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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

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"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.

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People Reveal The Weirdest Thing About Themselves

Reddit user Isitjustmedownhere asked: 'Give an example; how weird are you really?'

Let's get one thing straight: no one is normal. We're all weird in our own ways, and that is actually normal.

Of course, that doesn't mean we don't all have that one strange trait or quirk that outweighs all the other weirdness we possess.

For me, it's the fact that I'm almost 30 years old, and I still have an imaginary friend. Her name is Sarah, she has red hair and green eyes, and I strongly believe that, since I lived in India when I created her and there were no actual people with red hair around, she was based on Daphne Blake from Scooby-Doo.

I also didn't know the name Sarah when I created her, so that came later. I know she's not really there, hence the term 'imaginary friend,' but she's kind of always been around. We all have conversations in our heads; mine are with Sarah. She keeps me on task and efficient.

My mom thinks I'm crazy that I still have an imaginary friend, and writing about her like this makes me think I may actually be crazy, but I don't mind. As I said, we're all weird, and we all have that one trait that outweighs all the other weirdness.

Redditors know this all too well and are eager to share their weird traits.

It all started when Redditor Isitjustmedownhere asked:

"Give an example; how weird are you really?"

Monsters Under My Bed

"My bed doesn't touch any wall."

"Edit: I guess i should clarify im not rich."

– Practical_Eye_3600

"Gosh the monsters can get you from any angle then."

– bikergirlr7

"At first I thought this was a flex on how big your bedroom is, but then I realized you're just a psycho 😁"

– zenOFiniquity8

Can You See Why?

"I bought one of those super-powerful fans to dry a basement carpet. Afterwards, I realized that it can point straight up and that it would be amazing to use on myself post-shower. Now I squeegee my body with my hands, step out of the shower and get blasted by a wide jet of room-temp air. I barely use my towel at all. Wife thinks I'm weird."

– KingBooRadley


"In 1990 when I was 8 years old and bored on a field trip, I saw a black Oldsmobile Cutlass driving down the street on a hot day to where you could see that mirage like distortion from the heat on the road. I took a “snapshot” by blinking my eyes and told myself “I wonder how long I can remember this image” ….well."

– AquamarineCheetah

"Even before smartphones, I always take "snapshots" by blinking my eyes hoping I'll remember every detail so I can draw it when I get home. Unfortunately, I may have taken so much snapshots that I can no longer remember every detail I want to draw."

"Makes me think my "memory is full.""

– Reasonable-Pirate902

Same, Same

"I have eaten the same lunch every day for the past 4 years and I'm not bored yet."

– OhhGoood

"How f**king big was this lunch when you started?"

– notmyrealnam3

Not Sure Who Was Weirder

"Had a line cook that worked for us for 6 months never said much. My sous chef once told him with no context, "Baw wit da baw daw bang daw bang diggy diggy." The guy smiled, left, and never came back."

– Frostygrunt


"I pace around my house for hours listening to music imagining that I have done all the things I simply lack the brain capacity to do, or in some really bizarre scenarios, I can really get immersed in these imaginations sometimes I don't know if this is some form of schizophrenia or what."

– RandomSharinganUser

"I do the same exact thing, sometimes for hours. When I was young it would be a ridiculous amount of time and many years later it’s sort of trickled off into almost nothing (almost). It’s weird but I just thought it’s how my brain processes sh*t."

– Kolkeia

If Only

"Even as an adult I still think that if you are in a car that goes over a cliff; and right as you are about to hit the ground if you jump up you can avoid the damage and will land safely. I know I'm wrong. You shut up. I'm not crying."

– ShotCompetition2593

Pet Food

"As a kid I would snack on my dog's Milkbones."

– drummerskillit

"Haha, I have a clear memory of myself doing this as well. I was around 3 y/o. Needless to say no one was supervising me."

– Isitjustmedownhere

"When I was younger, one of my responsibilities was to feed the pet fish every day. Instead, I would hide under the futon in the spare bedroom and eat the fish food."

