Skeptic News: Students possessed

20120628-235753.jpgAT LEAST 10 students from San Pedro Academy in Valencia, Negros Oriental in the Philippines were reportedly possessed by bad spirits early this week.

A student of the San Pedro academy claimed that ten of his classmates were “possessed” during Mass. Mark Maphill is reported as claiming:

“The possessed students’ eyes turned into red and they spoke in unintelligible language in harsh and angry voice”

Another student claimed that the “possessed” we’re strong enough to break free from those holding them down.

Valencia Mayor Ricky Gonzalez said he did not believe in such incident until he personally witnessed the situation.

He called on a local priest to exorcise the students.

Demonic possession has been a common explanation for abberent behaviour throughout the ages. But it is an unsatisfying one. In some cases “possessions” can be demonstrated as cultural explanations for neurological or psychological issues such as epilepsy or schizotypal delusions. In others they may simply be outbreaks of localised “mass hysteria”.

In this case perhaps there is a neurological root but an outbreak of hysteria seems a plausible explanation. Perhaps the students involved were simply acting as they expected the possessed to act because they believed themselves to be.

Alternatively it could be a school prank that has gotten out of hand.

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