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“Haunted House” Tickling

When I was about 13-15, my church's youth group set up a haunted house in the basement of our sister church. I was sitting on top of a 4 foot diameter tube, reaching down through a concealed hole to grab at people going through with a monsterous glove. Just before the visitors got to the tube, they met the mad vivisectionist. We had set up a table with a “bloody” sheet over a human shape. The Vivisectionist would reach into the chest cavity and pull out gunky bits of so-called anatomy. However; to prove that his subject was indeed alive, the table had been set up with a secret compartment underneath. One of the fourteen-year-old boys from the youth group had volunteered for the position. So he laid in the compartment, with his bare feet and legs sticking up through holes to emerge out from beneath the sheet; making it look like there was a real person on the table. They then applied white makeup to his skin.

As they did his soles, they discovered that he was ticklish. After tormenting his feet for a moment or two (far too short for my liking!), they warned him that even though he could wiggle his feet a bit to give the illusion that the doctor was disecting a living body, he couldn't laugh. He agreed, and before long, the Haunted House opened. It wasn't until people started coming through that we realized we had made a mistake in the positioning of the vivisection table. The visitors entered right by where his feet laid. It was a rare person who could resist tickling those vulnerable soles. His feet twitched like crazy, but to his credit, he didn't make a sound. When the “doctor” realized that this was going to be a constant problem, he started telling people to stop (after a while, he let them tickle for a moment or two); saying something like; “Stop that, you are making his spleen undulate.”

I was able to watch all this happen through a small hole in the wall between our sections of the house. We closed up after a very sucessful 3 hours. When the fourteen year old was let out of the compartment, he was sweating; his hair plastered with sweat across his brow. He gratefully crawled back into his socks and shoes, not caring that he got makeup on his socks.

We had one more night to run, and the boy from the Vivisectionist table absolutely refused to do it again, even though they had turned it so that his feet would be a little less accessable to the crowds. They decided to switch people. Unfortunately, everyone else's jobs in the Haunted House had required special make-up or rehersals. The only job that took little effort or training was mine.

I used to believe in the adage that “the show must go on,” but that evening did much to convince me otherwise. As expected, they took advantage of putting the makeup on my feet to tickle me. The Vivisectionist said that I was even more ticklish than the other guy. That other guy (I think his name was Jeff), called over from my former position, reminding me that I had to keep quiet.

We didn't think it was possible, but our second night of the Haunted House got something like seven or eight times as many visitors as the previous night had. I guess word-of-mouth had spread our fame. Although my feet were pointed towards a corner now, some people still made an effort to move in and tickle me. I tried to keep quiet, biting my arm to suppress my laughter. The twitching of my feet threatened to tip the table over more than once. At one point, the vivisectionist managed to get a hockey puck that he said I could bite down on to help prevent my laughter. I suggested that he could ask them not to tickle me, but he said,

“Naw, that probably wouldn't work.” and he closed the compartment again, but not before I caught a glimpse of the wicked smile on his face.

I don't know how long we were open that night. The supervisor said that they had so many people come to visit, that he had kept the Haunted House open longer. I don't remember getting home that night. I think my brother got me home.

I do know that we made a lot of money for charity that year!

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