Why I think my house is haunted

About 6 weeks ago, I moved into a rental house. It’s an older home–built in the 50’s I love it. Strangely enough, when I sit here at the edge of my living room, using my computer, I often smell pipe tobacco. There is no earthly reason why I should be smelling this. I wouldn’t mind living with a benign spirit. Maybe it will help me find things that have disappeared mysteriously.
Does anybody else think their house is haunted?

“Predictable, really I suppose. It was an act of purest optimism to have posed the question in the first place.” --John Cleese

I’ll tell Bob to leave you alone…

Yer pal,

The tobacco is from your downstairs neighbour and it probably creeps up through the wooden floor. I know from my own experience that this can be true, my downstairs neighbour must smoke 2 kilos of pot per day :wink:

As for misplacing stuff, this is done by the Minute Makers. Doesn’t everyone no know that ??


“You know how complex women are”

  • Neil Peart, Rush (1993)

But Coldfire, that can’t be. I don’t have a downstairs neighbor…not even a basement. Unless I’m living on top of the Hobbit.

“Predictable, really I suppose. It was an act of purest optimism to have posed the question in the first place.” --John Cleese

Well, that blood curdling scream and shotgun blast from the attic every Saturday night at 11:59pm used to bother me. Now I just sleep right through it. Although all that blood oozing out of the walls is a real b!tch to clean up.

No downstairs neighbour ? Uh-oh. Egon, are you with me ?

grabs the keys to the converted hearse


“You know how complex women are”

  • Neil Peart, Rush (1993)

The Minute Makers? Wow, now I’m having flashbacks to the television of 15 years ago…

The more logical explaination is that since tobacco smoke has tar it sticks to surfaces–probably the ceiling, walls, floors, baseboards. As the room temperature changes or air flow changes the tobacco smells come out. Every apartment I have ever lived in occasionally smells like tobacco–even if all the walls were painted over and carpets replaced. Tobacco fumes are almost impossible to get rid of.

Maybe you have a brain tumor. Olfactory hallucinations are a common symptom.

Well, somebody had to bring it up!

“I love God! He’s so deliciously evil!” - Stewie Griffin, Family Guy

OK, in all seriousness, it also so happens that many women are “super-smellers.” They have many more olfactory receptors than men, and their ability to detect subtle or distant smells varies with hormonal activity. During the height of their menstrual cycle, they can practically smell milk going bad next door. Maybe someone living near you smokes a pipe?

“I love God! He’s so deliciously evil!” - Stewie Griffin, Family Guy

[accent type=‘austrian’]
“Id’s nadda toomuh!”

Kidding aside, Phil, can you provide a cite for that “super smeller” theory? My GF definitely has a more sensitive nose than I do, but I’d assumed it was because both my parents used to smoke ('cuz secondhand smoke kills olfactory nerves).

Laugh hard; it’s a long way to the bank.

Yeah, I’m wondering about that super-smeller remark also. I know I smell better than my wife. :wink:

Seriously, I notice foul smells at a level where they don’t bother my wife (e.g. kids need a diaper change, or cat missed the litter box)

When she was pregnant though, she was a lot more sensitive to odors. They’d set off her morning sickness.

It is too clear, and so it is hard to see.

I’m one of those “super-smellers.” This has avoided an electrical fire or two in my life, as I have smelled wires smoking, or melting, or whatever they do, inside of walls. Also, I can tell when one of the kids, or my husband, is coming down sick, because they don’t smell right.

It is a pain, however, to smell the milk going bad a couple of days before anyone else notices it.

Manny women have a habit of curling up with an item of their sweetie’s clothing when sweetie is not around, say like taking one of his shirts to bed with them. At least one of the reasons for this is that the clothing has that wonderful smell of “him” on it.

In my wilder days, the smell of a guy could be the final determinant between “yes” and “no.” And I don’t mean that a “no” guy necessarily smelled foul, just that for some reason he didn’t smell “right.”