– -GateKeep-

My Favorite Subject

"I'm autistic and have always had a thing for insects. My neurotypical best friend and I used to hang out at this local bar to talk to girls, back in the late 90s. One time he claimed that my tendency to circle conversations back to insects was hurting my game. The next time we went to that bar (with a few other friends), he turned and said sternly "No talking about bugs. Or space, or statistics or other bullsh*t but mainly no bugs." I felt like he was losing his mind over nothing."

"It was summer, the bar had its windows open. Our group hit it off with a group of young ladies, We were all chatting and having a good time. I was talking to one of these girls, my buddy was behind her facing away from me talking to a few other people."

"A cloudless sulphur flies in and lands on little thing that holds coasters."

"Cue Jordan Peele sweating gif."

"The girl notices my tension, and asks if I am looking at the leaf. "Actually, that's a lepidoptera called..." I looked at the back of my friend's head, he wasn't looking, "I mean a butterfly..." I poked it and it spread its wings the girl says "oh that's a BUG?!" and I still remember my friend turning around slowly to look at me with chastisement. The ONE thing he told me not to do."

"I was 21, and was completely not aware that I already had a rep for being an oddball. It got worse from there."

– Phormicidae

*Teeth Chatter*

"I bite ice cream sometimes."


"That's how I am with popsicles. My wife shudders every single time."


Never Speak Of This

"I put ice in my milk."


"You should keep that kind of thing to yourself. Even when asked."

– We-R-Doomed

"There's some disturbing sh*t in this thread, but this one takes the cake."

– RatonaMuffin

More Than Super Hearing

"I can hear the television while it's on mute."

– Tira13e

"What does it say to you, child?"

– Mama_Skip


"I put mustard on my omelettes."

– Deleted User


– NotCrustOr-filling

Evened Up

"Whenever I say a word and feel like I used a half of my mouth more than the other half, I have to even it out by saying the word again using the other half of my mouth more. If I don't do it correctly, that can go on forever until I feel it's ok."

"I do it silently so I don't creep people out."

– LesPaltaX

"That sounds like a symptom of OCD (I have it myself). Some people with OCD feel like certain actions have to be balanced (like counting or making sure physical movements are even). You should find a therapist who specializes in OCD, because they can help you."

– MoonlightKayla

I totally have the same need for things to be balanced! Guess I'm weird and a little OCD!

Close up face of a woman in bed, staring into the camera
Photo by Jen Theodore

Experiencing death is a fascinating and frightening idea.

Who doesn't want to know what is waiting for us on the other side?

But so many of us want to know and then come back and live a little longer.

It would be so great to be sure there is something else.

But the whole dying part is not that great, so we'll have to rely on other people's accounts.

Redditor AlaskaStiletto wanted to hear from everyone who has returned to life, so they asked:

"Redditors who have 'died' and come back to life, what did you see?"


Happy Good Vibes GIF by Major League SoccerGiphy

"My dad's heart stopped when he had a heart attack and he had to be brought back to life. He kept the paper copy of the heart monitor which shows he flatlined. He said he felt an overwhelming sensation of peace, like nothing he had felt before."



"I had surgical complications in 2010 that caused a great deal of blood loss. As a result, I had extremely low blood pressure and could barely stay awake. I remember feeling like I was surrounded by loved ones who had passed. They were in a circle around me and I knew they were there to guide me onwards. I told them I was not ready to go because my kids needed me and I came back."

"My nurse later said she was afraid she’d find me dead every time she came into the room."

"It took months, and blood transfusions, but I recovered."


Take Me Back

"Overwhelming peace and happiness. A bright airy and floating feeling. I live a very stressful life. Imagine finding out the person you have had a crush on reveals they have the same feelings for you and then you win the lotto later that day - that was the feeling I had."

"I never feared death afterward and am relieved when I hear of people dying after suffering from an illness."



