PLACING the hand of a man who has died by his own act is a cure for many diseases.
The following is given me by a thinking man, living in one of the towns in the west of Cornwall :--
"There is a young man in this town who had been afflicted with running tumours from his birth. When about seventeen years of age he had the hand of a man who had hanged himself, passed over the wounds on his back, and, strange to say, he recovered from that time, and is now comparatively robust and hearty. This incident is true; I was present when the charm was performed. It should be observed that the notion appears to be that the 'touch' is only effectual on the opposite sex; but in this case they were both, the suicide and the afflicted one, of the same sex."
This is only a modified form of the superstition that a wen, or any strumous swelling, can be cured by touching it with 'the dead hand of a man who has just been publicly hanged.
I once saw a young woman led on to the scaffold, in the Old Bailey, for the purpose of having a wen touched with the hand of. a man who had just been executed.