Humans Can Lick Too


Let’s go really old school-a story that’s ingrained in American culture deep enough that I can honestly say I heard this before I read it. It wasn’t a friend of a friend story, but it was definitely classic American folklore.

A family had an only child, a girl. The parents bought a dog for the girl to have a friend.

The girl and the dog were inseperable. The dog would sleep next to her bed and when she was frightened, she would drape her hand over the side of the bed and make sure the dog was still there.

One night, her parents went out to dinner and decided that the girl was finally old enough to stay home by herself. Besides, she had the dog.

Late at night, the girl awoke to sounds in the house. She decided she was hearing her parents come home. She went to touch her dog and found hair. The dog licked her hand and she went back to sleep.

When she awoke the next morning, she was both terrified and distraught. The dog was dead in the hallway, and her parents dead in their beds. Written in blood on the wall:

Human can lick, too.

There’s a lot of holes to this story. How did she sleep through all that noise? Why did the murderer not kill the child? But when you’re nine, this is the height of creep. The story is also referred to as the licked hand, and some versions of the story has the child being warned via the radio or other media of a murderer being hunted in the area. Sometimes the sound that awakens the girl is the sound of the blood dripping elsewhere in the house.

While not existing in exactly this form, a similar theme is played out in M. R, James’  ‘The Diary of Mr. Poynter’, which dates the theme to at least 1919. According to Snopes, a primary source dating to the 1870s talks about a story (of an acquaitance of an acquaitance, la la) where the crime in question is a theft, not a murder but the trope plays out in a similar fashion, minus a note.


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