Hand of Glory Tattoos:

The Hand of Glory was a particularly grotesque tool used by criminals, particularly thieves, to aid in robberies. The legend dates back to the 15th century, and there are numerous accounts of people using them throughout history.

American traditional Hand of Glory done by Cassie Lynn O’Neal at Floating World Tattoos.
A lit Hand of Glory with an eye and a snake done by Oskar Gurbada.

The name reportedly comes from the French, “main de glorie”, which in turn got its name from the magical mandrake root.

A more realistic and black and grey Hand of Glory done by Alex Pea at Drop of Ink in Pennsylvania.
A very magical Hand of Glory done by Pa Dundon, done at Sands of Time Tattoo in Ireland.

According to legend, mandrakes grow under gallows from the seed of a hanged man, and they were believed to shine like lamps at night, also in roughly the shape of a hand.

Another American traditional Hand of Glory with wings done by Emil Dz at Philadelphia Eddies Tattoo.
Hand of Glory radiating light for this wearer, done by Sam at Westside Tattoo in Brisbane.

The process of making a hand of glory is quite particular, and adds to the macabre nature of the thing. Sabine Baring-Gould wrote in his book, Curious Myths of the Middle Ages: “The Hand of Glory .. is the hand of a man who has been hung, and it is prepared in the following manner: Wrap the hand in a piece of winding-sheet, drawing it tight, so as to squeeze out the little blood which may remain; then place it in an earthenware vessel with saltpeter, salt, and long pepper, all carefully and thoroughly powdered. Let it remain a fortnight in this pickle till it is well dried, then expose it to the sun in the dog-days, till it is completely parched, or, if the sun be not powerful enough, dry it in an oven heated with vervain and fern. Next make a candle with the fat of a hung man, virgin-wax, and Lapland sesame.” (1873)

A more colourful and stylized American traditional Hand of Glory done by Jon Harper at Black Friars Tattoo.

The people who used hands of glory had different beliefs. Some believed it could give light only to them, leaving others in darkness, some believed it could make them invisible, many thought it could burn forever and could only be put out if the user so desired, others believed and hoped it could render any nearby person motionless or put occupants of a residence to sleep. All tales of the hand of glory seem to show the belief that the hand could open any nearby lock, making it an even more useful tool for those wishing to take something that does not belong to them.

A bleeding American traditional Hand of Glory done by JP Farias at Atlantico Tattoo.

Open, lock, 
To the Dead Man’s knock! 
Fly, bolt, and bar, and band! 
Nor move, nor swerve, 
Joint, muscle, or nerve,  
At the spell of the Dead Man’s hand!  
Sleep, all who sleep! — Wake, all who wake!  
But be as the dead for the Dead Man’s sake! 

Now lock, nor bolt, nor bar avails, 
Nor stout oak panel thick-studded with nails. 
Heavy and harsh the hinges creak,  
Though they had been oil’d in the course of the week.  
The door opens wide as wide may be,  
And there they stand,  
That murderous band,  
Lit by the light of the Glorious Hand,  
By one! — by two! — by three! By Thomas Ingoldsby

Black and grey Hand of Glory with an eye done by Lindsay K at Urge Studios in Victoria, Canada.

And of course fans of Harry Potter will be familiar with the Hand of Glory from Mr. Borgin and Burkes’ store when young Mr. Malfoy takes a fancy to it. “Ah, the Hand of Glory!” said Mr. Borgin, abandoning Mr. Malfoy’s list and scurrying over to Draco. “Insert a candle and it gives light only to the holder! Best friend of thieves and plunderers! Your son has fine taste, sir.” 

A solid linework Hand of Glory with burned out candles and an eye done by Nevada Buckley at Firefly Tattoo Collective.

Which gruesome hand is your favourite and why? Let me know in the comments and remember to check out any of the artists if you liked their work.

Tattoo Artist Couple: 1

Couples who tattoo together stay together!

Demons and monsters by Osang
Three witches spinning the threads of human destiny done by Sojung

Osang and Sojung are a South Korean couple who tattoo at Hysteric Garden, Seoul, and also do guest spots around the world, including America, Canada, Australia, Europe, and Taiwan.

