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Erin H's ADC

Experience description:  

My father-in-law was a very formidable man who loved life. I spoke with him over the phone but never had the chance to meet him in person - he lived far away and died before I was able to meet him. After he died, we moved into my father-in-law's house to help care for my mother-in-law, who was in poor health. She died only a few months after our arrival. A few months after that, we began smelling strong pipe tobacco smoke in the house. We kept no tobacco in the house, but my father-in-law enjoyed smoking a pipe during most of his adulthood. He hadn't smoked in years, so it wasn't a smell left over in the house. The smell would be stronger in various parts of the house on different occasions, so it wasn't a specific part of the building that had this smell. We could never find an explanation on where the smell came from, but everyone who was in the house smelled it and in the same locations. It was a pleasant vanilla pipe smell, and it wasn't scary. Also, some parts of the house would inexplicably get very cold while the rest of the house was comfortably warm. This also changed locations in the house at various times, and we couldn't determine the physical cause. These occurrences were not frightening, just perplexing. We figured maybe my father-in-law was making rounds and checking in on us. We would say out loud to the "ghost" or whatever that it was okay with us for it to be there as long as it did no harm and didn't cause any problems or fearful events. Nothing fearful or troublesome ever happened, just repeated events of coldness and tobacco smells, sometimes at the same time and sometimes independently.

Have you had multiple experiences?
   Yes     Dozens

Was this experience difficult to express in words?  No

Did you smell a distinct smell, scent, fragrance or odor associated with the deceased?      Yes

            What smell, scent, fragrance or odor did you smell?           Vanilla pipe smoke, a very sweet and warm smell. Pleasant.

            Was the smell, scent, fragrance or odor familiar?     Yes, my father-in-law smoked a pipe using vanilla scented tobacco many years ago when he was a young man.

            Was anything communicated by the smell?   Only a presence we couldn't explain. We associated it with my father-in-law, who smoked that kind of tobacco.

            Is there any possibility that the smell, scent, fragrance or odor was from any other source present in the surroundings at the time of your experience?        no

How long did the experience last?        Usually around 30 minutes at a time. Many such events happened over the course of 6-7 years in the same house.

Was the beginning and end of the experience gradual or more sudden?         Sudden beginning and end.

Could you sense the emotions or mood of the deceased?           No

Did the deceased give you information you did not previously know?  no

How do you currently view the reality of your experience?           Experience was definitely real

            Please explain why you view the reality of your experience as real or not real:          Others in the house experienced the same odor and temperature sensations at the same time. It was not a subjective event. We all tried to find explanations and couldn't logically explain it.

            Was the experience dream like in any way?   No

Describe in detail your feelings/emotions during the experience:           We all felt perplexed and skeptical at first. A little afraid, but fascinated as well. Later, we got used to it and simply found it to be a familiar event, even a bit comforting.

Was there any emotional healing in any way following the experience?           No

What was the best and worst part of your experience?      Best - found out this kind of thing isn't a terrifying, creepy experience. Can be harmless and comforting. Worst - it was a bit frightening and confusing at first because we didn't know what was happening or what to expect.

Has your life changed specifically as a result of your experience?         No      

Did you have any changes of attitudes or beliefs following the experience?
   Yes     More open to this kind of phenomena because it has happened to me, and I was very skeptical before.

Did the experience give you any spiritual understandings such as life, death, afterlife, God, etc.?            Yes     Made me more open to possibility and experience of ghost-type phenomena. Less afraid of experiencing these things, in a way, because I would have expected myself to be frightened or terrorized before having this happen, and I wasn't scared when it actually did.

Death Compacts are when two or more living people promise among themselves that whoever dies first will try to contact the other(s).  Have you ever made such a compact?        Yes

My husband and I have agreed that if one dies before the other we'll try to make contact. We have a code word as a way to "verify" it. We had no pact with my father-in-law.

Did you observe or hear anything regarding people or events during your experience that could be verified later?          No

What emotions did you feel during the experience?            See #23.


Was the experience witnessed or experienced by others?           Yes

Everyone in the house experienced all the sensations. Usually three people were present and smelled/felt the same things.

Have you shared this experience with others?        

Yes     Mainly, those of us who experienced this talked about it and found we all experienced the same thing. We each thought we were imaging it at first.

Have you shared this experience formally or informally with any other researcher or web site?   No

 Is there anything else you would like to add regarding your experience?       Following this, my husband and bro-in-law experienced strange things in the woods behind the house. They were building a cabin and were unable to get trees to fall (the trees had been cut all the way through!). The tree would not fall but would be down in the morning when they went back to the bldg site. Also, they were trying to get level some boards and couldn't get water to sink to it's own level - the water level would not work! We believed this was a different phenomenon and not the work of my father-in-law's ghost. Still, none of this could be explained. We called off building the cabin and nothing more happened at the bldg site.

Were there any associated medications or substances with the potential to affect the experience?            No

Following the experience, have you had any other events in your life, medications or substances which reproduced any part of the experience?         No 

Did you ever in your life have a near-death experience, out of body experience or other spiritual event?           Yes 

Have had dreams that resembled out-of-body experiences and contact with deceased friends. One dream in which a woman told me about sewing dresses for her daughters and how she got the fabric for it. She died years ago, and I barely knew her. After having the dream, I found out from her relatives that she did indeed gather fabric in just the way the dream described. They were surprised someone would know a detail like this.

Did the questions asked and information you provided accurately and comprehensively describe your experience?               Yes