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Dozens of students 'possessed'

Jakarta Post - March 17, 2006

Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara – Dozens of students of Sakra No. 1 high school in Sakra district, East Lombok regency, were reportedly possessed by "evil spirits" Thursday and dropped into trances while in the classroom.

Classes were disrupted when other students volunteered to help subdue the "possessed" students, most of whom were female. The afflicted screamed, rolled on the ground and shouted incomprehensible words before passing out.

Similar incidents have happened at the school during the past five days. According to a number of teachers, the symptoms are contagious, and when one student falls into a trance others immediately follow suit.

"This is the fifth day. The first student possessed was a 12th grader, and it continues to affect others. There are already 32 students affected so far," said Yeyen, an 11th grader.

School officials are trying to discover the cause of the occurrence, and have requested help from psychics and religious figures in the area.

"Getting them back to their senses can take 15 minutes," Salman, a teacher, said, adding that the disturbance usually starts at 10 a.m.