Top Stories

People Describe The Most Unforgettable Odor They've Ever Smelled

People Describe The Most Unforgettable Odor They've Ever Smelled
Ruslan Zh on Unsplash

Much of human history must have been an olfactory challenge. For one thing, people are smelly, and the commonality of bathing before the 20th century in some cultures was questionable.

For another, there are recorded periods of history that are full of things like open trenches where people would flush their waste.

These things are mercifully no longer a part of our daily lives.

But that doesn't mean bad smells have been eradicated. Much to the contrary, because of how uncommon they are, we notice them even more.

Redditor JA-darkside asked:

"What smell have you experienced that you will never forget?"

Here were some of those answers.

Dark Days On The Ward

"Hospitals. Both of my parents died two months apart and I was in them every day. I'll never forget that weird, sanitized smell."-PREClOUS_R0Y

"That probably explains my aversion to Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds and most flowers. Grandpa died when I was 3, and we had many other deaths in the family before I even turned 10."-tacobelmont

Sense Memory

"Literally all of them. I'm that person who will smell a rosewater lotion and be like 'Wow this smells like the bathrooms at the Foxwoods casino!!'"

"I haven't been to Foxwoods since I was 8, though I was there semi-frequently due to my parents working there. But for real, almost any damn smell I can connect to SOME point in my life."-AriIsMySavior

It Buuuuuuuurns

"Ammonia. I did some work at a fertilizer plant, they had a urea tower where they used a lot of ammonia and every once in a while you would find yourself downwind and get a blast of it."

"Not only does it smell bad it burns your mucous membranes. You can feel the 3D shape of your sinuses inside your head when they get irritated all at once."-OhAces

These smells are sure to (figuratively or literally) burn their way into your memory.

A Little Creepy Dude

"There was this girl I liked that is friends with my buddy in college."

"When my other friends and I were visiting them one weekend, I slept on the floor of her dorm and she had this air freshener plug-in that smelled very sweet like vanilla and flowers or something similar."

"When I got back home from visiting, my pillow smelt like that for the next couple nights and it reminded me of her every time I went to bed. It was some of the best sleep I've had in my life."-Round_Rectangles

The Past In A Room

"My Grandpa's study in his very old house. His study was full of books, the smell of cigars smoked long ago, old carpet, aging furniture, scotch, etc."

"I was at a wedding recently where the venue was a 'club' for management/corporate type people. It was old, probably hadn't been updated since the 80's."

"I walked into one of the lounges and was hit with the same smell and thrown back into my childhood at his house."-ialo00130

There Was Going To Be One About Diarrhea.

"Diarrhea, once I believe I consumed food that was poisoned and I had horrible diarrhea that was dark brown, it came out like pee."

"It lasted for about a week and the stench wasn’t the worst part, it hurt like hell. I lost around 10 pounds over the span of a week because I wouldn’t eat and if I did I would either throw it up or just poo it out."-LennyGaming69

Wow, I'm On Fire!

"The smell of my hair burning when i lit myself on fire. I was trying to take a bong rip and my hair got in the way and immediately lit on fire."

"I fell out of my chair smacking my head to try and put the fire out. I could hear my hair burning and it started burning my head and my face."

"I finally put the fire out and was just laying on the floor in my room with smoke coming off of my head. The smell of my burning hair was so disgusting."

"But the worst part...I dropped the bong and my entire bowl went all over the carpet. I cried. 😭😌"-_gloomysunday_

Senses, as the most powerful tools people have, really play a part in shaping a person's experience of the world.

Why Did People Have Carpets

"The 3rd floor of my school. I had really bad anxiety and the school didn’t have proper ventilation. Like the windows were sealed shut and it was horrible during the pandemic."

"The smell mostly came from the carpet because of how old it is. It hit you when you entered that floor and my stomach would start gurgling from the anxiety."

"Strawberry kiwi kool aid tastes like how the carpet smells."-waitwhat2604

The WORST Possible Smell In The 21st Century

"Near where I live, there's a decent amount of sewerage, garbage, algae, etc, around natural water spots and mud, that you never want to go into if you can help it."

