Hand of Glory
The hand of a dead man (preferably hanged) in which a
lighted candle was placed. In Ireland and Mexico it was formerly
believed to be an instrument of magic. If the candle with its
gruesome candlestick was taken into a house, the sleeping inhabitants
were believed to be prevented from waking, and the
candle itself remained invisible. To be truly effective, however,
both hand and candle had to be prepared in a special manner.
The term hand of glory is believed to derive from the French
main de gloire or mandragoras and be related to legends of the
mandrake. The mandrake plant was believed to grow under the
gallows of a hanged man. Belief in the efficacy of the hand of
glory to facilitate robbery persisted as late as 1831 in Ireland.
(See also Glas Ghairm)
Ingoldsby, Thomas. The Ingoldsby Legends or Mirth and Marvels.
London R. Bentley, 1840.
Robbins, Rossell Hope. The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology.
New York Crown Publishers, 1959.
Thompson, C. J. S. The Hand of Destiny. London, 1932. Reprint,
Detroit Singing Tree Press, 1970.

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