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Marabouts are West African con men & fortune tellers who market their services in Europe with little flyers printed on coloured paper. In France, there’s an ongoing collectors’ craze for these notes. I found one under my windshield wiper the other day. I translate:

Mr Seeki

Fortune teller, international marabout

Born with spiritual power. I am known worldwide. I can solve all your problems e.g. love, health, family problems, business, legal issues, financial transactions, weight loss. You learn how to protect yourself and your family from the enemy and how you get your near and dear ones back into your life. Guaranteed result.

Speaks French, English

Call and schedule an appointment!

Subway Farsta Centrum

The stationary phone number belongs to a guy on Molkomsbacken in Farsta, a Stockholm suburb. He’s registered for six cell phones and four stationary numbers at three street addresses.

Other marabouts who have operated in my area in recent years are Professor Manfaring and Jimbo. In 2009 the latter was detained by the police along with his interpreter after selling unguents and potions at exorbitant prices to an old man who hoped to have his youth restored. I have now tipped the police off about Mr. Seeki. Though I guess he won’t stay in Sweden for very long.

Comments

  1. #1 Birger Johansson
    May 18, 2011

    “financial transactions” indeed. Did Mr. Seeki refer you to any wealthy guy in Nigeria who needs help moving his money?
    — — — — —
    My favourite con man is, of course, Dogbert.
    “If the world ends on the year 2000 it is bad to have a lot of money, because the Bible says money is evil. For a minor fee you can store your money in my special “Evil Begone!” vault during the Millennium. And the best part is, it is deductible (from your savings)”.

  2. #2 Sigmund
    May 18, 2011

    What exactly do you report him to the police for doing? He’s clearly a fraud but probably no more than a religious fraud who likewise may perform some counselling service for a fee.
    If he’s selling ‘potions’ then yes, that is something specific (unlicensed medicine or the like) but I didn’t think there was a law against fortune tellers or ‘psychics’ in Sweden, is there?

  3. #3 stripey_cat
    May 18, 2011

    I suspect that the Swedish equivalent of Trading Standards would like a word with him. Not to mention that counselling for “health… legal issues, financial transactions” may well be tightly regulated – they are in the UK.

  4. #4 dogteam
    May 18, 2011

    Hm.
    I hear the Catholic church offers counselling on health,love, family problems, dispenses “Holy Water”, and “guarantees” salvation through prayer and repentance.

    Who do I call about them? ;)

  5. #5 Art
    May 18, 2011

    Seems to me to bit of a contradiction in that. He essentially offers health, wealth, and good luck. But if he could guarantee that I would have to assume he is healthy, wealthy and lucky himself. Which begs the question as to why he would feel the need to be placing bits of colored paper on people’s windshield to make a living if he is so extraordinarily talented.

    This is kind of like the old ‘Miss Cleo’ telephone scam. She offered to reveal the winning lottery numbers. Which raises the question as to why she would be giving such information away and not using it herself. And why, if she was successful, why she was cluttering up my TV screen with her claims instead of sucking down margaritas on a beach.

    If you meet the Buddha on the road …

  6. #6 Martin R
    May 18, 2011

    Sigmund, I didn’t report any crime committed by Mr. Seeki. I sent the flier and his Swedish contact information to the police’s tip-off office. Dunno what, if anything, they will do with the info, but nor would I have been sure that anything would be done about him if I had reported him as having committed a crime.

  7. #7 Riman Butterbur
    May 18, 2011

    The last thing in the world I would have expected, was to be learning Swedish from a West African con man.

    “Guaranteed result”

    But he doesn’t say what kind of result….

  8. #8 Bo Ohlson
    May 19, 2011

    Surprisingly good Swedish – most such flyers have been “translated” by someone equipped with a dictionary but no knowledge of grammar or similar crap.
    But, seriously, why call the police, as long as you don´t have been stupid enough to consult the individual in question, but still clever enough to realize that you have been swindled?

  9. #9 Martin R
    May 19, 2011

    I view this advertising as conspiracy to commit a future crime. And I feel that since I am clever enough to see through the con, I have a responsibility.

  10. #10 Birger Johansson
    May 20, 2011

    You think he is not telling the truth when making insane statements? I’ll show you insane!: World will end Saturday http://www.vk.se/Article.jsp?article=445610 (swedish text)

  11. #11 Birger Johansson
    May 21, 2011

    Oh Sh*t!! The charlatan I mentioned (Harold Camping) has left a trail of tragedies behind him today.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/05/while_harold_camping_sits_safe.php

  12. #12 Mattias
    May 26, 2011

    Offering to solve our problems, he goes on to list some of the most serious: “love, health, business and legal issues”.

    Considering these as problems, he may in fact prove highly successful in limiting (or even completely exterminating) the love, health, business and legal issues of his clients.

    / Mattias

  13. #13 Martin R
    May 26, 2011

    And what a relief that would be! The Buddha teaches that desire is the root of unhappiness.

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