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  #1  
Old 08-15-2010, 10:20 PM
mattomic mattomic is offline
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Cause of death: Feet licked by bear?

I went camping this past weekend with a few friends, and I heard something from a friend that boggled my mind. Apparently his parents - both Iranian - had each told him, in complete stone-faced seriousness and on separate occasions, that my friend was at risk for being killed by bears while camping... specifically, that the bears might lick him to death.

Apparently - and this is just what his parents told him, so don't give me any funny looks - bears are known to sneak up on campers while sleeping, and having poked their heads into your tent and seeing your exposed bare feet, they'll promptly begin licking your feet which will... well, details are sketchy at this point, but suffice to say that you die. Somehow both of his parents honestly believed that bears were known to lick human feet, and that this was deadly.

If I were to hazard a guess, maybe it's the rough tongues of the bear licking the skin off your feet, reducing the soles of your feet to bleeding nubs, which you somehow wouldn't notice in your deep slumber? Maybe the bear tickles you to death? Maybe you'd die of embarrassment?

In any case, have any of you heard about a supposedly widespread urban myth, specifically among Persians, that bears are known to lick people to death? My Google search for "bears licking feet" returned results too disturbing to describe, so I turned to you, the internet's only reliable source.
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  #2  
Old 08-15-2010, 10:58 PM
silenus silenus is online now
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I think the sequence would be

1. Bears lick feet.
2. Bears eat feet.
3. Bears eat legs.
4. You get the idea.

I have never heard of such a story in 50 years of backpacking/camping. Maybe Persian bears are poisonous or something.
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  #3  
Old 08-15-2010, 11:06 PM
TruCelt TruCelt is offline
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I heard something similar in Southern Georgia.* But my relatives took great pride in their ability to freak out the younger generation, so add a generous pinch of salt. . .

Anyway, the story was that bears were crazy for salt, and would lick the salt off your feet while you slept. Then you'd wake up kicking, scare the bear, and it would attack you. All barely plausible, if highly improbable.

They also said ducks hated purple,and would attack you if you wore a purple jacket near them. And of course the whole bulls with red thing. . .


*The US State, that is.

Last edited by TruCelt; 08-15-2010 at 11:06 PM..
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  #4  
Old 08-15-2010, 11:06 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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Originally Posted by silenus View Post
I think the sequence would be

1. Bears lick feet.
2. Bears eat feet.
3. Bears eat legs.
4. You get the idea.
Rather like being eaten by a boa constrictor.

The OP reminds me of the South Korean belief that if you leave a fan on while you sleep, you'll die. There's no telling what people will believe.
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Old 08-15-2010, 11:13 PM
Koxinga Koxinga is online now
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No doubt based on what he was told growing up, my dad was (and AFAIK still is) convinced that if you pluck out one of your nose hairs you're putting yourself at risk for a brain aneurysm somehow.
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  #6  
Old 08-16-2010, 12:24 AM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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Perhaps based on an ancient beastiary? Some medieval manuscripts got copied, recopied and spread out very far from their origins, and perhaps some remnant of the whole lick thing remained?
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  #7  
Old 08-16-2010, 12:48 AM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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My partner is of Persian ancestry, and he never heard of such a thing. But I do know that he NEVER sleeps with his feet exposed.
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  #8  
Old 08-16-2010, 01:02 AM
Kilmore Kilmore is offline
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I could certainly see how getting your feet licked by a wild animal would lead to panic, which probably wouldn't end well.

This video link would probably be instructional.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYrCcYYQCng
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  #9  
Old 08-16-2010, 07:14 AM
Marley23 Marley23 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
The OP reminds me of the South Korean belief that if you leave a fan on while you sleep, you'll die. There's no telling what people will believe.
Which Cecil wrote about some years ago.
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  #10  
Old 08-16-2010, 09:53 AM
Raza Raza is online now
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A small data point: Mrs. Raza is from south Asia and has related similar warnings from her mother, basically: don't go wandering around or a bear will lick your feet and you won't be able to escape.