The only cite I can think of offhand is in the book, “The Secret Family” by David Bodanis. His first book, “The Secret House,” discussed all the little things going on at microscopic levels in our homes, accompanied by photos. This one was subtitled, “Twenty-Four Hours Inside the Mysterious World of Our Minds and Bodies.” I don’t have a Medline cite or anything, though.

“I love God! He’s so deliciously evil!” - Stewie Griffin, Family Guy

Hmm, then there’s no research showing that women have a better sense of smell than men do? It does sound like an old wives’ tale to me.

I’ll certainly acknowledge that different people have different sensitivity to odors, but I don’t think I buy the idea that it’s dependent on gender.

Laugh hard; it’s a long way to the bank.

There is research on gender differences in smell sensitivity. I couldn’t nail it down with a search just now, but it does exist and has been around for quite a while. (I’ll keep trying.) One study I remember was a survey done by, I believe, Reader’s Digest where they sent out scratch and sniff cards with unnamed scents on them and invited readers to guess what the smells were and send their responses. There were tens of thousands of replies and IIRC, women did better than men and pregnant women did best of all. I think they speculated, though, that women may also have a better “vocabulary” for scents, possibly due to more experience with cooking, etc.

Smell, schmell…

The house is haunted. Prepare to DIE!!!


Although I agree that it is probably left over from a previous tenant, there is another possibility. Maybe you are just imagining it.

I remember reading an old X-Men comicbook at a cousin’s house and eating some of my mother’s peanut butter fudge. (My mother’s peanut butter fudge is one of the things that make this Know-It-All’s life worth living.) Anyway, I found that later if I read that comic, I could smell it faintly. Leftover fudge smell? Not so fast. Later still, in my comic collecting days, I bought a copy of that comic from my local pusher. When I read it, peanut butter fudge.

They say that smell has a direct link to the memory. Maybe it works both ways. Gail, is there anything about the house that reminds you of someone or somewhere where you might have smelled pipe tobacco?

“I’m not conceited. Conceit is a fault, and I don’t have any faults.”

Being Halloween and all, I’ll share my “ghost” story.

I live on one side of a front-to-back duplex. My landlords live in the front side, which is made up of the main floor and an upstairs. Our side is just the main floor.

Two or three times a year the fire alarms goes off in the middle of the night (a very horrible way to wake up). My landlords have cleaned and even replaced the fire alarms. We’re puzzled and frustrated.

The spooky thing is, that Thanksgiving 1993 a fire broke out in the house and a woman and her young (3 years old?) son died in the upstairs portion. The house was remodeled and that was when my landlords bought it, in the early summer of '94.

Now, I don’t REALLY think we have a ghost. There are many reasons why our fire alarms might be going off. Electrical issues, defunct fire alarms, etc. But, then again, I’ve never lived in a house where they just GO OFF, either!!

My husband’s friend, who believes she has psychic powers, came over and blessed the house for us this summer. Crystals, burning sage, etc. What the heck, we thought.

A creepy tidbit is that the psychic sensed that there was a horrible “betrayal” to the dead woman the night of the fire. We were outside in the yard and a neighbor woman, who we’ve seen maybe three times in the two years we’ve lived there, happened to be walking by. We told her we were blessing the house, mentioned nothing about the “betrayal,” and she told us that that night, as the fire was burning, the firemen asked another neighbor if there was anyone home, and that neighbor said no, since the dead (dying) woman’s car was not at home at the time. So, according to our storytelling-neighbor, the firemen made no attempt to save anyone, since they didn’t think anyone was home.

“Betrayal?” I’d say so!!!

The house being haunted is fun to think about. The story is tragic, but interesting. For the record no other weird happenings have occurred besides those damn fire alarms.


I must admit I was being tongue-in-cheek about my house being haunted. I do keep smelling pipe tobacco though. I like to believe I am living among friendly spirits but it’s probably just residual odor from previous tenants. Besides the odor, there are no unusual happenings here…besides my daughter levitating…just kidding!

“Predictable, really I suppose. It was an act of purest optimism to have posed the question in the first place.” --John Cleese