Does this spirit smell stale to you?

If there’s one thing we can all agree on as investigators, it’s that some of us smell things that turn out to be “signs” of spirit presences.  We don’t know how.  We don’t always know why.  But we do know it happens.  Sometimes we may be told that a certain smell is attributed to a certain spirit, and this can help us make sense of the situation, but the depth of truth to how this “fact” was determined is often times a mystery to investigators.  I mean, unless you have a photo of a person surrounded by whatever the smell is, which is associated with a particular spirit – say, roses – and you have some other form of overwhelming degree of evidence that would strongly suggest this spirit is associated with roses, then I’m not sure any other explanation of their association to this smell would be anything more than conjecture.  But hey, that’s the ‘skeptic’ side of what I bring to an investigation.

My deal, with smelling ‘signs of spirit presences’ during an investigation is that not everyone always smells the same thing.  And if I smell flowers and no one says anything, and then I say “does anyone smell that?”, and everyone stops to take a purposeful pause to see if they do … which results with them admitting they do – then did I cause them to think they smell the same smell I do?  Because otherwise, why wouldn’t they have said something on their own?

I’m like that, though.  I’ll smell something, or see something, and not say anything for a period of time while I watch members to see if anyone is reacting to what I’m observing.  Because my interest isn’t purely in the smell.  It’s in the entire phenomena of what happens after I say I’ve smelled something that doesn’t seem to belong.  See, smelling something that isn’t present can actually be an indication of a completely personal experience, or even a medical issue within the initial observer’s brain.  And, for a group of people who are very open to the possibility of paranormal activity, they are also very likely to be easily influenced into smelling something they aren’t really smelling.  Kind of like a mini “mass hysteria” or “mass hypnosis” type of event.

The scenario raises many questions.  Is the smell really there?  Is it there for only the person who initially smelled it, or the people who volunteered they smelled it before anyone could influence their experience?  Is the smell there and the others simply didn’t notice until someone “said it out loud”?  That happens in real life, so we have to consider it as a possibility when we’re investigating.

The phenomena is called “phantom smells” but I have to be honest, I think there are times when there’s something else at work, and it’s not so much “paranormal” as it is “(para)psychological”.  What are your thoughts on phantom smells?

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