Enter the witches and sorcerers. While the rest of the world was busy burning women at the stake for reading fortunes in tea leaves or using voodoo dolls to punish philandering husbands, the Icelanders were taking wizardry to a whole new level.
Pretend for a moment you’re a filthy, dirty, broke-ass peasant whose only dream in life is to get your hands on some cash so you can bang the milk maid of your dreams. (Are you pretending? Are you imagining how bad you smell? Good.) Now, what’s that? No money you say? No problem! Just follow these insanely complicated steps and good fortune is all yours.
Step #1 Find a good friend, preferably drunk, to make a super creepy pact with. According to legend the man must make a pact with another living man, get his permission to dig up his dead body, and skin it from the waist down. The skin must be completely intact with no holes or scratches in order to be a contender. (Note: No mention is made about the amount of leg hair required.)
Step #2 After finishing step one, assuming you friend led a long and happy life and was buried in a shallow grave, the sorcerer (that’s you) digs him up when his wife isn’t paying attention, does a little filleting, and steps into the skin which will immediately become one with his own.
Step #3 You must commit petty theft. (Listen, you’ve already robbed a grave, and dismembered and skinned your friend, so this part shouldn’t be a problem.) Steal a coin from a poor widow on either Christmas or Easter and keep it in the scrotum pocket of your Necropants. (That’s right, the scrotum pocket of your dead friend’s body, which you’re wearing now.)
If all of the steps are done correctly, the pants, called Nábrók or Necropants in English, will make you rich beyond your wildest dreams. Every time you reach down to your scrotum coin purse, there, sitting next to your friends, will be a shiny new gold coin. Maybe there will even be enough gold coins to get the milk maid to look past the fact that you are wearing the rotting flesh of another human being. To say nothing of issues with personal hygiene, or indeed since you’re not supposed to remove the pants, how to take care of personal matters (or your milk maid).
As for your spiritual wellbeing, it will be at risk unless you get rid of the Necropants before you meet your Viking maker. In the event that you die wearing the pants, your entire body will become immediately infested with lice. (Gross! Although ultimately the milk maid’s problem.) You must therefore ﬁnd someone willing to take the pants, and put his leg into the right leg of said Necropants before you step out of the left one. If all goes according to plan, these magical pants will keep on drawing money for generations to come. Lucky you – you friend killing, body dismembering, flesh wearing, wildly wealthy lunatic you!
Author’s Note: For information on the history of Necropants and other random Icelandic folklore, please visit the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft in Staðarskála, Iceland, or somewhat more conveniently at http://www.galdrasyning.is/index.php?lang=en
Kelly Swartz is an enthusiastic explorer of the world, wearer of knee socks, writer of odd stories, and taker of snap shots. She currently resides in Chicago. Also, let me know if you have any questions about these pics in the comments section below..
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