The pair of so-called “necropants” below were made in the 17th century from a dead man’s skin and are supposed to bring good luck. According to legend, sorcerers would strike a deal where one of them would agree to be made into a pair of trousers after they die, and the “necropants” would then be used for magic… no doubt increasing any young warlock’s chances of pulling down at Ye Olde Oak on a Saturday night, to be sure.
The trousers – currently on display at the Strandagaldur Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft in Holmavik – were made by skinning a dead man who had given his permission to be made into pants after his death. In order to make the magical trousers, the living man would have to strip the skin off of the corpse in one piece.
The wearer of the pants then had to steal a coin from a widow and store it in the scrotum of the trousers next to a magical sign called a nábrókarstafur which are symbols credited with effect preserved in various books of spells. According to the museum, the effects credited to most of these were very relevant to the average Icelanders of the time, most of who were farmers dealing with hard conditions.
The coin was a “tool to gather wealth by supernatural means.” The skin of the pants would then stick to the wearer’s own flesh. “They would immediately be stuck with your own flesh and be part of your body,” said a museum spokesman. “People would be able to use them as long as they lived, but they would have to get rid of them before they die. If they would find someone to take them over they could last forever,” the spokesman said.