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Fibromyalgia Action UK
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Unusual Odor,Strange Smell in So Cal that no one else can smell, recurring smell once a year for a week or two, does anyone else smell this?

This odor comes on slow and intermittently over a couple days and then full on for a period of a week or two and over that time it's mostly here but comes and goes and is sometimes stronger from room to room or place to place, it's outside as well and in cars but it varies everywhere. Could barely smell it in my living room the other day but was very strong in my bedroom, one day it was barely noticeable around my home but when I went to Sam's club it was very strong and when I walked out it was barely noticeable again so I know it's not me since there are places where it has a heavier presence that I can notice as I walk in and out of them. It's from an external source and no one else smells it but me. It reoccurs every year and I dread it's coming, it's so annoying, especially because it's so strong and I can't find anyone else that can smell it. This year, 2014 it started on May 10 and is still here on May 20. The last time it was Dec 10-19. 2012. And when it leaves it's gone for good until a year or so later, that's been the pattern for many years now. The smell is very hard to describe as it smells like nothing else, definately not a burning or flesh smell that others have reported. Best I can describe is after it hasn't rained in a long time and the first few drops of rain begin hitting the ground there is the smell of the accumilated dust and dirt being kicked up by the drops. It's an "earthy" odor as if it's coming up from the ground but it's not raining although there was an earthquake here a couple of months ago. When I smelled it heavy in my bedroom I stuck my nose up to the window screen and it was not in the wind coming in although other times outdoors I have smelled it on the wind although the wind is not a factor. If you have had any experiences like these please let me know I'm not alone in this unbelievable anomally that is occuring in the Orange County/LA County area of Southern California and maybe elsewhere.

22 Replies

Hi ThatSmell

I sincerely hope that you are feeling as well as you possibly can be today? That is very strange to say the least? It is not beyond my comprehension to formulate an hypothesis that Fibro is caused by the brain sending signals to other parts of the body telling it that something is happening to you despite the fact that it is not?

I have even read that other members have been to the opticians because their eyesight is playing up only to discover that Fibro has caused their eye muscles to stop working effectively. Many other members on the forum have said that their Fibro causes them to experience a strange taste in their mouths?

If you take all of this into consideration, do you believe that it is feasible for your brain to send signals to your nose saying that there is a strange smell in the air?

If you feel that this is far fetched, then any other explanation must be, by definition, paranormal?

All my hopes and dreams for you



Hi Ken there is a smell that all the family have smelt in our `unusual house` and that is the smell of very strong perfume. I think that it is Lilly of the Valley. It appears suddenly and seconds later it has gone.Not faded away just gone. :O?


I have spoken to so many people who have experienced such phenomena, it is very difficult to know what has caused it?

Take care

Ken x


Very true Ken x

1 like

Hi, it’s been a while since your post, sorry. I smell a smell that I can’t describe. I’ve smelled

It for a couple of years. It’s everywhere, anywhere, anytime...weird. It drives me crazy to know what it is!



My smell is not pleasant nor unpleasant


HI My sense of smell drives me round the bend. All smells now are extreamly strong and usually unpleasant and yes I do get smells that no one else can smell that lasts for days driving me bonkers hug sue xx

Oh and I am in B` ham England.

1 like

I have a very strong sense of smell, but not as you describe,poor you, it must be so unpleasant. I can't walk past candle shops, cosmetic and perfumery ones otherwise it triggers a migraine almost immediately. I can smell when things are on the verge of going off where others can't. My GP says that people who have migraine often have what he called "raised olfactory senses" which include smell, hearing and light sensitivity. I wonder if your suffer with migraine at all? This could possibly be a link, sorry not to be of more help.

Foggy x


It might be worth googling phantom smells my partner has suffered with this and it turned out to be sinusitis


Is there a dump near by? My

brother lives in Baldwinville Mass.

There is a dump near by. It smells

Like they burn the trash. It's a really weird smell. I've smelled it

When I went to visit him it's

Really nasty odor kinds earthy.


I was at the ER last nite really

bad pain in my legs numbness

Too. Does anybody else have

this? I can't stand feeling like

This anymore! Finally going to

Physical therapy! I hope it helps

Feeling sad and discouraged!


Yes me! I live in Australia and I have this exact issue, have you had any good answers?

