Sorry, casual “Star Trek” fans. The Vulcan death grip isn’t real.
Though the term has made is regularly used by sci-fi fans to represent an extremely tight grip, the term is actually a fictitious technique invented by Vulcan Spock (played by the Leonard Nimoy) in an early episode of the original series in 1968. The Vulcan death grip was used by Spock to fool enemies into thinking he had killed his comrade, Captain Kirk. The fictional move took place in “The Enterprise Incident,” which aired during the show’s third season in September of 1968.
However, Leonard Nimoy’s science-fiction character did have a number of extraordinary talents, including the Vulcan nerve pinch, which became a show mainstay. The maneuver can be seen in the video below:
The Vulcan nerve pinch was used by Vulcans as a way to render others unconscious by pinching a pressure point at the base of their victims’ necks. Nimoy, who passed away on Friday at 83, actually invented the move while filming the show. The actor felt Spock, who was half-human and half-Vulcan, wouldn’t use brute force to battle his enemies, like his aggressive comrade Captain Kirk, who was played by William Shatner. Nimoy felt that knocking someone out would be “undignified” for a Vulcan. Thus, the nerve pinch was born – a move that allowed a Vulcan to project telepathic energy from their fingertips to another person’s nerves, rendering them unconscious.
Spock could also perform the Vulcan mind meld, a technique that created a telepathic link between two individuals, allowing creating the ability for one person to read another’s thoughts.
Leonard Nimoy died on Friday at 83 in Los Angeles due to end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.