When actress Megan Fox was found to have thick thumbs that look like small caveman’s clubs, her fame brought attention to these bulbous-looking thumbs known as clubbed thumbs or murderer’s thumbs.
Also called shovel thumbs, toe thumbs, Dutch thumbs, hammer thumbs, stub thumbs, and potter’s thumbs, murderer’s thumbs appear in around 0.4 percent of the U.S. population. It’s an inherited trait affecting the thumbs of women more often than men.
In past centuries, these types of thumbs suffered from a sinister reputation. Nineteenth-century Europeans and Americans branded club thumbs as indicators of primitive disposition, and also impulsive and unsophisticated thinking.
Palmists Pull Murderer’s Thumbs into the Mainstream
Renowned palmist William George Benham, in his 1901 manual The Laws of Scientific Hand Reading, warns that clubbed thumbs are “dangerous companions…not to be trifled with at any time.” He states, “Many murderers have had clubbed thumbs…. Their brutal instincts being strong, jealousy most often has led them to fits of violent rage. The terrible qualities of the clubbed thumb have given them passion and determination strong enough to take human life.”
Nine years later, the world-famous palmist Cheiro writes of people with murderer’s thumb: “If they are opposed, they fly into ungovernable passions and blind rages. They have no control over themselves, and are liable to go to any extreme of violence or crime during one of their tempers.” Fortunately, says Cheiro, the owner of such thumbs cannot “plan out or premeditate a crime, for he would not have the determined will or power of reason to think it out.”
As recently as 2011, in the book Practical Palmistry, Narayan Dutt Shrimal claims to have read the palms of 400 killers. Shrimal discovered that all of them had committed murder in a mad fit of passion, and had murderer’s thumb.
CHARACTER SHOWN BY THE THUMB
The longer the thumb, the more the power of will rules the actions. The shorter the thumb, the more brute force and obstinacy sway the nature. The shorter and more thick-set the nail phalange is, giving the appearance of a club, the more ungovernable is the person in his or her temper.
A MAN WITH MURDERER’S THUMBS AND ME
Back in the 70’s, I took a weekend class in palmistry, learning how to read the three main lines (head, heart, and life), and the thumb. Seven years later, when I worked as a fire department dispatcher for Whaler Air Force Base Fire Department, I read a couple of the firemen’s palms just for grins.
I stopped grinning when I read the palm of short, round firefighter Jaku. His thumbs were shaped like little caveman clubs, and I knew what that shape signified. I didn’t tell a soul what I saw, not wanting the firemen to think I was airy fairy, or that I’d been reading too many metaphysical books. I didn’t even tell Jaku’s hunky friend, for whom I carried a blazing torch back in the days.
To make a long story short: Jaku did indeed commit a murder.
Want to find out more? The story of Jaku, Vic and me is written in glorious detail in my mystery, romance, true crime memoir Angel Hero, Murder in Hawai’i, A True Story. If you like, you can download my first chapter for free by going to https://authorlizbethhartz.com/chapter1
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, N is for those Naughty Nodes of the Fingers.