By: Shirlene Omondi
In a bizarre incident that has left the nation baffled, a video featuring high school girls from St. Theresa Eregi Girls in Kakamega has gone viral on social media. The footage shows a group of girls in their distinctive blue uniforms, their limbs trembling, and emitting strange noises, reminiscent of zombies.
While this occurrence has garnered significant attention, there has been no clear communication regarding what is genuinely happening to these girls. Theories abound, with some suggesting mass hysteria, while others lean towards a more spiritual explanation.
It’s important to note that the school is located in Africa, specifically in the western region of Kenya, which has seen its fair share of unusual happenings, according to numerous netizens. Additionally, health experts have remained baffled, unable to determine the root cause of the girls’ bizarre behavior despite conducting various tests on blood samples.
So, what precisely is mass hysteria or mass psychogenic illness? According to experts, it refers to an outbreak of unusual and atypical behaviors, thoughts, feelings, or health symptoms experienced by a group of people. Those afflicted by mass hysteria often share a common belief that something specific has triggered their symptoms and may possess an exaggerated fear of a threat, whether real or imaginary. Historically, “hysteria” was a term applied to a wide range of mental and physical health symptoms experienced predominantly by women, occasionally leading to the involuntary hospitalization of individuals without actual health issues.
Several factors can trigger or exacerbate hysteria, including a strict school environment, communal grief, tense interpersonal relationships, or life in a secluded community, especially one governed by a strict religious faith that punishes deviations. Considering that the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams are looming on the horizon, and the pressure on Kenyan high school students during this period is well-known, it’s plausible to wonder whether the stress of impending exams could be a contributing factor or if there’s a spiritual dimension to this enigma.
Reflecting on a similar incident, students from a Malaysian school once claimed to see ‘dark figures’ within their school premises. Even some teachers eventually asserted that they could sense a mysterious presence. This phenomenon persisted until approximately 100 students became convinced that they were witnessing apparitions. The situation escalated to the point where spiritual healers and even witches were summoned to “purify” the school, after which things returned to normal. To this day, the true nature of what transpired remains a baffling mystery. Could this parallel the situation at St. Theresa’s Girls?
As for the St. Theresa’s Girls, no conclusive answers have emerged. Despite tests conducted by health experts from the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), the cause remains unknown. The entire nation, especially concerned parents and intrigued netizens, waits anxiously for an explanation.
Is it just stress-induced hysteria, a spiritual occurrence, or something far beyond our understanding? The mystery deepens, leaving us all in suspense, wondering about the inexplicable events haunting these schoolgirls.