Anyone coming from a messy divorce is more than likely to be psychologically affected. That appears to be the case for this teacher from Florida who was described as gentle and kind before taking up some odd ritual believed to have stemmed from that messy life episode.

The teacher was identified as Danielle Harkins who nine years ago allegedly performed a bizarre ritual on seven of her pupils from the Lealman Asian Neighborhood Family Centre in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The 35-year-old teacher met seven of her students at a local park at dusk in the ritual supposedly meant to convince students to rid their bodies of demons. Details are limited but the scars that it left students were well-documented.

At that time, Harkins already had a small fire burning. The mother of two allegedly told the students that they were infested with demons and that it was time to get rid of them. What happened from there remains a mystery.

The students hardly bared what went on but authorities reveal that the teacher told them that they had to cut themselves to release the demons from within. Once the alleged demons were out, she allegedly said that they would have to burn themselves, the reason for the small fire.

When none of the students wanted to start, Harkins reportedly started to do it. She used a broken bottle to cut one student’s neck. Moments later, she used a key which she heated through the fire to cauterize the wound.

Another student was cut in the hand. She used a lighter to try and cauterize the wound but it kept going out. Instead, she took out the perfume from her bag, poured it on the wound and then set the teen’s hand on fire. The student ended up with second-degree burns.

"Obviously, it's very strange. The motivations for the ritual are very unknown to us. She hasn’t informed us exactly what she was trying to accomplish with this," a police spokesman said.

Aside from the two students, little is known about what the other five students potentially did. But it was clear that Harkins was mentally off, something neighbors noticed a month before the controversial ritual.

Harkins was found guilty of one count of child abuse and one count of aggravated battery. None of the kids present that night testified. The 35-year-old was jailed for six months and was released in 2012.

50-year-old man set on fire by teens
Representational image. Photo by Cullan Smith on Unsplash

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