Burning candle, skull, and magic hand by Osang
A goat and its brides done by Sojung

Both artists specialize in black work that is heavy on detailed lines, and macabre subject matter. As Halloween is right around the corner, they are a perfect pair to get a couple of tattoos from!

Burning church set ablaze by a mischievous demon, done by Osang
A burning witch done by Sojung

You can bring in your own ideas or get an original piece from either of them.

Torture device and a big ole bug done by Osang
Guillotine by Sojung

The couple do lots of specifically occult pieces such as demons, devils, black goats, witches, etc. They are also happy to tattoo more traditional Korean designs such as tigers and ravens if that’s more your style.

A meeting with a demon done by Osang
A dance with the devil by Sojung

If you want a one of a kind, detail oriented black work piece, look no further.

A witchy hanging done by Osang

Anatomical human by Sojung
Traditional Korean tiger done by Osang

Medieval torture by Sojung
Beheading done by Osang
Demonic Angel by Sojung
Gallows and face done by Osang
Vision of the valley of dry bones by Sojung
Gallows in Hell done by Osang
Three eyed goat by Sojung

Keep an eye out on their Instagrams for their travelling guest spots, or pop in while you’re in South Korea. @osangbrutal @goatblackeyed you can find their emails for bookings on their individual Instagram accounts

Artist of the Month: Jacob Doney

Jacob Doney is the owner of Envision Tattoo Studio in Grand Terrace, California.

bold dagger and rose with popping reds and yellow against a strong black
painful scorpion on the noggin

Jacob tattoos in American traditional style with popping colours and lines that are bold as hell.

pin-up girl
two way burning candle

Though his main style is American traditional, he will make tattoos with a more Neo-traditional look as well. That being said, his themes are strongly American traditional, taking inspiration from old school motifs and keeping the true spirit of a traditional tattoo alive.

brilliant back piece featuring Jesus Christ

Jacob does both large and small pieces; everything from gap fillers to massive back pieces.

classic American eagle

His line work is crisp and clean and his colours are mainly classic traditional, black, red, green, and yellow.

mean looking snake head

If you want to reach Jacob you can find his instagram @jacobdoneytattoo

black and grey nautical chest piece

Make sure to reach out well in advance if you’re going to be in California and get yourself something cool!

bold anchor on the hand

Plague Doctor Tattoos:

Plague doctors are commonly associated with the 14th Century epidemic, though there is no historical evidence to suggest that the grotesque healers had yet come into play.

Black and grey plague doctor and rose done by Luke Wasser at Sink or Swim Tattoos, Aurora.

Neo traditional smoking doctor and coffin done by Michela Zanni at Skin Cake Tattoo.

The believed inventor of the plague doctor uniform is Charles de l’Orme, the chief physician to Louis VIII. He created it in 1619, and it was used for over 100 years. The terrifying suit was made to look like a bird, with a long leather beak, thick goggles, a black leather coat over top a lighter leather shirt, black goat skin boots, leather gloves, and a black top hat also made of leather to indicate that the wearer was a doctor.

Muted colours in a neo traditional style done by Anderson Escaleira at Maza Tattoo.

Black work doctor with a candle done by Nate Kemr.

Plague doctors would stuff the end of the beak with herbs and spices such as mint, cloves, garlic, and myrrh to battle the noxious smells coming from the plague victims. Sometimes these herbs were set aflame so that the smoke would also protect the doctor. The smoke would then trickle out of the beak, making the doctor appear even more demonic and reaper-like.

American traditional doctor and flower done by Charlotte Louise at Lucky Cat Tattoo Parlour in Glasgow.

American traditional doctor and “memento more” done by Nicholas Chaney at Electric Chair Tattoo in South Wales.

Along with the uniform, many plague doctors would carry a long staff used for examining patients, as well as beating back some of the more aggressive ones. Some patients also believed they had been given the plague by God as some sort of punishment, and thus would occasionally ask the doctor to beat them with their canes as a form of repentance.

Gorgeous neo traditional half sleeve done by Francesco Garbuggino.

Hyper realistic doctor and cemetery done by Paul Vaughan at Rendition Tattoo Studio.

This suit was created because it was believed that the bubonic plague was spread through “foul air”, though in fact we now know that the plague was really spread through sharing bodily fluids, as well as pests such as rats and fleas.