"Especially never ingest it or let it touch an open cut or wound. You can for the most part avoid the awful smell and sight, as most of these areas are hidden and not easily gotten to."

"One summer, a few years back, I didn't have much to do, so I would just walk around looking for these places(There's this pond that at I found that was covered in some pink kind of algae)."

"So because I was around these kinds of places on a consistent basis, I of course got my foot in some undesired places."

"The muddy and wet shoes would carry the smell of the place, and I don't think everyone will get the way I'm about to describe it, but it's the most accurate way I can."

"It smelled like some one cooked tortellini, pooped on it, and left it out in the sun for a year."-Jyona-San

Mmm...Rotting Produce

"Rotting potatoes and liquified bell peppers that had been donated i encountered while I did an internship-esque thing at a food bank sorting the donated food."

"Also while working at a landscaping company this older guy asked us to clean up this sorta enclosed outdoor space that he had used as his dogs toilet for months while he was recovering from some kind of accident."

"It was in the middle of summer pushing 40°c for weeks, the space was fully sealed so no way for anything to be washed into the ground, the dog had clearly been suffering from diareha for a while and on that day we had some warm summer rain."

"With all that said rotting potatoes and bell peppers are still 1#."-Karlmarx95

Miss you...

"My grandmother passed away 20 years ago. I still know what her home smelled like." ~ Down_Low_Too_Slow


"Pig slaughterhouse. Still love me some bacon though." ~ Meat-walker

"It’s livestock, so a bit like a barn, but like industrial grade levels of unmaintained filth caused by the literal pools of shit filled pig urine that sloshes out of every truck that drives through. Then there’s this smell of rancid rotting bile under it. It’s mild, but very obvious." ~ CounterSanity

The Strangest 'Wrong Number' Stories | George Takei’s Oh Myyy

Before we all had caller ID, wrong numbers phone calls were commonplace. But now that almost everyone screens their calls, it's wrong number texts that have ...


"The perfume that this one girlfriend wore, way back in high school." ~ bigredcar

"Oh man do I feel this. The perfume thing is so visual, I can still see her eyes, smile, hair, and clothing style. Kathy B. was her name. I asked her what it was once, and she told me, but I totally forgot. It was many years ago." ~ chriscaulder

The Burn

"Burning plastic in barrels at an industrial park in Istanbul. You knew it was shortening your life with every breathe and you couldn’t escape it." ~ real_schematix


"Paper mill." ~ Positive-Source8205

"Yes! There’s none near me where I live, but I can still remember the smell from only driving past them one time! One was in Maine and one was In Oregon." ~ furnacemike


"When I was in high school I got to go to the National FFA convention in Indianapolis and they had all these booths set up. One of the booths was for Spam. It's not a horrific odor, but it is one that I wish I had never smelled." ~ happyhumorist

Garlic Bad

"My cattle dog tangled with a skunk and got sprayed and made it into the house before I could stop her. Omg that sulfur garlic rank smell... so bad. I managed at least then to grab her by the collar and chuck her back outside to clean her off." ~ MadCraftyFox


"Bad smell- one night my dog expressed her anal glands on my bed while i was sleeping. It took forever to get the smell out of my mattress. It was horrific. Good smell- my grandmother's cooking." ~ amahler03


"She parked on a north facing hillside dirt road in the middle of the Southern California desert in the summer, rolled up the car windows and locked the doors, and ingested about 100 assorted pills, We found her a week later (we call her a 'popper.' because the body is so bloated that they typically will 'pop'). That was in 1979, and I still remember the smell. 😢." ~ Maxsdad53

The End

"The smell of death. when my aunt was dying in the hospital that was all i could smell in her room. When my grandpa was dying in hospice that’s all i could smell. The smell stayed in my nose for days, and I’m still catching whiffs sometimes weeks later." ~ Life_Calligrapher779

Chocolate & Wax

"A college near me that my grandma used to work at when i was very little, we would visit everyday to bring her lunch and i remember the weird, almost chocolate smelling floor wax smell. they renovated the building and the smell is gone, but i still get scents of it when i walk in there now as an adult." ~ rainruins


"Fumes of gas from a mixture of oxalic acid and chlorine. These chemicals must not be mixed, as it creates a toxic gas that will cause death. I accidentally mixed small portions of it when i was doing laundry. Both are effective at removing stains. It smells minty at first, but when inhaled it feels like it choked you to death, as if you cannot breathe oxygen. It nearly caused me to death, and i coughed many times in order to breathe." ~ alistairjumanji

Smells can create both positive and negative memories, just as sounds, taste, touch and sight can.