Sounds like a generic parental warning as to "don't be gettin' ideas", to me.
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  #11  
Old 08-16-2010, 12:46 PM
Omar Little Omar Little is offline
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I've had my feet licked by a North American black bear, and lived to tell about it.
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  #12  
Old 08-16-2010, 01:56 PM
constanze constanze is offline
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While at first glance, death by being licked by a bear sounds very embarrasing, I would still prefer it to autoerotic asphyxation.
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  #13  
Old 08-16-2010, 01:59 PM
Gary T Gary T is offline
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I'm sure this sort of thing is what inspired Robert Parker to write his hit song Bearfootin'.














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  #14  
Old 08-16-2010, 02:10 PM
Sailboat Sailboat is offline
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The key is not to struggle -- you've got to know when you're licked.
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  #15  
Old 08-16-2010, 02:14 PM
Mr. Accident Mr. Accident is offline
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I've never heard that legend before. It sounds similar to the legend of the dakhanavar, which is a foot sucking vampire. Maybe it's a bastardization of that legend.
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  #16  
Old 08-16-2010, 02:59 PM
US Bureau of Labor Statistics US Bureau of Labor Statistics is offline
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I've heard the same thing about goats before, sort of. The story I heard was that some tinpot dictator in the third world's favorite mode of torture was to tie up his enemies, cover their feet with salt, and then let goats lick it off. They keep licking until your soles are bloody and raw.
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  #17  
Old 08-16-2010, 03:03 PM
TruCelt TruCelt is offline
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Originally Posted by Wilbo523 View Post
I've had my feet licked by a North American black bear, and lived to tell about it.
Details please. Surely you didn't think you were going to get by that easy?

Pics? Video?
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  #18  
Old 08-16-2010, 03:05 PM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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In most places in bear territory, most of the time, you probably wouldn't be comfortable sleeping with your feet exposed, anyway. It can get cold at night.
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  #19  
Old 08-16-2010, 03:06 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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I vaguely recall reading an account of an African Buffalo that treed a woman who was on safari. The tree was short, and the animal was able to lick her feet with its very rough tongue. Her companions didn't find her until the next morning, by which time the animal had licked her feet down to the bone. I forget whether she was supposed to have survived.

I suspect that story is bogus. I've never heard anything like this about bears.
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  #20  
Old 08-16-2010, 03:42 PM
The Great Sun Jester The Great Sun Jester is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
I vaguely recall reading an account of an African Buffalo that treed a woman who was on safari. The tree was short, and the animal was able to lick her feet with its very rough tongue. Her companions didn't find her until the next morning, by which time the animal had licked her feet down to the bone. I forget whether she was supposed to have survived.
Do goats or cows or any other herbivore have rough tongues? It's always been my impression that raspy tongues are used for getting meat off bones and so would be a carnivorous thing. 'course, dog tongues are slippery so maybe I need to stick to what I know.

Which is that this is frikkin hillarious:
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattomic
My Google search for "bears licking feet" returned results too disturbing to describe

Last edited by The Great Sun Jester; 08-16-2010 at 03:42 PM..
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  #21  
Old 08-16-2010, 04:28 PM
paperbackwriter paperbackwriter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
In most places in bear territory, most of the time, you probably wouldn't be comfortable sleeping with your feet exposed, anyway. It can get cold at night.
Well, considering that Central Florida is bear territory, maybe not.
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  #22  
Old 08-16-2010, 06:05 PM
Balthisar Balthisar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paperbackwriter View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
In most places in bear territory, most of the time, you probably wouldn't be comfortable sleeping with your feet exposed, anyway. It can get cold at night.
Well, considering that Central Florida is bear territory, maybe not.
But central Florida's mosquito country, right? I'll go with Chronos' comfort argument, but for bugs.
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  #23  
Old 08-16-2010, 09:07 PM
The Scrivener The Scrivener is offline
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Originally Posted by TruCelt View Post
[snip]Anyway, the story was that bears were crazy for salt, and would lick the salt off your feet while you slept. Then you'd wake up kicking, scare the bear, and it would attack you. All barely plausible, if highly improbable.[snip]
I saw what you did there!
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  #24  
Old 08-18-2010, 05:14 AM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
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Ancient Chinese Punsihment-True?

