Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Monks use snake’s blood to exorcise ‘possessed’ playground

Demon spirits’ close Kamala school
MORE than 700 hundred students at a Kamala school have been sent home after 29 students at the school were ‘possessed’ by demons. Children aged between four and 17 started convulsing uncontrollably, while others sat frozen to their seats, or burst into loud screaming.

The prestigious H.M. the Kings Rachaprachanakroh Foundation school, which caters mainly for Muslim children, was closed for a week while nine Bhuddist and one Chinese monk exorcised the school grounds, spreading snakes’ blood and pigs’ blood around the playing area to drive off the ‘spirits’.

A Muslim ceremony was also performed to persuade the spirits to leave the school. The school’s assistant headmaster, Suda Wonnuha, said the younger children were terrified by the older students irrational behaviour.“We had to cancel all classes for a week,” she said. Kongsak Khoburi, an educational assistant at the school said the ‘crazy behaviour’ started on November 19 when a Year 4 boy ‘displayed worrying behaviour in class’.“He was sitting frozen to his seat, and then he suddenly started screaming,” he said. The boy was taken to the school’s infirmary, but teachers were at first skeptical and thought the students were ‘playing games’. But when disciplinary action didn’t shake the usually boisterous 16-year-old, they realised it was something more sinister.

As the day wore on, the strange behaviour spread to other parts of the school. Groups of primary school girls began dancing ritualistically and chanting in class. Their teachers were unable to control them. By the next morning, students of all ages were doing weird things, and by the Friday, they were uncontrollable. Mr Konsak said there was pandemonium and wild outbursts by children in the playground.The following Monday, the headmaster closed the school for a week.Mr Konsak played down claims that the ‘demons’ were unhappy when a sacred tree near the school was cut down. A spirit house under the tree was destroyed when the tree was cut down to make way for a building development. Mr Konsak said, in Buddist-Thai culture, it is believed that during sampawesi, or when the soul changes condition, it can become open and allow spirits to enter.“Some people believe the spirits have no home and nowhere to go, so they enter the bodies of humans and communicate through them,” he said.

A handful of children playing in the deserted school grounds seemed blissfully unaware of anything untoward occurring. Two girls happily pushed each other around in a make-shift sled, while ten-year-old Panya sat next to Mr Konsak reading his English books. Mr Konsak doesn’t believe his students were possessed by spirits.“I think the children were bored, and were acting this way as some sort of practical joke,” he said.“They have convinced some of their classmates to act this way, and it has escalated from there,” he said.“It has turned into a large scale problem for staff. “But we should understand that a lot of these children come from extremely traumatized backgrounds and many lost family in the tsunami. “Some of them have very different emotional needs to normal children, and many of them come from very poor backgrounds."“They depend on the school for food and housing, and more than 60 students live on campus.”“Most of them returned home when the school was closed, but some stayed, either because they have no family or they have problems at home.”

Source- Phuket Post (2008-12-15 11:22:49)
by Fraser Morton

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