ve never predicted what happened next.
One day, Jessie H. from Raleigh, NC, was making her way to her car when suddenly, she noticed someone behind her in the corner of her eye. When she turned around, she didn’t see anyone. It was as if the mysterious figure had completely disappeared. She grabbed her keys and held them tight. At least she’d be able to use them as a weapon if the situation called for it. What Jessie didn’t know was that she was her own worst enemy.
Finally, Jessie made it home. She wanted nothing more but to relax, calm down and drink some herbal tea. She noticed the kettle boiling, and right at that moment, the shadowy figure was right behind her again. She quickly turned around and panicked for a moment. Was there an intruder in her home? Jessie didn’t waste her time asking questions, and went on to look in every single room, just to make sure there was no one there. She went back to finish off her cup of tea. Now she was really concerned. So much so, she was breathing heavily, and digging her nails into her porcelain mug. Was she imagining it everything? But little did she know, the next few days would get even worse.
When Jessie woke up the next morning, she stumbled upon a little surprise. “I found a yellow Post-it note in a handwriting that wasn’t mine on my desk reminding me of some errands I had to do but told literally nobody about. While odd, I chalked it up to something I did in my sleep, thinking maybe in my half-awake state I scrawled it, so it didn’t appear to be my handwriting. I threw it out and thought little of it,” she explained on a Reddit post. She didn’t think much of it, and went about her day. But something made her go through the trash in order to find that mysterious Post-it.
The day was going smoothly up until this point, but that completely changed when she sat down in the living room to watch TV. She was watching a show until the show went for a commercial. Jessie decided to take a much-needed bathroom break, but when she went back to the living room, she was surprised to see the ads were still running. She took a peak at her phone and quickly realized that 20 minutes had gone by. “When I looked back at my phone, 20 minutes had gone by. I was like “What is going on?” she wondered. “I then started missing huge chunks of time when I swear that only minutes passed by.” What was going on? Was Jessie losing her mind?
Something was very wrong in Jessie’s life. All she could feel was a sharp pain, like pins and needles in her entire body. She was really confused about the entire situation. She kept wondering if perhaps, the stress had caught up with her. Maybe something was really wrong with her. That night, she finished having dinner, cleaned it all up and headed towards the bedroom. She was about to go to bed, when she felt the need to go through the trash again and find the Post-it. She snapped a photo of it so she wouldn’t forget about it. And documenting everything is what ended up helping her solve this puzzle.
Jessie had to get back to work the next day, and even though she couldn’t get her mind off of everything that’s been going on the past couple of days, she knew she needed to find a way to distract herself from the situation. She felt really scared when she walked to her car. She had this sinking feeling that something could go wrong. Before she could indulge in her fear, she saw it again. Whatever it was, she needed to focus on getting to the car. She knew there was something behind her, but whenever she turned around, it simply vanished. Maybe she was losing her mind. Jessie felt that if that was the case, she would need to ask for help, fast.
She was about to get off work. Jessie was feeling a bit calmer after she hadn’t experienced any weird encounters or visions. Whatever she kept seeing in the corner of her eyes wasn’t there anymore. She had finally made her way home, when suddenly, she opened the door only to see it. “I found another Post-it note on the back of my desk chair, in the same handwriting as the previous note, telling me to make sure I ‘saved my documents,'” Jesse explained. She completely lost it, as there were no signs that anyone had broken in. She needed to find whoever was writing these notes, fast! So she set up a webcam and started recording it all. But nothing is what it seems. Jesse was oh-so wrong!
As you can imagine, Jessie did anything but sleep hat night. She kept her phone close, just in case anything went wrong. As soon as she started dosing off, her alarm went off. It was time to get up. But Jessie felt strange. Still, she made her way towards the shower even though she was too lethargic. She checked her phone before getting in the shower. She didn’t want to be late. That’s when she realized that again, minutes had gone by and she had no idea how this kept happening to her. Bewildered and exhausted, she still showed up to work. But when she stepped foot at the office, she felt a sharp pain take over her whole body. She was blinded by a massive headache and she was starting to see colorful spots. All Jessie knew at that point was that she needed to run away. Little did she know that what was waiting for her out there was far worse.
Jessie told her boss that she was feeling indisposed, so she stepped outside, not knowing why. All she knew was that she needed to run away. The cold breeze helped appease her migraine, but then she smelled it. An acrid pungent smell took over. It was everywhere! She walked towards her vehicle. The rancid smell was so overpowering, that she covered her nose. Strangely enough, nobody seemed to smell it. She needed to rush back home, fast. But when she stepped inside of her home, she saw it again.
Sitting on top of her desk was a little Post-it note with something written on it. Our landlord isn’t letting me talk to you, but it’s important we do.” Now she was even more confused, but Jessie wasn’t about to sit still. She ran to check the webcam footage. If anyone had broken in, she’d finally have proof. But when she checked the folder where the footage would’ve been saved, there was nothing on it. Someone had deleted it. “They were just saved straight to a folder on my desktop called Webcam,” she explained on her post. Who would be sick enough to break into her home and play with her mind like this? At least now she knew her landlord was involved somehow…
Jessie felt the sweat pouring out of her, so she headed to the shower. She checked her iPad. It was 8:13 p.m. She had enough time to take a shower, so she played a song. She wanted to hurry up and get to work on time, but she also needed to wash away the sweat, the confusion, and the fear. “Okay I have to be out of the shower in the next 13 minutes,” she planned. “I listened to ONE song which was like 3 and a half minutes (it was a short song). Then I went to change the song, and it was 8:23 a.m.” What the heck was going on? “There was no way that 11 minutes went by when I only listened to a 3-and-a-half-minute song” She stepped out of the shower, and felt completely helpless. Who was playing mind games with her? Was there something wrong with her? She felt like she needed to try something else…
She kept playing every potential scenario in her head. She started breathing heavily, and feeling agitated. After all, she was feeling like she was losing her mind. She called her mom Debbie, but she didn’t reply. She kept calling and calling, but Debbie wasn’t picking up. She needed her mom badly. Still, no answer. She climbed on her bed, and curled in the fetal position. She couldn’t help but feel this sense of despair. She needed to vent, so she went on her computer and logged into Reddit. She wanted someone to listen to what she was going through. Little did she know, this would end up saving her life.
