In the Disney movie Aladdin, the ghost lived in a lamp. In other fairytales, he lives in a bottle. Generally, you have to rub the bottle or lamp three times for the genie to come out, after which he will grant you three wishes. It sounds promising, but just like drawing rabbits from a hat or finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, I’m afraid genies only exist in books or films. Do they not?


Last week, a man from New Zealand sold two bottles containing ghosts for the small price of $2800 on the auction site TradeMe. They were bottled in July 2009, by an exorcist. The holy water is supposed to put them to sleep, and since the paranormal activity in the house has stopped since then, the seller concludes the ghosts are in the bottles. One of them is called Les Graham – Google teaches us this is a very ordinary and common name. This particular Mr. Graham is said to have died in the house in the 1920’s. The other ghost was an accident; it is the spirit of a little girl that appeared after playing with an Ouija board.

So, now the buyer is the lucky owner of two little bottles with a ‘real’ ghost in them. They are nice to put on a shelf, but according to the seller it’s also possible to set them free. Just pour them into a soup bowl and let it evaporate. But don’t come complaining later that they are bugging you! Especially the little girl, who might become even more mischievous and violent, warns the exorcist.

The result is that now New-Zealand is going bottle-crazy! A new auction offers a ghost in a can from the 1980’s, which was part of the promotion material for the ‘Ghostbusters’ movie. The price has gone up to $100. Another smarty-pants is selling ‘an old fart in a bottle’ for $50. He already has 6 bids. Less successful is the seller who offers a small plastic can with yellowish liquid (pee?) and the warning ‘Ghosts may appear’, since his auction is stuck at just one dollar. No captured ghosts to be found on Ebay, although we did see some hunting kits and ‘sensing rings’.

But in 2004, a casino from Antigua paid $64,000 for a walking cane that belonged to an old man. His ghost is said to go wherever the cane goes. It was the same casino that paid $28,000 for a grilled cheese sandwich which bears the image of the Virgin Mary. Seems like they just don’t know what to do with their money… Next time I bake a hamburger, I’ll study it carefully before I eat it.

Now, joking apart, I don’t believe in ghosts or genies or spirits. But if one day I was to find a lamp, and I rub it 3 times, and a wonderful chubby Djinn appears … I’ll ask him just these 3 wishes:

1. As many paid holidays as I want, for the rest of my life, starting with a two week vacation in Marrakech.
2. I would like to include a visit to the wonderful markets, where I can buy everything I want.
3. A fabulous stay in the best apartments in Marrakech, together with a group of friends!