reassuring: Lenora Ottoway, left, hugs her classmate, Sunsaray Chance, outside the Moruga Secondary School yesterday. —Photo: NICHOLAS RAMJASS

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Moruga school holds emergency service

More female pupils scream, collapse for second day...

By Stories by Carolyn Kissoon South Bureau

An emergency interfaith service was held at the Moruga Secondary School yesterday, a day after pupils complained of hearing "demonic" voices and having no control over their actions.

But as rosaries (prayer beads) were being distributed, several young girls screamed and collapsed. The teenagers rolled about the floor and shouted the names of other pupils.

The fracas ended with school being dismissed early for a second day.

On Wednesday, 25 female pupils were taken to the Princes Town District and San Fernando General Hospitals after they complained of headaches and nausea.

Mental health experts believe the "visitations" are nothing more than cases of mass hysteria. (See story below)

Rianna Charles, a pupil, said she suffered an attack on Wednesday.

"I was at school when some girls started screaming. I was trying to calm down one and it came on me. I started screaming and hearing voices in my head. I had no control over my actions and I injured my hand," she said.

Charles' right hand was in a bandage yesterday.

"I came to school this morning, and while we were saying prayers, I was attacked again," she said.

Classes were dismissed at 9.45 a.m. yesterday. A Ministry of Education release stated affected pupils were counselled at the school.

Four officers from the Student Support Services Division and nine members of the Ministry of Health's Mental Health Department were assigned to the school. Pastor Mark Daniel, of Mark Daniel Ministries International, showed up at the school offering spiritual services.

Daniel said he was not allowed to "heal" the children.

"I was asked to leave the compound. I heard about the activities at the school, and they seem to be of a spiritual nature. It has nothing to do with food poisoning; it is something more. I came here to see what was going on," he said.

Daniel said he was blessed with the gift of deliverance and was able to detect the demonic presence. "This school is a target. All of these children are not acting. It is not a health problem. It is spiritual warfare," he said.

Daniel believes Moruga Secondary School was targeted because several villagers still practised black magic and obeah.

"The people believe in this, so the door is wide open here. This is the main area for villagers and children to gather, so it has become a nest. I cannot say why only females are being attacked," he said.

Daniel said he was putting together a group of religious leaders to pray for the children.

Members of the Christ Crusaders Assembly were also at the school. But security guards prevented the religious leaders from entering the compound.

Former pupil Cindy Sinanan returned to the school yesterday, claiming an "attack" a year ago.

"I was a pupil here last November when I had an attack. And yesterday (Wednesday), I was at home when I was possessed. I did not know what was happening. But I knew everything that was taking place at the school with the other girls although I was not here. And when I heard about it this morning, I had to come here," she said.

Sinanan said she did not return to school after the incident last year.

She warned hundreds of pupils would be affected if the school was not shut down.

"I can feel it. It comes on you and it wants death. I am not afraid of dying. We have to fight this evil," she said.

Parent Samuel Sampson said his daughter was also a purported victim on Wednesday.

"The doctors gave her a clean bill of health. And last night when we were going home, she had an attack. She's feeling like someone is strangling her. I came here this morning with a recommendation. In this country, there are plenty religious leaders; we need to have an interfaith service to bless this place," he said.

Sampson was among several parents who gathered at the school yesterday.

Parent Ano Ottoway said he wants his daughter to be transferred to another school.

"My daughter was attacked, and she does not want to come back here. I am going to the ministry for a transfer," he said.

Pastor Reagan Beharry insisted the girls were possessed by demons.

"This is not very uncommon. I believe it is caused by a demon, incubus, who preys on young girls. We need to do special prayers," he said.

In European medieval legend, an incubus is a demon in male form who attacks women.

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