For about 50 years of the 17th century, Icelandic folklore and superstition was chock full of magic and witchcraft. In fact, 21 people were tragically executed for allegedly practicing magic in the most remote area of the country, Strandir.
Fittingly, a tiny town in Strandir (called Hólmavík) is the home of the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft, which happens to be just as creepy as it is fascinating.
Unlike old America's Salem Witch Trials, most of the individuals convicted of using magic in Strandir were men. Out of 120 trials, only 10 dealt with women. And out of the 22 poor souls burned as witches, only 1 was female. The first to be burned was a pastor and author named Jón Magnússon. You can read more about him here.
Visitors to the museum enjoy an array of magical artifacts, spell books and other macabre witching materials. Like this storm-causing fish head:
And this pre-tinder matchmaking stave:
Want magical protection or the ability to become invisible? No problem:
Hmm, wonder what he's writing... Whatever it is, we don't have a good feeling about it.
In what might be the coolest aspect of the museum, we find the last remaining link to the old Viking gods; a stone bowl used for sacred Viking sacrifices! According to forensic tests, the bowl still contains traces of blood! Spooooky.
When we heard about pants that guaranteed you endless money, we were totally on board... Until we saw them. (For info about this slightly shocking body suit, or "necropants", see the description under the photograph).
Scarred? Intrigued? Bewildered? Well, you have this man to thank- the mastermind behind the museum: Sigurður Atlason
What do you think? Would you visit the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft? Let us know in the comment section below.