The Psychic Sense of Smell

Juxtaposition of light and dark:   Magnolia and wisteria.   Photo copyright by Lorna Tedder, all rights reserved.

“I smell Granddaddy!”

She was visibly upset.  She’d walked into a room in the house where I grew up, presumably after Grandma’s brownies or see where my mom was, and she’d smelled my dad’s scent heavy in the air.  It’s been a long time since any of us smelled his particular scent but she recognized it right away.  Not in a bad or ominous way…just a signature of energy.

I didn’t tell her that the exact spot where she noted the scent was the spot where he died more than three years ago.

Most people think of intuition and psychic abilities as being expressed through seeing something, some form of energy.  For me, I’ve always been able to feel it and occasionally an image will form in my head as a metaphor.  For a long time, I felt deficient because so many of my friends saw The Dead, or auras, or other energies.  I have on occasion heard them, but not in any reliable sort of way.  Smell? That’s the strangest to me.

A clairvoyant woman I was friends with for many years used to sense her mother near, and would then smell carnations.   She didn’t, to my knowledge, ever see her mother but she smelled her scent, sometimes waking to it in the middle of the night.  Another woman would swear her father was nearby because she’d smell his cherry tobacco when there was no cherry tobacco anywhere for miles.

I’ve had this happen more than once myself.  Sometimes others smell it, too, and then it’s gone.  It doesn’t stay for long but the memories conjured are deep.  I don’t often have this happen with The Dead but with people in danger or far away or focused on me.  I will often hear later of some trouble they were in at that time or that they were thinking of me.

Although no one has ever been allowed to smoke in my house, I occasionally smell Marlboro cigarettes in my house, just a whiff and then gone.  Both my daughters have smelled it at the same time.  Sometimes, I will smell Bill’s Polo cologne even after all these years.  I will follow it through the house searching for the source and it seems to come out of nowhere and stay confined to a particular area with no explanation.  I have smelled F-15 jet grease in Todd’s hair and the antiseptics on Frank’s hands after a shift at the ER.  A whiff and then gone.  This week alone, I have been in my car, just me, and suddenly smelled the nicotine-laced perspiration that was peculiar to Justin and, soon after, a cologne-and-skin scent I haven’t smelled since I was last in Southern California.

I’ve always had a “sensitive nose.”  During my pregnancies, I could smell a cigarette smoker in a car two vehicles ahead of me, with their windows and mine rolled up and my vent recirculating air from within.  Typically, I can smell it one car-length ahead.  Then again, these are real and present odors, not some olfactory flash of energy.

I have no idea what the connection is, but thus far, it’s only to the living.  There’s a sense of intimacy to me with these smells, and on some level I do find it disturbing, especially when I no longer wish any contact with that person.   It doesn’t last long, and though it rarely feels dangerous or upsetting, I find it’s best to burn incense in my home to mask whatever fragrant energies are thinking of me.

Flying By Night novel


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