; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Daily 2 Cents: Black Magic 'Invades' Saudi Arabia -- Woman Claims She's Virgin Mary's Cousin -- Navy’s New Railgun...Wow!

Black Magic 'Invades' Saudi Arabia

Statistics released by Saudi Ministry of Justice have revealed a worrying increase in incidents of black magic and witchcraft in the Arabian Peninsula country, amid claims it is being practiced by mostly expats.

“We have implemented certain procedures and systems to deal with cases pertaining to sorcery across the Kingdom,” Ahmed Al-Janard, a spokesman at the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (known in Arabic as the “Haia“), told Arab News on Sunday, April 13.

The Haia warning followed the issuance of new statistics by the Ministry of Justice revealing the increase of the phenomenon in the Western province, especially in Makkah and Madinah.

More than 85 percent of witchcraft-related cases registered in Makkah’s courts involve expats, the ministry said.

Several cases of witchcraft were also reported by residents who claim to have personally witnessed jinn in uninhabited flats and buildings.

“I have frequently witnessed jinn attacks,” said Issa, an imam who cures residents affected by the supernatural creatures.

“People come to me saying they had seen a ghost or had experienced strange incidents.”

“The Qur’an states that jinn have the ability to scare people,” he said. “They are supernatural beings that reside in parallel to our world.”

Syed Arif, an expat who recently moved onto the Arbaeen district in Jeddah, recalled a similar experience with the supernatural creatures.

“I had rented out a flat in this area even though the structure of the building was outdated because it was affordable,” he said.

“My younger son started to talk to what we thought was an imaginary friend,” he said.

“He never wanted to leave the house and stayed in his room for hours. We used to hear him laughing and talking to himself all the time.”

“When the situation got worse, we consulted a sheikh, who told us our son plays with a jinn,” he said.

“He had advised us to move houses if the situation continued.”

Ejaz Hamed, a resident in the Rehab district, said that the government has closed off a local building said to be inhabited by jinn, which has not been rented out in years.

Taking a quick reaction to stop the increasing phenomenon, Haia took to social networking sites to spread awareness and close in on sorcerers.

“The Haia recently apprehended a resident in the Eastern Province who was involved in the promotion of witchcraft through his Twitter account,” he said.

“He was caught selling a stone that he claimed has the power to eliminate evil, reduce envoy and foster feelings of love.”

A Jeddah court recently sentenced an Asian Qur’an teacher to a four-year prison term and a hundred lashes, in addition to deportation upon completing his sentence, for practicing witchcraft and contacting potential clients on their mobile phones.

However, many imams confirmed they have encountered true cases themselves.

“There are believers and non-believers among jinn,” said Mohammed Mukhtar, a sheikh.

“Preachers who earn their living by exorcizing spirits should charge affordable fees.”

In Islam, jinn possessing humans and controlling them is a controversial issue. While some scholars see it as a fact, others totally reject it claiming that there is no evidence for this.

Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states that the belief in the jinn possessing humans and exercising control over them is not one of the essential beliefs of Islam.

However, it is true that some of the past scholars (Ibn Taymiyyah and others) have considered it as a fact while others deny this, sheikh Kutty added. - OnIslam

The Genie's Lamp: How to Conjure and Control Jinn (genies)

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Woman claims she's Virgin Mary's cousin 65 times removed

A Westmoreland County woman claims she is the 64th great-granddaughter of Saint Joseph Ben Matthat Arimathaea, who was the paternal uncle to the Virgin Mary.

Mary Beth Webb, of Murrysville, said she began searching her ancestry in 2010 after years of "communicating" with her deceased mother, father and brother. While doing the research on ancestry.com over a two-year period, Webb discovered the connection to Saint Joseph.

Saint Joseph of Arimathaea is written about in the Bible and is credited for providing the tomb in which Jesus Christ's body was placed following his execution on the cross. Webb's ancestry page shows the Virgin Mary is her first cousin 65 times removed.

Webb emailed the website to share her discovery, and said a spokesperson replied with skepticism.

"They said, 'Well, that's nice, but you probably made a mistake along the way because that's easy to do,'" Webb said.

The journey into her ancestry began in 1999 when her brother, Donald, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given six months to live. Webb claims she and her cousin began communicating with her parents, who had died years earlier.

"We would ask questions about Heaven, what it was like when you crossed over. I've gotten a really detailed account of what happened to my brother when he passed," Webb said. "I always asked them what it was like, and they said it was beautiful. Imagine the most beautiful place that you can, a beautiful garden."

Over the years, Webb's cousin has been the medium for the conversation, and would communicate messages from Webb's parents to her that included details only those three could know, Webb said, adding there is no way her cousin could have known some of those stories.

Webb wrote notes from all of the encounters and self-published a book on the experiences prior to discovering her lineage.

Webb said she published the book because she wants to share her story with the world and anyone who may be grieving the loss of a loved one. When asked why she didn't post her story for free on a website so people could access it without paying for a book, Webb said she hadn't thought of that prior to publishing the book, but said she did create a website after the book was published.

Webb said she understands not everyone will believe her, but she hopes her experiences provide hope for those grief-stricken over a loved one's death.

"I know a lot of people are skeptical and want proof and all that. I can only share what happened to me and hope they can learn from it," Webb said. - WTAE


Pilot reports UFO sighting over Caloundra, Queensland

A commercial pilot with more than 30 years' experience has been left scratching his head over mysterious lights he saw over Caloundra on Good Friday.

The pilot, who does not want to be identified, said he had never seen anything through the cockpit window that compared to the experience.

It has the self-confessed "world's greatest sceptic" questioning everything he believes about UFOs.

The Pelican Waters man was admiring the sky with friends about 8pm last Friday when they first saw two coloured lights in the sky.

He said they reminded him of Chinese lanterns, rising high into the sky and heading south and then east.

Then a third warm-orange glow appeared and suddenly changed direction, tracked north-east and quickly disappeared. "We were looking for an identifier; a beacon or strobe light but there wasn't any," he said.

"I thought it had the characteristics of an object that could fly and I was curious as to what the lights were." - The Chronicle

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Navy’s New Railgun Can Hurl a Shell Over 5,000 MPH

The U.S. Navy is tapping the power of the Force to wage war.

Its latest weapon is an electromagnetic railgun launcher. It uses a form of electromagnetic energy known as the Lorentz force to hurl a 23-pound projectile at speeds exceeding Mach 7. Engineers already have tested this futuristic weapon on land, and the Navy plans to begin sea trials aboard a Joint High Speed Vessel Millinocket in 2016.

“The electromagnetic railgun represents an incredible new offensive capability for the U.S. Navy,” Rear Adm. Bryant Fuller, the Navy’s chief engineer, said in a statement. “This capability will allow us to effectively counter a wide range of threats at a relatively low cost, while keeping our ships and sailors safer by removing the need to carry as many high-explosive weapons.”

The massive railgun that needs just one sailor to operate it relies on the electromagnetic energy of the Lorentz force—the combination of electric and magnetic forces on a point charge—for power.

The Navy likes the weapon for several reasons, not the least of which it has a range of 100 miles and doesn’t require explosive warheads. That makes it far safer for sailors, and cheaper for taxpayers. According to the Navy, each 18-inch projectile costs about $25,000, compared to $500,000 to $1.5 million for conventional missiles.

“[It] will give our adversaries a huge moment of pause to go: ‘Do I even want to go engage a naval ship?’” Rear Admiral Matt Klunder told reporters. “Because you are going to lose. You could throw anything at us, frankly, and the fact that we now can shoot a number of these rounds at a very affordable cost, it’s my opinion that they don’t win.”

The Navy’s been talking about using railguns for the past ten years. The Office of Naval Research launched a prototype program in 2005, with an initial investment of $250 million committed through 2011. The Navy anticipates spending about that much more by 2017.

Of course the Army is interested in having one too, and the Pentagon is in general interested in many aspects of the technology. In July, the Navy will display the electromagnetic railgun prototype at San Diego Naval Base.

“Frankly, we think it might be the right time for them to know what we’ve been doing behind closed doors in a Star Wars fashion,” said Klunder. “It’s now reality. It’s not science fiction. It’s real and you can look at it.” Go to Wired for video.



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