This is a truly bizarre story that I posted today on our Breaking News site. It’s all over the news in the West Indies and involves about two dozen students at a school in Trinidad who fell mysteriously ill last week with symptoms eerily similar to those experienced by possessed persons.
According to the Guardian, two dozen students at a middle school in Moruga were “attacked” with bouts of nausea and headaches accompanied by the hearing of strange “voices.” Those afflicted began rolling on the ground, hissing and speaking in strange tongues. Two students tried to throw themselves over a railing and had to be physically restrained.
Student Rianna Charles was trying to help others when she too was suddenly attacked by the illness.
“I was at school when some girls started screaming. I was trying to calm down one and it came on me,” she told Trinidad Express Newspapers. “I started screaming and hearing voices in my head. I had no control over my actions and I injured my hand,” she said.
Kern Mollineau, a student at the school, described what he saw that day.
“One girl was blabbering as if in a strange language. I could not understand what she was saying. It was sounding like ‘shebbaberbebeb shhhhee.’ The girls were unusually strong. We had to hold them down so that they would not hurt themselves. The teachers were right there. I got a kick in my face when one of the girls started beating up on the floor. Many of them had bruises.”
Mollineau claimed he heard a strange voice tell him to send the girls to the bathroom and “leave them alone.”
By the time authorities arrived, teachers and students had taken the afflicted girls into a hall where some of them fell into a semi-conscious state. The girls were taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Police and health officials found nothing in the environment that would have triggered fainting spells or nausea and suspect mass hysteria as being at least partially responsible for the strange outbreak.
Because the school is located near a village where black magic is practiced, and there had been an incident at the school a few weeks earlier when a local woman threatened to “deal with” school officials, many suspected the demonic and immediately called in local church officials.
Roman Catholic priests, as well as pastors from nearby churches, visited the school and began showering the children with holy water and prayers. An interfaith service was held the following day, but as rosaries were being distributed, several young girls again began screaming and collapsing to the ground. The teenagers rolled about the floor and shouted the names of other pupils. The service was abruptly ended and the children sent home early for a second day.
Pastor Mark Daniel, of Mark Daniel Ministries International, showed up at the school to offer spiritual services but was not allowed to enter.
“I was asked to leave the compound. I heard about the activities at the school, and they seem to be of a spiritual nature. It has nothing to do with food poisoning; it is something more. I came here to see what was going on,” he said.
Daniel, who claims to be blessed with the gift of deliverance, said he was able to detect the demonic presence. “This school is a target. All of these children are not acting. It is not a health problem. It is spiritual warfare,” he said.
Daniel believes the school was targeted because several villagers still practice black magic and obeah, a kind of folk magic similar to voodoo that can be found throughout the West Indies.
“The people believe in this, so the door is wide open here. This is the main area for villagers and children to gather, so it has become a nest. I cannot say why only females are being attacked,” he said.
While health officials continue to search for an explanation, they are offering counseling to the students and local religious leaders are banding together to pray for the children.