Jessie’s post started off with, “Some weird things have been happening to me recently. I don’t know if I’m losing my mind or what but for some time I’ve known that something is not right…” She went on to explain the situation in more detail. . “It all started about a month ago when I started always seeing stuff out of the corner of my eye. I could never tell what it was, but it was always something.” But by the time I turned my head to observe whatever it was, there would be nothing there. This would happen to me multiple times a day but has recently kind of stopped and has been followed by even more weird stuff.” She added, “I found a yellow Post-it note in a handwriting that wasn’t mine on my desk reminding me of some errands I had to do, but told literally nobody about.”
A few Redditors tried to help Jessie by offering a few potential hypotheses on what may have been going on. Some of them were really helpful, but other potential explanations scared her even more. “It’s possible that your landlord is leaving notes inside your apartment, but they don’t make any sense in the context you’re describing them. It’s likely that you are writing the notes yourself, but you are forgetting. Do you use Post-it notes as reminders in any other parts of your life or job ?” Jessie decided to call the police but they couldn’t do much about the situation without any proof. But what they did do is offer some sound advice. They told Jesse that she should visit a doctor and explain what was going on. And she did. It took a lot of courage, and she finally got the answers she wanted so badly. But she would’ve never guessed what was causing these strange occurrences.
When she stepped into the doctor’s office, she would’ve never imagined she’d finally get some real answers. She started telling him everything and pouring her heart out. He listened carefully, and offered some words of advise that took her by surprise. “Yes, this might be a mental health issue. You might be experiencing some sort of dissociative disorder. Or it might be a physical problem. You mentioned that you have a very unusual narrow bedroom with no windows; is there a chance that you are not getting enough ventilation when you sleep, or that there is a carbon monoxide leak in the building? A cheap CO detector is a fast way to find out. You’ll also have really bad headaches.” The doctor’s diagnosis made her question everything. She would’ve never imagined that all of her symptoms could be connected to carbon monoxide, so she bought a carbon monoxide detector. She didn’t imagine what the reading on the machine would say.
She headed to the store and got a CO detector. As soon as she got home, she plugged it in. Strangely enough, the machine wouldn’t stop beeping, and beeping. Perhaps, it was broken, so she went to the store to return it and get a new one. She explained her situation to the customer support rep, who offered an explanation that took her by surprise. “The machine beeps when it detects a high level of CO like a fire alarm would indicate when it detects smoke.” Jessie rushed back home and plugged it in again. This time, she wasn’t imagining things.
“Thanks to everyone who sent suggestions and advised how to proceed– especially to those who recommended a CO detector… because when I plugged one in in the bedroom, it read at 100ppm,” she commented on her Reddit thread. All of her strange visions and symptoms were directly related to CO poisoning. Had she never took to Reddit to ask for help, she probably would’ve never found the answer. People were fascinated by Jessie’s bizarre situation. Deborah Blum is the author of The Poisoner’s Handbook, and the director of the Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT. She’s also on Reddit which is how she got a hold of Jessie’s story. She explains that carbon monoxide poisoning fits her symptoms to a T. Low-grade monoxide poisoning also comes with an array of symptoms. “You might get headaches, you might feel a little groggier than usual. And depending on the chronic exposure, you can even become mentally-off, cognitively-impaired in some ways.” But why do people tend to hallucinate when they’ve been exposed to carbon monoxide? Blum explains that carbon monoxide poisoning deprives the brain of oxygen, so hallucinations are pretty common.
Jessie decided to phone the police to let them know about her diagnosis. They knew this was a major hazard that could potentially be deadly for anyone who’s come into contact with it. They found Jessie a place to stay and proceeded to quarantine her apartment. “Yes, the notes were real, I did write them, and I forgot! As for their being notes on all the doors– I went so far as to put notes on my neighbor’s door, but not much further than that. I was on a corner– above the garage– so I only had one neighbor, who had headaches and not much more,” she explained. “Actually, as it turns out, I never plugged it in. I just put it on a shelf, downloaded a webcam app to my phone, (which isn’t even compatible with an external webcam) and made a folder on my desktop called ‘WEBCAM’… then thought it was deleted when the folder was empty.”
Jessie followed up on her original post after a year and explained that she’s still recovering from it. “It’s been almost a year now. While four months ago, things were rough, I’ve definitely made a significant improvement, and currently, there’s little reason to doubt a full recovery within a year.” She added, “I’m much better in both mood and physical health– through in this situation, those aren’t exactly separate categories! I will say, though, I use a Moleskine notebook daily planner thing now. (I do keep busy! Important for mental health!) I’m kind of done with Post-it notes for a while!” “Overall, I’m happy,” she said on the post. Luckily for Jessie, her story has a real happy ending!