Friday, February 27, 2015
The Hand of Glory:
The Hand of Glory is the dried and pickled hand of a man who has been hanged, often specified as being the left (Latin: sinister) hand, or else, if the man were hanged for murder, the hand that “did the deed.”
According to old European beliefs, a candle made of the fat from a malefactor who died on the gallows, virgin wax, and Lapland sesame oil - lighted and placed (as if in a candlestick) in the Hand of Glory, which comes from the same man as the fat in the candle - would have rendered motionless all persons to whom it was presented. The candle could only be put out with milk. (In another version the hair of the dead man is used as a wick, also the candle is said to give light only to the holder.) The Hand of Glory also purportedly had the power to unlock any door it came across.
Thursday, February 26, 2015
In 1698 a man was imprisoned in the Bastille. This man had been a captive of the government since at least 1687 and for all that time his face had been hidden by a mask. He died in 1703, but rumors about his existence continued to circulate. The prisoner was treated very well, but two musketeers stood by him at all times, ready to kill him if he removed his mask. He ate in the mask, slept in the mask, and eventually died in the mask. Even at the royal court his identity remained a mystery.