Higley's Dead Man's Hand
Prop and a story by KOTAH
The grizzly tale behind of the Hand Of Glory!

"Dead Man's Candles, a Dark History "  by KOTAH

On your table sits a simple wooden box. It appears to be quite old. :

"He spoke at length of Dead Man's candles, and all manner of things occult.

Grand father swore such grizzly arifacts, by black arts had been created. By dark magick, their powers reanimated.

Each gory detail of how the hand was made, over time he shared.

The "Hand of Glory" (the right hand ) according to legend , came from an executed criminal and was cut off the body while the corpse was still hanging from the gallows. The recipe for its preparation is simple : squeeze the blood out of the hand; embalm it in a shroud and steep it in a solution of saltpeter, salt and pepper for two weeks and then dry in the sun. The other essential for its use is a candle made from a hanged man's fat, wax and Lapland sesame. This candle was then fixed in the upturned palm or between the fingers of the hand and lit when a burglar broke into a house. Reputedly it prevented the inhabitants of the house from waking up thus allowing the burglar to investigate the house at his leisure. Various forms of this European legend abound.

The hand was cut off during the eclipse of the moon. Afterwards it was wrapped in a shroud, squeezed of blood and pickled for two weeks in an earthenware jar with salt, long peppers and saltpeter. Then it was either dried in an oven with vervain, an herb believed to be able to ward off demons, or laid out to dry in the sun, desirably in the hot dog days of August.

When the hand was ready, candles were fitted on it between the fingers, set in the upturned palm or held in a closed fist. These were called the "dead man's candles" and were made from another murderer's fat, with the wick being made from his hair. In a vat from flesh and fat, tallow for these special candles rendered.

Another method of curing the severed and dried hand was to dip it in wax. After this process the fingers themselves could be lit!

The hand with burning candles or fingers was shocking when coming at people. It froze them in their tracks and rendered them speechless. Burglars lit the hand before entering homes. A warning sign was that if the thumb would not light it meant there was someone in the house who could not be charmed or made afraid. It was believed once the hand was lit nothing but milk could extinguish it.

Have you heard of Thieves' Lights as well? They are similar to the Hand of Glory in some respects but far more hideous in the telling.

It is gruesome to relate how Thieves' Lights are obtained.
A legend so foul to relate I must give a warning, sensibilities were far less in days of old. According to the old writings, they are the fingers of unborn, innocent little children. For these purposes the fingers of already born and baptized children cannot be used.

And what sort of unborn little children are they? And how did evil practitioners obtain the lights?

When a female thief or murderer hangs or drowns herself, or is hanged or beheaded, and she is carrying a child inside her body. 

The criminal must go forth at midnight on the Devil's roads, not on God's roads, with incantations and magick, not with prayer and blessings and must take an axe or a knife that has been used by an executioner.

With it, he would open up the poor sinner's belly, take out the child, cut off its fingers, and take them.

This must all be done at midnight, in perfect solitude and silence. Not even the softest sound, no sigh may escape the lips of the seeker. In this manner were obtained the lights, which could be burned whenever chosen. However short they are, they will never be consumed, but will always remain the same length.

These blackest of 'magick' lights have the unusual nature and property that they ignite whenever and wherever their thievish owner wants them to. And they extinguish themselves as fast as his wish and thought.

With their help he can see everything, even in the deep and darkest night, whenever and wherever he wants. But they shine only for him and for no one else. He himself remains invisible, even though they illuminate everything else.  You dear reader are allowed a shiver.

However such a distasteful act is hardly necessary as the Hand Of The Murderess herself is a prize hard won! So rare yet so powerful in it's workings...the Dead Woman's hand will find the Money! Where ever it has been hidden, the ladies Hand Of Glory will point the way.

Some say a key held by The Hand Of Glory will open any door or any lock.

Grand father would say . "There are many curious and unusual happenings and things in nature. Things which no human can fully know how they might occur or relate to other things, but they exist nonetheless.
When people hear stories about them, they are amazed and terrified, but they cannot comprehend them. "

by Kotah. (Edited with some alteration by Higley)

"Doug in my career as a Scenes of Crime Officer (CSI to you in the USA) I saw many a dead and decomposing body and I can tell you that your 'Dead Man's Hand' is absolutley spot on. Congratulations."
Keith Hart

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