The Light Minnie GIF by (G)I-DLEGiphy

"I had a heart surgery with near-death experience, for me at least (well the possibility that those effects are caused by morphine is also there) I just saw black and nothing else but it was warm and I had such inner peace, its weird as I sometimes still think about it and wish this feeling of being so light and free again."


This is why I hate surgery.

You just never know.



"More of a near-death experience. I was electrocuted. I felt like I was in a deep hole looking straight up in the sky. My life flashed before me. Felt sad for my family, but I had a deep sense of peace."



"Nursing in the ICU, we’ve had people try to die on us many times during the years, some successfully. One guy stood out to me. His heart stopped. We called a code, are working on him, and suddenly he comes to. We hadn’t vented him yet, so he was able to talk, and he started screaming, 'Don’t let them take me, don’t let them take me, they are coming,' he was scared and yelling."

"Then he yelled a little more, as we tried to calm him down, he screamed, 'No, No,' and gestured towards the end of the bed, and died again. We didn’t get him back. It was seriously creepy. We called his son to tell him the news, and the son said basically, 'Good, he was an SOB.'”



"My sister died and said it was extremely peaceful. She said it was very loud like a train station and lots of talking and she was stuck in this area that was like a curtain with lots of beautiful colors (colors that you don’t see in real life according to her) a man told her 'He was sorry, but she had to go back as it wasn’t her time.'"


"I had a really similar experience except I was in an endless garden with flowers that were colors I had never seen before. It was quiet and peaceful and a woman in a dress looked at me, shook her head, and just said 'Not yet.' As I was coming back, it was extremely loud, like everyone in the world was trying to talk all at once. It was all very disorienting but it changed my perspective on life!"


The Fog

"I was in a gray fog with a girl who looked a lot like a young version of my grandmother (who was still alive) but dressed like a pioneer in the 1800s she didn't say anything but kept pulling me towards an opening in the wall. I kept refusing to go because I was so tired."

"I finally got tired of her nagging and went and that's when I came to. I had bled out during a c-section and my heart could not beat without blood. They had to deliver the baby and sew up the bleeders. refill me with blood before they could restart my heart so, like, at least 12 minutes gone."


Through the Walls

"My spouse was dead for a couple of minutes one miserable night. She maintains that she saw nothing, but only heard people talking about her like through a wall. The only thing she remembers for absolute certain was begging an ER nurse that she didn't want to die."

"She's quite alive and well today."


Well let's all be happy to be alive.

It seems to be all we have.

Man's waist line
Santhosh Vaithiyanathan/Unsplash

Trying to lose weight is a struggle understood by many people regardless of size.

The goal of reaching a healthy weight may seem unattainable, but with diet and exercise, it can pay off through persistence and discipline.

Seeing the pounds gradually drop off can also be a great motivator and incentivize people to stay the course.

Those who've achieved their respective weight goals shared their experiences when Redditor apprenti8455 asked:

"People who lost a lot of weight, what surprises you the most now?"

Redditors didn't see these coming.

Shiver Me Timbers

"I’m always cold now!"

– Telrom_1

"I had a coworker lose over 130 pounds five or six years ago. I’ve never seen him without a jacket on since."

– r7ndom

"140 lbs lost here starting just before COVID, I feel like that little old lady that's always cold, damn this top comment was on point lmao."

– mr_remy

Drawing Concern

"I lost 100 pounds over a year and a half but since I’m old(70’s) it seems few people comment on it because (I think) they think I’m wasting away from some terminal illness."

– dee-fondy

"Congrats on the weight loss! It’s honestly a real accomplishment 🙂"

"Working in oncology, I can never comment on someone’s weight loss unless I specifically know it was on purpose, regardless of their age. I think it kind of ruffles feathers at times, but like I don’t want to congratulate someone for having cancer or something. It’s a weird place to be in."

