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§ 4. Concerning the Hand of Glory

No person who is familiar with the humours of Ingoldsby will have forgotten the wondrous legend of the Hand of Glory, which includes a transcript from the Grimoires. It is less generally known that there are two processes, serving distinct uses, and there can be little doubt that they should both be in the possession of every well-equipped operator who is anxious to test the virtues of White and Black Magic in this particular form. The possession of the first alone might be a source of temptation, as it is designed primarily for the protection of burglars. The second renders housebreaking unnecessary, as

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it ensures a decent competence, but is at the same time without prejudice to its companion, which might be serviceable in a number of emergencies not, at least technically, illegal.

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According to the Albertus Parvus Lucii Libellus, the Hand of Glory is indifferently the right or left hand of a criminal who has been gibbeted. The sorcerer obtains it as he can, and in the days of Tyburn Tree such requisites might have cost nothing beyond the personal risk of the adventure; it is indispensable, however, that it should be wrapped in a piece of winding-sheet, and this suggests that the criminal must have been previously cut down with a view to interment. Thus enclosed, the hand must be well squeezed to as to force out any blood which may possibly remain in the member, after which it must be placed in an earthen vessel, together with some zimort, saltpetre, common salt and pepper-corns--all pounded. It should remain in this vessel for fifteen days and when extracted should be exposed to the heat of the sun during the time of the dog-star until it is extremely desiccated. If solar warmth be insufficient, it may be placed in a furnace, heated with bracken and vervain. The object is to extract all the grease from the member, and therefrom, in combination

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with virgin wax and sesame from Lapland, to compose a species of candle. Wheresoever this frightful object is lighted, the spectators will be deprived of all motion and the sorcerer can do what he will. It is possible to destroy its influence by anointing the threshold of the door, or other places through which entrance may be gained to a house, with an unguent composed of the gall of a black cat, grease from a white fowl and the blood of a screech-owl. This should also be confected in the dog-days.

It is to be regretted that this signal process does not rest upon the personal testimony of its historian, but he was present, as report tells us, at the trial of several who confessed, under torture, that they had applied it with complete success. It is to be regretted also that the alternative experiment must remain, as regards its materials, in the language of its inventor. It will be seen, however, that the Hand of Glory is not a hand, but a serpent; the process has, in fact, no connection whatever with its name, but this is wholly in accordance with the genius of Black Magic, its variants and its substitutes.

Arrachez le poil avec sa racine d'une jument en chaleur, le plus près de la nature, saying: DRAGNE, DRAGNE, DRAGNE. Tie the same in a knot, and go forthwith to purchase, without haggling, a new earthen pot, fitted with a lid. Return home at full speed; fill the said pot with spring water within two inches of the brim. Place your material therein, cover the vessel, and set it where neither you nor any one can perceive it, for the same is danger, saith the Grimoire. At the end of nine days, and at the hour of concealment, bring it forth, open it, and you will discover a small animal in the form of a serpent, which will at once spring up. Say then: I accept the pact. Touch not the creature with your hand, but transfer it into a new box, purchased expressly, without bargaining; for the food

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of the monster give husks of wheat only, and those daily. When you are in want of gold or silver, place as much as you need in the box; retire to rest with the box at your bedside; sleep, if you wish, for the space of three or four hours; then rise, and you will find double the amount of money which you have entrusted to the serpent. What you originally placed in the box must, however, be left therein; and it becomes therefore a sort of transcendental savings-bank which doubles its capital daily. Should the reptile be of ordinary appearance, you must not try for more than one hundred francs at a time; but if your planet give you the ascendant in things supernatural, the serpent will have a human face, and you may deposit a thousand francs. In either case, should the operator part with his possession, two conditions must be observed: the recipient must be a consenting party to the gift, and a figure, to be drawn on virgin parchment, but omitted by the Grimoire, must be placed in the box. if, however, you prefer to destroy it, let the serpent be provided, not with his usual bran, but with some of the flour used for consecration in the first Mass of a priest, after eating which he will die. On the whole, it will be simpler to retain the enchanted animal, more especially as the vague responsibilities of the pact are not apparently transferred in the one or annulled in the other case. No jest is intended, says the dry author of the Grimorium Verum, but the process of the Gold-Finding Hen is on the whole simpler, as it is also more cleanly.

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