Egypt city spooked by 'jinn haunting' ancient mosque well
Rumours of a jinn hiding inside the al-Zahir Baybars Mosque in the city of Qalyoub north of Cairo have caused people to stay away from the ancient place of worship, the Egyptian newspaper Akhbar Al-Youm has reported.
The jinn, a supernatural creature in Middle Eastern tradition and Islamic belief which can either be a benevolent spirt or a malevolent demon, is said to be hiding in the well of the al-Zahir Baybar Mosque, which was constructed in the 13th century and has a similar name to another ancient mosque in central Cairo.
Behind a door on the right flank of the Qalyoub mosque is a well built for ablutions. Over the centuries, worshippers are said to have become afraid to perform ablutions at the well due to the presence of the jinn hiding deep inside.
A mosque attendant identified only as Mohsen A. told Akhbar Al-Youm, "Once you approach [the well] you feel fear and a sense of insecurity. No one can go in it because it is too deep."
Despite rumours that a treasure is hidden at the bottom of the well, no one ventures to look for it because "it is guarded by the jinn who kills all those who try to extract it," according to Mohsen A.
The legend, however, has not been confirmed because there has been no attempt to retrieve the treasure and, consequently, no incidents that can be attributed to the spooky workings of a jinn.
Mohammad Salem, a resident of Qalyoub, said "everyone is afraid to take risks and go down to the bottom of the well. No one knows what might be inside."
In the mosque’s premises is also a 60-year-old guava tree whose sweet and tasty fruits are said to be able to cure coughs.
Mohammed H., another local resident, called on authorities to look into the presence of the jinn at the ancient mosque.
"Please come and make the truth known to everyone... officials don't know what's going on. Please help us," he said.
The mosque was built by the Mamluk Sultan al-Zahir Baybars bin Abdullah Al-Bindakari between 1272 and 1274. Al-Zahir Baybars is one of the most revered Mamluk sultans of Egypt, successfully defending the country when it was under attack by both the Crusaders and the Mongols.