Once, my boss asked me to do an interview to a young doctor about his doctoral thesis. A complicated investigation, very specialised. The truth was that it was a compromise, because the doctor was the nephew of a very influential man with interests in the newspaper.
When I arrived to the lab, the young scientist recognised he was utterly surprised that a newspaper would show interest in his work. His investigation was rather specific and not easy to explain. I spent almost two hours listening to him talking about technical terms I hardly could understand, puzzled. Luckily, I had my recorder with me, and I taped the whole conversation to be able to write the interview accurately. I tried with my questions to get a plain explanation of the study, but it was in vain.
I was wondering what to do with the interview, because I really couldn’t see how to extract something of general interest of all that stuff. But I had to write something. I decided to write down our conversation and turned on the tape recorder, ready to spend hours transcribing a bunch of scientific jargon answers and try to make them understandable to my readers. When I hit the play button to reproduce the tape, I found in horror that all the interview was there, but backwards. It was something never happened to me before or after. I could hear our voices, but it was impossible to understand a word. It was like a dark spell.
I couldn’t trust my notes, and the doctor was not willing to repeat the interview, so it never was published no matter what the influential uncle would say.