Great contrast in the dark browns and blacks and red flowers. Done by Friedrich Uber.

Gruesome black and grey plague sleeve done by Róbert A Borbás.

The suit would have helped to protect the wearer from the plague to some degree, but not enough to stop the doctors from contracting the deadly sickness. This was in part due to air holes at the end of the beak, where bodily fluids such as blood and pus would enter when the doctor would perform bloodletting and lancing on the unfortunate victims (bursting the large pus-filled cysts).

American traditional plague doctor done by Gordie at Rebel Waltz Tattoo in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

American traditional style smoking doctor and rat done by Shawn Beatty at Soul Survivor Body Art in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Because the majority of these doctors were inexperienced or even completely unqualified, the treatments were often cruel and unusual, performed with no scientific or medical reasoning. Treatments included the fore mentioned bloodletting and lancing, covering the open and festering cysts with human excrement, and even pouring hot mercury on the cysts and then putting the patient into a large oven to burn the cysts off. These methods often just accelerated an already painful death.

Realistic black and grey doctor done by Jordan Croke at Second Skin Tattoo in Derby, UK.

Trash polka style doctor done in black and red by Thorant at The Scarlett Tattoo Studio in Bedford UK.

As a tattoo, plague doctors are often done in a heavy black work style (due to the nature of the uniform). They are also popular in realism, American traditional, neo traditional, and black and grey.

Horrifying black work bird/doctor done by Merry Morgan at Northgate Tattoo in Bath, Somerset.

Colourful neo traditional piece done by Tim Stafford Violet Crown Tattoo in Austin Texas.

Which morbid piece is your favourite?

Artist of the Month: Übler Friedrich

übler Friedrich is a Neo-traditional tattoo artist who works in Berlin, Giessen, and Vienna.

stag beetle on the hand

Knights helmet and flowers.

Incredibly detailed black and grey cat portrait with flowers.

Gorgeous candlestick piece.

He works mainly in colour, but also does brilliant blackwork and fantastic black and grey pieces.

Healed forearm pieces. Brilliant rose and a dagger through a heart.

Ruler of the sea, Poseidon!

Portrait/scenery piece featuring a waterscape scene.

Huge skull and octopus thigh piece.

His pieces are both realistic and traditional, making a perfect blend of the two.

Vicious looking spiked mace.

Mean looking hawk with skulls on the neck.

Badass Roman skull torso piece.

Arrows and knots on a thigh.

Übler is not shy about tattooing faces or heads, and gives people brilliant and visible pieces for the world to admire. He also does both small and large pieces, so don’t be shy about getting something big!

Healed knees! Painful looking chimp and a bat.

Bright blue octopus head piece.

Delicate bluebell face tattoo.

Absolutely terrifying demon on a forearm.

Currently (January 2019) his books are closed, but you can check out his Instagram @friedrichubler and send him an email when his books are open again!

Gorgeous flowers on Oli Sykes from Bring Me The Horizon.

Raven and castle thigh piece on the back of the leg.

Butterfly head piece.

Wicked bear head chest piece done in only two sessions.

Frankenstein Tattoos:

Frankenstein is a story that has delighted and frightened readers since 1818, now two hundred years!

nikko-hurtado---frankenstein---tattoo------09032015120525
An electrifying monster done by Nikko Hurtado.
️Kyle ‘EGG_ Williams, Uk ,Grindhouse tattoo productions
A gorgeous realistic black and grey piece of the monster and a man with a torch. Done by Kyle Williams at Grindhouse Tattoo in the UK.
Jordan Croke Second Skin Tattoo, Derby UK
A very blue Bride of Frankenstein done by Jordan Croke at Second Skin Tattoo in Derby UK.
Jordan Croke
Another one done by Jordan Croke.

Frankenstein is the story of a mad doctor that brings the dead back to life. Only to find that he has made a monster.

Alejandro Mazakre
Neo traditional green monster done by Alejandro Mazakre.
Keely Rutherford London
Cute blackwork love tattoo by Keely Rutherford in London.
Tom Chippendale
An adorable monster out for some Halloween fun done by Tom Chippendale.

Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein when she was 18, and had it published when she was 20. She wrote it for a writing contest for ghost stories, and she shocked the world!

