Spirits blamed for girls' fainting spell

2010-10-23 16:39

Phnom Penh - Teachers of 10 teenage girls who collapsed one after another at their rural Cambodian school blamed the mysterious ailment on angry spirits on Saturday.

The girls, aged between 14 and 18, were treated in hospital after fainting but doctors could not ascertain why the youngsters were struck down, said Ruos Lim Chhee, head of the high school in Pnov, northern Cambodia.

He told AFP that all of the girls were found to be healthy, with no signs of food poisoning, although two were a little low on glucose.

"We are afraid we are under a spell because we didn't offer any traditional dancing and music to the spirits on the opening day this year," he said.

"But we have just offered fruits, boiled chickens and wine to the spirits today, and we hope the students will get better and the spirits will take care of us."

Mil Khim, a teacher who witnessed the string of incidents on Thursday, said one of his students started to complain of chest pains early in the morning and then suffered convulsions before falling unconscious.

"The strange phenomenon lasted only a few hours, as eight seventh graders and two from eighth and ninth grade fainted subsequently," he said.

Cambodians in rural areas often believe supernatural forces are behind unexplained events.

"We think that perhaps the spirits are angry because the doctors, teachers and even police found no trace of poison or physical weakness," said district governor, Pech Sophea.