The Blue Hand ~ a Hebden Ghost

A grave danger faced the terrified pupils of Central Street Infants School in Hebden Bridge in the early 1970s: The Blue Hand.

This ghostly hand scuttled around the school’s corridors and was apt to pounce on unsuspecting children, especially if they were alone in the toilet. The spectral hand would gouge out the little one’s eyes, before strangling the unfortunate mite and then dragging the infant to hell through the toilet.

And the proof was there in plain sight – on the high ceiling of the cloakroom was what appeared to be a smudged handprint. There was no way an adult, let alone a child could reach the ceiling to put a handprint there. It had to be the Blue Hand. This is the story that my classmate, a girl who I will call Karen, told anyone who would listen. The fear this ghost spread lead to many a wet classroom seat as a visit to the toilet on your own was to take your young life into your hands.

When pressed on where the hand came from, Karen claimed that many years ago a crazed murderer had escaped from jail, broken into the school and hanged himself in the boys’ toilets. His body was later dug up by a witch who had a spell which would turn a murderer’s severed hand into a familiar to do her bidding. She cut the withered and now blue hand from the corpse and the spell worked. The hand could now scuttle around at her will, stealing, strangling and all kinds of other mischief. Unfortunately, the spell wore off and the hand turned on its mistress, gouging out her eyes before choking her. And then the hand scurried off back to Central Street school…

Of course, the teachers said the whole thing was nonsense and that the ‘handprint’ on the ceiling was actually a couple of muddy stains from a dirty ball being bounced in there. Karen got into big trouble when the teachers found out where the stories of the Blue Hand were coming from. What her punishment was I can’t remember, but she was made to promise never to mention the Blue Hand again. And she didn’t.

Though she did inform anyone who cared to listen that if you put two pencils tip to tip on the floor and lie on top of them on your stomach, the Devil would appear…

Blue Hand artwork by Larisa Moskaleva

Published by Paul Weatherhead

Author of Weird Calderdale, musician and songwriter

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