Hand of Glory

By on November 26, 2013

Hand of Glory

A hand of glory is the pickled hand of a man who has been hanged. Usually the left hand was used. If the man was hanged for murder, then the hand with which he committed the crime would be used.

Fat from the hanged man would be used to craft a candle, which would be placed in the severed hand. Sometimes the wick would be made from the hair of the same man.

A hand of glory was believed to possess magical powers in European occult traditions. It was believed a Hand of Glory would render people motionless, open locked doors or give light only to the person holding it.

The Whitby Museum has the only known remaining Hand of Glory on display.

One Comment

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    May 25, 2016 at 11:10 am

    My grandmother told me the story of a woman in rural Galway Ireland who had such a hand and used it to ceremonially scoop out butter from a small hand ( no pun intended) churn while saying a prosperity chant ” come gather on my plate from Cashel to Glinsk” until local neighbors told a priest who insisted that it should be buried. This would have been in the late 19th early 20th century. Oddly her cows would provide lots of milk and cream while other farmers had shortfalls.

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