I really enjoyed the surprisingly Fortean Christmas edition of QI on the BBC this week. For one thing we had Brian Blessed’s impassioned evocation of all the world’s man-beasts, from the Sasquatch to the Orang Pendek. He said he hopes to travel to northern Mongolia in search of the Alma, which the local human population claim to see migrating every summer across the mountain tops. The show ended with the famous hoax Nessie photo from the 1930s – I admit I’d forgotten the back story of the hippo tracks placed along the Loch’s shoreline which preceded the hoax. Most startling of all was the stuff about the ‘necrotrousers’, pants made of human skin, including the carefully flayed-off male genitalia, which were worn in ancient Iceland as a charm to generate wealth. Here is what the Icelandic Museum of Witchcraft and sorcery has to say about them:
‘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.’
Fair dos, that was more than ‘quite interesting’.