Originally published on reddit
Full disclosure; going there is by far the dumbest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I regretted it the second I set my foot in that grungy basement. To this day, re-telling this story sends chills down my spine. Just typing this post is making me feel uneasy…
The Infamous Jinn Palace, standing 3 stories tall on a hill overlooking the city of Ras Al Khaimah-80 miles from Dubai- is a well-known “haunted house” filled with the most malevolent creatures, the Jinn, among other inhuman things. Growing up in the UAE, I’ve heard about it my entire life. Stories of unexplained sounds, furniture moving around, residents being expelled…etc… The Palace was built sometime in the 70s as the residence for the ruling family -the Sheikh of RAK-. While there are no officially published accounts of what actually happened, we know that the family lasted only 3 days in there before abandoning it and moving to another residence. Sounds like BS? I know.
I first attempted going there in the summer of 2011. We were bored, and we loved scaring ourselves shitless. Along with two friends, I hopped in the car and headed over to RAK. 2 hours later we found ourselves in the infamous city. Google Maps was not used in the UAE at the time, and hence we were lost. We attempted asking the residents for the location of the Palace, but no luck, however I was terrified by a very seedy-looking and overly-chummy labourer who offered to help. Anyway, we headed back to Dubai disappointed.
Fast-forward four years -Jan 2016-, I visited RAK with a group of friends for a birthday weekend at a beach resort. Ten of us headed over with the intention to relax, drink, smoke hookah, and just blow off some steam….and that we did…on the first day. On the second day, we discovered that there wasn’t much else to do..their malls didn’t impress us Dubai-ans, the hot springs turned out to be a tiny murky pool, and the publicized Ghost-village was demolished a few weeks earlier. It was time to declare the mini staycation officially dead and head back to the glittering city of Dubai. That was the plan until a certain Ted, a new resident of the UAE, asked about the infamous Palace and its location. Luckily, Google Maps was in full use and the location of the cursed structure was pinned. No one was in favor of setting a foot in that place, except for Ted and me.
While everyone else packed up and headed back to Dubai, the two of us embarked on the trip that we’d come to regret. We pulled up off the main road, onto a dirt road, followed by the driveway and came face-to-face with the gate at around 2 pm, only to find it locked with a piece of paper taped to it listing the guard’s phone number. I called him up and told him that we wanted a tour of the place. Now keep in mind that the Palace is a government-owned property and that tours are not allowed. A tiny indian man-lets call him S- appeared from behind the gate and straight-up asked to be compensated for the illegal tour he was about to give us. I handed him a 50 dirham bill ($13) as he led us inside.
The only unlocked entry point is the half-opened garage which led into the basement just under the hill. As we walked in we were greeted by a giant spray-painted message that read “GO”. As you can imagine, we felt incredibly welcomed. Our tour guide lacked basic language skills. His English was abysmal but his Arabic was slightly below average, which made every word he spoke even more terrifying. His pronouns were all over the place, which scared me even more…I wasn’t sure if “they” actually referred to a group or it was simply a grammatical error. I was also in charge of translating the broken Arabic into English so that Ted could understand what’s being said.
S led us through the rooms and stopped to show us a glass filled with sewing needles, which he explained was something they ate. We continued our walk through the dark hallways and made our way up the first flight of stairs onto the ground floor where the main entrance is located but was sealed off years ago. We walked into a large round hall with the main entrance located at the center of the perimeter, along with other rooms spread around it. The double-height walls around merged above us creating a beautiful glass star-shaped atrium.
Honestly, it wasn’t that scary visiting it in broad daylight. and at that point my nerves were calm. It was a nice place, and they must’ve spent a ton of money on it. Having an elevator, in a personal residence, in the 70s, in the Middle East…was not something any commoner could swing. The extravagant furniture was left as is, strewn across all the rooms, along with children’s schoolbooks -published in the 70s-…as if they left in the middle of the night and never looked back.
I asked S about the previous residents and their mysterious abandonment of such a beautiful Palace that must’ve cost them a fortune. [translated] “They were only here for 3 days, but the loud banging on the doors drove them away. Furniture was getting flung across the rooms, lights flickering. They could also hear laughter echo through the halls. They couldn’t stay, and no one has since, I don’t even stay here at night anymore, I don’t stay past 7 pm.” We continued making our way to the first floor where we entered a similar round hall with doors around us. To our right, a wall-mounted fountain cascaded. In the middle of this hall on the floor we could see the top of the star atrium overlooking the level below. We checked out some of the rooms, which contained even more abandoned luxurious furniture and schoolbooks.
We finally made our way to the top floor; the roof. Smaller in area than the other levels, this floor was by far the creepiest. The glass ceiling had bricks jammed through it and it was badly damaged(not the kind of glass ceiling shattering one hopes for). S spoke “they throw bricks to hurt the people. Be careful.” Being the skeptic that I am -or trying to be-, I tried finding an explanation for how those bricks ended up there, it was like someone chucked them from above. The only problem with that is a- it’s the highest structure in the area b- there is nothing behind it. I decided not to think about it too much as we walked down the stairs to the exit. I turned to S and asked “what time do you usually witness weird things happening? Sounds, things moving?” I regretted that question the second it rolled off my tongue. “After 9 pm” he replied. “We’ll see you after 9 then!” “Call me when you get here, like I said, I don’t sleep here anymore, so I’ll need some time” S smiled as we said our goodbyes and drove away.