But since smell is so directly linked to our digestive system and our in-the-moment stability, those smells that aren't as pleasant can really leave quite an impression.

Want to "know" more?

Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.

Never miss another big, odd, funny or heartbreaking moment again.

Oh Vow: The Worst Things People Have Ever Seen At A Wedding

Reddit user nonoriginalname42 asked: 'What's the worst thing you've seen happen at a wedding?'

Closeup of bride and groom's hands
Luis Tosta/Unsplash

A couple proclaiming their vows in front of loved ones is the ultimate affirmation of love.

So when the day of the wedding finally arrives for a couple after months of planning, there's a lot of pressure for things to go smoothly.

And while for the most part, the joyous day of celebration culminates in plenty of emotions and tears that is remembered and reminisced about.

Unless it wasn't the perfect wedding day ever. Because sometimes, things just don't go as planned due to various unforeseen circumstances.

Kind of like the ones strangers online shared when Redditor nonoriginalname42 asked:

"What's the worst thing you've seen happen at a wedding?"

Choose members of your wedding party wisely.

Otherwise, the following might happen.​

Not The Best Man For The Job

"Best man starts off speech with, 'I've seen *the groom* with a lot of girls over the years...'. You know the cliché speech where it goes on to say but you're the best for him, etc. etc. Turns out the bride and groom were dating long before the best man even became a friend. Essentially outed him as a degenerate cheater. She was super pissed."

– Wallace2727


"The best man giving the toast at the reception and saying the groom’s first wife’s name instead of the current one."

– pharmhound

Downhill After The Upchuck

"Matron of honor throwing up just as the officiant was asking if anyone objected."

– Amiiboid

"My brother was in a wedding where as the bride said I do, the groom threw up all over her due to the bachelor party the night before."

– ParsonJackRussell

Unfortunately, you can't expect family to all be on their best behavior in these unfortunate situations.

Rehearsal Dinner Disaster

"Bride and groom got in a huge drunken fight after the rehearsal dinner, it escalated to include shouting and name-calling between both families, then the wedding got cancelled the day of."

– jkvincent

Drunk Dad-In-Law

"It started super late, it was super hot out, the future father-in-law was wasted and left before it started. He then showed back up in a red bath robe and his gun. Cops got called. It was a whole thing."

"Oh, and then after the reception we were all trying to convince one of our friends not to drive. He insisted he was fine... Drove his truck into the river."

– MLaw2008

Because Priorities

"I was at a wedding in rural Wisconsin and both the bride and groom were members of the local all-volunteer fire department. Almost everyone at the wedding proceeded to get quite drunk, except the bride, who doesn't drink. At some point, there was an emergency call to the fire department (not a fire, but a medical call). The wedding was not far from the fire station, so the bride rushed over and, along with one other volunteer who was on call, drove an ambulance to an emergency call."

"In her wedding dress."

– GingerStu

The bride and groom aren't always the most exemplary role models.

Ghosting The Guests

"I went to a friend of mines Aunts wedding. It was a second marriage for both of them so they wanted something 'relaxed.'”

"They threw it on one of the family members property and had all the guest do grueling manual labor to get the property ready for the wedding. We were literally landscaping in the Texas summer."

"I was climbing trees to hang lights, we laid sod, we laid down stone for a walk way, my friends mom cooked food for days and made all of the floral arrangements. We were setting up tables and chairs, you name it. We worked from 6am until almost midnight for 3 days."

"Finally the wedding happens and it’s beautiful. I was actually really proud of what we had done. It looked professional."

"We go to cut the cake and the couple is no where to be found. They just left without telling anyone and went back to their hotel. I was offended by that because we had worked SO HARD for them and they didn’t even stay for the entire wedding."

