Tuesday,23 April, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1378, (25 -31 January 2018)
Tuesday,23 April, 2019
Issue 1378, (25 -31 January 2018)

Ahram Weekly

The mystery of Magesto

Could the “law of attraction” have been responsible for a young man’s recent death in Alexandria, asks Ameera Fouad

Three people standing together: the first is standing on the shore; the second is swimming in the sea; and the third is diving. Who is the saddest? Who is disappointed the most, and who is feeling nothing?

This is not part of a novel, a short story, or a diary. It is part of what young man Mohamed Shawki Hassan (known as Magesto) wrote on his Facebook page three months before he died. Last week, in an unusual accident, a reckless driver crashed into the Stanley Bridge in Alexandria where three friends were standing: Magesto, Ashraf and Mohamed. The accident threw Magesto and Ashraf into the sea, while causing minor injuries to Mohamed.  

Police and Navy scouts found Magesto’s body two days after the accident

A few hours later, Ashraf was found and rescued, but Magesto was not. Police and navy scouts did their best to find the young man, but they failed to locate him or save him from the high winds and waves that were hitting the city as temperatures plunged. Over the following two days, there were dozens of Magesto posts on social media in memory of the young man. 

This incident may seem to verify the “law of attraction”: in other words, you are what you believe yourself to be. Magesto seems to have predicted his own destiny. This is a law that many have written about, one that claims that our thinking can create and bring about what we think about. US author Louise Hay, the mother of “positive thinking”, even says that “it is as though every time we think a thought, every time we speak a word, the universe is listening and responding to us.”

Maha Al-Attar, an Arab writer, says that the coincidence of Magesto’s death was neither an accident nor a real coincidence. “Death attracts death, and the energy of the spoken word has its own impact. When you keep listening to sad songs or dreadful conversations, when you watch only horror movies, all this energy accumulates in you until it attracts similar energy related to blood, doom, and evil events,” she claimed.

Something similar happened recently to famous Kuwaiti-born media anchor Mashari Al-Arada who wrote the popular ballad My Bed is My Dust. Al-Arada, just 35 years old, died in an accident right after posting this ballad on YouTube where it was viewed by millions of fans. “Did his own ballad kill him,” asked Al-Attar. “The more negativity you absorb in your life, the more negativity your life will produce. It is what you eat. It is what you think. It is what you believe you are,” she explained. 

Sabri Al-Said, a therapist from Alexandria, said that the law of attraction is found in many religions and faiths. “We are always told to think positively. For example, ‘hope for the best and you will find it,’ and many other teachings and sayings by Jesus and the Prophet Mohamed which aim to guide us to wisdom, goodness and beauty.”

“In the case of Magesto and his Facebook posts, he seems to have been led to his own destiny. He was depressed, and he talked about his depression though he was very young. My own explanation is that he somehow ‘attracted’ this accident to himself by his own words, and this explains why he was the only one who drowned and his companion was rescued alive,” Al-Said said.

Many people view the lesson of Magesto’s story as the need to stay positive no matter how difficult life can be. In an interview with Magesto’s mother, Um Mohamed, she talked about how Magesto had always appeared to be a cheerful young man who had helped her in the house and who had always stood by his friends.

The accident

“I never thought he was really depressed, and he never told me about the sadness he used to speak about on Facebook,” she said. “It is the first time I read these posts.”

“I believed, as any mother would, that he was hiding his feelings from his family, as many young men would,” she said, trying to hide the tears streaming down her face. Um Mohamed waited for five nights for her son’s body to be found. Though the navy scouts found a corpse, the family denied that it was the corpse of their son.

“Sometimes, families do not know what their children are going through during adolescence. Sometime teenagers do not know that they suffering from depression themselves,” Sheikh Youssef Mohamed, a religious scholar, told Al-Ahram Weekly. 

“We always believe, as religious scholars, that faith can help people out of their depression and find a way forward. All faiths tell us to stay away from negative thoughts and to think positively about the future.”

“Leave the future to God,” Sheikh Mohamed added. 

“We always encourage parents to talk to their children and encourage people to get out of any grief which could affect their energy and their surroundings. It is always preferable to surround yourself with positive words and positive actions,” Al-Said said in an interview with the Weekly.

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