The Halo Halo! column from the August 2013 issue of the Socialist Standard
During quiet periods when politicians are not accepting bribes, fiddling their expenses and resigning to spend more time with their families, newspapers have the ‘silly season’ in which they fill columns with eyewitness accounts of puma-like beasts stalking the countryside, alien abductions and nuns finding the face of Mother Teresa in aubergines.
But for the Halo-Halo column, because it is dedicated to bringing you the best and latest absurdities from the god squad, life is one long silly season. And when, from time to time, the antics of randy vicars and miraculous occurrences temporarily dry up, it can be difficult to know what to fill the column with.
Take the last few weeks: Religious news highlights have amounted to little more than the on-going child abuse scandal stories, money laundering and tax evasion in the Vatican, and a new miracle from the dead Pope John Paul II, paving the way to his sainthood. This month, then, it’s back to a subject we’ve touched on before: devils and demons.
Just like Santa, Satan too has his little helpers it seems. Last month we looked at the Catholic’s demons, but Catholics don’t have a monopoly on them. In Islam, they have the Jinn. We only have room for a few details of these amazing creatures here, but for an unbelievable account see here. No, seriously, it’s unbelievable. Look it up.
Allah created the angels from light and the Jinn ‘from the smokeless flame of fire’ apparently. And like humans, he created them for the purpose of worshipping him. They are invisible, but in spite of their invisibility‘ can appear as humans, animals, trees and anything else’. And, like the Catholic demons, they have the annoying habit of possessing humans. Not only humans in fact, but also ‘animals, trees and other objects’. ‘By doing this, the evil Jinn hope to make people worship others beside Allah’ it explains. And when this happens ‘the name of Allah has to be used in expelling the Jinn’. ‘We know as Muslims’ it assures us ‘that Jinns possess people for many reasons. Sometimes it is because the Jinn or its family has been hurt accidentally. It could be because the Jinn has fallen in love with the person. However, most of the time possession occurs because the Jinn is simply malicious and wicked’. To set our minds at rest though, we are assured ‘the next time you see something that looks like E.T. it’s most probably just a wicked Jinn trying to scare and confuse you’. Well if that doesn’t scare and confuse you nothing will.
A bit too far-fetched perhaps? How about goblins? These little devils can be found, apparently, amongst the people of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. And, it seems, can be a bit of an embarrassment. Fortunately for the Halo-Halo column the Bulawayo24 news website covers their activities in great detail. For example:
- 3 June 2013. ‘Drama as goblin falls out of man’s trousers in a commuter omnibus’.
- 30 May 2013. ‘Prophet sends goblins to steal woman’s G-strings’.
- 18 May 2013. ‘Goblin impregnates woman while hubby was away for two years’.
- 4 May 2013. ‘Drama as goblin demands sex from owner’.
- 24 April 2013. ‘Goblin visits victim (40) in the form of his dead mother’.
- 2 March 2013. ‘Goblin seriously burns prophet’s private parts’.
And the list goes on and on. Jinns and goblins not your cup of tea? Oh well, better the devil you know . . .