Tactile Hallucination is a Sensation of Being Touched by Something That is Not There


A hallucination is a perception in the absence of external stimulus that has qualities of real perceptions. Hallucinations are vivid and substantial. It can occur in any sense modality, and today we are going to tackle hallucinations in the tactile sense.

Tactile hallucination is the false perception of tactile sensory input that creates a hallucinatory sensation of physical contact with an imaginary object. Like many forms of hallucinations, these are not limited to those suffering from mental illness and could have many causes.

It can be presented in a number of different ways. One of the most common cases is the phantom limb. When people lose an appendage, they may still experience its presence on the body, and sometimes this condition can even cause tremendous pain.

Another common cause is in the form of people feeling they have things moving on their skin. Other people identify them as has having insects or bugs crawling either under or on top of their skin. This is generally called Formication. It’s from the Latin formicare, meaning to creep like an ant.

Intoxication can be one of the causes of this type of hallucination. It causes the rapid firing of neuronal cells of the somatosensory region of the brain, leading to vivid perception of illusionary bugs on the skin. Organic and toxic syndromes can also induce tactile hallucinations. The use of cocaine for recreational purposes has been reported to induce such hallucinations. They usually have sensations of moving itches and crawling insects.

Sometimes, tactile hallucinations are transient and might occur before waking or falling asleep. A person might feel that someone or something has touched them or has exerted pressure on their bodies. Alternately, the sensation of falling and hitting the ground may be tactile, and it really can feel as though a physical experience occurred.

Also, these are considered as symptoms of neurological diseases such as Schizophrenia, Parkinson’s Disease, Ekbom’s Syndrome and Delerium Tremens.

How about you? Have you ever experienced any kind of tactile hallucination? I remember one of mine. A friend of mine was holding my hand so tight while we walked home together, and even after we parted, I could still feel the pressure of her hand on mine. I’d love to hear from you!



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  1. I have been suffering from this kind of hallucination for a few years now. However, it’s usually on and off in the sense that sometimes I don’t feel anything and sometimes I feel hands touching or insects crawling all over my body. I usually feel things on my face or hands. I’m not sure why this happens, I don’t do drugs and I don’t have any other symptoms that could indicate I was suffering from a mental/neurological disorder. There may be something faulty with my somatosensory cortex but I’m not sure what triggered me to hallucinate.

    1. SAMEEE. I be thinking that I have a problem or a ghost touching me or something. I feel right now as I speak

  2. I have felt this king of hallucination before. It was not long ago when it happened. I just transferred into a new school because I moved and I had not been in the school for long. I checked out a book from the school library and well…it’s a horror book which only freaks me out more. A few weeks ago I had only read a few chapters of the book and I was watching a movie with my family. It wasn’t a scary movie though. I was sitting on the floor. Right in front of the TV and the couches are against the wall so my family was sitting there which means that they couldn’t have touched me. Then, I felt as if two fingers gripped my ear. I immediately screamed and turned around but when I turned back, my earing was on the floor which means it sure WAS real and some spirit had touched me. And just today I had another experience. I was sitting in the computer lab at school and I sit all the way in the back of the class so there is nothing but walls behind me. I was doing my work as usual and then all of a sudden, I feel like someone had grabbed a big piece of my hair and pulled it. HARD. I turned around ready to punch somebody until I saw that there is nothing but a wall behind me and everyone else sits far away from me so it couldn’t have been someone on the side of me…

  3. This just happened to me a few min ago, so i looked it up, and found this. Im sitting in a chair leaining forward and i felt the shape of a hand touch my back ever so slightly, like it just set it on my shirt, but theres no warmth or any other movement, like a pull away or anything, it just kinda faded. Neato.

    1. That is the same kind of experience I had. It happened when I was walking down the road at night with my sister one night. You know how your hands naturally swing back and fourth? When my hand went behind me, it felt like my palm met another palm. I spun around, and suddenly the feeling was gone- nothing was there at all. My sister was in front of me, so there was no possibility of it being her. The strange touch unfortunately sent me in to a panic attack, though it only lasted a few minutes. God knows I was glad my sister was there, I would’ve lost my mind otherwise.