Audie Fulfer jr. tattoo artist in Fresno CA
Terrifying realistic and colourful monster done by Audie Fulfer jr. Tattoo artist in Fresno CA.
Kyle Cotterman
A realistic and bruised looking monster done by Kyle Cotterman at Distinction Tattoo in Kettering Ohio.

When the book initially came out, readers were disgusted and horrified, but by 1823 it became widely popular, as gothic literature was becoming all the rage.

Bob Tyrrell
Black and grey portrait by Bob Tyrrell.
Mike DeVries (@mikedevries_art) @MDTattooStudio
The monster under candlelight done by Mike DeVries at MDTattooStudio.

In 1910 the first Frankenstein film was made by Thomas Edison, a one-reel 15 minute short film, thought by some to be the first horror movie.

Debora Cherrys
Neo traditional portrait of the monster and his bride done by Debora Cherrys in Madrid.
Nicholas Keiser •Materia Tattoo @materiatattoo -Downingtown ,PA
A very colourful neo traditional monster and rose done by Nicholas Keiser at Materia Tattoo in Downingtown ,PA.

Many others have been made including Frankenstein in 1931, Bride of Frankenstein in 1935, Son of frankenstein in 1939, The Ghost of Frankenstein in 1942, and many more!

Fredao Oliveira
Brutal blackwork 3/4 sleeve of the monster and flowers done by Fredao Oliveira in Brasil.
Nick Sarich
Another green monster, this time done by Nick Sarich at Timeless Tattoos in Chicago.

Fans of gothic literature and horror movies often get Frankenstein tattoos, mainly of the monster, whose name is not actually Frankenstein. Many relate to the monster because he is a misunderstood creature. He may have some violent tendencies, but what he really wants is to be understood and feel love.

Gary Parisi
An electrifying portrait of the Bride of Frankenstein done by Gary Parisi at MAYDAY! Tattoo Co. Chicago.
paul acker
A beautiful Bride of Frankenstein done by Paul Acker at The Séance Tattoo Parlor in Bensalem PA.
franky
The monster also done by Paul Acker.

Frankenstein tattoos are often done in realism, black and grey, neo traditional, and American traditional, as well as black work.

John Claude
A little green monster done in American traditional style by John Claude in Cheltenham, England.
Steve Wimmer
The monster and the castle and storm that created him done by Steve Wimmer at The Grand Reaper in San Diego, CA.

“Even broken in spirit as he is, no one can feel more deeply than he does the beauties of nature. The starry sky, the sea, and every sight afforded by these wonderful regions, seems still to have the power of elevating his soul from earth. Such a man has a double existence: he may suffer misery, and be overwhelmed by disappointments; yet, when he has retired into himself, he will be like a celestial spirit that has a halo around him, within whose circle no grief or folly ventures.”
― Mary Wollstonecraft ShelleyFrankenstein

Candle Tattoos:

Candles are often seen as a representation of religion or spirituality. They can also be paired with light and dark for contrast.

Jak Connolly Based in Bournemouth and Manchester
Brilliant hyper realistic candles coming out of fingers, with skull and woman portraits. Done by Jak Connolly Based in Bournemouth and Manchester.
Arlo DiCristina
Realistic black and grey candle coming out of the hand. Done by Arlo DiCristina.
Jason Call in Dallas, Texas
Large dotwork sternum candle lantern with roses and a moth. Done by Jason Call in Dallas, Texas.
Matt Adamson
Badass candlestick with moths and skull. Done by Matt Adamson at King’s Avenue in New York.
Teresa Sharpe
Spooky ghost and candle done by Teresa Sharpe at Unkindness Art in Richmond VA.

Candles can also represent honor, faith, love, wisdom, energy, and life.

Akos
Dripping black candle with spooky witch hand. Done by Akos at Adorned Empire.
Fraser Peek from Chatham, England
Death moth, rose, and lantern with candle. Done by Fraser Peek from Chatham, England.
John Mendoza
Neo traditional skull and candle with lots of gold. Done by John Mendoza in Mexico.
Pari Corbitt
Black candle dripping over a small skull. Done by Pari Corbitt.
Tine Deflore
Linework candle done by Tine Defiore at Black Oak Tattoo.

Candles are often accompanied by flowers, skulls, moths, and books.