"We never got a thank you or any appreciation for it. Other people were upset too and took their gifts back before leaving."

– littlemybb

Going Nowhere Fast

"Groom wanted cigarettes so he snuck out and tried to drive to a convenience store a minute away. Drove straight into a telephone pole and was arrested for DUI and spent the night in jail."

– mdreb18

Weddings have an element of surprise because no matter how well things are planned, anything can happen.

Hey Mr. DJ

"My brother's second wedding. For the first dance, the DJ played the wrong song for half a second before stopping, and starting the right song. The Bride disappeared for 2 hours afterwards because 'the wedding was ruined.'"

– Upper-Job5130

"I wonder if he’ll hire the same DJ for his third wedding."

– the_beat_labratory

"Oh God I can't deal with people like that. I have a family member who does this. The tiniest little thing goes a touch awry, moment of awkwardness maybe, then back on track for a great day. But then they go and ACTUALLY ruin the day but throwing a tantrum...."

– CowsArouse

When Duty Calls

"I was supposed to be best man at a friend's wedding. At 7:30 AM, the morning of the wedding the groom called and said the wedding was off. It wasn't going to happen. I never talked to or saw the guy again. He signed up for the army and within a few days he was just gone."

– fredzout

There's so much pressure built-up from the anticipation before couples say, "I do."

So, it's not surprising that we all hope things go without a hitch before couples get hitched.

But don't count on it.

Unless you plan a small, casual wedding or reception with only your closest friends and family following a City Hall ceremony.

That's how my husband and I got married.

There can be perfection in simplicity, and that's how we roll.

Learning about the death of a well-known figure can sometimes feel as if we lost a friend or family member.

Even if we never met them or knew them personally, their work may have touched us in such a way that it feels as if part of us died with them.

This can be even more poignant if they died young and/or under tragic circumstances.

Particularly if the cause of their death was never fully explained or discovered and continues to be a mystery to this very day.

Redditor ZellaphantBooks2 was curious to hear stories of deaths or disappearances that remain a mystery (or possibly too easily explained), leading them to ask:

"What celebrity death seems a bit too suspicious?"

Alive And Well... But Nowhere To Be Found?

"Shelly Miscavige , wife of Scientology leader David Miscavige."

"Disappeared 2013 after vocally coming out against the practices of Scientology."

"Lawyers for the cult - I mean religion - still maintain she is alive and living a private life devoted to Scientology."

"Right."- shineymike91

"Not a 'murder' or 'death' and not really a 'celebrity' but... WHERE is Shelly Miscavage?"- hopeandnonthings

Supposedly A Robbery, But Maybe Not So Simple?

"Haing Ngor."

"Oscar and Golden Globe winner for 'The Killing Fields'."

"Cambodian and former prisoner of the Khmer Rouge."

"Tortured and imprisoned in Cambodia."

"Murdered outside his home in Los Angeles."

"His family thinks it was revenge from Cambodia for his outspoken support for human rights and bringing people to justice in Cambodia."- Lothar_28

Wrong Place, Wrong Time?


"She’s a Bollywood actress who died in Dubai from accidental drowning in a bathtub, the day after a wedding where she was in perfect health and she had a huge life insurance which would pay only if she dies in Dubai."- CurlyBrownHair08

The World May Never Know...

"Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones died under suspicious circumstances while swimming."

"The person he was swimming with (a contractor working on his house who Jones had accused of stealing from him) supposedly confessed on his deathbed to killing Jones."- Laughacy

Without A Trace

"Jill Dando."

"She was a British TV presenter, news reader and journalist."

"She was shot on her front door step and it's never been solved."- TheKnightsTippler

Bulldozer Accident?

"In my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, there was a sculptor and entrepreneur by the name of Bob Cassilly."

"His works, whimsical and larger than life, are all over the city."

"The crown jewel of all this is the wacky home of repurposed industrial materials into a crazy sort of playground, the popular City Museum."

"He was a notoriously driven worker, and in 2011 he died in an apparent bulldozer accident working on a new outdoor art playground project he called Cementland."

"His death was even investigated, but again ruled accidental, despite one medical expert saying he had been beaten and the bulldozer accident was staged."

