Dead Man’s Hand

*Gruesome Witchcraft Lore:


According to an old European belief, the Hand of Glory was a candle fashioned from the dried and pickled severed hand of a criminal; who was sentenced to death by hanging. This hand was said to hold supernatural powers. According to some accounts, the hand; had to be severed while the corpse was still hanging from the gallows. There are accounts that state; that the right hand is for works of healing and that the left hand is used for all other magics. In other stories, it is stated that only the left hand is to be severed. The left side was attributed to the sinister, making it suited for acts of witchcraft.

There are varying methods throughout its lore; by which a hand of glory came into creation. To make a hand into a candle, the prepped hand was dipped into warm melted animal fat. Then the process repeated until a thick layer of fat formed on the hand. Some lore replaces animal fat with wax. Activated, the hand of glory would have been ignited through its fingers; some cases noted that the hair of the hanged man would have served as the hand’s candle wicks.
Other folklore tells of the fat or wax-dipped dead man’s hand serving as a candle holder for the intended candle; to be used for witchcraft.

*Did you know:
Mexico also used to hold a belief that the hand of glory was a potent magical object.

As an aid in theft:
If! The hand of glory; 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 the hand and candle had to be prepared in a specific 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 was said 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.

Modern Times:
Today we can make or purchase handmade or manufactured wax hand of glory candles without all the fuss and gruesomeness. Lol!
In modern witchcraft (traditional or not), the hand of glory candle, can be used for; a plethora spells. I personally have only seen these in either black or white, but I don’t doubt that other colors have come into being. Lending varying attributes to these modern hands of glory. I assume that the white waxed hand of glory within modern witchcraft is used for healing and maybe for purification or communication with a human spirit who had recently passed. Well, this is what I would use it for anyhow. The black waxed modern hand of glory is a tool that; can be used in witchcraft for; banishing people from one’s life, cursing (5-finger curse or 5-day curse), and obtaining justice over someone or truth from them. Because there was a belief that the hand of glory granted invisibility for theft, I feel the “modern” hand of glory candle; could be used to help its user, be able to go about unnoticed when out in public or shield them from a particular person or persons. I’m sure this new hand of glory; can also be used to protect a home or individual from theft. Tap into it and access the flipside of its original purpose.

Something to think about, right?

Do you have any ideas on what you would use a hand of glory candle for?

© Kindra Ravenmoon

Published by Kindra Ravenmoon

Kindra Ravenmoon writes on witchcraft and related occult topics. She is the author of Gems of the Adversary, Faces of Lucifer, Natural Satanic Witchcraft, Gaia's Little Book of Crystals for Healing & Magic, Lucifer a Devotional, and A Witch & Warlock’s Guide to Working with Crystals and Other Treasures of The Earth (Gems of the Adversary revised). The devil, witchcraft, and folklore are the elements she brings into her contemporary writing and personal practice. An author best known for her books on the darker nature of witchcraft, her interviews and articles have appeared in scholarly journals and numerous publications such as Wyntergreene, 8 Sabbats, Montreal's Magical Circle, Spider's Web, Bizarre, Brutalism, Elle Magazine Quebec, Alt. Fashion UK, Bizarre Girls UK, Embracing the Darkness, Metal Queens Black Metal Edition, Vamperotika, Noir Fatale, Dark Romance Gothic, Devolution UK, Old Nick, Queens of Scream The New Blood, Dark Spy, Cemetery Gates, Ninth Gate,, just to name a few. Kindra likes to inspire others with what she shares through her books, blog, and select social media outlets. She also offers consultancy through tarot and the crystal ball, helping people develop their spiritual path for a more enlightened and prosperous living. Residing in Canada she finds joy in having an independent practice of witchcraft, experiencing the witches' devil and the spirits of nature within this country's four vivid seasons.

17 thoughts on “Dead Man’s Hand

  1. Hi. I never heard of this before. I wonder what the significance of the eye in the palm is. And I wonder if the modern wax hand of glory candles has the same magical efficacy of the original gruesome form.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading and sharing Albert. The original wouldn’t have had an eye in the middle of the palm. I believe the one on this modern candle in the image, was set simply for decorative purposes, considering that occult aesthetics is a big fashion these days. Now, this being said, I personally like to view it as being a symbol meaning to see in the dark, or into the beyond, and also to go about incognito. I’m taking into consideration the hand of glory’s association in being an aid for thieves.
      Honestly, I don’t believe that the original, the and of a hanged man, held any power. I do believe that its symbolism does though. This is why today’s modern wax hands, void of human parts, hold more authentic power in my opinion. Well power to those who know the lore of its origins and are able to apply it to the intent focused on it. When you know the history/lore/myth of something you can use that to your advantage; by tapping into the egregore of the belief put into it over the years throughout varying cultures, if applicable.
      It lends much to think about and put into consideration (:


