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Articles listed in this section were contributed by members of the wider community and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of House Shadow Drake.

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Hand of Glory

An excerpt concerning the Hand of Glory from a book entitled, "The Golden Book of the Mysterious":

"A fearsome talisman called the Hand of Glory was prepared by some sorcerers for robbers to use as they went about their work. Its preparation started with cutting off the hand of a hanged criminal. This had to be wrapped in cloth, placed in a pot with various herbs and minerals and left for two weeks, after which it was to be dried in the sun."

If someone took the care to rub a potion made from the gall of a black cat, the fat of a white hen, and the blood of a screech owl, it was believed that the Hand of Glory would be rendered powerless to paralyze those to whom it was shown and so the denizens of the house would be protected. The strength of the Hand of Glory could be doubled by using it for a candle holder. This candle would be made of such ingredients as human fat and horse dung among others.

DeGivry and Waite provide a description of the process in "Secrets merveilleux de la magie naturelle et cabalistique du Petit Albert" (Cologne, 1722):

"Take the right or left hand of a felon who is hanging from a gibbet beside a highway; wrap it in part of a funeral pall and so wrapped squeeze it well [to get out all the blood]. Then put it into an earthenware vessel with zimat, nitre, salt, and long peppers, the whole well powdered. Leave it in this vessel for a fortnight, then take it out and expose it to full sunlight during the dog-days until it becomes quite dry. If the sun is not strong enough put it in an oven heated with fern and vervain. Next make it a kind of candle with the fat of a gibbeted felon, virgin wax, sesame, and ponie, and use the Hand of Glory as a candlestick to hold this candle when lighted."

There is one Hand of Glory which is stored at the Whitby Museum in North Yorkshire. It was found in an attic in a house in Eskdale. The hand was a greyish color. This color was the result of a preservation technique which involved the draining of the blood of the hand of a hanged criminal which had been cut off, and afterward using saltpeter and Lapland sesame to preserve it. The blood and fat the of the hanged man was then utilized to make a candle which would then be placed between the fingers of the Hand of Glory.

When a thief broke into a house, he would light the candle and recite a small rhyme:

"Hand of Glory shining bright, lead us to our spoils tonight!"

While the candle was lit, it was believed that the inhabitants of the house would continue to sleep deeply and not be awakened by the thief. The candle could only be extinguished by using blood or skimmed milk. According to Yorkshire legend, there is a case where a maid was able to put out the candle and thus prevent the thief from accomplishing his goals. However, it is also said that if one of the fingers of the Hand of Glory will not light, it means that there is still someone within the house that is not asleep.

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