– LizardofDeath

Unleashing Insults

"I remember when I lost the first big chunk of weight (around 50 lbs) it was like it gave some people license to talk sh*t about the 'old' me. Old coworkers, friends, made a lot of not just negative, but harsh comments about what I used to look like. One person I met after the big loss saw a picture of me prior and said, 'Wow, we wouldn’t even be friends!'”

"It wasn’t extremely common, but I was a little alarmed by some of the attention. My weight has been up and down since then, but every time I gain a little it gets me a little down thinking about those things people said."

– alanamablamaspama

Not Everything Goes After Losing Weight

"The loose skin is a bit unexpected."

– KeltarCentauri

"I haven’t experienced it myself, but surgery to remove skin takes a long time to recover. Longer than bariatric surgery and usually isn’t covered by insurance unless you have both."

– KatMagic1977

"It definitely does take a long time to recover. My Dad dropped a little over 200 pounds a few years back and decided to go through with skin removal surgery to deal with the excess. His procedure was extensive, as in he had skin taken from just about every part of his body excluding his head, and he went through hell for weeks in recovery, and he was bedridden for a lot of it."

– Jaew96

These Redditors shared their pleasantly surprising experiences.


"I can buy clothes in any store I want."

– WaySavvyD

"When I lost weight I was dying to go find cute, smaller clothes and I really struggled. As someone who had always been restricted to one or two stores that catered to plus-sized clothing, a full mall of shops with items in my size was daunting. Too many options and not enough knowledge of brands that were good vs cheap. I usually went home pretty frustrated."

– ganache98012

No More Symptoms

"Lost about 80 pounds in the past year and a half, biggest thing that I’ve noticed that I haven’t seen mentioned on here yet is my acid reflux and heartburn are basically gone. I used to be popping tums every couple hours and now they just sit in the medicine cabinet collecting dust."

– colleennicole93

Expanding Capabilities

"I'm all for not judging people by their appearance and I recognise that there are unhealthy, unachievable beauty standards, but one thing that is undeniable is that I can just do stuff now. Just stamina and flexibility alone are worth it, appearance is tertiary at best."

– Ramblonius

People Change Their Tune

"How much nicer people are to you."

"My feet weren't 'wide' they were 'fat.'"

– LiZZygsu

"Have to agree. Lost 220 lbs, people make eye contact and hold open doors and stuff"

"And on the foot thing, I also lost a full shoe size numerically and also wear regular width now 😅"

– awholedamngarden

It's gonna take some getting used to.

Bones Everywhere

"Having bones. Collarbones, wrist bones, knee bones, hip bones, ribs. I have so many bones sticking out everywhere and it’s weird as hell."

– Princess-Pancake-97

"I noticed the shadow of my ribs the other day and it threw me, there’s a whole skeleton in here."

– bekastrange

Knee Pillow

"Right?! And they’re so … pointy! Now I get why people sleep with pillows between their legs - the knee bones laying on top of each other (side sleeper here) is weird and jarring."

– snic2030

"I lost only 40 pounds within the last year or so. I’m struggling to relate to most of these comments as I feel like I just 'slimmed down' rather than dropped a ton. But wow, the pillow between the knees at night. YES! I can relate to this. I think a lot of my weight was in my thighs. I never needed to do this up until recently."

– Strongbad23

More Mobility

"I’ve lost 100 lbs since 2020. It’s a collection of little things that surprise me. For at least 10 years I couldn’t put on socks, or tie my shoes. I couldn’t bend over and pick something up. I couldn’t climb a ladder to fix something. Simple things like that I can do now that fascinate me."

"Edit: Some additional little things are sitting in a chair with arms, sitting in a booth in a restaurant, being able to shop in a normal store AND not needing to buy the biggest size there, being able to easily wipe my butt, and looking down and being able to see my penis."

– dma1965

People making significant changes, whether for mental or physical health, can surely find a newfound perspective on life.

But they can also discover different issues they never saw coming.

That being said, overcoming any challenge in life is laudable, especially if it leads to gaining confidence and ditching insecurities.