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The Magical, Mystifying Powers of the Hand of Glory

During the days of black magic and witchcraft, there were specific artifacts that people believed to have supposedly magical powers, most likely due to the origins of the object, which people would associate to some otherworldly craft that could not be explained.

One such artifact is the "Hand of Glory" which people believed to have the power to render people asleep or paralyzed. The story was that the hand had been cut off from a man who was hanged and they preserved the said hand.

The name “hand of glory” most likely comes from the French main de gloire, a corruption of mandragore, which is the mandrake plant. Mandrake has a long association with magic and witchcraft. The roots and leaves of the mandrake plant contains an alkaloid that induces hallucination, blurred vision, dizziness, headache, vomiting, and a variety of symptoms when consumed. In sufficient quantities, it can even send a victim to unconsciousness. Antique doctors often used mandrake as an anesthetic during surgeries.

It's weird to think that a dead man's severed hand would have the power to do anything but alas, the things people do when they're bored. The hand was dried and pickled with salt. Now, it is displayed at the Whitby Museum.

(Image credit: Badobadop/Wikimedia Commons)


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