A mummified hand of an 18th century cheating gambler is stolen

March 16, 2010 | by | 0 Comments

A mummified hand amputated from a cheating gambler has been stolen from its display case at a popular country pub.

The macabre relic was unearthed during a renovation of the Haunch of Venison in Salisbury, Wilts., 99 years ago.

Since then the severed hand, which clutches a pack of 18th-century playing cards and is rumoured to be cursed, has been on display in a locked glass case.

However, it was stolen from the 684-year-old pub last week and barman David Prodger has appealed for it to be returned.

He said: ”It’s kept locked in a cage, so whoever took it must have come prepared to unscrew the locks.

”We’ve got a big group of school children waiting to see it who are going to be very disappointed.”

Pub owner Antony Leroy added: ”Visitors here often comment on feeling strangely cold in certain parts of the building and staff are regularly frustrated when items are moved or hidden, only to reappear a few weeks later.

”It is thought that the Demented Whist Player is tormented by the loss of his hand, which was severed in a card game because of cheating.”

The severed left hand was first discovered when the Haunch of Venison underwent significant renovation in 1911.

It is believed to have been dismembered from a gambler who was caught cheating during a game of Whist.

The ghost of the Demented Whist Player is rumoured to haunt the pub.

* The severed hand went missing in March 2004 but was returned six weeks later.

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