Qatar: ghostly ‘phantom marks’ found on desert landscape

Police say ‘phantom marks’ on landscape are not bodies of animals or items of mineral-based material, but cryptographically obscured symbols

Police in Qatar have uncovered a number of unusual “phantom marks” that were carved into landscapes. Some of the markings were said to be messages from the spirit world, while others had cryptographically obscured symbols.

A team of members of Qatar’s Interior Ministry, who started investigating the “remarkable phenomenon” last month, have not been able to match the finds to the handwriting of prisoners or the destruction of evidence.

“The intention of the alleged scientists is to exploit the unique circumstances,” the ministry’s director of information and communication, Sheikh Ali bin Mohammed al-Attiyah, told the local newspaper Qatar News.

“Psychic phenomena cannot be proved by science and this is not the responsibility of scientists.”

The ministry said the landscapes were not graves, animals or solid minerals, although some letters and numbers were possibly etched in. They also said no animal had been seen in the places where symbols had been found.

The team spent about three months gathering the data, with four scientists working around the clock.

The ministry said they will study the symbols “to find out if they can be investigated using forensics and if they could be reproduced”. It said it would seek experts from other countries and foreign researchers could also be invited to follow the case.

• This article was amended on 21 March 2018 to remove an error which appeared to imply that the entrance to an unidentified burial site was carved into the desert. In fact the entrance to the site is only in one place, not carved.

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