The Horrifying Necropants Of Iceland

necropantsThe Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft houses the only known intact pair of necropants, a beyond-disturbing item popularly used for purposes of traditional magic in seventeenth century Iceland. To make your own (and thus reap good fortune), strike a deal with a friend than whoever dies first will allow the other wear the lower half of their corpse as a pair of pants, day and night:

If you want to make your own necropants (literally; nábrók) you have to get permission from a living man to use his skin after his death.

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.

To ensure salvation the owner has to convince someone else to overtake the pants and step into each leg as soon as he gets out of it. The necropants will thus keep the money-gathering nature for generations.

  • Craig Bickford

    This is pretty fucked up.

  • heimaey

    People did a lot of crazy shit back in the day.

    • Harry McNicholas

      Yes and they are so reasonable today.

  • Morgan

    It takes a extraordinary morbid person to do this without throwing up while wearing dead flesh.. nasty! One must surely have a degree of madness to even want to do this sort of Black Magic.

  • Enric Martinez

    Hmmm, this little bag on the front would be a bit too small to fit my junk into.

    • Anthony Chmielewski

      They aren’t talking about your bicycle Sparky…

    • Ted Heistman

      Sounds like you’ll make a fine set of necro pants. Roomy.

  • Michael Chandler

    So, the balzak will always contain money, as long as you never remove the original coin? Genius.

    • ****

      That’s how they get ya.

  • InfvoCuernos

    “You look like about a size 14”

    • RobertMosesSupposesErroneously

      “Wash she a great big fat person?”

      • Dickhead Jane


  • Anthony Chmielewski

    Was she a great big fat woman? That is so Silence of the Lambs…

  • jasonpaulhayes

    Sounds like a fair trade supposing you have permission from a living man. Nazis made a plethora of leather items from the flesh of Jews and never asked permission. Lamp Shades, Watch Bands, Wallets, Rifle Straps and it’s been claimed… even the occasional Leather Couch.

    • M00nface

      “Nazis made a plethora of leather items from the flesh of Jews…” This is debatable…

      • JoshuaCJCohen

        No, it is not.

        • Kooch

          No debate. The lampshades made of skin, shrunken heads at Buchenwald, and many other stories of “souvenirs”
          have been proven to be Allied propaganda. That in no way lessens the
          horrors of the Holocaust.

          • jasonpaulhayes

            Fascinatingly Naive.

          • toomanyusernamesicantthink

            oooh, nice phrase, might go on my headstone, after my legs and balls have been skinned of course. It will be the only money I ever make.

        • Cypherpunks (a public account)

          Yes it is. What is proven fact, however, is there were Nazis who did keep tattooed pieces of skin, shrunken heads and bone fragments. Not that that is any better:

        • SeanDean

          You’re right. It’s a PROVEN myth, therefore not debatable. National Geographic tested it in 2012 and it turned out to be cow. The earlier test was a PCR test which amplifies the youngest DNA present, so it picked up human skin oils from the people who had handled the lampshade.

        • Zarg Buell

          You’re right, it’s not debatable. It is, in fact, like the Soap Story, complete bullshit.

          Stop embarrassing yourselves with fairy tales.

          • jasonpaulhayes

            I sense some Holocaust denial in this one…

        • jasonpaulhayes

          Nope, the items I speak of have been DNA and Metallurgical tested (even by Nat-Geo) and conclusively proven to be Nazi mfg human flesh items from WWII.

          • Zarg Buell

            How, exactly, does “DNA and Metallurgical” testing tell you who manufactured supposed “human leather”? Does it come back positive for Nazi Fairy Dust?

          • jasonpaulhayes

            Nazi Fairy Dust? Yeah, it’s called D-IX.

          • Daniel Watson

            Link please ?

      • jasonpaulhayes

        Ilse Koch (possible relation to the Koch Bros if only by world view) was notorious for doing this at Buchenwald. She selecting victims from concentration camps that had elaborate tattoos who were never seen again, but the tattooed flesh was seen (by both Nazi and Jewish account) to be on many items shipped out of the camps workshops.

        • Kathryn O’Connor

          I’ve seen the photos of the items

        • Anthony Raven

          There was absolutely no evidence in the trial transcript, other than she was a rather loathsome creature, that would support the death sentence. I suppose I received more abuse for that than for anything else I did in Germany. Some reporter had called her the “Bitch of Buchenwald”, had written that she had lamp shades made of human skin in her house. And that was introduced in court, where it was absolutely proven that the lamp shades were made out of goat skin.

