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Chinese Feet Tickling Torture - Fact or Myth?

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289305.  Mon Mar 03, 2008 12:39 pm Reply with quote

I've heard it said that the anchient Chinese used tickling on the soles of the feet of their prisoners as a form of torture. The feet would apparently be bare and the prisoner secured in place to make escape impossible, their feet would then be tickled all day if nessesary to gain information of a confession. They especially favoured this method on the nobility as it left no marks and no long term effect. What do you think? Fact or myth and why?

289331.  Mon Mar 03, 2008 1:20 pm Reply with quote

For Instance:

289342.  Mon Mar 03, 2008 1:38 pm Reply with quote

There were alleged repotrs from the Han Dynasty of tickle torture, but I'm not sure if there is anything out there to substantiate the fact.

Similarly, it was believed that the Romans would dip a person's feet in salt and tied up and a goat brought in to lick the victim's feet. Acrophiliacs sometimes use cats or dogs to lick their feet for sexual pleasure, so it doesn't sound too far fetched.

The problem with tickling torture is how can it be proven?

There are a couple of incidents I can find:

The Illustrated Police News (later made famous for it's reports on Jack the Ripper) ran a story in 1869, I can't find a copy to link to, so here's a transcript;

On Thursday, last week, a very serious charge was preferred against a man named Michael Puckridge, who resides at Winbush, a small village in Northumberland. The circumstances, as detailed before the board of guardians, are of a harrowing nature.

It appears that Puckridge, who has lived very unhappily with his wife, whose life he has threatened on more than one occasion. Most probably he had long contemplated the wicked design which he carried out but too successfully about a fortnight since.

Mrs. Puckridge, who is an interesting looking young woman, has for a long time past suffered from varicose veins in the leg, her husband told her that he possessed an infallible remedy for this ailment. She was induced by her tormentor to allow herself to be tied to a plank, which he placed across two chairs. When the poor woman was bound and helpless, Puckridge deliberately and persistently tickled the soles of her feet with a feather. For a long time he continued to operate upon his unhappy victim, who was rendered frantic by the process.

Eventually she swooned, whereupon her husband released her. It soon became too manifest that the light of reason had fled. Mrs. Puckridge was taken to the workhouse where she was placed with other insane patients. A little girl, a niece of the woman, spoke to one or two of the neighbors, saying her aunt had been tied to a plank and her uncle cruelly ill-treated her.

An inquiry was instituted and there is every reason to believe that Mrs. Puckridge had been driven out of her mind in the way described but the result of the investigation is not yet known.

The second is from the New York Times in 1903, this one also involved physical abuse though:

New York Times Article

Sadurian Mike
289580.  Mon Mar 03, 2008 5:32 pm Reply with quote

I love the way she was described as an "interesting looking young woman". Was she rather eye-catching, or fascinatingly ugly I wonder.

Not that it is an excuse one way or another for tickling her until she was insane, of course.

290313.  Tue Mar 04, 2008 3:37 pm Reply with quote

[quote="Sadurian Mike"]I love the way she was described as an "interesting looking young woman". Was she rather eye-catching, or fascinatingly ugly I wonder.

Not that it is an excuse one way or another for tickling her until she was insane, of course.[/quote]

Yeh, that is funny! :o)

290332.  Tue Mar 04, 2008 4:01 pm Reply with quote

gosh, someone else knows that story! we had a book at home with all these old police reports, with prints of the original illustrations and all. and that tickling to insanity story was one of my absolute favourites. i remember distinctly that in the picture the woman was drawn looking attractively interesting rather than having two noses...




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