We went back to the hotel, packed our suitcases, and checked out with the intention to return to the Palace later that night. We ended up at a hookah lounge where we discussed the findings of our earlier adventure and fantasized about what we’d encounter a few hours later. I wanted it to be a full-on found-footage-blair-witch-project-adventure, and with the lack of a light source at the Palace, we were in need of a night vision app. We both downloaded the first app listed in the store and started tinkering with it to see what it can do. It worked perfectly on both phones, and we even captured some test footage at the lounge.
At around 10:15 pm we left the lounge and drove back to the dirt road just off the Palace. I parked in the drive way, facing the structure and called S to inform him that we’ve arrived. He said he needed 20 minutes. While we waited, I looked up at the Palace and a feeling of dread came over me. It was as if I was sleeping and just woke up. “What are we doing here?!” I asked as I turned to face Ted. “We already went in, why do we need to go in at night?” “Are you scared?” Ted asked mockingly “I just have a bad feeling about this. Looking at it now, I can tell this is a mistake. Let’s just head back to Dubai.” “Come on! We’ll be fine.” “I don’t know. I really don’t wana do this. Something is telling me to turn back” Ted looked up at the Palace and said, “What’s that over there?” pointing at what looks like a something coming out of a window on the second floor “I duno, I can’t make it out. Pull up the picture of the Palace that we took during the day” Ted swiped his phone and pulled up the picture, and we both stared at it “Where’s that window in the picture?” I asked “It should be here” as he points to the right side of the house Suddenly his screen goes black. That should’ve been our first warning, but we didn’t think much of it at the time. He shoved it into the glove compartment just as S peered into the car. “You can’t park here. You have to park around the corner” He said as he pointed to the edge of the fence.
I got back in my car and drove off reluctantly. I wanted a quick getaway in case shit goes down! I didn’t want to run out and then walk further way just to get in the car. But having a Dubai-plated car parked in the driveway of a Government-owned building at night would’ve been suspicious. I got out of the car and followed S and Ted through the gate and towards the garage just like in our earlier visit. Before walking in, Ted and I both attempted to switch on our newly-acquired night vision apps. I had no issues, the app came up and I started recording. Ted’s second phone wouldn’t let him to pull up the app, despite the fact that it worked perfectly when he tried it at the lounge. This should’ve been our second warning. Yet again, we didn’t think much of it and I asked Ted to use the flashlight instead.
We slouched under the garage door guided by Ted’s and S’ flashlights with me somewhere in between attempting to document the nightmare I was experiencing. While it was beautiful during the day, the Palace looked like something out of a James Wan movie at night. Dark, dingy, and just pure evil. We walked around the basement, just like we did before. Ted wanted to head up the staircase, and…I. WANTED . OUT. I slipped the phone into my pocket and demanded that we leave right away. “If you want to go, just go and wait for me in the car” Ted replied as he began to climb the stairs. I stopped to evaluate my options here; a- I go up with them and face whatever terror lurks above us b- I stay still at the bottom of the stairs alone and be subjected to witness whatever walks, skips, or crawls past me c- I head back through the basement, through the garage, on my own and possibly have something jump at me in the dark. -A- seemed like the wisest option as I’ve seen what happens to the idiot who separates from the group in a horror movie.
Reluctantly, I followed the ballsier guy and the stranger onto the ground floor where the main entrance was. Ted and S walked into the hall, while I stood as close to the staircase as possible for a quick getaway. Ted continued to explore the rooms, before heading up to the next level. Once again I demanded that we leave, and was met with the decline from the others. I evaluated my options yet again; a- follow them to the next level and make the escape even more difficult b- stand still alone c- walk down a staircase, through the basement, and through the garage while something lurks in the dark waiting for me.
As I made my way up the stairs and into the next hall, I pulled my phone out to record a video scan of the room as the others wandered off. I pulled up the app and switched from photo mode to video, and accidentally snapped a photo of the empty room in the process and then proceeded to scan it quickly with the video camera. Ted had no problem checking out every room, while I cowered next to S for a false sense of protection as he whispered horrible things in my ear about what he sees in the Palace. In the entire place, we noticed only one room bolted with a padlock.
“Why is this room locked?” I asked S. “They come out here, banging on the door. We need to keep them in” Fed up with the ambiguity I yelled, “WHO ARE THEY?! WHAT ARE THEY?!” He smiled,”look through the keyhole if you want to know” One of my biggest fears is looking through one of those old keyholes and seeing something looking back at me. And hence I declined his weird invitation. “Ted, why don’t look through the keyhole? He says they come out at night in that room” Ted knelt down but didn’t get too close. He attempted to shine his flashlight on the keyhole to see what or who was on the other side of that door and quickly jumped back on his feet, also declining the invitation.
