The 6 Most Terrifying Things People Used to Do With the Dead

#3. Blackbeard's Skull Became a Punch Bowl

Jean Leon Gerome Ferris

Edward Teach, better known as the most fearsome pirate of all time, Blackbeard, spent years terrorizing the East Coast and the Caribbean. A bear of a man with lit fuses in his beard and a less than neighborly disposition, he eventually proved too big of a bastard to live: The authorities got fed up with his antics and dealt him a Cracked-worthy demise. To make absolutely sure that the sturdy pirate had finally bit the sawdust, they cut his head off.

Charles Ellms
And hung it from the bowsprit, yar.

Then they made a souvenir out of it.

Initially, Blackbeard's head was stuck on a pole by the mouth of a river in Williamsburg, Virginia, as a brutal warning to anybody else harboring aspirations of piracy. Eventually, when the flesh had rotted away, somebody decided to do the logical thing: drink liquids out of it.
The inscription, not visible: "Deth to Spotswoode." Spelling wasn't a pirate priority. Yar.

The Raleigh Tavern appropriated Blackbeard's skull, plated it with silver, and converted it into the bottom of a huge novelty punch bowl. The above picture isn't the real deal, but it is thought to be a fairly close approximation. The bowl was bizarrely known as "The Infant." For over a century, the Infant remained there, occasionally being lent out to dinner parties for aspiring serial killers.

By the 1920s, the skull had disappeared, likely stolen by a drunken party guest. It resurfaced sometime in the 1990s and is now on display at the Peabody Essex Museum. BUT BE FOREWARNED: We are fairly sure it's a BYOB situation.

#2. The Many Strange Adventures of Rasputin's Dong


The mystical "Mad Monk" Grigori Rasputin liked boning. Lots and lots of boning. Honestly, who doesn't? But he wasn't left to his own manual devices. No, strangely, women seemed to respond to his insane hobo musk, and he pretty well screwed his way through the final days of the Russian czars. Eventually, somebody woke up on the wrong side of Rasputin's sticky sheets, and the monk was killed six ways to Sunday, four on Monday, three on Wednesday, and one just for fun because it's almost the weekend. However, that wasn't the end of Rasputin's adventures: Even in death, a part of him was determined to live on. His disembodied elephantine dong:

via AFP/
Astoundingly, that's the first excuse we've had to type that particular sentence.

The strange story of Rasputin's penis goes like this: After his death, the royal family's maid is said to have cut off Rasputin's glorious schlong and, for reasons best left unspoken, handed it to Marie, Rasputin's 17-year-old daughter. While most girls might not appreciate receiving their dead father's hacked-off dick, Russia grows a heartier breed up there. Marie happily wrapped the wiener in newspaper and hauled it to Paris, where it was kept on ice and worshiped by Rasputin's fans and followers.

Shockingly, Marie eventually got fed up of people idolizing her father's man-stalk. Leaving Paris, she took it with her to Buenos Aires and finally California. After her death in the '70s, an author and Rasputin expert acquired Marie's possessions, including her father's penis in a velvet bag. In 1994, the dong was sold at a London auction for a paltry $640. We can't make up our minds whether that was the best or the worst deal in history.

Eileen Groome/
We'd have cut off a horse's penis and pretended it was Rasputin's.

After a decade of unknown (but presumably sexually horrifying) adventures, the wang reared its wrinkly brined head again in a Russian museum of erotica. It was now strangely withered and blackened, and someone had seen fit to pickle it, but it still measured an intimidating 12 inches.

Hobo musk, indeed.

#1. Necropants

Sigurour Atlason

Necropants. Whooo boy, necropants.

Necropants, or nabrokarstafur in Icelandic, are a stave -- a mystical artifact made of runic magic. They're also easily the most terrifying fashion statement this side of Crocs-with-socks. Sure, they're leather pants made out of a dead man's skin. The name gives away that much. What it doesn't reveal is how much of said skin is included. Hey, here's a replica:

Kelly Swartz
No necroshirts, though. Armpits are disgusting.

Yes, necropants are trousers made from the nether regions of a dead man, up to and including the, ahem, gentleman's region.

If you want to make your own pair -- and we can't imagine why you wouldn't -- the first thing you need is the skin from the lower half of a dead man. Not just any man will do, mind you -- you will need the person's permission to wear half his corpse as yoga pants. Otherwise the magic won't work. Just because you're wearing a man's peeled crotch doesn't mean you can be rude about it, after all.

Erik Snyder/Photodisc/Getty Images
Tell him you want to get in his pants and make magic happen.

Why would you want to do this?

The answer is simple: Necropants come with a magic scrotum pocket. To activate it, run to the nearest old widow and steal a coin from her. Don't worry about getting caught -- your reputation doesn't have much lower to sink after you've started running around town in another man's nut-sheath. Simply place the coin in the scrotum of the necropants and it will magically draw money into the nut sack, giving you access to unlimited pocket change.

Or you could just ask the dude at the bus stop. But that seems awkward. Flayed dong-johns are probably the better way to go.

N. Christie is currently traveling the world to determine once and for all what the Seven Wonders of the World really are. You can read more from Kyle on Twitter.

Related Reading: Speaking of crazy things done with dead bodies, check out the smoked corpses of Papua New Guinea. And if taxidermied animal art is more your speed, give a look to these man-faced cheetahs. Think Cracked doesn't have more insulting attempts to honor the dead? Think again.

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