Hand of Glory, a macabre twist.


I was surprised what this word meant, and particularly how it was used. I would imagine it would work,  if only out of sheer fright but if you read on, it was supposed to make the holder invisible.

Hand of Glory, n.
[‘ Originally: a charm made from or consisting of the root of a mandrake (see the etymology) (now rare). Later: a charm or talisman made from the dried and pickled hand of an executed criminal, used esp. (with a specially prepared candle placed within it) to render the occupants of a house motionless during a burglary.‘]

Various stories and legends exist concerning the preparation and use of the Hand of Glory.

A detailed description followed by many later texts is given by Francis Grose in Provinc. Gloss. (1787) 73-5. See also Scott Antiquary (1816) II. ii. 46-7.

Pronunciation: Brit. /ˌhand ə(v) ˈɡlɔːri/,  U.S. /ˌhænd ə(v) ˈɡlɔri
Inflections:  Plural  hands of glory.
Etymology: <  hand n. + of prep. + glory n., after French main de gloire (c1436 in Middle French as maindegloire), alteration of mandeglore, mandegloire (see mandglorye n.) by folk-etymological association with main hand (see main n.3), de de prep., and gloire glory n.

 Now chiefly hist.
  1. [1687  tr. P. Jurieu Accomplishm. Script. Prophecies xix. 191 He assists at the right hand of God, because that is the hand of glory, and glory is for him.]
  2. 1707  tr. P. Le Lorrain de Vallemont Curiosities in Husbandry & Gardening 284 Mountebanks..make of it [sc. mandrake] what we call a Hand of Glory..They..make believe, that by using some little Ceremonies, the Silver they lay near it, will increase to double the Sum every Morning.
  3. 1787  F. Grose Provinc. Gloss. Superstitions 74 The use of the Hand of Glory was to stupify those to whom it was presented, and to render them motionless.
  4. 1816  Scott Antiquary II. ii. 46 De hand of glory..which de monksh used to conceal their treasures when they were triven from their cloisters.
  5. 1858  J. Timbs Pop. Errors(new ed.) 140 The Hand of Glory..was supposed to be protection for  robbers when committing their crimes.
  6. 1900  F. T. Elworthy Horns of Honour iii. 181 There are many stories told..in which it appeared that nothing but milk could extinguish the flame of the ‘hand of glory’.
  7. 1917 Bull. John Rylands Libr. Jan. 372 We have the belief that the ‘hand-of-glory’ can be dug up under a gibbet, both in England and France.
  8. 1979  B. Walker Body Magic 101 The ‘hand of glory’, the pickled hand of an executed criminal the fingers of which were used as candles, was believed to confer invisibility.
  9. 2002  N. Drury Dict. Esoteric 132/2 The Hand of Glory was supposed to have the magical power to freeze people in their footsteps.