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.
Locals in a town in southern Kazakhstan sacrificed a white camel in a bid to end a suicide epidemic blamed on an evil spirit. Some 200 residents of the town of Karabulak, which has a population of some 40,000, attended the sacrifice ceremony.
The white camel was slaughtered on advice from the village elders some time after two middle school students hanged themselves. Three more teenagers were recently prevented from committing suicide at the last moment, and dozens more sought help of the imams of the local mosque.
The total death toll from suicides in 2011 in the town stood at 14, most of them adolescent boys. The surviving boys said they saw a vision of an old man clad in white who told them life is pointless and showed them a rope around his neck, imam Abdurrafi Rakhmatullayev said. “That was the Devil in human guise,” Rakhmatullayev said.
A similar incident took place in Karabulak 60 years ago, but the suicides were ended after one of the elders, or aqsaqals, advised a white camel sacrifice, town head Alimzhan Nishankulov said.
In the 1950s, Kazakhstan was part of the Soviet Union, but Nishankulov did not elaborate on what the Communist Party, notorious for its militant atheism, said about the ritual. No suicide attempts were reported in Karabulak after this week’s sacrifice.
A landlord is suing former tenants who fled the New Jersey home in the middle of the night after only one week, claiming the residence is haunted.
Richard Lopez, an orthodontist and landlord, filed a state Superior Court lawsuit against Josue Chinchilla and Michele Callan, who left the Toms River home March 10 after living there a week with Callan’s teenage daughter and 6-year-old son.
Lopez’s lawsuit alleges that the couple diminished his ability to rent or sell the house when they told the Asbury Park Press about their experiences in the home.
The couple said doors would creak and slam in unoccupied parts of the house and clothing and other items would be found in places other than where they were left.
They said they finally fled the home after Chinchilla felt an invisible hand on his arm and Callan saw a dark apparition in their bedroom.
Lopez is seeking $15,000 in damages.
Chinchilla and Callan previously filed a lawsuit against Lopez, alleging the landlord initially agreed to return their $2,250 security deposit and let them out of their one-year lease before changing his mind.
In a case eerily similar to the supposedly true ‘Amityville Horror’, a New Jersey couple said that paranormal activity caused them to flee their rental home. They are now suing their landlord.
Michele Callan and her fiance, Josue Chinchilla, moved into the home in Toms River, N.J., with Callan’s two children on March 1 and were immediately spooked.
“Three taps on the TV, taps on the shoulder…” Chinchilla told ABC News.
At first they chalked it up to the adjustment period of moving into a new home.
But things only got spookier, they said.
Doors opened and closed. The family even claimed they recorded strange voices whispering, “Let it burn.”
The new tenants said that between the menacing voices, flickering lights and clothes mysteriously flying from their closets, they couldn’t take it anymore. They fled the three-bedroom home and checked into a hotel, where they said they have been living since March 13.
Callan and Chinchilla filed suit last week in New Jersey Superior Court, seeking the return of their $2,250 security deposit from their landlord, Richard Lopez.
Lopez filed a counter-suit claiming the couple is using alleged paranormal activity as a way to break their lease.
“Frankly, there is something else going on,” David Semanchik, who is Lopez’s lawyer, told the Asbury Park Press. “She is a single mom, she has this fiancé living with her. I think she is in over her head and she can’t afford the rent.”
The couple said that isn’t the case, but ultimately a judge will have the final word on whether the family will be able to escape their alleged nightmare on Lowell Avenue.