Prank, organic disease, mass hysteria, or “evil-spirit” haunts school

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In Calapan, Mindoro, Philippines, a spate of curious incidents occurred in a school of Pedro Panaligan Memorial National High School where children unexplainably fall into fits of convulsion, displayed spells of crying, shortness of breath, and confusion. Some complained of headaches and stomach pains. They and people in their town blamed “angered spirits” after an old tree was cut in the school backyard.

Since August 8, 2008, at least 26 students manifested signs of “evil possession.” But no credible authority was able to convincingly explain (particularly to the skeptical) the events which repeatedly disrupt school work.

In a video shown by Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI,08/22/09,) almost all affected students were notably aided by their fellow schoolmates. Teachers and aides were hardly present. Probably scared, they sought help from local shamans, spiritual healers and asked a priest to say mass and put a stop on the perplexing phenomenon.

Too young to grasp the whole situation, the panicky high school students carried those affected, rested them on their backs, restrained their bodies, and massaged their stomachs. Whether these occurrences are caused by a prank, organic disease, mass hysteria, or “angered evil spirit” must be quickly determined by authorities. The school needs to bring back peace in the community and among its students. (PhotoCredit: PDI)

UPDATE: The Philippine Dailiy Inquirer (PDI) reported that a team of psychologists and psychiatrists was sent to investigate this case. It was concluded that the bizarre phenomenon was caused by “mass hysteria”—a form of conversion disorder that affects a group of people usually incited by a problem, an alarm or enigmatic situation that sweeps the psyche of the affected individuals. (September 7, 2008)

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