For the past two months in the village of Las Llanadas, in north-western Colombia, three students aged between 14 and 16 years have been suffering frequent blackouts and exhibiting unusual behaviour. Parents and teachers at the Colegio Técnico Agropecuario Guillermo Patrónare are worried.
“We’ve done all kinds of medical testing and [the results] show nothing [out of the ordinary]. Before, they fainted and lost consciousness, but on Friday one of them started talking to a man’s voice. That frightened all of us inhabitants of Las Llanadas,” said José Romero Torre, father of one of the girls involved.
According to the doctor, Torres’ daughter is suffering from psychosis and nerves.
“My daughter is under psychiatric and psychological review, and is attending an evangelical church, which has given us good results. She has not fainted in the last three days,” he said.
Class was suspended on Friday, according to a student at the school and neighbour of one of the ‘possessed’.
“We’re afraid and we don’t even want to talk about what’s happening to them, because we don’t want to be infected by them. On Friday we only had class until nine a.m. and we don’t know if we’re going to continue attending normally,” said the student, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“We’re all scared by this situation with the girls, because whoever gets involved, including adults, [ends up in trouble]. People are saying that the girls are not computer-proficient enough to get involved [with online Ouija boards]. We think that someone [more computer-literate] could have done it. What we don’t know is whom,” said a fellow resident.
This is far from the first time that teenaged girls in regional Colombia have run afoul of the spirit-contacting medium. In February students began to show symptoms of anxiety, hyperventilation and numb arms and legs after using a Ouija board. In May, six girls in the Tolima department were admitted to hospital suffering psychological disorders after playing with a board. Also in May, three girkls were horrified to see a ‘ghost’ standing in a photo with them after they dressed up and enacted Satanic rituals for fun.
And this is not a recent phenomenon, either: In September 2008 a teenaged girl was exorcised by a ‘mysterious traveller’ from Medellin after allegedly being possessed by the devil after a Ouija session.
School officials and parents held a meeting Monday night to discuss the crisis. However, José Antonio Rodríguez, the school’s rector, is incredulous that townspeople think that something supernatural is underway.
“We can’t rush to call [the situation] something that it is not. We will review the medical exams of each girl and discuss the cases independently. We want to find a solution for this problem because [people are panicking when they shouldn’t].”