  4. I have a terrible time falling asleep at night due to tactile sensations. I can’t tolerate anything touching my face, however, I want the covers to be over my head but not totally for fear that I’ll suffocate. I also don’t like the feeling of blankets, only sheets. Even though I live in a cold climate, I must wear the bare minimum for pajamas. I frequently feel like an insect is crawling on me, so I have to scratch it just in case. Then the entire process of getting my pajamas, sheets and blankets just right starts all over again. Once I am asleep, I am fine and sleep very soundly all night. In fact, I get sore because I never move. I wish I could fall asleep without fidgeting so much.

  5. I felt like something had touched my forehead while i was reading once.. felt like a being “flew in, touched me, and flew out” really fast.

    Another time while standing outside smoking a cigarette at night, I felt as if someone gently pushed the lower center of my back with their fist, which in turn caused me to step forward. 2 weeks later my nephew is over and helping me move out of my house, when he comes out of the rest room explaining that that very same thing had just happened to him. Hes 15. I never told him about my experience outside 2 weeks earlier. Strange!!!

  6. I’m somehow relieved to know that tactile hallucination may occur when you’re just about to fall asleep. Coz sometimes, I wake up with the feeling that someone has been touching my leg or back. But other times, I’m still awake (though already in bed ready to sleep) when this happens. I also experience myclonic jerk regularly, both when I’m already asleep, or when I’m just about to doze off.

  7. I had never has any form of tactile or any hallucinations until recently. After I had attempted Suicide, in fact, by swallowing a numerous amount of the common SSRI Zoloft 100 mg. I remember being in the Hospital and hearing my Aunt who is a social worker talking about me, “the suicide,” and then after, when I was home lying in bed after a sleepless night, hearing a baby crying. I got up, quickly, thinking my son was hurt, but he was sound asleep. Shaking the sound, I went back to my comfortable bed and closed my eyes. Where then, I soon felt a cat cuddle up to my side, get up, walk over me, and curl in a ball to my opposite side. I could feel the paws clear as day and the weight on me clear as day, as if I really had a 7 pound cat except, I don’t have a cat. I was then put on Quetiapine 50 mg which helped until my insurance stopped covering it. I’ve been without for about a month and experienced my first tactile hallucination since. I was laying in bed and felt something getting comfortable by my feet, maybe the size of a small kitten. I moved my feet, knowing it wasn’t really there, but it moved to where ever my feet were. Strange.

  8. A year ago, in the beginning of 2017 I’d been triggered to hallucinate. That’s maybe my brother shifted to another city along with my mother. I was attached to both of them alot. Their absence and loneliness made me crazy. I felt somebody poked me with a finger. Sometimes I felt somebody had thrown stone on me. Honestly speaking, poking and throwing stone was happened in real while once I was going to office and once at office. Then I started feeling again and again. Once I passed by a security guard sitting outside offfice I felt he’d hit with a truncheon on my back, although I didn’t see it in hand or his table and i felt cold in that area in Summers. I was so scared that I didn’t turn around and see. Still now that feeling haunts me and makes me feel low. Now I feel touching hands all over.

  9. Hello All – I too was looking up this phenomenon and came across your great page. My issue is that when people put their hands on me – like patting me on the back or touching me softly in some ‘kind’ way – I end up feeling their touch for about 30 mins to an hour later. Like their hand is still pressing on me – like an imprint – so when someone goes to touch me in this way I shrink out of hands reach – on impulse. It’s weird and rude of me – I wish it didn’t occur. Funnily enough sometimes it doesn’t happen and that’s usually when I’m super comfortable with the toucher – so sex is no problem! I haven’t investigated this issue until now because I’ve just discovered my daughter experiences the same thing. I thought I’d have a look to understand if there was a way to help her get out from under it.

