The Licked Hand

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The Licked Hand, known sometimes as The Doggy Lick,[1] is an urban legend popular among teenagers. Like many urban legends, it has several versions. The original version called "Bedtime for Sam" was written and published by Author David Brown (db martin) in the early 1980s.


A young girl is home alone for the first time with only her dog for company. Listening to the radio, she hears of a serial killer (or mental patient) on the loose, so she locks all the doors and windows (in some versions, the basement window is jammed open so she just locks the basement door) and goes to bed, taking her dog to her room with her and letting it sleep under her bed... She wakes in the night and can hear a dripping sound coming from the bathroom. She finds the dripping sound unsettling for some reason. The bedside lamp doesn't work, and she is too scared to get out of bed to turn on the main light and walk over to the bathroom. She hides under the covers and then to reassure herself that the dog is still under the bed, she puts her hand down and feels licking on her hand. She lies awake for some time listening to the dripping sound and periodically puts her hand down to where she can hear heavy breathing and each time feels gentle licks on her fingers. Eventually she falls asleep. The next morning when she wakes, she goes to the bathroom for a drink of water. On the shower wall, written in blood are the words "HUMANS CAN LICK TOO", and the dogs head is hanging from the shower rack, the blood still dripping from his disembodied head.

Other story variations feature a nearsighted old woman, the lack of a radio, the killer being skinned, or the killer's body being found in different areas of the house.


  • There is a forerunner in the 1919 story 'The Diary of Mr Poynter' by M. R. James, where a young man absently strokes his dog (as he thinks) while reading an old manuscript account of the sinister death of a young student obsessed with his own hair. Of course the creature crouching at his side is not the dog.
  • The First published example of this story is found in 1983 in a story entitled "Bedtime for Sam" by Horror author David M Brown.
  • This legend was featured in the film Campfire Tales.
  • The story is a plot point in Volume 35 of Part 4 of the Japanese manga series JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.
  • In an episode of Showtime's series The L Word, Alice tells a version of the story with her friends as they sit around a campfire.
  • The episode "Bedsit" from A Scare at Bedtime.
  • A variation of the story is featured in the film Urban Legends: Final Cut.
  • A version of the story is featured in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
  • The episode "Family Remains" of Supernatural features an alteration on this story in which a feral child licks the hand of a teenage girl who panics when she realizes that her dog is in the hallway. In this version she sees the dog alive and realizes it's not the pet licking her, although the dog is mutilated when the show's heroes attempt to help the family escape.
  • The legend is also used by Bloody Mary in the follow-up to Urban Legends Final Cut, entitled Urban Legends: Bloody Mary, as a way to murder one of the high school boys that she sees as guilty for her death.
  • The legend is referenced in John Dies at the End, where the main character goes to bed (intending to lure out a ghost) and wakes up to find his dog still licking his hand, until he realizes he can hear his dog lapping water from the toilet next door.
  • The story is partially told by Francis Boulle on a camping trip in an episode of Made in Chelsea (Series 6, Episode 4).
  • A Variation of this story is told by one of the main characters in the premiere episode of The Enfield Haunting.



  1. ^ Brunvand, Jan Harold (2001). Encyclopedia of urban legends. ABC-CLIO. p. 240. ISBN 1-57607-076-X. 



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