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.

115 Comments on "The Horrifying Necropants Of Iceland"

  1. Craig Bickford | Oct 22, 2013 at 2:22 pm |

    This is pretty fucked up.

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

  3. 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.

  4. Enric Martinez | Oct 22, 2013 at 2:58 pm |

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

  5. Michael Chandler | Oct 22, 2013 at 3:36 pm |

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

  6. InfvoCuernos | Oct 22, 2013 at 4:13 pm |

    “You look like about a size 14”

  7. Anthony Chmielewski | Oct 22, 2013 at 5:11 pm |

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

  8. jasonpaulhayes | Oct 22, 2013 at 6:24 pm |

    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.

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

      • JoshuaCJCohen | Oct 23, 2013 at 9:03 am |

        No, it is not.

      • jasonpaulhayes | Oct 23, 2013 at 2:00 pm |

        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 | Oct 23, 2013 at 8:12 pm |

          I’ve seen the photos of the items

        • Anthony Raven | Oct 24, 2013 at 5:27 am |

          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 | Oct 23, 2013 at 8:12 pm |

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

    • 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.

      • 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!!!!

  9. PortlandMargo | Oct 22, 2013 at 6:39 pm |

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

  10. 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]”

  11. anyonebuthim | Oct 22, 2013 at 8:09 pm |

    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.

  12. The Well Dressed Man | Oct 22, 2013 at 11:56 pm |

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

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

    • Calypso_1 | Oct 23, 2013 at 1:32 am |

      Never skinned a rabbit?

    • 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 | Nov 11, 2013 at 3:17 am |

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

  14. Genevieve Nichols | Oct 23, 2013 at 3:13 am |

    I want a necro skirt suit.

  15. howiebledsoe | Oct 23, 2013 at 5:04 am |

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

  16. HexenDruken | Oct 23, 2013 at 5:09 am |

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

  17. kowalityjesus | Oct 23, 2013 at 12:19 pm |

    hmmm, yeah: no.

  18. Time to put on your “big boy” pants!

  19. Justin Myers | Oct 23, 2013 at 1:21 pm |

    They stick you as soon as you put them on?

    The original BoP item?

    • Anthony Raven | Oct 24, 2013 at 5:17 am |

      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 | Oct 25, 2013 at 1:34 am |

      BoA. 😛

  20. Johann Strauss | Oct 23, 2013 at 3:19 pm |

    Die Toten Hosen

  21. tibby trillz | Oct 23, 2013 at 4:12 pm |

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

  22. Polite_Werewolf | Oct 23, 2013 at 4:20 pm |

    ……. Is that hair?

  23. Crystal Peritz | Oct 23, 2013 at 4:44 pm |

    OMFG WTF IS THIS and i thought i heard it all

  24. Michael Piper | Oct 23, 2013 at 5:30 pm |

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

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

  26. Kathryn O'Connor | Oct 23, 2013 at 8:09 pm |

    I must visit Iceland just to see this museum

  27. Allison C. Meier | Oct 23, 2013 at 8:38 pm |

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

  28. BentDemocrat | Oct 23, 2013 at 8:46 pm |

    Holy crap! No, really. Holy. Crap!

  29. Why the hell would I want coins in my scrotum?

  30. Clare Elliott | Oct 24, 2013 at 12:14 am |

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

  31. act_on_love | Oct 24, 2013 at 12:57 am |

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

  32. Johnny Mizchief | Oct 24, 2013 at 3:33 am |

    A new meaning to “PANTS OFF DANCE OFF!”

  33. Drone Henley | Oct 24, 2013 at 7:22 am |

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

  34. 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.

  35. milkysquid | Oct 24, 2013 at 1:49 pm |

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

  36. This is what is known as oversharing.

  37. Michael Workman | Oct 24, 2013 at 5:03 pm |

    there’s also a penis museum in iceland…

  38. eileen926 | Oct 24, 2013 at 6:58 pm |

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

  39. Gumbatron | Oct 25, 2013 at 4:38 am |

    It rubs the lotion on its skin …

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

  41. Tuna Ghost | Oct 25, 2013 at 9:50 pm |

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

  42. Parusexperious | Oct 26, 2013 at 10:13 am |

    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.

  43. Elizabeth | Oct 26, 2013 at 5:29 pm |

    That’s rather gross!

  44. I don’t want money that badly. Nope.

  45. william Scanlon | Oct 28, 2013 at 11:52 am |

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

  46. Man, that has to smell after a little while.

  47. seriouslywondering | Oct 28, 2013 at 3:10 pm |

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

  48. Erin Chassereau | Oct 28, 2013 at 4:49 pm |

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

  49. Aðalsteinn Archmage Vestmann | Oct 29, 2013 at 6:26 am |

    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.

  50. Cathy Nolan Vincevic | Oct 29, 2013 at 6:35 am |

    I think I’d rather remain poor.

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

  52. ok i am freaked out now..

  53. girlsaidwhat | Nov 11, 2013 at 1:14 am |

    ummmmm….. what??

  54. Karen Glammeyer Medcoff | Nov 11, 2013 at 1:30 am |

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

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

  56. Alectocles | Nov 11, 2013 at 8:23 am |

    “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…”

  57. Jeana Roper | Nov 11, 2013 at 2:50 pm |

    That is gross.

  58. Scott Wilson | Nov 11, 2013 at 3:17 pm |

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

  59. Julie Poole | Nov 11, 2013 at 6:11 pm |

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

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

  61. 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.

  62. 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.

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