Friday, February 24

The Tickling Ghosts

two elderly sisters - the tickling ghosts

I came across an interview given by author David Conway. He wrote, amongst others, a very informative book called Magic: An Occult Primer which I read in the early 1970s. I still have the book today and, in the post Magic Talisman Attracts Money, I tell of how talismans I made - following David's instructions - attracted lots of money to my wife and myself.

Anyway, in the interview, David talks of an experience he had as a child.

"Every night after my mother put me to bed, two elderly ladies would appear at my bedside.  The taller one would stand back a little, while her companion made a big show of nodding and smiling and blowing kisses in my direction. At some point one of them, usually the taller woman, would lean over and tickle me.

Every evening without fail, thin, bony fingers would reach down and begin the same relentless tickling while I, powerless to stop it, thrashed about in bed.

Throughout it all my tormentor's expression stayed blank, disconcertingly so, with no hint of a smirk or scowl, just a mindless, unflinching resolve.  Apparently my screams could be heard outside in the street. 

Night after night my parents would try to persuade me it was all a bad dream, but some weeks later I was taken off to see our elderly family doctor."

David explained to the doctor what he saw:

"I went on to describe them in detail and even provided him with their names, as well as diminutives that they encouraged me to use."

It was recommended that David's bed should be moved to another room. After this the visits stopped and never returned.

Only several years later did he find out what the doctor had told his parents:

"Years earlier, it seems, he (the doctor) had attended two patients in what was now our house, elderly sisters now long dead.  Not only had I described them in remarkable detail - their hair, their clothes, even the consumptive cough of the older woman - but I had given him their names as well as the pet names each used for the other. A mystery he called it."

But was it really such a mystery as David has been quoted as saying, "Reality, as we know it, is more, far more, than what we ordinarily perceive."

Source: The Book of English MagicThe English Book Of Magic

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  1. This story is fascinating on so many levels. I wonder what caused the ghosts to tickle David. Was it so they could be identified by the doctor?

    And what did these talismans look like? :)

  2. tickling ghosts. wonder how they would do that being ghosts. i think of them as being see through and not solid enough to tickle.

  3. DAVID CONWAY19:20

    Glad my two old ladies are enjoying some posthumous notriety. There's more about them and much else in my autobiography, just published, called Magic without Mirrors, and - a gentle plug - already available in the US and in Europe,from, among others, amazon. I certainly enjoyed writing it.
    David Conway

    1. Thanks David. Must look out for Magic Without Mirrors. In the early 70s your Magic, along with Colin Wilson's Occult and Mysteries and Lyall Watson's Supernature, helped me to start to fathom out some of the things about life. Not that I have any real answers now - just theories!

    2. Anonymous20:13

      As a child about 5 years old, I had someone or something tickling me at night, but could see no one. it was a true nightmare feeling and it wouldn't stop, and my screams and breathlessness concerned the adults. You do not know how important it is to read of this experience now, as I am almost 70 years old, and lived in a house that was once the residence of a spiritualist. I wonder if she had brought something into the house. The experience was so frightening.

  4. leah02:01

    I think I'm confused about something: you said they were expressionless while they were tickling you. Was there any kind of feeling you picked up on ever at all? Was it friendly tickling or malicious tickling? I'm leaning toward the latter based on the screaming but I'm having a hard time picturing anybody tickling another anybody with no emotion present at all. I'm not questioning the story, I just need a little clarification :). Thank you![

    1. Anonymous22:30

      I think one must remember that I was very young and understandably scared at the time of these incidents. In my mind's eye I can nevertheless still "see" the two women but, inevitably, what I see in retrospect is necessarily what I saw as a small child. And certainly what struck me at the time was the absence of expression - neither benign nor malicious - on my tormentor's face. And that's what I intuitively found disturbing. It is nevertheless quite possible that I was too young to identify an exprsession too subtle for me to grasp. Certainly at the time I felt the intention was malevolent - but then what child, in those circumstances, would not?! Still, I do hope I've not done my visitors an injustice!DAVID CONWAY

  5. I've heard of spirits tickling people before or messing with someone's feet. Makes me think that some spirits have a fetish.