Students Experience Mass Hysteria, Authorities Perform Exorcisms

| by Michael Allen

Public school students in Cebu City, Philippines, were reportedly possessed by evil spirits last Thursday.

The alleged possession was linked to the weekend of Nov. 15-16 when students of the Toong Integrated School were on an overnight event on school grounds, noted

However, church officials have not confirmed that the 35 students were possessed by evil spirits.

One student claimed that an evil spirit spirit named "Jake" spoke to her, while the student's sister, a fourth grader, claimed to be possessed by a spirit named "Maria."

When school officials contacted priests of the Mary Help of Christians Parish, Rev. Nicolas Ramos told them to bring some of the students to the church.

Rev. Ramos sprayed the students with holy salt and water, but claimedsome students reacted violently.

Those students were taken to another church, Mary's Little Children Community, where Msgr. Frederick Kriekenbeek conducted another exorcism.

Msgr. Joseph Tan, media liaison officer of the Archdiocese of Cebu, suggested the students might have experienced mass hysteria.

"Prayer is the best remedy against the assaults of the enemy," stated Msgr. Tan.

TIME reported in 2011 that mass hysteria is "a bizarre yet surprisingly common phenomenon that is increasingly recognized as a significant health and social problem. For centuries it has crossed cultures and religions, taking on different forms to keep pace with popular obsessions and fears."

Simon Wessely, a psychology professor at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, told TIME, "At any one time there are probably hundreds of episodes happening all around the world. They just don’t normally get reported.”

Sources: TIME, / Image Credit: bollofino