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Olfactory And Tactile Ghost?


This experience is something that I personally feel was paranormal, but I wonder sometimes, knowing that the power of suggestion is a very strong and real thing.

In 2002, my father passed away. The two of us were never close; in fact, for most of my life we were constantly fighting over his drinking and the generally abusive atmosphere of the home.

A year after his death, I was slowly beginning to look into forgiveness. Being a (frustrated and unpublished) writer, I decided to write about our relationship. I wrote about how he seemed to be seeking a positive relationship toward the end of his life, and how I wished he might have lived a bit longer to see if we could ever be cordial with each other.

I was quite lost in thought while writing, sitting at my computer long after everybody had gone to bed.

While he was alive, my father (there's no delicate way to put this) had a very particular odor about him. He was a very large man, overweight, and loved strong foods like gourmet cheeses and sausages. He ate so much of them that he literally carried the odor of garlic/sausage with him if he had not showered. He also sweated profusely due to his size, and his general body odor had taken on a strange smell after a round of chemotherapy. I know this sounds gross, but I just want to make it clear that he had a VERY distinctive smell. All the things I just mentioned were always lingering underneath his cologne. I have never smelled anybody since with the same odor.

Due to his excessive sweating, if you walked by him in our narrow hallway, you could actually feel a moistness or humidity coming off him. Again, I'm sorry this sounds so gross, but it relates to my experience. I can still remember the combination of moisture and odor when walking past him; it was akin to a very brief garlicky sauna.

Back to my story. Although most of you have probably guessed it by now. As I sat at the computer, lost in thought but very much awake, I was startled to smell and feel that odor and humidity pass behind me. It was extremely real, as though he had literally just walked behind my chair. It was gone in an instant, and even though I checked all the downstairs rooms, I couldn't find any source. Nobody had cooked with garlic or sausage that day, and it was during winter in northern Minnesota, so humidity was a joke.

I ended up turning on every light and calling my mom because it shook me up so badly. She is open-minded and conceded that maybe he had been there. Why he would choose to show himself in a rather unpleasant manner is beyond me.

Has anybody else experienced anything like this? I've read of olfactory (smell) apparitions before, but never read a contemporary account of one. This has never happened since, by the way.

Also, please don't take my admission of being a wannabe writer as a bad thing. This story (and others I will post) are one hundred percent true. If I was going to make something up, I would put it in my file of many many fictional tales that someday will make me rich, ha-ha. I wouldn't disrespect any of you with fiction. I only mentioned that I am a writer to make the act of sitting down and writing about my father a little more understandable.

Comments very welcome!

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Phobic1981, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

dreamergal72 (6 stories) (793 posts)
12 years ago (2010-02-21)
Hi Its good to be writer. Also Yes I did smell same oder even in my bedroom I was playing on my computer all I smell is smoke "Cigarette" and though really wasn't him I mean my father he died in april 2, 1990 when I was 17. Nobody not surpose to smoke in the house here so to your story I am sure it sound like it your dad visiting and maybe try to ask for his forgivin.
torabla (1 stories) (9 posts)
12 years ago (2010-02-08)
Thank you for sharing. Maybe he was there to let you know things are okay between both of you and not to worry to much no matter what he knows you love him. If writing things down will put closure to your relationship with him. He is near you and always will be letting you know he understands you. My father passed away on 11/17/09 and I too had a similiar experience of smelling his odor in my kitchen for one quick second it was amazing how quickly it happened. I also had a feeling of satisfication that he is okay...
Phobic1981 (2 stories) (14 posts)
12 years ago (2010-02-07)
Hey guys... To Jennifer, just keep your head up and get through it...don't let it drag you down, like I almost did. You'll be out and on your own soon. Best wishes for what I know is a horrible situation.

