Friday 14, 2008 Hand Of Glory

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Friday 14, 2008 Hand Of Glory

Post by AutumnSims on 15th August 2008, 3:03 am


The Ingoldsby Legends

On the lone vleak moor.
At the midnight hour,
Beneath the Gallow Tree,
Hand in Hand The Murders stand.
By one, by two, by three!
Now mount who list, and close by the wrist.
Sever me quickly, the dead man's fist!
Now climb who darw Where he swings in air And pluck me five locks of the Dead Man's hair!

The passage is taken from R.H.Barham’s “The Ingoldsby Legends” (1840) a collection of folklore stories told in rhyme. It’s first story introduces the reader to the mysterious Hand of Glory.

Although witches were supposed to make and use the Hand of Glory for their own dire needs, it was an in fact a robber’s charm that would enable the user to break in to property undetected without fear or discovery.

The witch or sorcerer would cut off the hand from the fresh corpse of a hanged or gibbeted man and wrap it in a shroud. Preferably 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 saltpetre. Then it was either dried in an oven with vervain, an herb believed to be able to ward off demands, or laid out to dry in the sun, desirably in the hot dog days of August.

To enable to work its ways a candle had to be made. Ingredients included the fat of a murderer, virgin wax and “Lapland Sesame”, in “Witchcraft, Magic and Alchemy” (1931) the author gives sesame and “ponie” as ingredients, although “ponie” is of unknown significance today and may have been manure.

When the hand was ready, candles were fitted on it between the fingers. These were called the "dead man's candles" were made from another murderer's fat, with the wick being made from his hair. (Another method of curing the severed and dried hand was dip it in wax. After this process the fingers themselves could be lit.)

Once the candle was finished the robber would remember the Hand of Glory incantation and would be on his way.

“High on the windy hills of High Spital on Bowes Moor sits the old mail coaching inn, Old Spital Inn.”

Its late October 1797 and the landlord, George Alderson is preparing to retire to bed now the customers have long one into the stormy night.

Suddenly a loud banging interupts his routine and George sends the servant girl to open the door. There before her stands a bent old woman dressed in a long cloak and hood that hide her features. The wind howls and blows the woman’s clothing (that would pass for rags) around her frail, bent body. The woman begs to be let in and rest from the fearsome stormy night outside. George was unwilling to turn the woman away and let her stay for the night by the fire with the servant girl.

As the old woman lays before the fire her cloak rises to reveal heavy riding boots. Instantly the servant girl becomes suspicious and decides to keep an eye on the stranger.

Later the stranger peeks to see the servant girl asleep and throws back “her” hood to reveal the hardened face of an embittered face of a robber. Out beneath his cloak the robber reveals a shrunken, withered hand and places a candle between its stiff bony fingers and lights it.

The servant girl pretends to be asleep, keeping very still and hears the thief begin his spell.

The thief finished his incantation and the candle grew to an intense, brilliant light. The man withdrew the heavy bolts on the large oak door and whistled to his gang.

The servant girl jumped to her feet and threw herself at the robber, hurtling him into the dark. Before he could regain his feet the maid locked the door and ran upstairs.

For what seemed an eternity she bangs on her master door but there is no response. As she enters she realises that her master is in a trance.

Remembering the hand was still lit she runs downstairs and pours a jugs of milk over the hand’s eerie light - spell broken!

George and his son, awakened from their deep sleep came running downstairs with guns in their hands.

“Go away or I’ll shoot!” shouted George to the thieves.

The thieves began to circle the coaching house and George’s son fires towards the noises in the night.

“Gives us our Hand back!” exclaimed one of the thieves.

In reply George and his son fired into the dark sending the robbers away.

The next morning a pool of blood was found outside and later the whole gang was caught.


Last edited by AutumnSims on 15th August 2008, 3:16 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Friday 14, 2008 Hand Of Glory

Post by AutumnSims on 15th August 2008, 3:10 am


Long Pepper


Piper longum (Piper officinarum)

Long pepper is related to the more familiar peppercorn, but it is hotter and at the same time a bit sweeter. This magick herb has interesting possibilities for incense, especially for times when you want the sweeter side of Mars - such as for works involving sex magick (interestingly, long pepper is still considered an aphrodisiac in Ayurvedic medicine and is mentioned in a rather dangerous (and painful) recipe in the Kama Sutra: long pepper, black pepper, and datura are mixed with honey, with which the penis is anointed: "It will utterly devastate your lady." No mention what it will do to you). In Indian astrology, long pepper is associated not with Mars but with the Sun and helps in the cultivation of independence, courage, self-esteem, and strength of will. In Persian astrological magick, long pepper was connected with the "great sinister Saturn." And in European magick, long pepper also has baneful associations - for instance, it was part of the recipe for preparing the fabled Hand of Glory. A dead man's hand (the hands of criminals were preferred) was squeezed in a cloth, usually a strip of shroud, to get the blood out. The hand was put into an earthenware jar with salt, salt petre (or nitre), long pepper, and verdigris (copper oxide) for two weeks to dry it out and to preserve it, then it was dried further in the sun during the dog days of summer (that is, under the Dog Star, Sirius, which often watches over baneful work and is in conjunction with the Sun in the period mid-July to early August). When the hand was finally dry enough, it was used as a candleholder rather than being lit itself. The Hand of Glory was said to make the owner invisible and to paralyze anyone who saw it, so it was very desirable amongst professional housebreakers. The actual Hand of Glory is in the British Museum.
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Re: Friday 14, 2008 Hand Of Glory

Post by AutumnSims on 15th August 2008, 3:15 am

MacQuoid
The Hand of Glory
England
This inn of Spital on Stanmore was kept, in the year 1797, by one George Alderson. He, his wife, and son managed the business of this lonely hostel themselves, with the help of a maid named Bella. The inn was a long, narrow building, and turned one end towards the great high road which crossed Stanmore on its way from York to Carlisle. The lower story of the house was used as stabling, for the stage coaches changed horses at the inn and brought all the last news of the day. The upper part of the solid stone building was reached by a flight of ten or twelve stone steps leading up from the road to a stout oaken door, and the windows, deeply recessed in the thick walls, were strongly barred with iron.
One cold October night the red curtains were drawn across the windows, and a huge log fire sputtered and crackled on the broad hearth, and lighted up the faces of George Alderson and his son as they sat talking of their gains at the fair of Broughton Hill; these gains, representing a large sum of money, being safely stowed away in a cupboard in the landlord's bedroom.

