A long-abandoned Saudi Arabian hospital has drawn hundreds of amateur ghost hunters who believe it to be haunted by jinn.
Jinn are a form of spirits of the Koran and Arabian mythology. The Qur’an mentions that Jinn are made of smokeless flame or “scorching fire”. Like human beings, the Jinn can also be good, evil, or neutrally benevolent.
The macabre fascination with Riyadh’s Irqa Hospital, which treated Gulf War combatants in 1991, began with tweeted rumors and escalated to the point where hundreds of youths broke into the grounds, smashing windows and starting fires.
“Teenagers sent text messages calling for an operation against some of the jinn who live in the hospital, and they broke into the hospital and smashed its facilities and burned 60 percent of it,” Okaz newspaper reported last week.
The rampage prompted angry press complaints the authorities were allowing the building to fall into disrepair.
Several films have since been posted on YouTube showing grinning young men exploring the building’s deserted rooms in search of evidence of spectral activity.
One showed blazing palm trees that had been torched by the ghost hunters.
Jinn fever reached the point where the Health Ministry issued a terse statement on Monday disclaiming responsibility for the decaying building, which it said was privately owned and too decrepit to be revived as a working hospital.
A columnist in the English-language Saudi Gazette daily on Tuesday recommended that authorities form “a committee for the jinn” to help the owners of possessed houses.
“It would be no understatement to say we are sick and tired of evil sorcerers,” said the article.
Belief in jinn is enshrined in Muslim cosmology, with numerous mentions of them in the Koran.
Unlike in the Western tradition of ghosts, jinn are not the lost souls of the dead but beings who lead parallel lives to humans, whom they sometimes tempt into sinful ways.
A new university-backed project aims to investigate cryptic species, including Bigfoot and yeti, whose existence is unproven, through genetic testing.
Oxford University researchers and the Lausanne Museum of Zoology are asking anyone with a collection of cryptozoological material to submit descriptions of it. The researchers will then ask for hair and other samples for genetic identification.
“I’m challenging and inviting the cryptozoologists to come up with the evidence instead of complaining that science is rejecting what they have to say,” said geneticist Bryan Sykes of the University of Oxford.
While Sykes doesn’t expect to find solid evidence of a yeti or Bigfoot monster, he says he is keeping an open mind and hopes to identify perhaps 20 of the suspect samples. Along the way, he’d be happy if he found some unknown species.
“It would be wonderful if one or more turned out to be species we don’t know about, maybe primates, maybe even collateral hominids,” Sykes told LiveScience. Such hominids would include Neanderthals or Denosivans, a mysterious hominin species that lived in Siberia 40,000 years ago.
“That would be the optimal outcome,” Sykes said.
The project is called the Oxford-Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project. It is being led by Sykes and Michel Sartori of the zoology museum.
There has been a huge increase in the number of UFO sightings reported in the North Island of New Zealand over the past two months according to UFO watchers.
One man reported seeing a UFO land in the Northland region, Suzanne Hansen, director from Ufocus NZ research network said.
She said: “He’s a very credible source. He saw an object that had landed and said it was definitely not an aircraft or like anything else he had seen.
“I’ve got 30 (UFO/UAP) reports on my desk at the moment from the upper North Island and Northland from the past couple of weeks that we’re yet to process [on top of the many others] … It’s unprecedented.”
Maungakaramea resident Charles Gillard reported seeing strange lights hovering above the Tangihua ranges just after 4am yesterday.
Mr Gillard said the white and blueish lights were definitely not a helicopter or plane and darted about at speed for several minutes before simply vanishing.
“I’ve never seen anything like it before, but it definitely wasn’t somebody with a torch or vehicles as it was above the skyline, not on the hills,” he said.
Inquiries could not find any helicopters or planes operating in the area at that time yesterday morning.
Ms Hansen said Mr Gillard’s sighting was similar to others reported recently in Northland and Ufocus would be looking into all such reports made to its website www.ufocusnz.org.nz.
“Researchers we work with in Australia have reported the same things happening there with what we call a “UFO Flap” [an outbreak of UFO sightings] there as well,” Ms Hansen said.
However, the NZ Skeptics (New Zealand Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal) says UFO sightings can be easily explained, usually by natural phenomena.
NZ Skeptics spokeswoman Vicki Hyde said despite the “unprecedented” number of UFO sightings recently this was the first the public had heard of the situation.
“The problem with UFO sightings is that there are a such a huge number of possible explanations for them.
“Something like 80-90 per cent are people mistaking things like Venus for UFOs.”
A mysterious creature has been captured on camera at London’s Hackney Marshes – 30 years after the unexplained sighting of another mystery beast sparked a full-scale search for a suspected bear on the loose.
Terrified university student Helen Murray said she took the snaps while out for a stroll near dense woodland close to a path near the Old River Lea on bank holiday Monday earlier this month.
She said she was stopped in her tracks by the unknown animal, which was larger than a person and covered in shaggy black fur. “I tried to stay calm as I wasn’t sure what kind of animal it was or if it was even alive,” she said. “I had my phone ready to call 999. Then the creature moved. Somehow I managed to take a couple of pictures before I ran.
“I managed to get away but was scared half to death.” Ms Murray says she didn’t contact the police because she thought they wouldn’t believe her. A spokeswoman for Hackney police said there have been no other reports of sightings, while experts at London Zoo said the pictures were not clear enough for them to comment.