I can smell an indescribable odour for a few weeks at a time then it disappears and then months and months later it comes back! It's the same smell every time so as soon as I smell it I know what I am in for. It makes me feel constantly like I need a shower and everyone else claims that they cannot smell it!

I'm not unwell in any other way that I know of so it's confusing and very annoying.


I have the exact same issue. It's an unusual, sickly smell that I can't describe. I think it happens once a year or so, but I've never kept track so I can't be sure. I have it again at the moment - it's so annoying! I've been trying to think whether I've done anything different recently and realised that I've started taking multi vitamins, which I have done on and off in the past. I wonder whether they could be causing it. Whatever it is, I hope it goes again soon!


I left this reply in another forum, but I'll leave it here as well. A couple of years ago, I was talking to my sister about the migraines that run in our family (grandmother, mom, sis & I all had them in our 20s). My aging mom is having problems again, so my sis & I were comparing notes. I knew my sis had been to the neurologist, so I asked her why. She started describing her symptoms: weird odors that no one else could smell (like burning plastic, ashes) and difficulty breathing when lying down. She said if she breathed through a bedsheet or her shirt it helped. I was so amazed because I too had been experiencing the same symptoms, but not quite as long as she (she's 2 years older). The diagnosis: atypical migraine. She's had success with medication, but I'm not quite ready to try that yet. Since I'm not a doctor, I'm not going to suggest treatment. However, you can look it up yourself and talk with your doctor. I hope this helps you realize that you are not going crazy. :-) (I can't tell you how many times I searched the house, looking for that odor that no one else could smell.) And I hope you are able to find a doctor who can help you. Blessings!


I keep having a smell of burning. Sometimes it has been so strong it has woken me up in the night and I have had to get up and go from room to room just to make sure that there is no fire anywhere. I smell it both outside and in doors. Once while I was talking to my GP the smell suddenly came on and I mentioned it to the doctor. He just shrugged his shoulders.


Finally someone else smells this!!

I smell the exact same odor that you have described and it is so annoying as well as frustrating because nobody else can smell this. Today is September 21 2016 and it has been going on for the past week or so here in Southern California, it's everywhere, doesn't matter what city I'm in or what building I'm in or what car I'm in or what road I'm on. And it varies in strength.

I have been keeping track on my calendar for the past 6 or 7 years and every year for two weeks or so it comes back. I have sent you a message with my phone number, please contact me so I can then find a scientist in hopes of finding an explanation of the smells origin. Because it's an"earthy" odor, and so strong yet undetectable by the masses, I have to think it is something similar to radon gas that supposedly is odorless yet it might be possible that some rare individuals can actually smell it.

It's definitely strange and I definitely want to find out what it is and understand why practically no one else can smell it. It also definitely does not have anything to do with anything that people have been suggesting. I cannot smell it through a gas mask so it's not internal or in my head, besides, this guy smelled it on the exact same dates I did. It's real.


I just checked my calendar, this is when the smell occurred in So Cal:

2012 December 10-19, 2013 None, 2014 May 10-20, 2015 Oct 29-Nov 9, 2016 Sept 13-Present (Sept 21)


If anyone else can smell the oder described at the top of this thread, please let me know. Thanks!

Strange smell in air Orange County

Strange smell in air Los Angeles

Strange odor in air no one else can smell

Strange smell in air that no one else can smell

Does anyone else smell the strange odor in the air

Earthy odor in the air

Earthy smell in the air

Strange earthy odor

Strange earthy smell


Strange smell only I smell


I do not live in cali but I do have the same scent once a year it is strange I can not describe the scent it's not smoke perfume musty i'm not sick no infections I have it now as I type this trying to figure what this smell is. It's not a bad odor just one I have never experienced only once per year


From time to time I smell an earthy, damp wood type of smell in my bedroom. I have asked other members of the family to check it out and they have no idea what I am talking about as they do not smell it. I had someone in to do some work in the house and asked him check it out. Same thing..He could not smell it either. Actually not an unpleasant smell but driving me insane because I could not pin-point the source. Just as I think I must be going crazy the smell disappears, only to return again a few months later. This has been going on for years but I can only smell this in my bedroom.


I had this horrible smell for two years first it was burning wood then garbage and now weird smell that I can’t describe. But I can’t smell other things. I went to the ent had test found nothing. Used sprays , steroids etc smell is still there dr said when I had the sinus infection it caused this . But still no help and people think it’s weird but I know I smell it.


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