What Do Ghosts Smell Like?

What do ghosts smell like?

Have you ever smelled unusual smells that did not belong where they occurred? Like the familiar scent of perfume in an empty room or the smell of tobacco in a home where nobody smokes? Or perhaps you were sitting peacefully watching your series on television when the rancid odour of sulphur wafted past and then quickly disappeared?

It may be possible that these were paranormal smells and you were not alone. So, how do you know if it is a ghost or if you live in a haunted house? Can the type of smell tell you what kind of ghost is haunting you? Let’s explore this subject a bit more and sniff out what a ghost smells like.

Ghosts Can Be Smelly

Ghosts exist in our world, but they are incorporeal, meaning they don’t have a tangible body that we can touch. Without a physical body, a ghost has to use things around us to make their presence known. One of the most common ways they can alert us to their presence is through scents.

It is especially obvious that you have paranormal activity in your home when there are strange smells that are totally out of place. For example, if you smell perfume but no one wears it, or the smell of meat in a home where no one eats meat.

So, when your senses tell you that a smell is a familiar scent but doesn’t belong in the time and place, it could be a paranormal aroma. These phantom smells can range from the scent of flowers to the putrid odour of rotting flesh.

For example, J. D. Horn, author of The Source, said, “Spirits carry an ozone scent, and demons smell like sulfur or rotten eggs. A person might not even consciously register the smell, but they’ll sense it on some level.

Pleasant aromas

Some of the scents of ghosts are pleasant. You could smell the fragrance of flowers, like roses, lilacs, or lavender. These smells are often associated with a benevolent ghost. They could evoke good memories of a loved one who passed on.

An earthy smell, or that of cut grass or the smell of rain, could also be an indication of the ghost’s past, like where they lived or where they passed away.

Other pleasant smells could be freshly baked bread, which always makes one feel at home. This smell could be associated with a loved one who was an avid baker.

Familiar scents

Sometimes, these scents can evoke memories. Smelling a familiar scent, like your grandmother’s perfume or your grandfather’s pipe tobacco, is often a warming feeling. Or you could smell coffee brewing or breakfast cooking. This ghostly presence is peaceful and means you no harm. You may even find the scent calming.

Unpleasant smells

There are times when ghosts will have a not-so-friendly smell attached to them. This could be a musty odour, like dust or old books. This could be sending a message that they were neglected or that they feel like they have been forgotten.

A metallic odour is often associated with blood or a weapon and signifies that the spirit may have suffered a violent death.

Horrid odours

Other times, ghosts can smell can be rancid, like sulphur (rotten eggs). Or it could be the smell of burning or rotting flesh. These odours are normally associated with malevolent beings from the spirit world, like demons.

Why Ghosts Use Smells To Get Our Attention

You may have come across these ghostly smells and wondered why the ghost uses scents and aromas. Many spirits try to evoke an emotional response from a person. Here are some reasons why a spectral being would use smell.

  • Emotional connection: This could trigger a memory.
  • Attentionseeking: The ghost may have frustrated other means of contacting you without success.
  • Communication: They need to send you a message and want to be heard.
  • Residual energy: Ghosts use energy, and they may have collected energy from their place of death.

It is also possible that the ghost doesn’t intend to let off a smell, but because of temperature changes or sudden gusts of air, a scent could escape into our world.

Other Signs Of A Ghostly Presence

Paranormal smells may often be accompanied by other signs of a supernatural being. These are some of the main signs that you live in a haunted house.

Unexplained temperature drops

Ghosts require energy, so if you experience unpredictable shifts or unexplained temperature drops, prepare yourself for a paranormal entity. Ghosts remove heat from the air to display themselves to a person. Over time, ghosts can build up enough energy reserves to move objects and make noise that is heard on the material plane (where humans exist).

The sudden drops in temperature also explain the eerie feeling one has when entering a haunted house or space. It is one of the top signs of haunting.

Unidentifiable sounds

A noisy ghost may bang on doors or furniture to get our attention. We may not be able to see the ghost, but we know that it is there. They often make these noises to get our attention.

Electronics start acting up

Ghosts can also interfere with electromagnetic frequencies, electronic gadgets, radio signals, or lights. Ghosts often use white noise to send us messages. By having the right equipment, you will be able to detect these noises and even learn to understand what the ghost is trying to say.

What Should You Do If You Smell A Ghost?

If you smell a ghostly being, then it is likely trying to contact you.

Don’t be afraid

Don’t show any fear. If it has a pleasant smell, then let the entity know that you are aware of its presence. Check around for other signs of the otherworldly entity, such as drops in temperature or cold air pockets.

Be prepared

If you are already experiencing these strange smells, invest in some ghost-hunting equipment to help you decipher what the spirit wants or where it is.

Seek help

If you find it difficult to communicate with spirits, if you feel fear, or if there is an unpleasant smell, then you should rather get help from a medium or spirit guide. Paranormal investigators (ghost hunters) can also help you in this situation.

It’s also a good idea to document your experiences. Your notes could help a paranormal investigator find the smelly phantom and help you get your home ghost-free.

While most ghosts do not want to harm you, your mental and emotional health is as important as your physical safety. Therefore, you need to do what makes you most comfortable in your own house.


Do ghosts have distinctive aromas?

Very often, ghosts do have a distinctive aroma. It is usually a smell that is associated with them, like a particular brand of coffee brewing or a perfume. It is a way for them to identify themselves to you, especially if they have a message they would like to give you.

Can anyone smell ghosts?

Not everyone who has experienced anomalous phenomena can say they have smelled ghosts. Some people have clairolfaction, which is a psychic ability to smell an otherworldly entity or energy. Other people don’t have this gift. Also, not all ghosts use our sense of smell to communicate.

Do animals sense ghosts?

Animals, especially dogs and cats, have incredible senses. They can hear ultrasonic sounds and pick up the faintest scents. Our pets seem to sense spirits and the supernatural a lot easier than humans can. This may also be why spirits sometimes show themselves as creatures.

Final Thoughts

When you experience a paranormal smell in a haunted house, it can be a bit worrisome. However, if you experience familiar aromas, it could be an indication of a friendly ghost who may just want to send you a message. The next time you catch a whiff and wonder where it came from, stop and think about who could be trying to contact you from the other side.

Sam Ashford
Sam Ashford - Author

Hey, I'm Sam Ashford! I'm a ghost-hunting expert, writer and founder of SpiritShack. My mission is to help people like yourself learn about spirituality and how to hunt ghosts!