A case of possession in the Philippines or something more cerebral?
Classes were suspended Thursday at Isaac Lopez Integrated School in Mandaluyong City after around 20 students aged between 12 and 16 started acting strangely—screaming, crying, fainting and convulsing—prompting claims that they were possessed by evil spirits.
Julie Esparagoza, a Grade 8 teacher at the public school, said the incident started shortly after 9 a.m. and initially involved two girls from her section.
Esparagoza, however, said she later observed the same behavior among her other students who had stepped out of the classroom for their break.
According to her, she saw five girls and a boy “lying on the floor and shaking while others were crying frantically.”
A pastor from the nearby Born-Again Jesus First Christian Ministries said he rushed to the school when he learned of the incident from a church member.
However, as soon as the unaffected Grade 8 students were allowed to go home, at least four Grade 7 students began exhibiting the same behavior, Esparagoza said.
This prompted Nerissa Lozaria, assistant schools division superintendent, to suspend classes in the entire school.
They were allowed to go home, eh? And SCHOOL was CLOSED for the day? Interesting.
A school official was skeptical of the whole possessed theory as she says she saw at least one student return to normal when the student was told she’d be injected with something to calm her down. She writes the incident off as a case of mass hysteria, with students joining in to get attention.
Another theory is that the students were possessed by evil spirits after some students held a seance at a local cemetery. But, frankly, we’ll go with the first idea since this type of conversion disorder commonly occurs in schools. It seems very reasonable, but probably not as newsworthy, that this indeed was either a “mass psychogenic illness” incident or kids wanting to make a scene. It worked.