  10. Every once ans a while ill be asleep and hear my bf come in and start talking to me and hold my hand and everything ans everything seems normal until i open my eyes to look at and he isnt there.. He’d been at work for hours.. Idk what to think of it

  11. So interesting to read about this. I’ve had the sensation while asleep that something very heavy is holding down my head, arms, and back. It’s always frightening when it happens.

  12. I think I do have tactile hallucination, I’m not sure though. When I was India, I never had the hallucination. Now I’m in Romania leaving in dormitory… studies. The recent hallucination was last night. As soon as I fell asleep, I felt as if someone is touching (more of waking me). I don’t know what it is. And since I’ve moved here I can’t have a proper sleep, always waking up terrified.

    The other time it happened was when I was in a sleep paralysis, I couldn’t move my body but the index and middle finger.

  13. I came across this website and thought I would share what happen to me recently and a few years back..I will start with the episode a few years back, which I think maybe be sleep paralysis. .I was sleeping and woke up with the sensation of my blankets being pulled off..I instantly woke up and could not move .but was able to open my eyes and use my hands to grip the blanket..they continued to be pulled off in the direction of the side of the bed, it pulled my hands with it…I was not able to speak scream or move..I WAS PARALYZED! I was able to get a grunting moan out (my daughter heard me) it was loud, I was trying to scream…after several mins of being terrified I was finally able to jump up and run out of the room…I don’t think I slept for days after that…
    So then just recently, a couple weeks ago I woke up to feeling like something was under my pillow bouncing my head…I jumped up and nothing was there…
    Now another time 2 nights ago I wake up to same sensation and this time I tried to ignore it thinking it’s just me dreaming..well then I felt something grab my head and start to pull..as if to pull my through the wall…I again was paralyzed for about 20 seconds and then jumped up and started pulling my pillows off the bed and pulling my mattress off the bed frame thinking something was under my bed. .it took me several mins to realize that it wasn’t real…this was terrifying! Can this be night terrors or sleep paralysis? What ever it is I never dealt with this before and I am 46 Years old 🙁

  14. I have been having the sensation for some time now that I have something pressing on my back but only on my left side. It comes and goes and I was getting worried it might mean something was wrong in that area. I’m glad to know that other people have had similar experiences!

  15. I came across this forum following my first experience this morning upon waking which totally freaked me out. I was sleeping on m right side and I felt a finger tapping quite hard on the back of my neck, numerous times, which woke me. I thought it wasy boyfriend waking me as he sometimes does silly things like that to annoy me in the morning but he was not in bed or in the room for that matter. I swear this was real otherwise how would I have woken up?! I felt frightened and startled to learn that I was the only person in the bedroom!!!. Could it be a spirit? Or is the mind that powerful that a sensation that felt incredibly real, to the point of me waking thinking that someone was touching me, was not real?

  16. Last night I woke up at 4 AM, as i should have because my alarm went off, and I was fully awake. I decided to cuddle with my boyfriend for a little longer and as i went to close my eyes again, I felt someone move their fingers across my bare foot (as if you used your fingers to portray a little person walking, you know?). Their two fingers kind of just walked across my foot and as I went to jump up, because I was fully awake, I was stuck in sleep paralysis immediately. I started breathing really heavy to help myself out of this state and when I finally got control, my legs shot up in fear. This felt extremely real and I am so freaked out by it because I’ve experienced sleep paralysis before, and saw an old woman at the foot of my bed. When I told my bf about what happened he said he thought he heard someone come into our room too, but ignored it when he realized the door was closed. I really don’t know if i’m relieved that “tactile hallucination” is a thing or feel as though something is being dismissed.

  17. When i try and go to sleep i have experienced someone touching my private parts and bottom it’s disgusting and makes me feel degrading . This is the only thing I can think it must be down to .

  18. I recently had a conversation with my boyfriend about spiritual marriages and I’m currently writing a horror book so my nerves are a little on edge when I’m home alone. But the thing is I’m not alone when I feel something touch me. Ive had three encounters. The first was the feel of someone’s hot breath on my neck, the second was someone’s warm hand on my back, the third was some poking me in the butt with their finger. My boyfriend was in the same room but too far away to have touched me and moved away. Creepy!!!!!

