Mass hysteria, kids trying to get out of school, or something more? A “ghost sighting” at a high school in Ghana caused injuries, hospitalizations, a rampage of vandalism and forced the school to shut down earlier this month. Similar events happened at a different Ghana high school last year, forcing school closure and hospitalization after alleged appearances of spirits and mass hysteria. West Africa is rife with folklore of spirits, sorcery, witchcraft and juju and while it may appear superstitious, this ghost sighting caused 20 students to collapse and drove one girl to jump off the roof of the building, sustaining injuries.
The bizarre event happened at Fumbisi Senior High School while students were studying at around 11 PM (it is a boarding school), according to GhanaWeb. District Police Commander Samuel Ntoso told local news that a “strange object which looked like a human being” appeared in the middle of the room where the students were studying. According to Ntoso, the students began to panic and started “running for dear life in different directions.” According to Class News reporter Derick Abakisi:
“So, one of the third-year General Arts students, a lady, whose name was given as Salomey Acheampong, happened to jump from the second floor and landed on the ground, so, she got injured and was rushed to the Fumbisi Clinic. But the information we have now is that she has been transferred to Sandema.”
The night of the apparition, three students fainted. The next day, 20 more students also collapsed. The night after the apparition, too, bands of students went on a “rampage” of vandalism and later acted very strangely. This series of increasingly bizarre events forced the closure of the school. According to Abakasi:
“Then also around 1 am this morning…some of the students…went to the housemistress’ bungalow and threw stones to damage some of her properties. From there they continued to the headmaster’s bungalow where they assaulted the night security man. So, when day broke, the troubles were still going on. [The school] prepared their [students] breakfast for them but they said they will not eat. So, the headmaster, in consultation with the DCE and the Regional Director of Education, took a decision that…they should close the school down until further notice.”
“According to the information that we have, some of the girls have some attacks which look spiritual so they have been rushed to the Sandema Government Hospital. The school has been closed down and all the students have left the campus”
The collapsed students were treated at the local hospital in Fumbisi, but later moved to the larger Sandema Government Hospital. According to GhanaWeb, at least sixteen of those hospitalized have been released.
So what really happened here? Who knows. Things like this have a tendency to happen in West Africa. Whether you believe in ghosts that can drive people to madness or not, is up to you. But it is always interesting when “superstition” starts having impacts on the physical world.