Every year, in search of some solid Halloween spookiness, I inevitably end up searching the internet for stories about jinns. What’s a jinn you ask? They show up in pop culture every so often; the jinn, or genie, that you probably know best is the Genie from Aladdin.
Jinns feature prominently in Islamic mythology. What’s interesting about the genre is that Jinns are actually based on Islamic literature and theology, and they’re mentioned many times in the Quran. Basically, if you believe in Islam, a belief in jinns tags along whether you want it to or not… kind of like your kid sister that follows you everywhere. For many Muslims such as myself, this lends the concept of Jinns a legitimacy that your average ghost story doesn’t have.
Also, shout out to the Buzzfeed podcast See Something Say Something by Ahmed Ali Akbar for doing an awesome yearly Halloween episode about jinns and halaloween ;)
Read on for some more background on jinns, as well as some jinn stories that’ll creep you the fuck out. I’ll leave you to decide whether you want to believe them or not.
The understanding is that Jinns are the only other creature created by God that have free will other than human beings. Because they have free will, jinns can be evil or good, or anything in between, just like humans.
Across the Muslim world, jinn stories are told like old folk tales. Everyone and their uncle has a story about some kind of a jinn interaction. I tried asking my mom if she remembered any from when she was a kid, and she said that the stories she heard ranged a ton. They could be kind of funny, or really scary. She said lot of them were about things being moved around, and some were just meant to teach kids lessons.
Here are some of the stories that I found the spookiest this year. Pro Tip: read them at night in the deep darkness that is Wesleyan on a Tuesday night. Enjoy!
1. One time, my mother-in-law was sitting in her bed. She looked over and saw a woman sitting in the chair next to her bed, with long pointy fingers and a face with very sharp angles. She was so frustrated and annoyed with the jinns (they see A LOT in their house and are no longer afraid, just really annoyed by them) that she reached out and grabbed the jinn by its wrist. She yelled, “Get out! I’m tired of you! Get out!” It started to try to pull its wrist away and eventually tried to bite her hand because she wouldn’t let go. She pulled her hand away before it bit her and then the jinn vanished. –– Sakina Blue
2. So apparently, in Saudi, my aunt lived in a house that was always being visited by a particular jinn who used to annoy her family. Once, she was laying in bed at night with her husband. She felt that something was off and when she left the room, she found her husband watching TV on the couch. When they went back to the bedroom to confront the jinn, it just laughed and went away. –– sashilu‘s comment on “What’s the Craziest Jinn Story You’ve Ever Heard?”
3. My great uncle went to visit his cousins in India. His cousins told him that since it was summer time and they would all sleep in the courtyard together. However, they told him he wasn’t allowed to place his bedding in a particular corner. Apparently, a jinn slept there and strange things happened if any one disturbs that corner. My great uncle said it was nonsense and decided to sleep there anyway.
One night, he woke up on the other side of the court. He laughed at first and thought it was his cousins who were pranking him and decided to sleep there again. The following night, the same thing happened, so he left a note next to his pillow saying, ”Stop pranking me. I know there is no jinn.” That night, he said he was pushed off his bed, and his bedding was thrown on the other side. A note was thrown into his lap which said, ‘I sleep here.” The scary part is, it wasn’t that dark and there was no one there. –– mariumh3
4. There was a man who went to his village masjid to pray Fajr every morning. The masjid is on a dirt road, and the front door leads directly into the prayer area.
One morning when he went to pray he find no one else there, so prayed by himself at the front of the room. While he was praying he undoubtedly felt a “presence” behind him…as if there were people standing behing him. Furthermore, he felt as if there were bright a light shining behind him.
After his prayer he quickly turned around to find that the room was empty, just as he entered it. That same day he ran into a friend of his who was like “Hey, I saw that there was a huge turnout at Fajr today! I walked by the masjid and through the front door I could see rows and rows of men all dressed in white! –– mohsin
5. When I was little [in Sudan], my family had a farm, and it was a special place to me. But this farm, wonderful as it was, was terrifying at night. That might have something to do with the fact that the farm is between the Nile and a graveyard. And one day, as we were pulling up to the farm, I saw a fire that was the size of a person. That is to say, a fire that was the exactly the size of a human being, from far away in the farm house.
Casually, I watched this fire take a few steps to the left while nothing else caught on fire, and then vanish. You might say that I had an overactive imagination as a 10 year old; I would say that you are incorrect, because I remember it incredibly vividly. I told my mom, I told my dad, and one of them casually mentioned that I might have seen a jinn. –– Elamin Abdelmahmoud in See Something, Say Something “Episode 39: Halaloween”
6. When I started writing [about jinns], I would have these very interesting, vivid imaginary encounters with jinns… I was about to move to Egypt, and I had this small room, in which I had a large desk, too large for the room, and a bed. And in order to get into bed, I had to push the desk chair all the way under the desk, because there wasn’t enough room for me to get in and out otherwise.
So, one night, I had gone to sleep, and I sort of half woke, because I thought I had heard somebody clearing there throat, or moving or something. And there, in my desk chair, staring at me, was this guy, this man, which long scraggly hair, and these extremely intense eyes, and he was just looking, looking. And I sat straight up in bed, and screamed, as one might. Naturally, you know how this story ends, there was nothing there, of course.
The interesting thing, and the reason why this stuck with me in a way that most dreams I had as a kid did not, was because that chair that I had to push all the way under the desk in order to get into bed had been pulled out and was facing the bed. –– G. Willow Wilson (author of the Ms. Marvel comics! She’s a sav, I love her) in See Something, Say Something “Episode 39: Halaloween”
7. Six years ago, we moved houses, and everything was fine until we stupidly got the ouija board. We asked it some questions, and it some how came up with a phone number. We called the phone number, and I don’t remember what the name was, but the name the board gave us matched the person.
So we hung up, and then a few days later, my mom heard a voice calling her name from downstairs. She thought it was my dad, so she went downstairs. But it was a white shape. So we called an imam, and we thought that got rid of it, but it didn’t. It kept happening to all of us, we kept hearing out names coming from downstairs even though there was no one downstairs. And so we moved! –– Ikran Tahir in See Something, Say Something “Episode 39: Halaloween”
8. There’s this house in Lahore that belongs to my extended family. All four brothers that live there with their wives and families, all four of them died under mysterious circumstances, and they all died very young. So the house is just inhabited by four widows and their kids, who are my cousins who I hung out with growing up. It seemed like time and space just didn’t work the same way in this house as they do in the outside world.
There was an upstairs section to the house, and my aunt was always telling us not to go up there. But we were kids, and we just wanted to like have another playing area. So we went up there, and the furniture was all facing in the wrong directions, like not set up properly and haphazardly placed. So we rearranged the furniture, and set it up so it could be like a lounge.
But the next day, we went up there, and the furniture was set up in the exact same way as before we moved it. We asked everyone else in the house if they had gone up there, if they had moved the furniture, and no one had done it. So, I mean, in conclusion, the only thing you can really say is that that house had some jinns living in there. –– Zainab Shah in See Something, Say Something “Episode 39: Halaloween”
Share your jinn stories in the comments or send them in to staff[at]wesleying[dot]org!