To PsuedoHuman...that's pretty cool! I've heard of scents/aromas like that indicating a haunting before, that's why this experience freaked me out. I still wonder though, of all the smells that would have been obvious (he always wore the same cologne and aftershave, and he chain-smoked cigars) why something so icky? Oh well, I guess that one'll never be answered.
PseudoHuman (2 stories) (7 posts)
12 years ago (2010-02-06)
I had somewhat of a similar experience. I stayed in a hotel for a week a few years back and everytime I would get on the elevator I would smell Chanel no 5 which has a very distinct smell. It would be strong, nearly overwhelming but my friends would not be able to smell anything. I thought I was crazy until I happened to mention it to an employee of the hotel and he said he has been told the exact same thing over the years by a few people. I know the hotel was frequented by old Hollywood stars, from Marilyn Monroe to Humphrey Bogart. I wonder if it was the scent of an old star!
Jennifer92392 (1 posts)
12 years ago (2010-02-06)
I have the same father as you do. He is abusively making the atmosphere abusive. He does drink as you said and we fight a lot. And your story is awsome!
Phobic1981 (2 stories) (14 posts)
12 years ago (2010-02-06)
Wow thanks everybody for reading... I thought most would read a few lines of this one and go...Uh...ick...she's nuts. So thank you, and thanks for validating my initial impressions about the experience. I have sat and talked to him, usually at night while praying, and while I've never smelled anything since, I do feel a very peaceful sense of closure regarding our difficult relationship.

To Fashionista: good luck on your writing as well, even if nothing ever sells I get lot of relief just from getting all the weird stories out of my head haha. And to answer your question, this happened in a house that my father had never lived in, it was actually my maternal grandparents' house which is detailed more in my other post on this site. So no chance of his odor seeping into the walls, though I know that can definitely happen.

Thanks again to all!
aussiedaz (18 stories) (1523 posts)
12 years ago (2010-02-05)
I agree with the others, it was your father he would be glad that you acknowledge him, I feel there, s a lot you want to tell him and writing your story is a way you can, let him know how you feel, I hope you find peace in your heart and forgive him,i'm sure through his faults deep down in his heart he loves you, try talking to him, even though you may not hear a reply he will be listening, take care.
Fashionista777 (4 stories) (57 posts)
12 years ago (2010-02-05)
First of all I would like to say that I don't discount your story AT ALL because you are a struggling writer. As a matter of fact, when you used the phrase "wannabe writer," I laughed out loud, and actually signed up on this website just so I could post this to you. I've wanted to write my entire life, so I know exactly how you feel, and just how frustrating it can be. I guess now that I'm signed up, I'll start submitting some of my own weird experiences.
Anyway, as far as the olfactory haunting, I do believe that you really did smell your father, although I'm sure there would have been a less disturbing way to know your dad's still thinking of you, like in a dream or something. You said that you called your mother and told her about it. Do you still live in the same house that your dad lived in, or do you live in another house entirely? I know that smells can sometimes embed themselves in the walls and come out on occasion, like the smell of cigarette smoke. If he ever lived in the house with you, and maybe the day you smelled him was on an extremely hot day, that is conceivable, although not extremely likely. Anyhow, that was an interesting story. Good luck on your writing, and God bless you.
moonshadow (3 stories) (146 posts)
12 years ago (2010-02-05)
Hi phobic1981.
Yes I would definetley say that this was your father iv had some olfactory experiances myself over the years but unfortunatley with me I never seem to have taken the time to ask if someone was there I just smell it and just carry on and do whatever I was going to do allthough I suppose we all have a fear when it happens a fear of the unknown the crazy thing is it's a familier smell of someone that we did know and we shouldent have a fear of our loved ones they are probabley confused as to why we are affraid of them as allthough they haved passed over they still see us the same way as when they were here when they come in visitation and they all do from time to time. Having said all that your father does love you and he wants you to forgive him for all the sorrow his drinking caused and id say he is sorry for it all too. Maybe you should sit in a quiet spot at home soon and talk to him and tell him this he will probabley come to you if you do this and let you know that he is sorry too don't have any fear of doing this if you do it and I hope all goes well for you and may the light of the great spirit shine upon you allways. Keep me posted...
cosmogal926 (9 stories) (1223 posts)
12 years ago (2010-02-05)
Hi Phobic1981, I would definitely say that what you experienced was your father standing behind you. Most likely he was interested in what you were writing about him. I understand what you are saying about identifying a person by their scent. My grandfather used moth balls in all his drawers and closests. All of his clothes smelled like them, and he carried that scent everywhere. He passed away about 20 years ago, but I know when he is around me because out of nowhere I will smell moth balls. Thank you for sharing your story. Take care 😊

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