Hands of Spirits
There are various instances in occult history where the hand
of a spirit has been said to become visible to the human eye.
During the reign of James I of England a vision of this kind
came to a certain clerk who was writing a will that was to disinherit
a son. A fine white hand appeared between the candle and
the parchment, casting a shadow on the latter. It came three
times, until the clerk, becoming alarmed, threw down his pen
and refused to finish the work.
In the biblical book of Daniel (55) appears the famous instance
of the handwriting on the wall ‘‘In the same hour came
forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick
upon the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace and
the king [Belshazzar] saw the part of the hand that wrote.’’ Also
in Daniel (1010), it is recorded that Daniel, after a certain vision,
was touched by a hand, which set him upon his knees and
the palms of his hands.
There are also other instances of writing being done without
human hands, and in his book Startling Facts in Modern Spiritualism
(1874), N. B. Wolfs stated that he shook hands with spirits,
as ‘‘substantially’’ as one man shakes hands with another.
Sir William Crookes described the appearance of a phantom
hand, which appeared during a séance with Kate Fox ‘‘A
luminous hand came down from the upper part of the room,
and after hovering near me for a few seconds, took the pencil
from my hand, rapidly wrote on a sheet of paper, threw the
pencil down, and then rose up over our heads, gradually fading
into darkness.’’
A similar séance took place with Fox at the home of S. C.
Hall, editor of the Art Journal, on September 6, 1876, in the
presence of nine individuals. A report in The Spiritualist (October
13, 1876) states ‘‘A luminous, small, beautifully shaped
hand then descended from the side at which was sitting, that
is to say, at the opposite side to Mrs. Jencken [Fox]. The hand
seized a pencil which was lying on the table and wrote the letters
Phantom hands were also reported to have materialized
during séances with the medium D. D. Home, in sittings with
Napoleon III in 1857, as well as on many other occasions with
other sitters, including Crookes.
Crookes, William. ‘‘Notes of an Enquiry into the Phenomena
Called Spiritual.’’ Quarterly Journal of Science (January 1874).
Medhurst, R. G., comp. Crookes and the Spirit World A Collection
of Writings by or Concerning the Works of Sir William Crookes
D.M., F.R.S., in the Field of Psychical Research. New York Taplinger;
London Souvenir Press, 1972.
Moses, W. Stainton. Direct Spirit Writing (Psychography). London,
1878. Reprint, London Psychic Book Club, 1952.