A British tourist who visited Israel two months ago has left behind a trail of Bible pages in a reference to the story of Jesus losing himself in the wilderness and fasting for 40 days and 40 nights.
Oliver McAfee — a devout Christian — was first thought to be lost on the desert trail while he was cycling. However, search teams later found he may be suffering from a mental phenomenon called the Jerusalem Syndrome.
He had left behind a number of his possessions like bike, laptop, and wallet before he disappeared. All these items made the search team believe he got lost while cycling through the Negev desert in southern Israel.
McAfee had weighed down Bible pages with rocks, which led the search team to believe he was suffering from religious delusions that are often triggered when people visit the Holy Land.
One of the leaders in the search team, Raz Arbel, said: "He seems to have been doing all kinds of ceremonies that we don't really understand."
To further extend the search operations, the Israelis had sent dogs and drone to find the missing man.
Reports suggest his fate is still unknown but some members of the search team believe he may have possibly hitch-hiked his way out of the desert.
What is Jerusalem Syndrome?
Jerusalem Syndrome is a group of mental phenomena in individuals that are triggered by visiting Jerusalem, which is followed by religiously obsessive thoughts or psychosis-like experiences.
The syndrome is not endemic to one religion but can be seen in multiple religions, like Islam, Jews and Christianity.
In the case of McAfee, it is reported that he had possibly come to a conclusion that he was a figure from the Bible.
Every year around 50 tourists reportedly suffer from Jerusalem syndrome, which requires official intervention later.
In a similar incident in 2011, a British tourist tried to stab a policeman when he believed he was the anti-Christ who had decided to take it upon himself to start the apocalypse.