I've written before about stinky aliens, but I just got some interesting information about flower-scented ghosts.
I was chatting with someone after a meeting, and somehow the topic of ghosts came up. He told me this story.
He was riding in his car one day with his brother, when he noticed a strong smell of flowers filling the car. He couldn't figure out where it was coming from--he wasn't driving past any flower fields--so he asked his brother if he smelled it too. While the brother said that yes, he did, the man happened to look at his watch.
This all happened before cell phones, and when he got home, his answering machine was stacked with messages. When he played the first one, he learned that his father had died on the operating table after open heart surgery, at precisely the time had he read on his watch after smelling the strong scent of flowers in his car.
After asking around, I've discovered that the scent of flowers accompanies many ghostly visions. Whitley remembered that a strong scent of violets sometimes mysteriously filled the country house that his great-grandmother built almost a hundred years ago (and is stilled lived-in by his aunt and uncle). Since "Nana" had always worn violet-scented perfume, everyone assumed she'd stopped by for a visit.
I wonder if, when we all become ghosts, we'll give off a smell like our favorite flowers. Mine would have to be roses, although roses have been tragically hybridized to the point that many of them have lost their scent.
One of the main reasons I wanted to have a house when we lived in Texas was so that I could grow roses. I learned from a gardener that roses grow well there because South Texas is on the same meridian as the part of China where the rose originated.
You can get wonderfully hearty specimens there, which have been discovered growing wild in cemeteries and along railroad tracks, where the seeds wafted. Roses were brought from Europe by early settlers often planted on graves. The strong ones are the ones that survived many years of neglect, and plant nurseries soon realized that they should be selling the cuttings from these bushes, because they are much more resistant to disease than some of the fancy varieties you see around these days.
Whenever we go to San Antonio, I avoid driving past our old house, because the roses I tended so carefully there are now a complete mess. The current owners don't seem to realize that you have to cut them down to a few sticks every fall if you want them to bloom again in the spring.
But roses are kind of like a mistreated animal, or even a neglected child, so I know that whenever a new owner comes along who understands them (or the current owners find a wise gardener), those bushes will still be there, ready to bloom again, once they're treated right.