Bagabag, Nueva Ecija, July 11, 2003 By Charlie Lagasca (Star) Classes in this town’s high school were suspended the other day — the second time since Monday — after several female students were allegedly possessed by spirits of the dead who were buried in the area before World War II.

Teachers of the school, located on the national highway in Barangay Tuao here, could not help but be worried when at least 25 coeds fainted and started acting strangely the other day, a repeat of the unusual occurrences in the school last Monday.

Emily Gacad, a second year high school adviser, said the students fainted almost one after another. One of them had eyes turning red and displayed uncanny behavior.

"(One of) the possessed students displayed extraordinary strength. It took four male students to restrain her," said Joel Fariñas, another teacher.

Gloria Jasmin, also an instructor at the school, said some of the possessed students had harsh voices while others spoke in soft tones. Others were shouting and screaming but were not violent, she added.

Old-timers here said the school compound used to be a graveyard during the Japanese occupation.

The area had remained untouched for many years until the government converted it into a national high school, they said.

Many old trees, huts and tombs were bulldozed to give way to classrooms, Gacad said.

A group of priests from the Catholic and Aglipayan churches here have already sprinkled the school with holy water and oil in a bid to drive out the spirits.

However, a local albularyo (quack doctor) said the spirits should be appeased, not driven away.

Teachers, parents and students were supposed to hold a ritual the other day but cancelled it upon the advice of the albularyo, who wanted everyone in the community to attend the event.

The albularyo, according to teachers, told them to bury a pig’s head in the school grounds to pacify the spirits.

They were also instructed to have a share of the meat to eat, otherwise the ritual would not be effective.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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