  19. I recently moved into an apt after leaving the haunted apt across town.
    The haunting was experienced by my boyfriend and neighbors. I was waking to music, having dishes drop being tapped on my shoulder hearing my name ect..
    Never in all my life has anything like this happened before! I’m 51 yrs old.
    The second night I slept at my new apt I floated to the ceiling as I fell asleep and heard a loud voice saying help me!
    I’ve been feeling blankets pulled and hands all over me. pressure on my thighs and groins , temp heats up as well. I feel strokes and pushes all over while I’m watching tv or driving..Laying, sitting and while standing I felt hands on my calf’s. Is this my body? My son saw shadows of feet under his bedroom door. I feel tickles on my face and hair. Tapping on my toes…
    Followed by Spirits? Or is this physical, As I write something is pushing on my lower back and buttocks. I used to it. It has felt sexual at times.. Nerves? This is Wearing on me. Glad to read these posts, so I’m not crazy!

  20. Hi my name is Rumbi. I have also been dealing with this. But it complete toy went away. If you are dealing with this ask Jesus to help you. Pray. Ask Jesus to show you he is real. Ask Jesus he will remove this. I promise you. I don’t know what it is. Also go on YouTube. I have a channel that talks about this and mental health https://youtu.be/Ospo0aaHtVQ
    Trust me if you are sucidal over this. Just know Jesus cansilve itm

  21. Every time I’m alone I feel like something or someone is rubbing my arm or trying touch my neck, it’s really creepy. That’s why I hate being alone. It’s only when Nobody is around at home though

    1. Maybe that is being caused by some form of anxiety, it sounds really similar to what happens me to as well. Theres anxiety from fearing to be alone and that can cause your body to react in weird ways

  22. I have felt very graphic sensations in the body. Coincidentally, this was prominent after two head injuries left untreated for many years. I have felt someone grasping my ass repeatedly, punching my stomach repeatedly, pulling on boots, flexing foot, restless leg syndrome, even the feelings of intercourse. I was told these are “hallucinations.” The frightening thing about them is that I am now attracting psychologists/psychs. This could be dangerous. I don’t want to go on drugs. I am OK otherwise.

  23. I quite regularly am being shoved or touched on the feet or legs. It will wake me up and more recently have felt touching while I’m lying there awake. Once I feel the touch I get an intense feeling that there is a presence with no one actually there. I pray until the feeling goes away. I never actually been frightened just getting annoyed

  24. I’ve only ever felt this once: I was just falling asleep when I suddenly felt someone’s hand on my leg. I thought it was one of my siblings so I sat up angrily and looked around, waiting for someone to laugh from a hiding spot. But after a few minutes, I realized nobody was in my room and didn’t sleep for the rest of the night. Luckily, nothing’s happend since.

  25. Was walking across a room felt i had touch something with my feet so i lifted my feet to step over it turned around nothing on floor

  26. I was asleep on the sofa and I felt what felt like a finger stroke my cheek gently and it woke me up.

  27. I’ve just started having this problem of feeling like bugs crawling on me all the time and very occasionally at night I get sudden moments where it feels like something cold has touched my back, or a hard “spasm?” That makes it feel like my leg was pulled on. I’m concerned because I’m not associated with any bad drugs or alcohol. I take wellbutrin and I’m not sure how to stop these feelings.

  28. I’m 67 years old and my experience of being touched goes back as long as I can remember: not often, but once in a while it will be like a hand on my arm or shoulder or back. It feels comforting.
    Here’s a different one. When I was five, I was sitting on our front lawn, playing with the grass, and I saw an older woman (silver hair) coming out from our front door, down the sidewalk, when she got close to me she bent down her knees and smiled at me and told me that I should go inside now because my mommy needed me. So I got up and ran inside and my mom was sitting by the phone with her hands up to her eyes and she was crying. I asked her what was wrong and she told me that my Uncle Eddie had just died (he as her youngest brother). So I held her and hugged her. I asked her if the old lady had told her and she told me that there was no old lady in the house and that he had heard the news over the phone. Even, rarely, without seeing or hearing anything, I know I have to go somewhere. I get in my car, and I seem to know where to turn and I get to the place I’m supposed to go and I find someone who needs help or to be talked to. It’s very strange. I never go somewhere (when “told”) without finding someone. Dennis.

