Prague is a safe city with rich history, full of beauty and elegance wherever you go. Yet, as any place, it has its own dark little spots and the mummified thief’s arm might be just that. If it’s hard for you to believe that in the 21st century, in the heart of Europe, there is a hand of a man hanging down right in the Old Town…well, you might want to continue reading.
In Prague 1, you will stumble upon a beautiful baroque church, rebuilt in the 18th century, of St. James the Greater (or Kostel Sv. Jakuba Vetsiho). The church is also home to the organ dating back to the year of 1705 and the tomb of Count Vratislav of Mitrovice, who, allegedly, was buried alive. According to the legend, nobody helped him because of mistaking his cries for those of ghosts – now, Count had joined their ranks. Years later after the burial, he was found laying next to the coffin instead of being inside of it…yikes!
That is where the story gets especially interesting. When you enter the church and turn right, by the tomb entrance, you will see one of the most peculiar things in Prague – a 400-year old hand hanging by a meat hook. It is an absolutely real, mummified hand.
There are a few stories of how the hand got there, the most popular being that a thief tried to steal jewels from the Virgin Mary’s statue. The statue then grabbed his hand and held it till the parishioners came. The Virgin Mary’s grip was so tight that the parishioners had to amputate the hand in order to release the unlucky thief. His hand was left hanging by the hook to warn anyone else wanting to commit a crime.
What a crazy story! We encourage you to visit the church of St. James the Greater and get acquainted with some ghosts for yourself. Till the next time!