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The Hand Of Glory


The Hand Of Glory

at California Institute Of Abnormalarts

Illustration of a Hand Of Glory and how it was used as a candle during a burglary.
Illustration of a Hand Of Glory and how it was used as a candle during a burglary.

by Reviewer Rob

A Hand of Glory was a tool used by malefactors in the criminal underworld of yesteryear. Think of it like a kind of supernatural roofie used by burglars and other such nefarious bad actors. Taken from the corpse of a hanged man, the hand was dried, pickled and mummified according to a special process and then it made a thieves’ job easier by eliminating resistance from the occupants of house or building they wanted to rob. Some accounts also said they allowed entry through locked doors.

This of course made it an object of immense value to a certain social element. According to one account, in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Draco Malfoy sees a Hand of Glory in Borgin and Burkes, the dark arts specialist shop, and is told that it “gives light only to the holder.” He buys and later uses it in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. These purported special power may be why one was reportedly found secreted inside the wall of an old house in Yorkshire, England, recently. Perhaps it was put there long ago for safe-keeping or for some other “magic” reason. The California Institute Of Abnormalarts in Burbank has a Hand Of Glory among its strange collection of occult kitch if you’d like to see one in the beef-jerkied flesh. According to the owner Carl Crew, “it tastes like teriyaki.”

Hand of Glory:
A grisly magical charm popular with thieves in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the hand of glory was a candle made from the dried hand of a hanged convict through a complicated recipe that also included herbs, horse dung, peppers, and salt. The hand would be carefully mummified, and then joined to or turned into a candle using tallow from a hanged corpse. (whether this is from the same corpse is apparently irrelevant). Set alight, the hand is said to have the power to render the occupants of a household insensible, making burglary a simple task.

Pictured below: The Hand of Glory under glass and on exhibit at The California Institute of Abnormalarts, 11334 Burbank Boulevard, North Hollywood, California 91601. When asked about its provenance CIA proprietor Carl Crew would only say it was dated from 1709 and of Scottish origin. Asked how he got it, his pointed reply was “I’m an art dealer, man.” Photo by

Hand Of Glory, under glass, at California Institute of Abnormalarts. Photo by Reviewer Rob,
Hand Of Glory, under glass, at California Institute of Abnormalarts. Photo by Reviewer Rob,
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Halloween at The Merrow


The Merrow Halloween Burlesque Show

A Not-So-Erotic Preview

by Reviewer Rob

The Merrow is a like a hidden secret spot getting fine use as a fine neighborhood watering hole in the part of town it’s in. Tucked back in away from the street behind one of the many restaurant-hookah bars cluttering San Diego city street retail districts, it’s difficult to see if you don’t know where it is but has a great big stage that can accommodate, and often does, touring and local bands as well as the girls of The House of Pink Boombox burlesque squad that delivered another knockout show on Halloween. Plus the place has two pool tables and, as is de rigueur for a San Diego nightclub, a fine selection of gourmet kraft beers!

They’re performing weekly stints across the street at Gossip Girl on Wednesday nights too but Halloween was different and they made it their night at this dark and intimate venue.

Here’s a preview of photos and a story by me what will appear in print in issue 50 later this month.

Photos by me at