A mass hysteria surrounding "penis-melting robot combs" took place in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan in September 2003. It was reported by the Middle East Media Research Institute. Sudanese victims were made to believe by force of suggestion that their penises had melted away or disappeared altogether, by means of ordinary contact with the West Africans, such as the sharing of an electronic, or "robot", comb, the shaking of hands, or the receiving of a verbal curse. The so-called "penis-melting" has been blamed on Zionists who are trying to wipe out the Sudanese people by making their men impotent and therefore unable to breed.
The hysterical reports were spread throughout Sudan by means of cell phone text-messaging.
The Sudanese columnist Ja'far Abbas has warned visitors to avoid shaking hands with "a dark-skinned man". In reference to the electronic comb which was supposed to have caused one man's penis to disappear, Abbas writes, "No doubt, this comb was a laser-controlled surgical robot that penetrates the skull, [passes] to the lower body and emasculates a man!!"
Sudanese police have investigated these incidents and have found no evidence of anything supernatural, and that it is likely a hoax which victims believed through the power of suggestion. Mr. Abul-Gasim Mohamed Ibrahim, Sudan's Minister of Health, issued official statements to calm the public's fears.
In the Wall Street Journal's "Best of the Web Today", a daily summary of sensational or humorous news, James Taranto wrote a piece about this phenomenon entitled, "Where's the Rest of Me?" in which he coined the phrase "Penis-melting Zionist robot combs".