According to Atlas Obscura, there is a very interesting yet weird museum of witchcraft in Iceland.
Tucked away in a small, unassuming building in the town of Hólmavík, in Iceland’s Westfjords, is a museum that holds some truly gruesome displays of 17th century sorcery. There are pants made of human skin, which are said to give the wearer unlimited wealth; you can see magical sigils called staves, thought to offer powers ranging from the ability to see ghosts to making someone fall in love; and strange two-headed snake creatures that are born to steal goat’s milk.
While all of this arcane weirdness could be viewed as little more than an out-of-the-way collection of oddities, for both the curator of The Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft, and the town of Hólmavík itself, the exhibitions here are an important reminder of a darker time in local history.
The museum was established in 2000 by a group of people from the town aiming to drive tourism to the area, led by the impish Sigurður “Siggi” Atlason. During the 17th century, Iceland experienced what Atlason calls a “witch craze,” not unlike the early American persecution of so-called witches in Salem. While there were examples of alleged sorcerers being hunted down all across Iceland, a great many of the reported cases stemmed from the Westfjords. Ever since, the whole region has maintained the air of a place steeped in magic and folklore.
Here is a video of them banishing an evil spirit. Will you try this at home?