Mass hysteria at Sydenham high school after 'demonic possession'
The incident, which took place before the tea break, forced the principal of Bechet Secondary in Sydenham to let all the pupils go home.
A reliable source said the Grade 8s were attending a meeting on health and HIV in the school hall when one of them asked a question. When the question was answered, some pupils became hysterical.
“The pupils started saying there’s a demon possession in this school and everyone must get out of the hall because something major is going to happen,” said the source.
She said the pupils were taken to the school grounds.
“The bell rang for break time and chaos broke out as about 36 children were affected,” she said.
Another source said the girls lay on the ground, screaming and shouting, with their arms and legs thrashing about.
The police, parents and an ambulance were called as the girls were in a severe state of hysteria.
“Pastors also came out. They prayed over the girls and so did other pupils and teachers. Nobody knows what the cause was. The speculation is that they all could have taken a drug that led to this strange behaviour,” said the source.
Education Department spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa said a team was sent to the school.
“Hysterical screaming and unusual behaviour is not only linked to demonic possession. We are not sure what happened; we are not qualified to declare the cause of this behaviour,” he said.
Mthethwa urged parents to get help for their children from psychologists, psychiatrists and traditional or spiritual healers if they noticed similar behaviour.