Phantom hands are generally considered a comical monster – though it’s difficult to understand why. All the way back to classic reruns of The Adams Family we have seen monsters that are a hand attempting to convey all of the emotions and thought of a human and having to make up for its limitations by mimicking exaggeratedly. But there’s nothing comical to witnesses who say they have actually encountered phantasmal hands reaching out from beyond the supernatural into our own world to cause misery.
Ghostly hands that suddenly appear from out of nowhere seem to require their own category in the world of the paranormal, because they have both been seen so many times and they defy the traditional explanation of residual hauntings. These ghostly hands have reportedly been seen in a number of places, but few are quite so well covered as Dartmoor England where drivers have reported for decades that a mysterious ghost manifests as a pair of ghostly hands that will take the steering wheel and try to run the driver off the road. Police have long been baffled by reports of these mystery ghosts as they appear and the strange loss of control they have over their vehicles as a result.
But not all stories of phantom hands come at the expense of those witnessing them. Throughout the world, but particularly in the United States there are stories of tragic bridges and train tracks that once saw a terrible event such as a bus crash that ultimately claimed the lives of dozens of children. These bridges are referred to in folklore as “crybaby bridges” and the ghosts that haunt them are said to attempt to help and not hinder those who attempt to pass there. It’s said if your car stops on such a bridge you will hear the laughter of children and then several hand prints will appear on the windows and back of your car as it is slowly and inexplicably pushed across and out of harm’s way. Motorists have reported occurrences such as these pushing them out of harm’s way both when the engine is purposefully turned off and sometimes even when engine trouble occurs unexpectedly.
But why hands? The hand is the means by which a person interacts with the world around them. It is the channel from the mind to action. But even though it is a definite symbol to humans, some paranormal experts and ghost hunters have questioned whether a ghost would appear only partially rather than as a full apparition or invisible force. Regardless of their cause, the witnesses to the mystery hands -whether they help or attempt to harm their witnesses- swear the strange apparitions were real enough to make them give the paranormal a second thought. And some have said the entities may be completely independent of other ghosts – more like a thought given life – or something made manifest that was always there just beyond our understanding.