I’m reading the H.G. Wells classic “The Invisible Man” and it’s gotten me thinking about the five (or six) senses of MONSTERS.
This morning, I found myself pondering the aromas of monsters. Does a werewolf, after a long run through the forest, smell like a wet dog? I’m guessing that a zombie might smell more than a little ripe — maybe even reek of rotting flesh? A ghost might waft into a room on a cloud of scent reminiscent of the person they were in life: Chanel No. 5, cigarettes and whiskey, mint Girl Scout cookies, cherries, motor oil, leather, furniture polish…
But the aroma of a vampire has me stumped. The idea of the undead — the living dead — leads me to speculate a complete lack of aroma. In fact, the absence of an aroma would be part of their nature.
As human animals we often denigrate the important information our nose gives us. Where other animals start with their noses, the sense of scent often takes a back stage role for 21st century humans. This is not to say that scent has no impact — it’s just less of a conscious impact than what we see, hear taste or touch.
I have a pretty good nose. It’s not a perfumer’s nose, but it’s good enough to make me cringe at the smell of burned coffee beans when I enter a Starbucks or change the kitty litter quickly. When I get a particularly good or bad feeling about another person and can’t put my finger on what’s causing my reaction, upon reflection I usually find the answer in my nose. (Stinky sweat, aggressive aftershave, sour breath…)
In paranormal fiction, hungry werewolves and vampires often catch a whiff of human blood and pursue their prey. Some vampires even express preferences for a B+ or a rare AB- served at a perfect 98.6. Having no aroma doesn’t mean a lack of interest in my scent or yours.
Why was I pondering aromatic monsters? Maybe it was because I started my monster meditation at the gym. If I start at the coffee bar, I might focus on MONSTROUS taste buds. What do you think?