  29. I have adhd I don’t do drugs or take medication ,but have smoked for recreation occasionally. I get these sensations very often behind my ears and on my forearms
    Always wanted some type of explanation.

  30. Weirdest thing I was about to fall asleep and it felt like someone pressed there hand onto my forehead and nodded me in and out of sleep

  31. Last night I woke (or thought I did) due to feeling a hand size touch or weight on my thigh, I was sleeping on my right side, this then grew bigger and went up to my left shoulder blade like a circle of pressure or weight. I felt frightened and tried to open my eyes which I struggled to do and saw rings of shadow circling. I was frozen, frightened and got very hot and tried to scream but couldn’t. It was a while before I ‘woke up’ or could move. I have had 2 other similar experiences in my life, always the left side. I know this is probably sleep paralysis but today my shoulder blade area literally aches. It feels very real at the time. The last time was more of an intense vibration like a giant bee was buzzing behind me, this was the night before a funeral so I was emotionally distressed.

  32. Been experiencing this since 2015. It all started with what felt like someone who would lay full length down on the bed next to me. It never bothered me. It seemed kind. Sometimes it would sit on the bed next to me as if we were going to talk. I finally ask it to stop because it was bothering me and it did. I moved from that apartment (which was across the street from a cemetery beside a church). I bought a small house where a family friend had passed away. I always feel things touching me or sitting on the bed. I don’t let these things bother me much.
    Additionally, there is a family cemetery about 100 yards from the house. Back in 1996 or so I had what people call “the hag” sit on my chest now that was terrifying. I do not ever want that to experience that again .

  33. Im so glad to know im not alone. I heard my doctor say a lil bout it but didnt know exactly what it meant until now.

  34. Ok not sure what’s going on. Twice now I have been asleep and felt someone lying next to me. They taunt me and I tell them to stop it. That yelling from me wakes me up and nobody is there. If I turn over before waking there is nobody there but I feel them next to me. It’s scary and I’m wondering if maybe next time I try touching them what would happen. It’s quite freaking me out. What’s your opinion of what is really going on. Sometimes I think it’s haunting.

    1. Sounds like a tactile hallucination. Treat it like a horror movie. Yes its scart but NOT real. I cant move or break free til I shout, then i’m awake.

    2. I’ve had a similar experience.. I was asleep and woke up to a feeling of someone lying closely next to me, with an arm feeling very heavy around my upper body, Like it was holding me, with pressure or more like a pulling of my body closer. I was sleeping on my side. It said my “name, then “come with me “in a deep creepy voice, but the voice sounded far away.. I was very much awake, crying and too scared to move..then without turning I felt behind me and it was a muscular arm and upper body. I completely freaked out, then quickly and kinda violently Swinging my arm back and forth behind me,nothing there. I threw my pillows and comforter everywhere like a crazy person, and finally sat up and looked behind me. Nothing.. I went and slept with my adult son and grandchild.. it wasn’t sleep paralysis, he heard me crying and heard all the movement going on.. Then twice after I’ve woke up and felt like someone’s hands pushing my legs towards edge of bed.. very much awake, kicking legs everywhere.. Still freaks me out..

  35. I regularly get the feeling of insects on my skin when going to sleep. More recently I have grabbing dreams. I wake up and feeling like somebody is holding me down. I’m aware that I’m in my bed but feel like somebody is restraining me in a sinister manner. Tonight there was a big spider I couldnt swat away cos somebody was grabbing me. I have never had any recollection about the dream prior to waking in my bedding feeling restrained. Sometimes I feel like my wife is trying to help but she’s asleep. I always awake and ‘break free’ when I shout.


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