Fear gripped a Tagbilaran City high school after 17 students were allegedly possessed by evil spirits on Wednesday afternoon.
The mass hysteria disrupted evening classes at the Cogon Night High School starting at 5:45 p.m., said Tagbilaran City Schools Division officer-in-charge Neri Ojastro.
Personnel from the provincial emergency response unit TaRSIER 117 and Tagbilaran City police were deployed to the school for assistance.
According to Ojastro, only one ninth grade student started to display signs of hysteria which later “spread” to other students.
“Duna diay niy nahitabo na ngani sa Bohol High pero diri sa [Cogon] first time ni nahitabo kay mura’g unusual pud kaayo kay ga sunod-sunod, mura’g ga takud-takud ba,” Ojastro said.
Ojastro is set to meet with licensed guidance counselors and other experts to provide input on the students’ “abnormal” behavior.
He requested for the school’s principal to provide an in-depth narrative on the incident as he noted that there could have been other causes for the mass hysteria.
“Ato sa lang tan-awon kung siguro ba g’yud ba sila na na-possess or dili. Probably naay mga causes ngano naingon ana ang nahimong behavior sa mga bata,” Ojastro said.
“Probably it’s an abnormal behavior caused by other factors,” he added.
Other cases of mass hysteria have been reported in three schools in Sagbayan, Ubay and Jagna since 2016.
In these previous incidents, the Department of Education downplayed the allegations of possession by evil spirits as they instead looked into the health and nutrition of the affected children.
Over 40 students of the Japer Memorial High School in Sagbayan and San Pascual Academy in Ubay were also subjected to a psycho-social debriefing when the schools were hit with mass hysteria in 2016.
Both schools, however, still asked for the services of a priest to conduct an exorcism. (AD)