A number of schools in remote areas of India have been forced to close or relocate after an epedemic of ghost sightings have scared everybody away.
It started back in October when a number of girls in a school in the Madhya Pradesh region of India started to behave abnormally. They claimed to be possessed by a ghost that was haunting their school. The ghost caused them to sway their heads and bodies uncontrollably.
One girl to whom this happened, told her friends that someone, standing near the pond, was calling her. â€œWe looked around but there was no one. But my friend told me that she wanted to leave this world with that person. I was perplexed,â€ said one of her friends.
According to the people of the area, a curse had been put upon them by a ‘sorcerer’ who had died a few weeks before due to malnutrition. He predicted that the village would face grave consequences. There is a currently a feud in the area between sorcerers over who controls which territory – a kind of witch doctor gang war, which seems to have caused the incident.
Last month it happened again in a nearby region. A number of girls were said to be possessed by a ghost and swayed their heads and danced fitfully.
Yet another nearby school has reportedly become haunted a few weeks ago. This time the ghost is causing people to faint and according to some reports is going around slapping the students ! Pupils say they saw a black figure calling to them before they passed out.
“At mid-day, I saw a man wearing a black dress near the water tank of our school. He had a long black beard and big teeth. He was very scary,” said Chhaya, a 12-year-old student of the school. She fainted and came around after an hour. “At least 10 students, mostly girls, have fainted in the school in the last one month,’ said the school’s headmaster Sajjan Singh Pawar. “We sprinkle water on their faces to bring back their consciousness. We tell them that there are no ghosts in the school, but it has not worked,” he said.
Villagers prayed everyday to rid the school of the ghost and a tamarind tree in the school yard was chopped down as this is where they believed the ghost was living. The parents tied string around their childrenâ€™s hands and around the entrance to the school to ward off the ghost.
The school was shut down after superstitious parents refused to send their children there. It has since been relocated elsewhere.
Doctors in the area are putting the whole thing down to mass hysteria. Said Uma Bhattacharya, a Bhopal-based psychiatrist: “All the three incidents of ghosts haunting schools have taken place in areas dominated by tribals, who strongly believe in ghosts and spirits.” “Moreover, only girls show symptoms because they are still discriminated in their homes. This creates a sort of fear and a complex in the minds and they start hallucinating,” she said. “With proper rest and nutrition, the girls can overcome the problem,” Bhattacharya said.
One report even says that a special “Ghosts Don’t Exist” camp has been set up by the government to try and convince the people to give up their superstitious ways. Madhya Pradesh is a very superstitious region in India and many of the people there believe in ghosts and witchcraft. The area is famous for it’s annual Ghost Fair where many people travel from all over the country to be exorcised by the witch doctors.
So have the children of India found a great new way to bunk off school ? ‘Please Miss, can I be excused ? I’ve just been slapped by a ghost !’
This was pieced together from a number of reports (some of which contradict each other !) :
The incident in the first school:
The incident in the third school:
This report mentions all three:
The annual Ghost Fair: