The Aroma of Ghosts

DSC00333Do ghosts have a smell? As I immerse myself in Passover baking, the ghosts we have found that are associated with smells, so far good, comes to mind. Why good smells when the spirit met a tragic end, I know not. What I do know is that smell, especially the smell of good things baking, makes me think of wonderful, benevolent spirits.

Lily Lilac at the Brookeville Woolen Mill is one of the best known ghosts to be associated with a smell. We don’t know her story, but the scent of lilacs was always pleasing to the family that lived there.

Why the attic at the Layton House would occasionally smell like baked beans is a mystery. The smell is associated with the spirit of a child that seems to inhabit the space. The child, a boy, was thought to be the result of a liaison between one of the white owners of the property and their enslaved cook. The lore about the Layton House is that the mulatto child was kept out of sight in the attic, away from the prying eyes of Layton’s neighbors and that he died while young.

The story of a young cook at Needwood Mansion that got herself in the family way while still unmarried is truly tragic. She hanged herself rather than face the shame of having an illegitimate child. Her ghostly manifestation is the smell of chocolate cake baking in the kitchen. Now I do always feel better when I have a little chocolate after a difficult day. Do you think she’s perhaps comforting herself the same way, but only in the after-life?

And, finally, Woodside, an historic home in Silver Spring, has perhaps one of the most frustrating aromas. Who doesn’t enjoy waking up to a fresh pot of coffee that is just waiting for you when you come down in the morning? Well at Woodside, the resident spirit only provides the scent. You have to do the brewing yourself!

Do you have any ghosts that come with their own, distinct perfume? Let us know!

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4 Comments

Filed under Brookeville, Derwood, Laytonsville, Silver Spring, Woodside

4 responses to “The Aroma of Ghosts

  1. Dorothy Pugh

    Great Post, Karen! Great Idea! Dorothy

  2. Judith Hind

    Yes. Every night for a good month or more within a hands distance from my face while sat in my then living room, I could strongly smell the aroma of Parma Violets, like the sweets that we use to get when I was younger.

  3. J

    My family friends have lived in Clover Hill (the Gaither house) for years now. They have many stories about the property, one of which involves the scents of baking bread and brewing coffee wafting through the kitchen in the early hours of the morning.

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