‘Possession’ or mass hysteria?

By: Benjie Talisic, Jessa Mae Sotto, Morexette Erram June 22,2018 - 10:44 PM

Students who are believed to be “possessed” by “evil spirits,” are brought to the parish church in Ronda town where they are blessed by a priest. 

AN EARTHQUAKE drill at the Ronda National High School was disrupted when 30 of its over 1,000 students were “possessed” by “evil spirits” and began to experience chest pains, difficulty breathing, cold sweat, body spasms and stiffening.

Ma. Lourdes Cabonilas, principal of Ronda National High School, told reporters in a phone interview that it all started when a Grade 9 student complained of chest pains, and difficulty breathing, after which 29 more students, all of whom were female complained of the same symptoms.

“They started to show wild behavior which led us to think that maybe, they were possessed by evil spirits. Because we also received reports that they saw the spirit of a child in the building,” said Cabonilas.

The incident prompted school officials to suspend the drill as well as classes.

They also called the Ronda Police Station for assistance and sent all the students to the parish church in Ronda town, located 82 kilometers southwest of Cebu City, for blessing.

“Mura lang silag naay gikahadlokan ba pero dili man gyod ingon nga nangisog, nanghilak lang (They looked liked they were afraid of something. It’s not really that they were rowdy, they just cried),” Cabonilas said.

For their part, the Archdiocese of Cebu urged parents and teachers to immediately seek the help of doctors and psychologists if the students start to show signs of possible hysteria.

Msgr. Joseph Tan, spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Cebu, told Cebu Daily News in a phone interview that the welfare of students who reportedly suffered hysteria must first be attended to by professionals.

“There were several cases in the past of students reportedly possessed by supernaturals. But none of them were confirmed. Before seeking help from the church, consult the professionals first because we may not know that they were caused by stress, possible depression, or failure to eat breakfast,” said Tan.

Cabonilas shared the same sentiments with Tan, and added that she believed that the students’ behavior was not caused by possession by evil spirits.

“Later on, we found out that seven of these students were not able to eat their breakfast,” said Cabonilas.

Hours after the so-called “possession,” 19 students of the Colawin National High School in Barangay Colawin, Argao reportedly suffered mass hysteria.

The Argao Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) confirmed that they deployed a team yesterday past 1 p.m. to respond to the situation.

The Argao MDRRMO said some of the students were sent to the Isidro Kintanar Memorial Hospital, while others were sent to a nearby church. /,  and

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TAGS: Mass, possession

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