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Monday, April 13, 2009

Saudis go nuts over - sewing machines

From the Saudi Gazette:
Rumors that Singer sewing machines contain the so-called “red mercury” substance has sent prices skyrocketing around the Kingdom, with individuals flocking to markets to pay up to SR200,000 [$53,000] for a single machine.

The rumors, which first started circulating a few days ago via the Internet and then the word of mouth, led to a rush for sewing machines that could previously have been bought for as little as SR200.

Mansour Al-Turki, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, described the rumors, which have gathered momentum around the Kingdom, “as false and deceptive.”

Believers of the rumors say that the presence of a drop of red mercury in the machine’s needle can be verified with a mobile telephone. If the line cuts off when the telephone is placed close to the needle, they say, that proves the existence of the substance.

In Madina, trading in the sewing machines was intense in many places. Potential buyers were seen using their mobile telephones to check the machines for the level of its red mercury content.

While crowds have also thronged car boot sales and other market areas in search of the sewing machines, others have resorted to theft, with two female tailoring shops broken into in Dhulum and their sewing machines taken.
So what is "red mercury?"

It is a mythical substance, rumored to be used to build nuclear weapons, that supposedly is worth a fortune.

Those Singer folks are brilliant to start such a rumor!