Researched and written by Roger Lau
Edited and co-written by Eugene Tay
One of the most popular saying in Asian superstitions is that strange smell at night is a definite sign that ghosts are around. Superstitious belief from the Malay community states that the arrival of the Pontianak is usually proceeded by a strong floral scent, specifically, the frangipani flower. When the ghost is a malicious one or when the Pontianak is about to attack, the smell will turn into something extremely foul like that of rotting garbage.
Even in western paranormal culture, foul smell is an indication that a spirit is nearby. When you smell sulfur, it probably means the entity is demonic in nature. That belief probably came from the Christian identification that hell is made up of fire and brimstone. Brimstone is the synonym of sulfur.
Of all the evidence that Paranormal investigators try to capture, smell is the only component that is impossible to record. However smell is still one of the most important and foremost part of an investigation and investigators will mention that experience on camera. While still very much a personal experience, a supernatural scent usually appears differently to different people but at the same time.
These odors sometimes tell a story, putting a time stamp upon a life that once lived. Yet, for whatever reason after death – do not depart...
Have you ever woken up to the smell of cooking, yet there are no one in the kitchen? Or, smelled a strong whiff of cologne or perfume in the air when being the only one in the house? Had the odor of flowers, and you have no plants in the home? Or perhaps the smell of wet animal fur, much like after a bath, when there are no longer any animals in the residence? If so, you may very well have had a paranormal encounter; and not even aware it has happened.
Unexplained smells from reported experiences and incidents have included food cooking, tobacco (cigarettes, cigars) cologne, perfume, deodorant, hair spray, body odors and occasionally the smell of rotted meat or even decomposed animals. It is thought a house (or building) can literally absorb these past odors and replay them in short bursts at times. Skeptics will reason there’s nothing paranormal about it - there must be a scientific explanation behind it. That may be the case but..... these odors seem to always tie in with the deceased former resident and while that may be a simple coincidence, it's also harder to rule out the possibility of a paranormal phenomenon.
My mother was awakened once in the wee hours of the early morning by an overwhelming odor of what she described as “grandmotherly” perfume.
The smell emitted from inside her room and it was so dense that she almost got choke from it. And just as quickly, it suddenly disappeared. It was surely not the smell of any perfume she uses. And from our neighbor, we learned the first owner of our house had been an elderly lady. Coincidence? The skeptical side of me would like to think so, but yet, I have my nagging suspicions.
My father died in 2012, passing away on a armchair in our living room. When he was around he literally farted a lot. Silent but deadly; but we still loved him. After his death – for many months – this fart smell would suddenly surface, and then just as suddenly disappear. Coincidence? An old memory perhaps?
Had my dad chose not to leave? Did he even have a choice in the matter? Is he still around watching us? I don’t know. Most of what we believe in the supernatural field is made up of what we want and choose to believe.
Will paranormal research and science be able to prove this occult gray areas? One day, perhaps, but I expect it to be for many more years to come. Paranormal odors are just another piece to complete the puzzle.
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