Dion Fortune (Violet May Firth) was an early 20th-century British occultist who founded the magical society The Fraternty of the Inner Light in 1924. The July 1932 issue of her magazine Inner Light features an account of a fragrant haunting:
“We soon began to notice that there was a smell of wood-smoke about the house from time to time; we hunted diligently for its origin, but found nothing. It was aromatic smoke, such as burning pine-wood gives off. Then one day, as I lay on a couch meditating, I smelt burning; and looking round, saw wreaths of soft grey, sweet scented smoke curling up from behind my head. I investigated, but found nothing…I was one day sitting beside a fire that would not burn, trying to coax it to light, and while waiting for it to burn up, I was reading that quaint old book, “Le Comte de Gabalis” which has much to say concerning elementals and such-like. And as I read, the realisation came to me very clearly that man was the initiator of the elementals just as the Masters are initiators of men. This realisation came in one of those flashes of insight that are the glory of the mystic path; and as it came, a movement at my feet caught my attention, and I saw a lizard-like creature come trailing out of the heart of the fire that was now blazing upon the hearth….
It was, I should say, some two and a half feet long from nose to tail, of an elephant-grey colour, the ridges of its neck-folds and back edged with glittering ruby light, exactly like the gay trimmings of a Christmas cracker. Its eyes were glittering jewels of ruby.
Not unnaturally, the creature gave me rather a turn, for it was so very palpable that if it had not issued out from the blazing coals but had come from under a chair, or some such natural spot, I should have concluded it had escaped from the Zoo. As soon as I had got over my astonishment at its appearance, however, I realised that I was seeing it with psychic vision, and not with the physical eyes.
Its expression was mild, and it seemed very anxious to propitiate me. Its whole bearing,, in fact, was eager and apologetic; as if it were very anxious to win my approval.
I went downstairs to my own room, and as I descended the stairs, I saw it behind me, flopping along from step to step with its elongated body, exactly like a dachshund. I arrived back in my own room and there it was on the hearth-rug, looking up anxiously into my face. We were both I think, mutually embarassed.
I was very puzzled to know what to do with my newly acquired familiar. I did not want to disappoint it or hurt it’s feelings, and I was wondering how in the world I was going to educate the odd little creature and do my duty by it as a human initiator of elementals, when there was a knock at the door and one of our littleWelsh maids appeared with her eyes bulging out of her head to tell me that the other little Welsh maid had seen a trail of smoke on the stairs. I asked why she had not come to tell me herself, and was told that she had been too frightened to do so. I asked what there was about the smoke to frighten her, but no explanation was forthcoming.
Various members of the household saw our little salamander
and also smelt the aromatic smoke which seemed to be his characteristic odour. He grew much bigger during the few weeks he was with us, and the ruby edges to his collar and spines became much brighter. But the most curious thing about the association was that he gradually began to assume an upright posture. At first he would rear up for a few moments, and drop down again to his four-footed gait, but towards the end of his visit he was permanently upright and nearly double his original size. Then the time came when I had to go Glastonbury for a period, and as I had no knowledge as to the packing of elementals for transport, we lost sight of our little friend. He did not turn up at Glastonbury when I got there, and when I returned to 3 QT, he was no longer there.