Mrs. Alderson and Bella sat a little way off spinning by firelight, for the last coach had gone by and the house door was barred and bolted for the night. Outside the wind and rain were having a battle; there came fierce gusts which made the old casements rattle and stirred the red curtains, and then a torrent of rain swept smartly across the window, striking the glass so angrily that it seemed as if the small panes must shatter under its violence.

Into the midst of this fitful disturbance, only varied by the men's voices beside the hearth, there came a knock at the door.

"Open t' door, lass," said Alderson. "Ah wadna keep a dog out sik a neet as this."

"Eh! best slacken t' chain, lass," said the more cautious landlady.

The girl went to the door, but when she saw that the visitor was an old woman she opened the door wide and bade her come in. There entered a bent figure dressed in a long cloak and hood; this last was drawn over her face; and, as she walked feebly to the armchair which Alderson pushed forward, the rain streamed from her clothing and made a pool on the oaken floor. She shivered violently, but refused to take off her cloak and have it dried. She also refused the offer of food or a bed. She said she was on her way to the north, and must start as soon as there was daylight. All she wanted was a rest beside the fire. She could get the sleep she needed in her armchair.

The innkeeper and his wife were well used to wayfarers, and they soon said "Good-night" and went to bed; so did their son. Bella was left alone with the shivering old woman. The girl had kept silence, but now she put her wheel away in its corner and began to talk. She only got surly answers, and although the voice was low and subdued, the girl fancied that it did not sound like a woman's. Presently the wayfarer stretched out her feet to warm them, and Bella's quick eyes saw under the hem of the skirts that the stranger wore horseman's gaiters. The girl felt uneasy, and, instead of going to bed, she resolved to stay up and watch.

"Ah'm sleepy," she said, gaping, but the figure in the chair made no answer. Presently Bella lay down on a long settle beyond the range of the firelight and watched the stranger while she pretended to fall asleep.

All at once the figure in the chair stirred, raised its head, and listened; then it rose slowly to its feet, no longer bent, but tall and powerful-looking. It stood listening for some time. There was no sound but Bella's heavy breathing and the wind and the rain beating on the windows. Then the woman took from the folds of her cloak a brown withered human hand; next she produced a candle, lit it from the fire, and placed it in the hand. Bella's heart beat so fast that she could hardly keep up the regular deep breathing of pretended sleep; but now she saw the stranger coming towards her with this ghastly chandelier, and she closed her lids tightly. She felt that the woman was bending over her, and that the light was passed slowly before her eyes, while these words were muttered in the strange masculine voice that had first roused her suspicions:


Let those who rest more deeply sleep;
Let those awake their vigils keep.

The light moved away, and through her eyelashes Bella saw that the woman's back was turned to her, and that she was placing the hand in the middle of the long oak table, while she muttered this rhyme:

O Hand of Glory shed thy light;
Direct us to our spoil tonight.

Then she moved a few steps away and undrew the window curtain. Coming back to the table she said:

Flash out thy blaze, O skeleton hand,
And guide the feet of our trusty band.

At once the light shot up a bright livid gleam, and the woman walked to the door; she took down the bar, drew back the bolts, unfastened the chain, and Bella felt a keen blast of cold night air rush in as the door was flung open. She kept her eyes closed, however, for the woman at that moment looked back at her, and then drawing something from her gown she blew a long shrill whistle; she then went out at the door and down a few of the steps, stopped and whistled again, but the next moment a vigorous push sent her spinning down the steps on to the road below.
The door was closed, barred, and bolted, and Bella almost flew to her master's bedroom and tried to wake him. In vain. He and his wife slept on, while their snores sounded loudly through the house. The girl felt frantic. She then tried to rouse young Alderson, but he slept as if in a trance. Now a fierce battery on the door and cries below the windows told that the band had arrived.

A new thought came to Bella. She ran back to the kitchen. There was the Hand of Glory, still burning with a wonderful light. The girl caught up a cup of milk that stood on the table, dashed it on the flame and extinguished it -- in one moment, as it seemed to her, she heard footsteps coming from the bedrooms, and George Alderson and his son rushed into the room with firearms in their hands.

As soon as the robbers heard his voice bidding them depart they summoned the landlord to open his doors and produce his valuables. Meanwhile young Alderson had opened the window, and for answer he fired his blunderbuss down among the men below.

There was a groan, a fall, then a pause, and, as it seemed to the besieged, some sort of discussion. Then a voice called out, "Give up the Hand of Glory, and we will not harm you."

For answer young Alderson fired again, and the party drew off. Seemingly they had trusted entirely to the Hand of Glory, or else they feared a long resistance, for no further attack was made. The withered hand remained in possession of the Aldersons for sixteen years after.

This story was told to my informant, Mr. Atkinson, by Bella herself when she was quite an old woman.
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Re: Friday 14, 2008 Hand Of Glory

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