Have you ever caught the waft of a scent that was out of place? Maybe the smell of a family recipe cooking while you’re at work, flowers as you drive down the highway in the middle of winter, a camp fire in the cereal aisle at the grocery store? You could be experiencing Clairalience, or the ability to smell odors that aren’t really there.
Those who are Clairsentient will often have this ability and many mediums use this ability to help identify loved ones who have passed. The smell of grandma’s perfume or dad’s pipe tobacco can help to quickly pinpoint someone who is coming through. Using our a scent is often the most effective way to let us know who they are, since our sense of smell is so tightly interwoven with our memories of people and places.
However, these odd smells that show up may not always be easily interpreted. I’ve had this ability as long as I can remember, although I didn’t realize until recently that it was Clairalience. I grew up believing that I was hyper-sensitive to scents, smelling the minutest odor that no one around me could detect (except maybe dogs).
I usually “walk through” these phantom smells. This happens to me at work quite a bit. I walk down the hall and pass through the aroma of pine needles. Memories of camping in the north woods, Christmases past, a farm in New York, all pass through my mind until I eventually settle on the memory that is the strongest. I usually spend a few moments figuring out why this memory is important to me in an effort to figure out who is sending me a message.
One of my co-workers is so used to these clairalient moments that she no longer bothers to get up and stand where I am to take a sniff.
“Do you smell vinegar?” I’ll ask.
“No,” she’ll smile. “And neither will anyone else.”
These happenings are usually light-hearted trips down memory lane, a hello from a passed loved one. Then I had a Clairalient experience that saved me from a life threatening event.
One day I noticed a pungent chemical smell in the pharmacy where I pick up all of my family prescriptions. I had been using this pharmacy for about a year and had never smelled this terrible stench before. Neither my husband, my son, nor anyone who worked in the pharmacy could smell it either. This was a new smell to me; no pleasant trips down memory lane here.
A month later I went back to the pharmacy and as soon as the doors opened that awful chemical smell hit me in the face. I felt sick to my stomach. I breathed through my mouth as I stood in line to get my prescription. Once I got to my truck I had to sit for a few minutes to let that nauseous feeling pass before I could drive home.
When I told my husband about it, he suggested they might be using a new product to clean the floors that I’m sensitive to. That sounded plausible.
As the months went on I started to avoid going to the pharmacy. I’d get my husband to pick up anything we needed, or if he couldn’t I would “forget” to go and do without my medication. It wasn’t just that the overpowering, sickening odor of the pharmacy was keeping me from getting (and taking) my medication. At some point, the medication itself made me sick.
This wasn’t a new medication for me, so I was puzzled. Maybe by some psychosomatic projection, I was associating the pharmacy smell now with the pills?
On an unrelated visit to my doctor, I happened to mention how the pills were making me feel ill. A look of concern washed over her face. My sudden reaction to my medication, combined with the symptoms that I was actually there to see her about, finally gave her the big picture. If I were to continue on with my current medication, I was putting myself at risk for a stroke. She had me stop taking the medication immediately.
I though back on the chemical smell in the pharmacy. It made me feel so ill I had actually stopped going there and had stopped taking the medication on my own two weeks ago anyway. Had that smell saved me from having a stroke?
After being off of the medication for a few months I went back to the pharmacy to pick up medication for my son because he had Strep Throat. Only after I left did I realize there had been no smell in the pharmacy. I went back in just to check. It was gone.
Possibly I’ll never have such a dramatic Clairalient experience ever again, but I have definitely changed the way I treat them now. I make an attempt to get at the heart of each one, no matter how insignificant they seem at first.