Mass hysteria hits students, teachers in Kota Baru schools

KOTA BARU (Kelantan) • Mass hysteria has hit several secondary schools in Kota Baru, the capital of Kelantan state, in the past week, affecting more than 100 students and teachers and causing at least one school to be closed for three days.

The latest incident yesterday took place at the SMK Pengkalan Chepa 2 where eight female students went into hysteria after a prayer session to rid the school of bad spirits.

The school had last week reported cases of mass hysteria among more than 100 students and teachers starting from Monday. It was closed from Thursday to Saturday and reopened on Sunday.

Yesterday, prayers and a recital of Quranic verses were held at the school hall for about two hours but apparently to no avail.

A student of the school who asked not to be named said a female student afflicted by hysteria jumped off a staircase but was saved by several male students.

"She was supposed to skip classes today, and I cannot understand why she came to school after being possessed," said the student.

A student who wanted to be identified only as Ina, said of her experience last week: "I can't explain how I got possessed, but I fainted and couldn't move until I was revived by an ustaz."


A parent, Ms Alzzah Sulaiman, 45, said she was called to fetch her daughter, Nora Mohd Fauzi, after she became hysterical.

Another school in the city affected by mass hysteria was SMK Kemumin where on Sunday morning 20 female students from four classes went into hysterics and were sent home. The school's students had gathered to recite religious verses in an attempt to drive bad spirits from the school.

Over at SMK Pengkalan Chepa 1, where five students were hit by hysteria, the school administration said it managed to control the situation by sending the affected students home to prevent other students from being affected. A fourth school SMK Kubang Kerman 3 had eight students hit by hysteria.

Local traditional medicine expert Wiru Sankala said the hot weather, repressed emotions and reports of the mass hysteria, which went viral, could be the cause of the hysteria that has affected several schools.

State deputy education director Jaafar Ismail said the schools should be left alone to sort out the problem.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2016, with the headline 'Mass hysteria hits students, teachers in Kota Baru schools'. Print Edition | Subscribe