Learning has been halted at Helvi Kondombolo Combined School where a ‘vengeful evil spirit’ has apparently haunted the area for three years, resulting in mass hysteria, uncontrolled wailing and fainting, while some learners strangely slither like serpents.
In some of the incidents recorded some learners roar like lions.
These bizarre happenings are said to take place nearly every day which disrupt learning, as chaos and panic erupt among learners who then desert their classes.
This was witnessed first-hand by a New Era journalist who visited the school on Monday. He saw learners slithering like snakes while others hysterically stormed out of classrooms.
Thirteen of the learners acted violently and had to be restrained because the community feared that if they were left unattended they could flee into nearby bushes where the spirit is supposedly lurking.
Teachers at the school also fear for their lives as the evil spirit-possessed children are shouting their names, telling them they will soon drown in wells in the vicinity.
“We are very scared now, we don’t know if this will be true in future but we just hope by the grace of god the evil spirit shall not proper. Some of our colleagues are even scared to come nearby these learners because they are violent and the whole bizarre happenings are scary,” stressed one of the schoolteachers, who informed this reporter they would only continue teaching when learners calm down.
The problem is said to have started in 2013 with 17 learners behaving strangely, apparently slithering like snakes and roaring like lions. In 2014 this strange occurrence continued with two learners affected and this year thirteen learners have followed suit.
“Last week two learners started and it never stopped, right up to now. Learning is negatively affected and most of the learners are being mentally tortured. Most targeted are those in Grades 4 –10,” confirmed a nervous-looking school principal Lewis Nangolo.
He said afflicted learners saying some people would drown almost came true when the school secretary, the head of departnment and some teachers fell into a well, although nobody died.
Learners have also mentioned the name of a well-known local resident, saying he appears in their visions calling them to join him. After the man calls these learners they fall into these mysterious fits of mass hysteria and screaming.
The headman of the village, Jeremia Shejavali, also confirmed these strange deeds, adding that he knows a possible suspect behind these evil events. “We have tried engaging this man on several occasions to find out why his name is being mentioned as the one having sent those evil spirits but to no avail up to now,” said a dejected-looking Shejavali. The sporadic attacks on learners has resulted in the suspect being demoted from a position of influence in the village.
According to some community members the suspect has been doing this to flex his muscles and apparently to show the community his supernatural powers, as well as to show other villagers that he is not their equal and is in a different league altogether.
Some parents of the affected children said they have learned to live with that and only rely on prayers once the evil spirits attack their children while at home. Asked whether they have tried taking the children to hospital when attacked, they responded that doctors told them there was nothing wrong with their children, both mentally and physically.
Teachers said they have alerted the education inspector and are waiting for an answer on what is to be done to address the situation before it gets further out of hand.