Contagious outbreaks are common in schools. Head lice, for example. But in the Elsa Perea Flores School in Tarapoto, northern Peru, a “contagious mass hysteria” has left locals baffled.
More than 80 children aged between 11 and 14 displayed terrifying symptoms such as fainting, vomiting, and delirium. They said they had the same hallucination of a tall man in black with a beard trying to kill them.
Local media reports say experts are struggling to explain the mysterious mass hysteria that has been occurring since last month, while locals are convinced it is an “epidemic of demonic possession” because the school was built over a “mafia cemetery.”
Video footage recorded at the school purports to show students who are barely conscious and screaming, resembling scenes often depicted in Hollywood movies.
Priests carried out masses at student parents’ request. Even exorcists were contacted to solve the issue. But authorities are yet to find a solution, or explanation.
"It was a tall man all dressed in black and with a big beard and it felt like he was trying to strangle me," a student was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
"My friends say I was screaming desperately, but I don't remember much."
Doctor Antony Choy told national channel Panamericana TV: "We don’t understand how this has kept on going on.
"We know it started on 29th April and now it is still happening. Now there are almost 80 pupils [still affected]."