Is it true that the Chinese would punish minor crimes by locking you in foot stocks, then coating the soles of your feet with honey? The village dogs would then be allowed to lick the honey off your feet-the tickling would rive you mad.
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  #25  
Old 08-18-2010, 06:43 AM
saje saje is offline
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Domestic cows do indeed have very rough tongues. They are also ridiculously long and damned near prehensile.

But though it would probably make your feet very sore to be repeated licked by a bovine, I don,t buy the "to the bone" bit.

And bears don't want tom lick your feet, they want that box of doughnuts you stashed for breakfast in bed. They might take a hunk out of you too, just for curiosity's sake.
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  #26  
Old 08-18-2010, 08:10 AM
Khaki Campbell Khaki Campbell is offline
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Getting one's feet licked by a bear is not deadly by itself. What is deadly is then shoving one's cock into the bear's mouth, saying "now Smokey, I want more".
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  #27  
Old 08-18-2010, 08:31 AM
The Great Sun Jester The Great Sun Jester is offline
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ok, that was pretty funny.
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  #28  
Old 08-18-2010, 08:46 AM
lieu lieu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
I vaguely recall reading an account of an African Buffalo that treed a woman who was on safari. The tree was short, and the animal was able to lick her feet with its very rough tongue. Her companions didn't find her until the next morning, by which time the animal had licked her feet down to the bone.
"Halp!!! Pede file!!!"
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  #29  
Old 08-18-2010, 09:05 AM
Darth Panda Darth Panda is online now
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My friends uncle - not Persian - told him that some of the bears in California will sneak into your tent and toss your salad to death.
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  #30  
Old 08-18-2010, 09:18 AM
chela chela is offline
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I think the point is that humans in the wild have a distinctive odor to predators, with the feet offering a most peculiar fragrance that is enticing to bears. Thus the panicked reaction when you awaken to a bear licking your feet, and then you die (hopefully not).
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  #31  
Old 08-18-2010, 10:12 AM
Wile E Wile E is offline
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The bears are just trying to find out how many licks it takes to get to the chewy center.
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  #32  
Old 08-18-2010, 10:17 AM
The Piranha Brothers The Piranha Brothers is online now
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It doesn't rank high as a cause of death: http://xkcd.com/369/

Possibly the tongues / saliva of bears contains bacteria deadly to human feet??
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  #33  
Old 08-18-2010, 10:47 AM
KneadToKnow KneadToKnow is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Koxinga View Post
No doubt based on what he was told growing up, my dad was (and AFAIK still is) convinced that if you pluck out one of your nose hairs you're putting yourself at risk for a brain aneurysm somehow.
Not an aneurysm, an intracranial thrombophlebitis:

Can you die from picking your nose?
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  #34  
Old 08-18-2010, 11:22 AM
dobieman dobieman is offline
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Up here in Alaska where we have black bears, grizzly/brown bears, polar bears, and Kermode's bear (basically, a whitish black bear) and where I have hiked and camped for several decades I've never heard of that problem. As someone pointed out...and especially up here in the summer...you wouldn't have your feet exposed or the mosquitoes would drain you empty by morning. By the time the bugs are gone, it's too cool to sleep with your feet outside your sleeping bag.
I think this falls under the "put salt on a bird's tail to catch it" genre, in that if a bear is that close to your exposed feet the least you have to worry about is it licking them.
(Unless there's a species of bear that specializes in deriving energy from that practice. You know...maybe a sole-r polar bear.)(Groan)
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  #35  
Old 08-18-2010, 05:15 PM
minlokwat minlokwat is offline
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I distinctly remember seeing on TV, Sherman Hemsley -either on an episode of the Jeffersons or Amen- and a bear licking his feet.

There didn’t appear to be any stunt double or video tomfoolery and I don’t know how the bear felt about it—I guess like any good actor, certain sacrifices for one’s craft are to be expected.

Not sure what this proves but there you have it.
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  #36  
Old 08-19-2010, 04:55 AM
alindallas alindallas is offline
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Originally Posted by Wile E View Post
The bears are just trying to find out how many licks it takes to get to the chewy center.
Three.


Of course bares want to lick bear feet. No one could bare that kind of tickle torture. I can bearly think of it without shuddering. Surviving that kind of shock would be a feat in itself.

Bears and bare feet. I'm going to keep checking this one.


