As far as we know, there is just one pair of intact necropants left on earth and they are locked behind glass at the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft in Holmavik, Iceland.
From the name alone you know they are excellent, but what exactly are necropants?
“The 17th century NECROPANTS made from corpse legs – and are supposed to be lucky,” reads a recent article in the Daily Mail.
The story behind these amazing trousers is as follows.
During the 1600s in Iceland, it was common for sorcerers to wear pants made out of their dead friend’s skin. To make the pants, first you had to get permission from your still living friend to use their skin after they died. Usually a sort of pact was made, and whoever died first would then have the honor of becoming pants for their friend.
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The surviving friend would dig up their mate’s body and carefully peel the skin from the lower half of the corpse. This was a difficult task, as the person had to separate the skin without accidentally making any holes or scratches. And even if they were successful in this task, there was one more step to go.
Before the man who was to wear the pants put them on he had to steal a coin from a widow during either Christmas, Easter or Whitson, which occurs a week after Easter. The coin must then be placed in the scrotum of the trousers, along with a magical sign called nábrókarstafur, drawn on a piece of paper—the sign, from the photos in the Daily Mail article looks like a series of demonic anchors lashed together. Once the necropants are on, the wearer becomes a sorcerer.
The coin hidden in the scrotum allows wearers to acquire wealth by supernatural means. From my interpretation of the article it seems that the coin actually was able to draw coins out of other people’s pockets—or other people’s necropants scrotum sacks?—and whisk them into the wearer’s own necropants scrotum sack.
Apparently, the pants were quite sticky, because as soon as someone stepped into them, the skin of the corpse stuck to their own skin.
“’They would immediately be stuck with your own flesh and be part of your body,” a spokesman for the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft told the Daily Mail.
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The pants were meant to be worn during the day and night.
And when the wearer of the necropants was nearing death themselves, they would remove the pants and pass them along to a friend.
If the wearer of the pants did not pass them on before his own death, it was said that his body would be infected with lice as soon as he died. However, if the pants were passed on properly, their magical coin-drawing abilities would continue unimpeded.
There was a special ritual involved in passing the pants from one person to the next. “To ensure the transmission of fortune,” reads the Daily Mail article, “the future wearer of the pants had to put his leg into the right leg of the necropants before the original owner stepped out of the left one.”
Imagine how hard it is to take off wet snow pants? Now imagine wet skin pants, with two people wearing a leg each..
It really doesn’t get any better than this for Digital Dying. I plan to move up an already planned trip to Iceland and visit the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft myself. Ideally, I shall be able to interview the museum’s director and look through the sacred necropants files. And maybe even try on the pants. I will keep you posted.