South African students attacked by evil spirits?

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Apparently this sort of thing isn't a rare occurrence in this part of the world.

South Africa female students scream, roll on floor over evil spirits attack

Angella Semu
Feb. 27, 2022
maravipost.com

Quote:Some female students at DR EP Lekhela High School, Galeshwe in Kimberly, Northern Cape, were reportedly attacked by an “evil spirit” during school hours.

The strange incident reportedly started after the first period when 18 girls, mostly in Grades 8 to 10, started crying, screaming, and rolling on the floor after apparently seeing a “scary creature that was making them weak”.

(...) This is the third school in Kimberley to be impacted by the alleged evil spirits and conclusions were made that “opportunistic satanic methods” were being used on young people and children in the area.

[Image: female-students-scream-and-roll-on-floor...sy=1&ssl=1]

What are the potential explanations for something like this?
a) hysteria
b) actual possession
c) encounter with an alien

What else?
(2022-03-02, 02:42 AM)Ninshub Wrote: What else?

Any of the range of entheogens?
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(2022-03-02, 02:42 AM)Ninshub Wrote: Apparently this sort of thing isn't a rare occurrence in this part of the world.

What are the potential explanations for something like this?
a) hysteria
b) actual possession
c) encounter with an alien

What else?

doesn't seem possible to judge things from our western perspective... worth reading, to understand other ways that people and cultures deal with their problems...

http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/27271/3/Chima.pdf

https://d1wqtxts1xzle7.cloudfront.net/38...GGSLRBV4ZA

https://www.academia.edu/35288064/_He_to...cover_page
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring 
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
(This post was last modified: 2022-03-02, 10:46 AM by Max_B. Edited 1 time in total.)
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I remember doing a paper on possession in college, for a class on Religions of the African Diaspora. I came across an interesting factoid that for a time, at least, Indian women would sometimes be possessed right before marriage.

I suspect this is a stress response to the old tradition of marrying what is essentially a stranger, and having to leave everyone you know to enter a new life in a new place. 

OTOH, I also read about cases that defy easy explanation. It might be that certain stressors may attract these phenomena, so you get a range of mundane cases to some spirit influence to outright possession...
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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(2022-03-02, 05:24 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: I remember doing a paper on possession in college, for a class on Religions of the African Diaspora. I came across an interesting factoid that for a time, at least, Indian women would sometimes be possessed right before marriage.

I suspect this is a stress response to the old tradition of marrying what is essentially a stranger, and having to leave everyone you know to enter a new life in a new place. 

OTOH, I also read about cases that defy easy explanation. It might be that certain stressors may attract these phenomena, so you get a range of mundane cases to some spirit influence to outright possession...

It's interesting that different cultures have their own traditional way of understanding, labelling and coping with everyday human feelings... but as I think you suggest, this doesn't mean that we yet have any satisfactory explanation for them at a fundamentally deep level of reality. Most of our understandings, are standing on the shoulders of some pretty flaky ideas and assumptions we all grow up with. Just good stories we've found to help us deal with the world, like your indian lady perhaps... I bet we're doing some really weird stuff in the west, or as humans generally on the planet, that we just can't see... I suppose that's the point of the teachings of figures like Buddha and Christ, who point out some of the weird stories and behaviour we grow up accepting and practicing.
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring 
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
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(2022-03-02, 02:42 AM)Ninshub Wrote: What else?

The literal explanation: attack (but not possession) by evil spirits. It's not a popular idea in the West given our materialistic perspective, but, given my experience, it's a plausible one.
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I have the impression I've posted about similar stories about South Africa in this forum before (?), this seems to be a regular enough occurrence there (as evidenced in that article.)

This is a study in the Malawi Medical Journal that addresses earlier occurrences in the same country (and elsewhere) and uses the mass hysteria hypothesis (of course!).

In its favor, it cites an occurrence where in South Africa again the school principal told the students it wasn't evil spirits but rather a reaction to stressors, and apparently the phenomena in that instance thereafter ended. It's plausible and possible in that instance.

I'm still not satisfied, or at lest left pondering what explains similar specific details in the complaints of the victims, i.e. or e.g. a "creature making them weak". Granted I'm not an expert on mass hysteria or shared hallucinations and what they can and can't involve.

Looking around, I see a similar case occurred in Peru a few years ago, where again a whole bunch of pre-teen to early-teen adolescents "came down" with very similar "symptoms":

Quote:IT STARTED about three weeks ago, when about 20 children from the Elsa Perea Flores School in Peru became violently ill.

They displayed the same terrifying symptoms; muscular convulsions — some developing into full blown seizures — fainting, vomiting, delirium and frothing at the mouth.

The children, all aged between 11 and 14, shared another unsettling trait — a shared hallucination involving being chased by a “tall man in black with a beard” who was trying to kill them.
from:
Dozens of children from Elsa Perea Flores School in Peru in outbreak of ‘contagious demonic possession’



Again a very specific narrative coming down from the victims. For the hysteria hypothesis to be potentially more convincing, I'd like to have a detailed model or explanation about those features.
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Just to expand on my remark about entheogens, here is a paper discussing the possibility that ergot (a fungus that grows on Rye and wheat) might be responsible for the Salem witch panic!

https://digitalhistorysalem.weebly.com/e...oning.html

Quote:Ergot (Claviceps purpura) is a fungus that grows on a variety of grains, especially rye. It grows in a slightly curved, fusiform shape with sclerotia replacing individual grains on the host plant. The sclerotia contains a large number of potent pharmacological agents, known as ergot alkaloids. This alkaloid (with ten percent of the activity of D-LSD) is also found in morning glory seeds. It was used as a ritual hallucinogenic drug by the Aztecs (Caporael, 23).

Of course, the entheogens are themselves very mysterious and may indeed act by opening the mind to non-physical reality.

These incidents could be the result of deliberate or accidental exposure to a variety of such compounds.
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