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Witness: Sarah
Location: Highland, Michigan
Date of Encounter: February 1999

I was 10 years old when my grandfather passed away. He had been sick for a long time, so I hadn't seen him for a while even before he died. From my early experiences with him, I remember his distinctive smell. Every time we'd go to visit, he would hug me, and I remember very clearly the combined scent of Old Spice aftershave and beer. (He would often have a can of Miller beer in his hand).

Of course, as a small child, I didn't attribute his scent to anything particular like aftershave, I just knew that Papa smelled a certain way. Anyway, quite a few years later, I was driving to my after-school job. I was about 17 at the time. It was wintertime, so all the windows in my car were rolled up tightly. There were no restaurants or any other businesses in the area I was driving through that would have released a scent into the air. I had just made a turn when quite suddenly the entire interior of my car filled with Papa's smell. It was so thick that it took me less than a second to process what the smell was. You know how memories can rush back to you when you smell a certain something, like perfume, or coffee, or candle smoke? Well, this was one of those times. I kept driving, but my senses were stunned. The smell was so near and so real that I actually said, "Papa?" right out loud. A few seconds after I said it, the smell evaporated completely. There wasn't even a lingering trace, like a lot of scents leave. Surprised but not scared, I drove the rest of the way to work. I found out later that my uncle (Papa's son) had also experienced him while driving. He was driving along after work, and also felt a sudden presence. (I heard this through my Gramma). The presence was so strong that my uncle was overwhelmed with sadness and started crying (believe me, he is not a crying, touchy-feely kind of guy).

It's interesting which people are chosen to be contacted. I still haven't figured out a reason why my grandfather was with me that day. All I know is that I knew beyond a doubt that he was with me in my car and that I felt a warm, gentle energy along with the scent. Maybe he just wanted to say hello, and made sure that his presence was strong enough that I would remember my encounter and tell the rest of my family about it, thus reassuring them that he's still with us.

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