      • Kathryn O’Connor

        I’ve seen the photos of the items myself and read the history of the female nazi who enjoyed making them

    • SeanDean

      MYTH. The lampshade was tested just last year and turned out to be calf skin (baby cow). Just like the shrunken heads and soap made from human fat stories, Just propaganda used at Nuremburg.

      • GJ

        Propaganda?! Why on earth would we bother using propaganda? The Nazis committed enough atrocities that we had proof of, i.e recorded footage of emaciated people in concentration camps, for them to be convicted. There was definitely no need to make things up!!!!

  • PortlandMargo

    I thought I’d regret the click and, yep, I do. Darn my impulse control.

    • Dickhead Jane

      yup me to ew.. omg

  • Haystack

    Apparently Iceland was a pretty hellish place to live around this time. Wikipedia says:

    In the 17th and 18th centuries, Denmark imposed harsh trade restrictions on Iceland. Natural disasters, including volcanic eruption and disease, severely decimated the population. Pirates from several countries, including the Barbary Coast, raided its coastal settlements. During this period many Europeans were also taken captive by Mediterranean pirates and sometimes sold into slavery in the Arab world.[20][21] A great smallpox epidemic in the 18th century killed around a third of the population.[22][23] In 1783 the Lakivolcano erupted, with devastating effects.[24] In the years following the eruption, known as the Mist Hardships (Icelandic: Móðuharðindin), over half of all livestock died in the country. During the resulting famine, around a quarter of the population died.[25]”

    • Rhoid Rager

      It’s a hell of a beautiful country, though. I visited there for three days in 2011. I guess I didn’t do my research well enough, because I didn’t know about the Sorcery and Witchcraft Museum!

      • Haystack

        When I travel, I’m always racked with anxiety that there’s something awesome like that, that I won’t find out about until I’ve already returned.

        • ****

          It’s happened to me plenty of times! I just put another visit to that area on my list and nothing lost!

      • jnana

        I hope you at least visited the phallus museum.

        • Rhoid Rager


        • Vik Finch

          haha, when I lived there from 2007-09 I visited that place lol

          • jnana


    • Aðalsteinn Archmage Vestmann

      We did ok though.

      • Vik Finch

        Addy! wth man, >.> lol
        seriously tho

    • Cathy Nolan Vincevic

      Thank you for this information, these pants make a bit more sense, not only for the kind of insanity those troubles brought but also because necropants would act as insulation in cold times.

    • evegoldberg

      Probably b/c ppl were necropantsing each other!!!

    • Jerome Puttler

      Thanks for the background!!

  • anyonebuthim

    If anyone is looking for a size 34 just let me know. I’ll make sure to fill out the proper section on the back of my driver’s license.

    • wanderingalien

      Necropants donor! Awesome.

  • The Well Dressed Man

    So, um, who wants to go to the pants party?

  • Stephen Benson

    Dubious. How exactly did they flay those toes, let alone step into them?

    • Calypso_1

      Never skinned a rabbit?

    • SL

      For what I can tell in the photo: they didn’t take the toes. Looks like they cut the pant more in the stirrup foot fashion–heels missing also.

      • Levi Smith

        Obviously you’re blind because the toes are definitely in the picture and the heels are not missing either…?

  • Genevieve Nichols

    I want a necro skirt suit.

  • howiebledsoe

    “Honey, does my butt look big in these?”

    • ****

      “No, but Erik’s does.”

      • Michael Smalley

        **snorts water from nose**

  • HexenDruken

    So is this where “I got kicked in the coin purse” comes from?

  • kowalityjesus

    hmmm, yeah: no.

  • KC Merchant

    Time to put on your “big boy” pants!

  • Justin Myers

    They stick you as soon as you put them on?

    The original BoP item?

    • Anthony Raven

      surely if they stick as soon as you put them on then they are BoE…. but the ability to pass on the necropants means all this Bo idea is wrong anyway.

    • Sean Roper

      BoA. 😛

  • Fluorescent Grey
  • Johann Strauss

    Die Toten Hosen

  • tibby trillz

    thats why there are so many rich people from iceland. you got your bjork, your sigur ros, must be the pants

  • Polite_Werewolf

    ……. Is that hair?

