Strandagaldur, The Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft is home to what is possibly the world’s only intact pair of “necropants.” The fact that it’s a facsimile makes it no less terrifying. Meant to evoke the original, which would have been fashioned from the flayed skin of a corpse, the ghoulish trousers were all the rage in 17th century Iceland, where they were believed to bring good luck and wealth to the sorcerer who wore them. The only catch: You needed the permission of a living man before you could pry his flesh off upon his passing. Such pacts between practitioners of the occult were par for the course in Iceland’s pre-industrial past, according to legend.
TO DIE FOR
Champing at the bit to make your own nábrók, as it’s known in the native tongue? The museum’s website offers a detailed synopsis:
“After he has been buried you must dig up his body and flay the skin of the corpse in one piece from the waist down. As soon as you step into the pants they will stick to your own skin. A coin must be stolen from a poor widow and placed in the scrotum along with the magical sign, nábrókarstafur, written on a piece of paper. Consequently the coin will draw money into the scrotum so it will never be empty, as long as the original coin is not removed.”
The new owner had to insert his leg into the right side of the pants before the original owner stepped out of the left one.
To pass it on to a future wearer—and ensure the transmission of fortune—the new owner had to insert his leg into the right side of the necropants before the original owner stepped out of the left one. Only then would it retain its “money-gathering nature” for generations.
Excuse us while we proceed to NEVER STOP SCREAMING.