Friday, July 17, 2009

Saudi family sues genie, alleges harassment

I came across the following story on CNN from a few days ago:

A family in Saudi Arabia has taken a genie to court, alleging theft and harassment, according to local media.

The lawsuit filed in Shariah court accuses the genie of leaving them threatening voicemails, stealing their cell phones and hurling rocks at them when they leave their house at night, said Al-Watan newspaper.

An investigation was under way, local court officials said.

"We have to verify the truthfulness of this case despite the difficulty of doing so," Sheikh Amr Al Salmi, the head of the court, told Al-Watan. "What makes this case and complaint more interesting is that it wasn't filed by just one person. Every member of the family is part of this case."

The family, which has lived in the same house near the holy city of Medina for 15 years, said it became aware of the spirit in the past two years.

"We began hearing strange noises," the head of the family, who requested anonymity, told Al-Watan. "In the beginning, we didn't take it seriously, but after that, stranger things started happening and the children got really scared when the genie began throwing stones."

A local charity has moved the family to a temporary residence while a court investigates, the newspaper said.

In Islamic cultures, a belief in genies, or jinns, is common.

Genies not only appear in pre-Islamic fiction such as "Arabian Nights," but are also mentioned in the Quran.

Many Saudis believe invisible genies live among them and are capable of demonic possession and revenge.


Now, I can't say that I have any direct experience with genies per se, but I do have quite a bit with land-spirits and house-gods in a Northern European context. Noises? Small items disappearing? Stones being thrown? Sounds like classic poltergeist activity to me, and if this was someone I knew, I would recommend starting a regular habit of making a small offering. It's quite obvious that the genie is looking for attention.

Why now, when the family has been living in the house for 15 years? Well, I would not be a bit surprised if one or more of the children had just entered adolescence. The timing certainly seems to support that notion. Spirits (both of the dead and land-spirits) seem to be drawn to the various emotional and physiological changes brought on by adolescence.

But a lawsuit? How do they serve papers to a genie? And can they accuse a genie of contempt of court if it fails to appear, or doesn't obey an injunction?

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