Necropants and the Funeral Selfie: It’s what’s New (or Gruesomely Old) at the Funeral Home

New trends and funeral personalization are always hot topics. It’s generated buzz in just about every news outlet there is. And let’s just say it’s got the attention of more and more funeral homes are on a mission to put the fun back in funerals. But like anything with real heat, it’s gotten a bit distorted. Here is what is going on:

The Funeral Selfie: selfie

Photography at funerals is nothing new. Post-mortem photography was extremely common in the Victorian age and today is actually considered quite an art form. Photographing the deceased was considered to be an important part of the grieving process and the pictures were highly treasured by loved ones. Today funeral photography, while not widespread, is not uncommon.

Whether or not you consider the funeral selfie appropriate is likely to depend on your generation. For young people, who can’t remember a time when there was no such thing as a smart phone, photos like these are just one of the hundreds they post on a weekly basis. For those of us who aren’t quite so used to documenting our every move with a shared photograph, the funeral selfies can seem pretty inappropriate.

Catching Ebola at funerals:

It has been confirmed that a new outbreak in Sierra Leone is linked to contamination during a victim’s funeral in Guinea. This is the second report of spread due to a funeral. In early August, officials indicated that 14 victims had contracted the disease at the funeral of a baby in Uganda.

Stephen Gire and other health researchers on the ground in Africa had some hope that the Ebola outbreak was coming under control or at least plateauing in late May. Then came the funeral of a healer in Guinea. More than a dozen of the mourners contracted the disease there, probably by washing or touching the body, and took it to Sierra Leone.


Okay, so these aren’t new. Skin trousers have been around for quite some time, and as far as we know, there is just one pair of intact necropants left on Earth and they are locked behind glass at the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft in Holmavik, Iceland. From the name alone you know they are excellent, but what exactly are necropants? To make the pants, first you had to get permission from your still living friend to use their skin after they died. Usually a sort of pact was made, and whoever died first would then have the honor of becoming pants for their friend. The surviving friend would dig up their mate’s body and carefully peel the skin from the lower half of the corpse. This was a difficult task, as the person had to separate the skin without accidentally making any holes or scratches.

Apparently, the pants were quite sticky, because as soon as someone stepped into them, the skin of the corpse stuck to their own skin. They would immediately be stuck with your own flesh and be part of your body. The pants were meant to be worn during the day and night. And when the wearer of the necropants was nearing death themselves, they would remove the pants and pass them along to a friend. If the wearer of the pants did not pass them on before his own death, it was said that his body would be infected with lice as soon as he died. This really does make the Funeral Selfie a better choice.


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