  • Crystal Peritz

    OMFG WTF IS THIS and i thought i heard it all

  • Jeremy Johnson


  • Michael Piper

    Gives an entirely new meaning to the term, ‘pantsing’

  • ****

    Whichever one of you cretins can get to my corpse first is welcome to take my birthday nylons and jimmies.

  • Kathryn O’Connor

    I must visit Iceland just to see this museum

  • Allison C. Meier

    We just posted about this on Atlas Obscura. More horrifying details:

  • BentDemocrat

    Holy crap! No, really. Holy. Crap!

  • J.D. Rhoades

    Why the hell would I want coins in my scrotum?

    • Nick Piers

      Isn’t it obvious? Because that’s where the money maker is!

  • Clare Elliott

    I cant think of anything witty-i’m chuckling too much.

  • act_on_love

    Taken, no doubt, from that ancient tome, the NecroPanticon

  • Johnny Mizchief

    A new meaning to “PANTS OFF DANCE OFF!”

  • Drone Henley

    I was ok with this until the stealing-from-a-widow. That’s just wrong.

  • EGussler

    You would think that they would know the difference between “than” (a comparative word) and “then” (a sequential word). It says “strike a deal with a friend than whoever” but it should read “strike a deal with a friend then whoever”. They need a better copy editor for the site I guess.

  • milkysquid

    But seriously now, question #1,
    Why is the crotch Jimmy Hendrix’s face?

  • irish19

    This is what is known as oversharing.

  • Michael Workman

    there’s also a penis museum in iceland…

  • eileen926

    how much change can one fit in their scrotum? i mean, that hardly seems worth it.

  • Gumbatron

    It rubs the lotion on its skin …

  • D Finch

    Great! I can never find anything to go with my necrocardigan.

    • wanderingalien

      Hahhahaha, winner!

    • Jerome Puttler


  • Tuna Ghost

    Love these topics that are just excuses for everyone to whip out their best one-liner

    • AG Awesome

      I come for the comments.

  • Parusexperious

    having just returned from the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft, I am sorry to report that these are NOT “only known intact pair of necropants”, but only a latex replica.

  • Elizabeth

    That’s rather gross!

  • risskia

    I don’t want money that badly. Nope.

  • william Scanlon

    That explains the jingle whenever some dude from Iceland walks by.

  • Goober

    Man, that has to smell after a little while.

  • seriouslywondering

    seriously, how do you go to the bathroom if you’re wearing those things?

  • Erin Chassereau

    well, now we know who really wore the (necro) pants in those days…. men are wierd
    …women are awesome

  • Aðalsteinn Archmage Vestmann

    I’d like to point out that at that time paper was considered a luxury and only those that belonged to, what you could call ,,upper class” at that time, or bishops could afford it, and they were wealthy enough and too god-fearing to use such magic. In some of the older folklore I’ve read, Nábrókarstafur was actually carved in the finger bone of the person you made deal with.

  • Cathy Nolan Vincevic

    I think I’d rather remain poor.

  • erikgrad

    I see the making of a DC Comics superhero in this tale…

  • Dennis

    ok i am freaked out now..

  • girlsaidwhat

    ummmmm….. what??

  • Karen Glammeyer Medcoff

    religious beliefs, even magic is considered a religion, is so sad. And people do these things thinking they work. Makes me sick

  • Schlange

    So what happened if you had bigger feet than the guy that died first?

  • Alectocles

    “I’ll make a shoehorn outta your shin
    I’ll make a lampshade of durable skin
    And, oh, don’t you know that I’m always feelin’ able
    When I’m sittin’ home and I’m carving out your navel?
    (I’m just a-sittin’ here carving out your navel)

    “When will I realize that this skin I’m in–hey, it isn’t mine…”

  • Jeana Roper

    That is gross.

  • Scott Wilson

    Why not get the top half, too?
    Call it a Bro Suit.

  • Julie Poole

    ill take a pair in a size 5…got some killer boots that would go amazing with these! lmaooooo

  • Gill

    Does one go commando when wearing necropants? Would wearing underwear dilute the magic?

    • Calypso_1

      Waaay beyond commando and in full berserker territory.

  • Bob Judd

    I would think these pants would be great against getting frost-bite, but I can’t think of any other use unless you’re a leather-faced psychopath.

  • WulfeMom

    I prefer mine with an old fashioned coin purse ~ the kind with the slit in the top you squeeze then drop the coin in. The dangling sausage casing isn’t very feminine.