Normally clairalience involves the smelling of odors and scents beyond the usual range of human perception.
Reports of clairalience could be grouped into three main types¹:
- Smelling a familiar odor or scent associated with a loved one who’s passed
This usually happens sometime soon before, during or not too long after the loved one has passed.
Parapsychologists hypothesize that this type of clairalience takes place to warn, prepare or possibly reassure friends and family that their departed loved ones are still alive, possibly see them on Earth, but are mostly in another world.
- Smelling a hellish, rancorous odor such as burning sulphur, or heavenly scent such as roses
Parapsychologists hypothesize that this type of clairalience warns of the dangers of hell and, conversely, reassures of the joys of heaven.
- Smelling another living person or thing at a distance beyond the range of the normal senses. This may be further differentiated into distance smelling (a) a physical body or conventional environment or (b) a spiritual body, essence or subtle environment
Parapsychologists hypothesize that type three takes place to teach us that all of creation is connected in some fundamental way, with the implication that we should strive to behave responsibly toward others, our planet and beyond.
As for the mysterious connecting principle implied by the idea of clairalience, tentative explanations arguably depend on the worldview of the theorist.
For instance, a Catholic might talk of The Holy Spirit (in the positive sense of, say, smelling roses while praying to the Virgin Mary) or Satan (in the negative, deceptive sense) whereas a sub-atomic physicist or futurist might invoke concepts like wormholes, quantum non-locality and quantum interconnectedness.
Meanwhile, a psychiatrist would likely want to check for physiological factors contributing to potential olfactory hallucinations (phantosmia) before considering the possibility of clairalience. And many individuals with a strong materialist bias might entirely dismiss the idea of psi and prefer to explain clairalience using a neuropsychological model.
To this Art Garza adds:
What sort of smells occur in your type three clairalience? And would the smells be all different or occur all at once? And as far as purpose goes, is there any purposed idea on what the individual smells mean? What are they smelling? the souls, essence, psyche… i know they are all related in some way but certainly there is a name which works best… personality? » See in context
Michael Clark replies:
I think you are pointing toward a distinction that could be made in type 3 between smelling at a distance (a) a living person’s spiritual essence or environment and (b) their physical body or environment. » See in context
¹ This observation is, in part, based on my volunteer work at allexperts.com