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Scott Corrales Scott Corrales is the director of the Institute of Hispanic Ufology (IHU) and is the author of "Chupacabras and Other Mysteries" and "Flashpoint: High Strangeness in Puerto Rico". Visit Scott's website at: You can contact Scott by email at

High Strangeness in High Office: Paranormal Politics
by Scott Corrales

Posted: 14:35 June 14, 2008

The popular mind has always imagined that kings, dictators and other men and women of great power achieved their status and fame through means not available to most mortals, or if not, that they have availed themselves of the dark arts to remain ensconced in their lofty positions. Our personal vanity cannot conceive, in many cases, that our fellows may have achieved their stations through personal effort and merit, so the thought that they may have had a little assistance in getting there is always suggested.

In Greek legend, King Gyges's superiority was owed to a magic ring that granted him invisibility and thus the ability to detect conspiracies and spy on his adversaries; King Solomon's own ring enabled him to understand the language of birds, and receive messages unknowable to humans; Egyptian pharaohs and Aztec monarchs were surrounded by powerful court wizards. More recently, Napoleon Bonaparte and Charles XII of Sweden were rumored to have similar paranormal aid in furthering their imperial aims. Elected leaders have resorted to dealing with soothsayers, fortune tellers and spiritists, ranging from the séances held by Mexican president Francisco I. Madero to President Reagan's involvement with astrology.

Yet in our age of spaceflight, computers and virtual reality, can we still believe in such things?

The Dictator's Sorceror

Saddam Hussein had his own wizard!
Saddam Hussein had his own wizard!

An Associated Press story which appeared in August 2003 ("Saddam's Wizard tells of a man obsessed with magic") told the world that Middle Eastern strongman Saddam Hussein, whose twenty year rule over Iraq came to a crashing end in April of 2003, had been known to consult a "wizard" on a regular basis -- a practice forbidden by Islam, as is involvement with any type of witchery.

Living in the desert town of Heet, the wizard, who refused to have his name used in the AP story and "would not even pronounce the name of the man he once served" was merely one of apparently thousands of such magic-users in Iraq, and had provided aid not only to the strongman but to his relatives and hangers-on.

Hussein was "a firm believer in magic" in the words of the nameless wizard who went far beyond being the passive client that such political dabblers in the occult tend to be: the Butcher of Baghdad "studied the sands" and was able to summon up genies. Nor was the nameless wizard his sole advisor: the article mentions that Hussein had a considerable "bullpen" of sorcerers living India, Turkey and as far west as Morocco (where a woman described as "a beautiful Jewish witch" offered her expertise). It may be surmised that Hussein was not overly concerned with flouting the strict religious ban on sorcery: after all, didn't the holy Qur'an say that Sulayman (Solomon) had used genies and other spirits on a regular basis to build not only the Temple in Jerusalem but other structures?

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