Iceland is home to some of the most surreal, dreamlike sites on Earth, and it’s no surprise the country has become a wildly popular tourist destination. But while their geography and culture are overflowing with eye-popping wonders, it also harbors the stuff of wide-awake nightmares.
Strandagaldur, Iceland’s official Museum of Sorcery and Witchcraft, is jam-packed with such horrors… which have made it one of the most popular attractions in the country, drawing over 15,000 visitors per year.
Located in the town of Hólmavík, Strandir, the museum’s exhibits are primarily devoted to a dark, mysterious and often dangerous eras in the country’s history, when the practice of dark magic was avery serious concern.
Throughout the building are displayed collections of invisibility spells, deadly curses, protective talismans, formulas for magical potions, and other tools of the witch’s trade.
Even spookier are depictions of demons known as tilberi — which were summoned specifically by women to steal cows’ milk, from which a magical butter could be created. The price for summoning a tilberi was a regular donation its creator’s blood, which it would suck from her thigh.
But without a doubt the most notoriously macabre object on display at Strandagaldur bears the nickname “necropants” — a set of leggings which is actually the preserved skin of an adult human male from the waist down (and to answer your next question, that’s the dead man’s actual junk. You’re welcome).
Believed to bring good fortune to the wearer, the pants were said to be empowered by a specific spell. The story, according to the museum’s documentation, is that the “donor” willed his skin to the sorcerer voluntarily, and that once he died, it was removed in one piece from the disinterred corpse.
After slipping it onto his own body, the magician then placed a coin (which was stolen from a widow), along with the written sigil shown above, into a specific pouch on the leggings… I’m just going to let you figure out for yourself where that pouch is located.
Also appearing in your next nightmare are several dioramas depicting sorcerers practicing their craft, as well as a skeleton bursting from the floor — surreal depictions of a very real “Satanic panic” which gripped much of Iceland during most of the 17thcentury, paralleling witch hunts which terrorized much of Europe during the same period.