"Not a true celebrity, but a local legend here to be sure, and a person who left an indelible mark on this town."- ImaginaryMastadon

Did She Know Too Much?

"Dorothy Kilgallen, reporter and TV personality."

"Died under mysterious circumstances while investigating Kennedy's assassination."- WoolaTheCalot

"Dorothy Kilgallen."

"She was an investigative journalist and game show panelist on What’s My Line?"

"She was digging into JFK when she died of an overdose."

"Her manuscript on JFK was taken by the govt and will never see the light of day."- Risky-Potato

Dealing With Villains On Screen And Off Screen

"George Reeves, the guy who played Superman in the 50s."

"There were a bunch of people in his house the night he died, and a lot of conflicting stories, also he was having an affair with a studio exec's who was in attendance with his husband that night.'

"Also forensics disagree with the testimony of the witnesses."

"It's all a clusterf*ck."- jorsiem

Something Doesn't Add Up...

"This might be stretching the definition of 'celebrity' but Rudolf Diesel, inventor of the diesel engine (and kind of a big deal in his day) died under really suspicious circumstances."

"On September 29th, 1913 Diesel boarded a ship in Antwerp, Belgium on his way to a business meeting in London."

"He never arrived."

"His bed was never slept in, his shirts remained unpacked and his pocket watch was open on the night stand."

"The crew found his hat and overcoat neatly folded by the aft railing of the ship."

"The last entry in his diary was simply a cross on the day of the 29th."

"About 10 days later they found a body in the channel that was eventually IDed as Diesel."

"Pretty straightforward, right?"

'The thing is, he gave his wife a bag when he left with instructions to open it upon his death."

"It contained 20,000 Marks (about $120,000) the whole of the Diesel's bank accounts withdrawn as cash."

"Diesel had recently declined to sell his patents exclusively to the German government and was on his way to London to meet with representatives of the Consolidated Diesel company and the British Royal Navy."

"After his death, no memorial or tomb was built until 1957, when the founder of Japan's Yanmar Diesel company funded the building of a memorial garden for him."- weirdoldhobo1978

Might Want Another Source Than The Kremlin...

"Don't know if he qualifies as a celebrity but Yuri Gagarin, Russian cosmonaut and the first man in space."

"After the kremlin sent one of his friends to certain death on an extremely unprepared rocket ship, in a desperate attempt to catch up with USA's progress, Yuri, a Russian hero and one of the most popular figures at the time, criticized the kremlin and blamed them for the death of his friend."

"Not too long after, he died when he allegedly lost control of his Mig-15."

"The official explanation given by the Kremlin is full of holes and to this day no one really knows what happened but, it seems obvious to some, that whatever caused his crash, the kremlin was responsible for it."- Danesho_PT

It's sad that all these poor people died before their time.

Even sadder if the reasons behind their death were, in fact, far more sinister than anyone might realize.

Fast Firings: The Quickest Ways Employees Have Gotten Canned
Photo by Roth Melinda

How to lose a job in 10 seconds.

Now, that sounds like a fun show to watch.

It is astonishing how fast people can lose their jobs.

Some people really need to learn how to actually exist at a job.

You'd think it'd be simple... but no.

Redditor Quintowne wanted to hear about all of the ways some employees have been let go, so they asked:

"What is the fastest way you've seen someone get fired?"

With many years in food service under my belt, I've had more co-workers than Mars, Incorporated has made M&M's.

So many were gone by the end of shift one.


Car Police GIF by BabylonBeeGiphy

"New person got access to the medical records system. Week 2 - Looked up our boss and bragged about it. Was walked out and gone the second week."


Okay. Bye.

"My first job was in a small grocery store and my boss asked a coworker to do the dishes in the bakery (baking pans, etc). She replied: 'I only do my own dishes, somebody else put these here so I’m not doing them. I’m serious. Fire me if you want, I won’t do them.'"

"Boss says 'Okay then, don’t bother finishing your shift, goodbye!'"


