1930 - 1950
Magicians hand or ‘Rapping Hand’. A hand painted wooden prop used in magic tricks.
It belonged to a local amateur magician from the Stockport area who was active throughout the 1930s, 40s and 50s.
Used as part of a magic show, the hand could be placed on a plane of glass, allowing it to be viewed from all angles. The audience would then ask simple yes or no questions to the hand, these would be answered via a system of one tap for yes, two taps for no. It could also double up as the fake hand used in a ventriloquism act.
It may have also had an alternative spookier use; contacting spirits during a séance. The hand would be used in exactly the same way, but rather than using the hand to entertain, it claimed to be possessed by a spirit. The ‘spirit’ would use the hand to announce their presence and answer questions from the living about the dead.