BTW: My wife and I constantly discuss the danger of "fan death".
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  #37  
Old 08-19-2010, 06:58 AM
Panurge Panurge is offline
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Originally Posted by Inigo Montoya View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
I vaguely recall reading an account of an African Buffalo that treed a woman who was on safari. The tree was short, and the animal was able to lick her feet with its very rough tongue. Her companions didn't find her until the next morning, by which time the animal had licked her feet down to the bone. I forget whether she was supposed to have survived.
Do goats or cows or any other herbivore have rough tongues? It's always been my impression that raspy tongues are used for getting meat off bones and so would be a carnivorous thing. 'course, dog tongues are slippery so maybe I need to stick to what I know.

[...]
I remember reading somewhere that an old Chinese form of torture consisted of soaking the victim's legs in salt water for a long time and let a few goats lick the legs afterwards. Not sure if they were supposed to lick it "to the bone", though, and as I can't remember the source, take the anecdote with a grain of salt.
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  #38  
Old 08-19-2010, 07:19 AM
Shodan Shodan is online now
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Originally Posted by constanze View Post
While at first glance, death by being licked by a bear sounds very embarrasing, I would still prefer it to autoerotic asphyxation.
I didn't know we had to pick.

Regards,
Shodan
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  #39  
Old 08-19-2010, 08:12 AM
The Piranha Brothers The Piranha Brothers is online now
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You bet there are people who like that kind of thing... dip your feet in honey and wait for the bears to come...
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  #40  
Old 08-19-2010, 05:39 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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I think the point is that humans in the wild have a distinctive odor to predators, with the feet offering a most peculiar fragrance that is enticing to bears.
Like stinky cheese, no doubt.
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  #41  
Old 08-20-2010, 07:06 AM
alindallas alindallas is offline
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That's it? I return after 24 hours to find ONE additional pun? Gosh, I guess I'll go talk to some horses.
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  #42  
Old 08-20-2010, 06:33 PM
EdwardLost EdwardLost is offline
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Originally Posted by Wilbo523 View Post
I've had my feet licked by a North American black bear, and lived to tell about it.
Just because you're not dead yet doesn't mean you're out of danger.
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  #43  
Old 08-23-2010, 12:26 PM
Gedd Gedd is offline
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That's it? I return after 24 hours to find ONE additional pun? Gosh, I guess I'll go talk to some horses.
Just bear with it, you will find some more underfoot.
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  #44  
Old 04-16-2011, 08:40 PM
zg1000dru zg1000dru is offline
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Hilarious

I have to laugh at the question posted. I came her for the same reason. My fiancee, born and raised in Iran, told me, also with stone-faced seriousness, that bears are well known to lick the feet of women (she was very specific about this) until they are too raw for the women to run away. Then they keep them like teddybears or something. Apparently, men are for eating, women are for other stuff in the bear world. Anyway, once I stopped laughing, she told me that her father had told her this. Mind you, this is the same father who told her that he had fought a jinn (that's a genie to us) and won. Persians, you gotta love em.
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  #45  
Old 04-16-2011, 10:48 PM
dtilque dtilque is offline
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Do zombie bears lick feet?
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  #46  
Old 04-16-2011, 11:13 PM
wbeaty wbeaty is offline
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Maybe bears always take your feet back to the den before licking?

And about goats, see "Le supplice de la chèvre," two examples below

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ffu155MJg5M

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qd8MZE_cYXM
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  #47  
Old 04-17-2011, 06:00 AM
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silenus View Post
Maybe Persian bears are poisonous or something.
The Attack Of The Poisonous Persian Bears!--Starring David Hedison.
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  #48  
Old 01-05-2014, 07:32 AM
cookcooks cookcooks is offline
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I have heard simalar

I had a Persian (Iranian) friend who said the Persians used to torture people this way. They would strap someone to a table, coat their feet with honey, and let a bear into the room. The bears rough tongue would lick the skin off the feet while eating the honey and the rest you can imagine....
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  #49  
Old 01-05-2014, 12:09 PM
Ludovic Ludovic is offline
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"Halp!!! Pede file!!!"
Pedebear approves!
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  #50  
Old 01-05-2014, 02:19 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
Rather like being eaten by a boa constrictor.
And you won't like it much.
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