ByMona Torgersen, writer at
Staff Writer, lover of all things fantastical and supporter of House Martell. Follow me on twitter @monatorgersen
Mona Torgersen

Feeling creative this Halloween? Why not work with human skin!

Throughout history, human skin has been used for several different things, one more horrifying than the other. In some cases, it was just seen as a resource too good to waste, while other stories are quite gruesome. Anything from books to pants, here is a list of some different things you can create using human skin.

WARNING: This post might give you goosebumps and is slightly NSFW.

1. Classy and chic - human lamp shades

The story goes that during World War 2, Ilse Koch decided to use the tattooed skin of deceased prisoners to make decorative lamp shades for her home. These claims were never proved, but in the 1950s serial killer Ed Gein made trophies from his victims and among other things he made a lamp shade from human skin. It is believed that he was inspired by the gruesome story from World War 2. I bet his victims did Nazi that coming!

2. Fashionable wizard pants

This is perhaps one of the most terrifying one on the list. Iceland in the 1700s was a pretty grim place to live, especially for the poor. Because of this, many people turned to witchcraft hoping they could make a better life for themselves. Legend has it that if you got permission from someone to use their skin after their death, you could create these necropants by flaying them from the waist down. If you then stole a coin from a poor widow and placed it in the scrotum along with a magical symbol, you could always reach down and find more coins, ensuring the wearer never would go poor again. The only surviving pair of necropants can be seen at the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft in Hólmavík, Iceland.

3. Shoes made from 100% real (human) leather

Following a robbery, notorious highwayman Big Nose George was arrested, lynched and hanged in 1880. His body was given to a doctor who wanted to study his criminal brain, but who also decided to make an ashtray from his skull and a pair of shoes from his skin. Today, both items are on display at the Carbon County Museum in Rawlins, Wyoming.

4. Books bound in human leather - a great gift for any book lover

Binding books in leather dates back to the 13th century, and some copies of such books have survived to this day. Among others, you have a copy of the erotica Marquis de Sade's Justine et Juliette which is bound in the skin from female breasts, and a book kept by The National Library of Australia with the inscription "Bound in human skin" on the first page.

Well if this didn't get your creative juices flowing, I don't know what will.

(Source 1, Source 2, Source 3, Source 4, Image Credit)


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