Friday, April 17, 2009

Aladdin’s Magic Lamp in Arabia

The fantasy tale of the Arabian nights- which every child in the Middle East is familiar with- has emerged to relevance again.

There are many who wish that the genie would be back to help them out especially in this period of global economic crisis.

An odd scam went around the market lately involving antique Singer sewing machines. The hoax claimed that red mercury inside the machines could capture wish-granting genii and convert its owner to an Aladdin with the Magic Lamp.

This drummed up story about the existence of a mythical substance called “red mercury” caused more than a stir .This led to a surge in the sale of a particular brand of old Singer sewing machines.

Following the rumor, the price of a Singer machine reportedly catapulted last week People were ready to pay up to SR120,000 per machine( its original price being only 150SR) with hopes of u finding gold, warding off evil jinni, or a key and highly prized ingredient in making nuclear bombs. For some it was a pitch to make a fortune by buying these old sewing machines and selling at a great profit.

Rumors were spread on the Internet that a sewing machine can be proved to contain red mercury if a phone signal cuts off when held close by. Buyers started using their mobile phones to test the machines.

There are various theories as to the origin of this mythical and magical substance.

· There is no such thing as red mercury except in the world of superstition and magic.

· It might be cinnabar, a mercuric sulphide or simply any mercury made in Russia during the Cold War era when “red” was used as a euphemism for communism.

· Red mercury might also refer to a red-colored ballotechnic mercury compound that is explosive under the right conditions.

· Conspiracy theorists believe that red mercury was developed by Soviet scientists in the 1980s after developing a smart nuclear bomb that could kill people without harming the buildings and streets and that its existence has since been covered up by US military because of its potential use as a weapon of mass destruction.

An article in the Russian newspaper Pravda in 1993, describes red mercury as a superconductive material used for producing high-precision conventional and nuclear explosives. It was also reported that Russian businessmen offered red mercury for sale throughout Europe and the Middle East and found many buyers who would pay almost anything for the substance even though they had no idea what it was all about.(Arab News)

Whatever be the truth, Singer sewing machines do not contain any compounds that will find gold, fight jinni, make nukes or pave a path to quick riches.

The feverish search for Singer sewing machines has lost its tempo as the common man is slowly realizing that it is another ploy to dupe the naive public, particularly in Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

Educated amused youngsters have started sending messages as “I adore you more than red mercury” or “I love you more than an old Singer machine.” Another message even suggested the name Singer for a new baby.

images : courtesy google


  1. As far as there r people who believe on superstition and rumors crooks will have really a harvest time.

  2. Very good post doctor. I enjoyed it.