The aim of this study was to explore the description of the migraine attack of Pontius Pilate (a character in the novel The Master and Margarita by M. A. Bulgakov). Some of its features are analysed in light of current migraine literature. It is hypothesized that, at least in part, this description is based on the personal experience of the novel's author. We studied and analysed the text of the novel, other works by Bulgakov, his biography, including his medical training and practice, and the recently published diaries of Bulgakov and his wife E. S. Bulgakova. The novel contains a comprehensive description of a migraine attack. It includes a prodrome/aura of osmophobia. Olfactory perception during or shortly before the migraine attack is altered to the point where neutral or even pleasant odours become unbearable. Bulgakov's extensive history of migraines is seen in his diary, the diary of his wife, letters and other literary works. This is one of the most detailed and extensive depictions of a migraine attack in literature, with osmophobia described with great emphasis. It is likely that Pilate's migraine is described based on the personal history of the novel's author.