Warm Weather

It’s summer, and everything is better.

The air smells sweeter, the sun shines brighter, and, though your worries are still present, there is a comforting sense of ease that accompanies you that wasn’t there before. Summer, you would argue, is contentment in the form of a season.

On one particular summer day, you are relaxing inside your home while laying on your couch. You have a popsicle in hand and the windows are open wide behind you; a cool breeze makes the curtains dance. Distantly, you register the sound of a lawnmower and an ice cream truck’s jingle. You’ve missed this. You haven’t had the chance to relax in awhile. Someone’s grilling - you can smell it - and you muse about the barbecues you might attend. 

The ice cream truck is getting closer and by the sound of it it’s just turned down your street. The song it plays is one you’d normally find annoying, but today it only makes you grin with all that it implies. Summer. Relaxation. Freedom. You might get ice cream later on, but for now you have your popsicle and you don’t really want to get up anyways. 

You should probably call your friends and see if they want to get together. You had all promised to stay in touch over the summer, but you know you’re not that great at reaching out. Through your window behind you, you hear the jingle grow louder. The ice cream truck must be right outside your house now. 

Maybe you’ll even do a bit of cleaning. You sure hadn’t gotten around to “spring cleaning,” but better late than never. It’s-it’s really loud now, isn’t it? Why is the ice cream truck’s music so loud? You can barely hear yourself think. In fact, it sounds like it’s coming from inside your house now. But that’s ridiculous.

The window is still at your back and the song only grows louder. You don’t want to move. Why should you? It’s crazy. There’s no way it’s inside your house-

An icy cold hand wraps itself around your shoulder.

It screams. You scream.

W e  a l l  s c r e a m  f o r  i c e  c r e a m .

Nábrók- The name given to a style of Icelandic pants found by historians, believed to be from the 17th century. The name literally translates to “Necropants” for a very creepy reason; They are made from human skin. Sorcerers and witches would wear the trousers all day and night under their clothes as a sort of underwear in order to bring them wealth.

Politely being asked by your sorcerer friend to be used in a pair of Necropants after your death was a great honour in 17th century Iceland, but making an authentic pair of Nábrók was a difficult practice for the witch. They would only bring prosperity if the maker/wearer stole a coin from a widow and placed it in the scrotum of the garment. When the wearer died, if they did not pass the Nábrók down to their children they would be infected with lice as soon as they passed away, but if the trousers were passed on, they could bring wealth to future wearers. Above is the only surviving pair of Necropants, and is on display at the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft in Holmavik, Iceland.

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Grave of Dr. Timothy Clark Smith

In New Haven, Vermont lies a unique grave. Because of the prevalence of accidental burials in the 1700s & 1800s, many people used preventative measures such as bells should someone find themselves buried alive. Dr. Smith decided that wasn’t enough, and deemed that a window be installed on his grave in the event of his death. When he did eventually die, a secret vault for his wife was also built under his grave. Today the window is blurry with condensation and mold, but if a person shines a flashlight down into the grave at night, the body is still visible. Tales of hauntings also follow this grave, and the surrounding cemetery. People have made reports of an eerie green light within the grave at night and peering into the window and seeing a living face staring back at them. An old urban legend also says if you knock upon the window three times, you will hear screams and the doctor himself will appear.

Photos by J.W. Ocker