Italy, 1252....Inquisition. Accusation. Fear. Torture. The guilty and the innocent dying for sins real and imagined, in the flames of the burning stake.Neilsville, 1978....Peter Balsam has come to this sleepy desert town to teach its youth, and finds a mystery of mounting horror. Something is happening to the young girls of St. Francis Xavier High School - something evil. In bloodlet and terror, a suicide contagion has swept the town...while a dark order of its holy men enacts a secret medieval ritual.Is hysteria manipulating these innocent children into violent self-destruction? Or has a supernatural force, a 13th-century madness, returned to Punish the Sinners?