This blog by mikl-em (I played Sugarchurch) features Stuff about carnival sideshows, the 1800's to 1930’s, Vaudeville, clowns, freaks, silent film, or whatever else seems to fit.
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, 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. The method of making a hand of glory is described in “Petit Albert”, and in the Compendium Maleficarum.
[Image: A ‘Hand of Glory’ at Whitby Museum, the story of which is available here]