      1. I thought about it and the eye in the palm might represent the Third eye or Pineal Gland, where many people believe the Third eye to be located. Just a thought.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The origins of it are wonderfully gruesome. Again, this is new to me. The severed hand part of it reminds me of “Thing” the hand from The Addams Family lol Have you seen the new Netflix series “Wednesday”? Features prominently in it. I wonder if the creators of the Addams Family took inspiration from The Hand of Glory.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ave Titus! Thanks for reading and for your comment.
      I’m glad to have surprised you again with something new to add to your knowledge bank (:
      We have the same dark sense of humor haha, I also kept thinking of “Thing” when typing this post Lol!
      I haven’t gotten into the new series yet, but I plan to (:

      I don’t doubt that when “Thing’s” character was created that superstition and lore of the hand of glory inspired it. Folklore, myth, and superstition have been inspiring filmmakers since the birth of cinema. My next blog will be pointing this out in a certain Netflix series we both are fans of (:

      BTW- I paid your YouTube channel a visit the other day and noticed your new upload. I’ve been waiting for you to post inserts from that movie. Great Satanic inspiration, always! Love Vincent Price along with the actress Agnes Court (she was the woman that self-initiated herself to the Devil). Thank you for uploading those scenes, my favorites from the movie.

      Darkest Blessings!


      1. Unfortunately, i had to remove it because it was partially blocked in certain countries i.e. copyright (including UK). It wasn’t a copyright strike though. I look forward to your next installment! Darkest Blessings.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The history of the hand of glory seems awesome and funny at the same time due to it being a dead mans hand lol but yea I been interested purchasing or possibly making the hand of glory to empower my spells even more. Those 5 fingers being a 5 day curse or curse can be very useful for me😈 I might use this for other purposes besides curses but yea i think I know what else to use this for personally.

    Another great blog from you Kindra🖤 thank you so much.

    Darkest blessings🤘🏻🖤😈

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ave ArcaneShadowWolf!
      Certainly, there are several ways to work with the modern hand of glory candles. The possibilities are limitless (: If you are able to make your own, Hand of Glory, candle, or candleholder, that would be amazing! Thank you for reading and for your comment. I’m glad you enjoyed this.
      Darkest Blessings!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Kindra, I saw the picture of the eye in the triangle on the palm. This is called the Eye of Providence, and it’s a symbol of Masonry. So it would appear that there is a Masonic influence.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Albert,
      Yes, that’s right. It’s the symbol found on American money too (the dollar bill I believe), however in this case the symbol was most likely put on this modern candle, not because the creator of the candle knows anything about Freemasonry, the all-seeing eye, or anything occult. It’s simply there for aesthetic purposes, to appeal to modern-day occulture fashion. Although, if the maker/manufacturer, of the candle shown, does know something about occult symbolism, the eye of providence is a fitting choice to grace upon this type of candle; based upon its historical purpose. The authentic hand of glory/dead man’s hand found in lore, wouldn’t have had any such symbolism. Just a severed hand bathed in wax or animal fat. As usual, thank you for sharing, I’m glad this topic intrigues you (:


  5. Hi Albert!
    Yes, that’s a real skull I’m holding. I’ve done several photoshoots with it. It belongs to my ex-boyfriend., meaning that it’s not his actual skull (I didn’t decapitate him or anything Lol) but one that he managed to obtain years prior to me borrowing it for my photoshoots Lol! I do not have permission nor is it at my disposal to say how he obtained it or where. It is old and he had put some sort of shellac on it to make it more solid however, even if fragments are not crumbling off it, and it is very much intact, the skull still is fragile.


  6. Thanks. I like solving things. I wonder if that skull is male or female, and when he/she lived, and where, and why it’s not buried. Sometimes people donate their bodies to science or to various causes. It’s possible that the skull was originally a cadaver from a college or something. We will probably never know.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My ex knows and I know what he told me about how he obtained it but I doubt he would appreciate me sharing this publicly lol! It wasn’t obtained from a school or any laboratory. It does come from Eastern Europe. The times I’ve held it, the energy felt masculine but I haven’t a solid clue if it is male or female. I’m glad it intrigued you (:


  7. Thanks for the details. I sensed it was a North American Indian skull. So much for my psychic intuition here. You’re absolutely beautiful in that picture, by the way.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. haha, oh well, you win some and you lose some when it comes to such intuitions lol!
    I reside in Canada now, but I used to live in Europe (have lived between here and there most of my life(.
    Thanks for the compliment, I really appreciated it (:
    The photographer I worked with for that shoot, was talented and an amazing human ( it’s been 5 years that he’s no longer among the living). He used to travel yearly from New York to Sweden, even to England, to work with me. As the saying goes “always the good die young”.


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