During a time long before security cameras within high schools became a reality, the Miami Aerospace Academy incident of October 25th, 1979, still haunts many. What really happened that fateful day? Was it a demonic infestation, mass hysteria or something else, entirely? Shock Docs: The Devil’s Academy attempts to┬ámake sense of those unusual events in a two-hour documentary.

At the height of the Satanic Panic, as The Exorcist and The Omen get unleashed into the pop-culture stratosphere, something strange takes place at a South Florida military school. According to eyewitness reports, everything was fine until a young girl felt nauseous and runs, screaming to the bathroom. By the time a few of her friends check in on her, she admits to being possessed by the Devil before she starts acting erratic and even levitating before their eyes. At that exact moment, a tidal wave of rage comes crashing down onto other students. Inexplicably, an unprovoked fight breaks out and the entire student body erupts into chaos.

By the time law enforcement arrives, one student throws himself out of a second-floor window, and after rising without a scratch, he began fighting with a police officer, reportedly with superhuman strength. There’s even reports of children with demonic-looking eyes, throughout it all, causing mischief. It would only be natural to be skeptical of this chain of events, which seems unbelievable from the outside looking in, but according to eyewitness testimony, all of this actually happened.

“This is the largest spiritual contagion of mass possession that has ever occurred in American history.”

After local newspapers reported the events, the story went viral, so to speak. But 40 years later, this incident has sort of been lost to history, as well as paranormal history, for that matter. In this documentary, a former police sergeant and deputy fire chief tell their side of the story, as well as two former students speaking out for the first time.

A toxic atmosphere mixed with harsh discipline and even the dark rituals of Santeria supposedly led the kids to summoning powers of darkness beyond their control. Is it possible they opened a portal for something diabolical to enter?

Unfortunately, this presentation felt a little thin and there weren’t enough eyewitness testimonies to really fill in the blanks. The overly dramatic depiction felt like it went overboard on the theatrics and a little redundant — I found myself bored after watching 10 minutes of it. By the time it’s revealed Miami Aerospace Academy Founder Evaristo “El General” Marina had inner demons of his own and an instructor may have introduced the supernatural to the children, I had already checked out.

Dark forces may be lying in wait everywhere we look, but we shouldn’t blame it all on the Satanic Panic without more details. While there may have been two students opening up about some of their experiences at the school; unfortunately, not one child who was supposedly present for this event was interviewed. That, in itself, sounds sketchy as hell, even if it all was printed by a New York newspaper syndicate.

The devil may be in the details, but I need more nitty-gritty evidence, less speculation and fewer time-fillers to truly believe everything that’s presented here actually happened. On the realistic side, these out-of-control students were frightened. Maybe they were already little monsters to begin with and they finally got pushed over the edge.

If it wasn’t a demonic attack and it wasn’t mass hysteria or a hoax, what really happened there? I don’t know, but there sure was a lot of pent-up negative energy at this school that was bound to be released one way or another.

“Something seems to have unleashed a malevolent force that floods the entire school…”