by Taylor Leonard
Kota Bharu, Kelantan, MALAYSIA – Bloodcurdling screams could be heard coming from inside SMK Pengkalan Chepa 2 secondary school beginning last Thursday morning. The source, according to dozens of students and even staff, was a mysterious figure in black being sighted in hallways and classrooms. The apparition was accompanied with a sense of impending dread among witnesses, many of whom began shrieking in fear upon spotting the phantom.
The claims generated an episode of mass panic throughout the school, leading to classes being canceled for the remainder of the day. Religious leaders from the local community arrived Friday to take control and the school was soon reopened, but screams were reported to still be heard coming from within the building on Sunday.
In total, officials estimate roughly 100 people, the majority being students, claimed to have experienced paranormal activity before the school was closed down. These experiences ranged from a numbness in the hands to a feeling of an entity physically grabbing the person. All apparently involve a central component: the presence of a “black figure” looming close by.
One student allegedly snapped a photo of the phantom, which was subsequently tweeted by a member of the Malaysian press. The blurry image depicts what appears to be the dark outline of a body standing partially behind a column in the school’s hall.
SMK Pengkalan Chepa 2, which counts about 1000 currently enrolled students and 80 staff members on its payroll, is located in a highly religious section of the majority Islamic practicing nation. The students are all female and, according to one source, are placed on a significantly tighter leash than males being educated in the same region.
Mass hysteria, according to one expert, is a common symptom of ongoing stress among an isolated group. Parents of several students say their daughters were finding the high demands of the school increasingly difficult to meet on a daily basis.
Yet students were not the only people claiming to have witnessed the figure in black. One teacher said she believed the phantom was attempting to enter her body at one point. Another affirms the mysterious entity had successfully managed to take control of her mind, but that prayer had prevented the possession process from finishing.
It’s enough for Kota Bharu school officials to go on the record and say the incident is attributed to the paranormal. Outside observers are less willing to chock it up to the supernatural, believing the high-stress school environment was the likely cause.
Similar incidents of seemingly supernaturally-induced mass hysteria are common throughout recent Malaysian history, with several factories forced to temporarily close down in the 1970s due to workers claiming to be plagued by ghosts.