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Saudis go mad for red mercury
Rumor has it that sewing machines contain red mercury, a substance that can extract gold and locate buried treasure. It’s taking the kingdom by storm. This isn’t a joke.
April 14, 2009 10:10 by Aarti Nagraj
Singer sewing machines have suddenly become one of the most precious commodities in Saudi Arabia. According to rumors, the machines contain a substance called red mercury, which is extremely rare, and can sell for millions of dollars. These rumors have pushed the prices of sewing machines from SR200 ($53) up to SR200,000 ($53,400) per piece, reports the Jeddah-based daily Saudi Gazette.
The uses of red mercury are said to be numerous; according to the rumor, it is a highly powerful, radioactive material used for generating nuclear power; it also has the ability to extract gold and locate buried treasure, and also perform magic.
Believers of the rumor have come up with a way to verify the presence of the ‘extraordinary’ substance: if a mobile phone line gets cuts off when the device is held close to the sewing machine needle, then red mercury is present.
However, scientists say that no proof of the substance’s existence has ever been found, reports the Saudi Gazette. The paper states that Mansour Al Turki, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, has described the rumors “as false and deceptive.” Sami Al-Shuweirikh, the official spokesman for Riyadh’s police, said that gangs spread the rumor in an attempt to swindle people out of their money.
Another report in Al Riyadh, an Arabic-language daily, says that an agent of the Singer sewing machine has said that there is no radioactive material in the machine, and that it is made from cast iron.
In Jeddah, the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) has arrested a man who claimed he could increase the funds of potential investors by using red mercury.
While it is uncertain who started the rumors about red mercury, it seems incredible that people will believe something like this. In the meantime, we would love to hear from somebody who has seen this amazing, magical substance.