Sticky Fingers

"First day at work, hired by a temp agency. Me and one other guy, we put stuff in boxes and tape them shut, stack boxes on a pallet. He can't keep up, can barely use a tape gun, and decides it's time for a break. Goes to the lunch room and takes a lunch. It was the boss's lunch, he stole the guy's meal his wife prepared for him. The boss man came over 15 minutes later and wanted to know who ate his BBQ, sticky fingers, and BBQ on his shirt he denied it. I just looked at him and the Boss and said well I hope it was good man."


He Was Warned

"Worked at an ISP back in the 90s and had a guy working late shift. Found out quickly he wasn't answering the phone at all, but just playing video games. He was warned. The next day he walks in to work with a Voodoo2 graphics card to install in his work computer to improve the game playing. Fired before he sat down."


"Oh Gawd, just reading the word voodoo brought out a flash of memories I buried."


Oh Willy

wet willy martial arts GIFGiphy

"First day on the job, gave another coworker a wet-willy. Sh*t you not."


I have never understood this wet willy thing.

Completely disgusting.

Who even came up with it?


Angry Season 4 GIF by The OfficeGiphy

"Had a coworker explain to our supervisor how he found this great loophole for making extra money: if a customer had exact change, he’d just pocket the cash and cancel the order on the register."


On the Spot

"Had a supervisor start selling Amway from his office, hinted at favorable treatment for anyone who would buy. Reported him to HR--and when they asked if it was true, he pulled out a catalog and tried to sell them something. Fired on the spot."


"I did customer support at a software company that sold to other businesses, and every one of us had one customer that we hated a hell of a lot more than any other. The guy who sat next to me hated Amway."


"A high school friend's dad offered me a job with his company after I graduated, it was 'Do the interview and then go to work.' The interview consisted of a five-minute spiel about the company and a 45-minute Amway sales pitch with the understanding that if I didn't agree to sell Amway for him, I wouldn't get the job. Dad called me a couple of days later wondering to know why I didn't take the job. I started to work at about the same time the former interviewer stopped working there."



"Half an hour. Working in Arby's, a new girl shows up. They run her through how to work the cash register on a few dummy orders. She takes a real order or two and then it gets slow. She asked to duck out for a minute to smoke and never came back. Register ended up being $100 short that day."


"Always smart to rob a place after giving them your name and address."



"The guy responsible for opening the shop on Saturday morning went out and got blitzed on Friday night. We showed up to work to find his car in the lot but the doors locked. He didn't answer his phone. Had to call the owner in to get us inside. The guy was fast asleep, under his desk. He was gone before you could say hangover."


The Eagle

"I was on a new team hired for corporate sales. They trained us as a group. We were given the task of creating a presentation with graphs and charts to show how we presented to a group and given pointers on how to improve. One guy shows up an hour late, waltzes in, and says he’s tired from the drive-in and says he needs a coffee before settling in. We are in suit and tie, and he’s wearing a dress shirt with a huge eagle on the front and jeans."

"He comes back a few minutes later, and when asked to present, he says he didn’t prepare anything, but he’s happy to answer any questions they may have about presentations. We all looked at each other in disbelief. Fired on the spot by the Manager. I heard that they asked him to return his laptop, and he stiffed them for months before they sent a repo man to his door to pick it up."



jumping episode 11 GIFGiphy

"A colleague let a middle school kid drive the bus. Buh-bye!"


"When I was in middle and high school they hired students with driver's licenses to drive the busses. This was in the 80's."


My school bus drivers were all nuts.

I always thanked GOD when I got home in one piece.

United States map

Joey Csunyo on Unsplash

Different regions around the world are known for specific foods and customs.

In the United States, each state becomes officially and unofficially known for certain things.

Like if you think of Pennsylvania you might think cheesesteaks or the Amish. Nevada might bring thoughts of gambling.

California might evoke beaches or Hollywood. Alaska is known for it's wilderness and fishing industry.

If you say Florida Man you associate batsh*t escapades in the news, transphobia and book bans—we're looking at you, Ron.

Each state has their own flag, motto, bird, flower and in some cases an animal or food.

The Maine Coon cat is the official state cat of Maine.

Maine Coon catBee Felten-Leidel on Unsplash

So what if all the states held a big party and everyone brought what they're known for?

Keep reading...Show less