Suddenly, I heard something getting dragged across the floor. I could feel the vibration beneath my feet. It’s on the same level, I thought to myself. I looked over at Ted to see if he could hear it and feel it too, he was already looking at me, eyes wide open. “It’s just a car!” S hastily proclaimed. As the closest one to the window, I turned my head to see the same secluded dirt road….no sign of a car.
Ted’s tension started to build. He was finally getting scared and starting to lean towards leaving that forsaken place. We walked into some more rooms, with Ted leading the way, followed by me and S still whispering terror tales in my ear.
“I see it a lot.” he said “What do you see?” I replied “It has long hair, long nails. and red eyes” “Where in the Palace do you see it?” I reluctantly asked “In the basement” he replied with a slightly terrified look on his face
Shit! That’s our way out! We have to go through the basement to get out….and there’s a creepy long-haired thing waiting for us there!
I picked up the pace and caught up to Ted. “We need to leave NOW!” I whispered in his ear. “Why?” “He just told me about this thing he sees in the basement. It has long hair, long nails. and red eyes. And I don’t wana hang out long enough to see whether he’s lying or not. He’s actually scared. And if he’s scared, we should be too.” It was as if I’ve finally knocked some sense into him, or maybe the whole situation got to him, but at that point Ted agreed with me.
We turned back towards the staircase and informed S that we were leaving. He pleaded with us to check out the top floor one more time before we headed out, but we both strongly declined. I was finally happy. We were getting out of the devil’s hornet and only a few hours away from home.
S led the way down the stairs, followed by Ted and me. We passed the ground floor and only had two flights to go with a landing in the middle. I didn’t want to be the last person. S was already at the bottom of the stairs waiting for us, while Ted was on the landing with me only a step behind him. I decide to pass him and get in the middle so I’m not prone to anything grabbing me. To this day I swear that in the second I got past Ted, something made me look back at him to see an object smash against his back with a loud thud.
We both froze up. Could not move. Could not make a sound.
I felt my whole body go numb. Chills down my spine. In that moment, I didn’t think we were going to get out of that house. Something got us. It knew we were there and it wasn’t going to let us out.
We both looked up at the ceiling assuming it was the source of the chunk of plaster. It’s an old building, a leak may have caused the chunk to drop from above us. The ceiling looked fine, it wasn’t missing anything. We glanced back at the wall behind us to see a chunk missing. Based on the trajectory and the force at which it hit Ed-he had a bruise on his back-, it didn’t simply fall. It looked as if something clawed it out and tossed it at us. It missed me by a couple of seconds. If I stayed behind Ted, it would’ve hit me dead center in the head. I’m still not sure if it was meant for me. Whatever was in that house probably heard me mutter verses from the Quran under my breath for protection the whole time we were there. Maybe it sensed danger.
Still unable to speak, we both stood there. S looked up at the first floor landing, just across from the missing chunk. Terror filled his eyes. His jaw dropped open. He grabbed us by our arms and started running as fast as he could towards the exit glancing back in horror every few seconds.
The minute we reached the gate he flung us out just as we regained our basic senses. “DON’T SCREAM” he shouted at us “DON’T LET ABRAAK HEAR YOU SCREAM..GO…GO NOW…IT SAW YOU, IT KNOWS YOU NOW…GO!”
We jumped in the car and I drove off as fast as I could. Still in shock, neither of us could speak. We both stared blankly at the road ahead, processing what had happened to us. I’ve never been the religious type, and I have no idea how I remembered those verses while in that Palace. And for the first time ever I played a recitation of the Quran in the car from a YouTube video…it made me feel protected… while Ted was also whispering prayers.
About an hour away from Dubai, Ted finally spoke, “I want to see the videos you recorded on the app.” “I don’t wana look at them now. We’ll watch them tomorrow..in broad daylight.” “I want to now” “Fine”, I handed him my phone and he proceeded to pull up the app’s gallery “Where are the videos?” “They’re in the gallery” “The only video here is the one from the hookah lounge”, he handed me the phone “WTF??! I recorded three videos in there. I’m sure. I saw them saved in the gallery” I flipped through my phone “wait, there’s a picture from the house. I accidentally snapped it when I was switching the mode”
(the picture is of the seemingly empty room I was aiming my camera at, and just in front of me is shadowy figure facing me. I didn’t see the picture while I was in there. We have NO idea what it is.)
So we got home, neither of us slept through the night. We avoided watching horror movies for about 2 months. And we both suffered from minor shock symptoms.
Here’s the freaky thing. The next day I saw my mom, she knew I was spending the weekend in RAK with friends and that I’d be coming back the previous day at some point. When I saw her the next morning she asked me what time I got back to Dubai, I told her that it was around 1 am. She goes, “I had a really bad feeling last night, like something happened to you. I’m used to you traveling and leaving Dubai, but this time it was different, I couldn’t sleep. Did anything happen?” I never mentioned that I was going there, it was planned on the same day. I ended up telling her what happened, showed her the picture, and she was thoroughly freaked out….