Cedric Weber
American traditional candlestick with butterfly. Done by Cedric Weber.
Gara
Terrifying skull and candle done by Gara in South Korea.
Kaitlin Greenwood
Beautiful candle with pink roses done by Kaitlin Greenwood in Perth.
Ryan Mullins
Hyper realistic candle, book, and skull. Done by Ryan Mullins who works out of New York and New Jersey.
Ulysses Blair
Bright neck piece with roses and a lantern done by Ulysses Blair.

Candles dripping with wax can also be in remembrance of a deceased person.

Devx Ruiz
American traditional candlestick with dotwork crescent moon. Done by Devx Ruiz.
Hannah Flowers
Neo traditional female portrait with dripping candles. Done by Hannah Flowers.
Kevin O'Connell
Candle with lots of red. Done by Kevin O’Connell at With Love Tattoo in Brisbane, Australia.
Scott Move
Blackwork candle with lots of light! By Scott Move at Parliament Tattoo. London UK.
Xabier Barreiro at Black Poison Tattoo, Ourense, Spain.
Candle, skull, and book done by Xabier Barreiro at Black Poison Tattoo, Ourense, Spain.

When done as a tattoo, they are most often done as realism, neo traditional, or American traditional. Black and grey is also a popular option.

Emmanuel Mendoza
Another spooky witch hand with some bright neo traditional colours. Done by Emmanuel Mendoza.
Helena Darling HFX Tattoo in Halifax Nova Scotia
Bright purple candles done by Helena Darling at HFX Tattoo in Halifax Nova Scotia.
Kyle Cotterman
Realistic portrait mixing black and grey with colour, and geometric pieces. Done by Kyle Cotterman.
Sergey Vaskevich
Badass neck piece done by Sergey Vaskevich.

Which is your favorite?

Artist of the Month: Dan Gagné

Dan Gagné is an artist working at Loveless Tattoo in Montréal, Canada. Dan’s tattoos are perfect for the month of October, and those who love Halloween and horror year round. His work is mainly American traditional and blackwork, and is heavily inspired by horror movies. His work often features monsters and other icons of classic horror movies and stories.

1
Bright Creature from the Black Lagoon with unlucky number 13.
2
Ghostface from Scream with phone and knife.
3
Creepy witch with hard black shadow.
4
Fantastic werewolf and full moon.
5
Huge mostly blackwork Alien torso piece.
6
Creepy crawly spider head tattoo.
7
A sinister looking Dracula!
8
The Pale Man from Pan’s Labyrinth.
9
Norman Bates and loving mother from Psycho.
10
Battle of the monsters with Godzilla and King Kong!
11
Nasty looking Gremlin. Don’t get it wet!
12
Alien from Mars Attacks!
13
Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th!
14
Creepy skull and vampire bat with red moon.
15
A startled looking Leatherface with his pretty mask and chainsaw.
16
Matching loving undead.
17
Jason Voorhees Vs. Michael Meyers. Friday the 13th and Halloween.
18
The Demogorgon! From Stranger Things, featuring the classic light bulbs.
19
The mighty Count Orlok from Nosferatu.
20
For all the bookworms and halloween lovers. Book, vampire skull, and candles.

What classic Halloween/horror design do you want?

Winnipeg Artist 5: Vince (Rebel Waltz)

Vince is a Winnipeg tattoo artist working out of Rebel Waltz. Vince does brilliant American traditional work, creating his own original work as well as doing the shop’s flash work.

vince 1
Classic clasped hands and wreaths.
vince 2
Badass wolf head!
vince 3
Bright lighthouse.
vince 4
Aboriginal girl head.
vince 5
Angry snake head.
vince 6
Classic swallow, lantern, and “dad”.
vince 7
Skull, scythe, and spider web.
vince 8
Disney piece featuring Chip from Beauty and the Beast and Tinkerbell from Peter Pan.
vince 9
Eagle!
vince 10
Beautiful stag and traditional flower.
vince 11
Japanese peony!
vince 12
Bold stomach scorpion.
vince 13
Aboriginal styled bear paw and head.
vince 14
American traditional deaths head moth.
vince 15
Brilliant traditional dragon!
vince 16
Bart Simpson skull.

Vince is a must visit artist for you walk in and American traditional needs! He is a fantastic up and comer in the Winnipeg tattoo scene.