Who Let The Djinn In?

According to Egyptian media site Youm7, a family in the Shubra district of Cairo is distraught after months of being terrorised by mysterious fires they believe may be the work of the djinn. A media team investigating the case were baffled when fire broke out while they were filming their report.

Djinn (djinn is the plural; the masculine singular is djinni – or genie) have featured prominently in Middle Eastern folklore since time immemorial and Mohammed, under the direction of the angel Gabriel, incorporated them into Muslim theology. Many of the tricks they reputedly play are highly reminiscent of those attributed, in other cultures, to poltergeists.

The Shubra fires commenced in February 2020 in the apartment of 70 year old Salah Abdul Alim. The case has many parallels with a Turkish fire poltergeist case I investigated in 2012 (Fortean Times 302).

A video interview with Salah Abdul Alim is translated from the Arabic below:


Salah Abdul Alim : In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. I am Salah Abdul Alim … (sound of crying)

Reporter: What happened, Uncle Salah?

SAM: The fire is running in our house day and night, we don’t sleep … I am 70 years old and I am sick and cannot move, and if the fire caught us here I can’t escape … It will ignite me while I am a man with a wheelchair … My wife is sick also, she suffers from heart, sugar and pressure diseases, and she also can’t move… My physical condition is difficult, as I bought the medicine and it caught fire in the room. I’m afraid of what’s happening, we haven’t slept for more than a month and a half, from February to now. We never sleep and never enjoy food. We live in terror, day and night. My son has 3 young children, I am afraid for them and not for myself. I am 70 years old… I am using wheelchair for my need.

Reporter: What exactly happened?

SAM: The fire started from the outside of the windows of the apartment, where people in the street extinguished it, then they entered the apartment to extinguish it from the inside. When we called the Sheikh, while he was doing the necessary work of reading the Qur’an with water and with musk, and spraying the ground and the walls with it, and as he was reading the Qur’an, the fires caught fire, he told us not to be afraid. The Sheikh stayed every day for more than a week. The neighbors brought him to us and it was not we who brought him. The Sheikh was coming every day, and after a week he said that everything is over and gone. One day, while we were sitting in the safety of God, the fire caught fire again on day 4 of Ramadan, as we expected that this would not happen again even in Ramadan. Today, on day 5 of Ramadan, we do not know how to live and there is no other place to live.

Reporter: What did the fire destroy?

SAM: Every beautiful thing was destroyed by fire, children’s clothing, offices, a large and small bed, and a sofa.

Reporter: Do you live with your son here?

SAM: I live with my son here and he is a simple man.

Reporter: What do you ask people to do?

SAM: I ask that people come and find a solution for us and get rid of us from this situation.

Reporter: There is a Sheikh who has come here before …

SAM: Two came, the first came and did what was necessary and the fire caught on as he read the Quran.

Reporter: While we are sitting now, the washing machine is already caught on fire, we saw it and photographed it. How long have you lived here?

SAM: I have been living in this house for 50 years and have never seen any problem, and there is no problem between me and people for them to cause harm to me.

Reporter: You are sitting with anticipation and tension.

SAM: We are sitting anxiously and not sleeping.

Reporter: The wife says I smell fire, boys, so her son went and found fire on the washing machine already.

SAM: We never sleep, tired and there is no health, tired of tiredness. If the fire burned while I was sitting on the wheelchair, I would burn with it. I don’t care about myself, I’m worried about children.


Reporter: I notice that you constantly open the Qur’an

SAM: The Qur’an is operating 24 hours, and the fire is burning with it.

Reporter: We smelled smoke, we entered the room and found here a burning fire. There was a bed here, right?

Wife: Yes. We extinguish the fire here, so it burned in another room. We found a sofa with a wet towel and pillow, burned by fire. The walls and the ground are also burning.

Reporter: Is there something else burns here?

Wife: I have been living here for 50 years, and haven’t seen any harm.

Reporter: Who is this wheelchair for?

Wife: For my husband

Reporter: Is it sick and can’t move?

Wife: Yes. As you see, we all sleep in one room.

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