Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Carl Pyrdum of Got Medieval ran a contest for his readers, with a prize going to the person who submitted the weirdest medieval "fact" found on Wikipedia. You can read the entries here. The winner:
Sadly, I'm not sure if my favorite bit of historical amusement from wikipedia falls into the correct time period. The wiki says "medieval" but the actual written source is much later. Never the less, for your amusement:

"In medieval Iceland there were several magical staves, or rune-like symbols credited with magical effects."


"Nábrókarstafur - Necropants, a pair of pants made from the skin of a dead man that are capable of producing an endless supply of money."

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icelandic_magical_staves
Pyrdum checked the source, The Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft, and found this:
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 dead.

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.
As Pyrdum says, it might not be true, but then that wasn't the point of the contest.

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