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Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Back Into The Fridge

  1. Mar 18, 2004 #1
    Thursday 18 March 200403:28am


    VILLAGE BLAZES AGAIN
    Mar 18 2004
    From Jeremy Charles In Rome
    _
    A VILLAGE hit by a series of mystery fires was in flames again yesterday, leaving experts more baffled than ever.
    The phenomenon began two months ago as fridges, washing machines and cookers all burst into flames for no reason. Locals were evacuated amid calls for an exorcism but experts put the fires down to electrostatic interference from power pylons.
    But just a month later, as villagers were moving back to Canneto di Caronia, near Messina, Sicily, fires have started again.
    Disconnected fuse boxes have burst into flames, car central locking systems blocked up and mobile phones have caught fire.
    Yesterday mayor Pedro Spinnato said: "Yes, it's started all over again. Now we are back to where we started."
    Last night experts, surveyors and engineers were probing the mystery.

    Mirror.co.uk - VILLAGE BLAZES AGAIN
    Address:http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/allnew...headline=-VILLAGE-BLAZES-AGAIN-name_page.html Changed:12:28 AM on Thursday, March 18, 2004

    EDIT by Ivan: Please see also the first thread about this story.
    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=14304
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 6, 2004
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 18, 2004 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    This implies that the cause is a person - a prankster.

    The thing that bothers me about any electromagnetic explanations is that any events of this magnitude should affect a large area. The reports seem to say that we find a cell phone here and a fuse box there, burning up from from time to time, but no widespread or simultaneous effects are mentioned. This does not seem possible to me. If I were to opt for a radical explanation, I would almost tend towards a small directed energy weapon as the source...if this is even possible on such a scale. That aside, a prankster seems to be the only reasonable explanation that I have heard...of course that coupled with a little mass hysteria and probably a few fish tales as well.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2004
  4. Mar 18, 2004 #3

    Ivan Seeking

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    One other thought. If the cell phones happened to be plugged in for charging at the time that they were affected, I would then consider random spikes in the voltage supply as the likely culprit. It strikes me that aside from the cell phones, most reports involve hardwired electrical items. In fact, considering Zooby's idea about geomagnetic phenomena, I can imagine that we might induce significant voltages and current - real power, as needed to start fires - in long power lines that supply the area. This does seem possible at least in principle.
     
  5. Mar 18, 2004 #4

    Evo

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    My best friend lives an hour from there and the general consensus has been an arsonist.
     
  6. Mar 18, 2004 #5
    Re: Re: Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Back Into The Fridge

    A prankster or vandal is probably the most reasonable explanation on the face of it, but it is hard to account for how he would be arranging for these fires to start leaving no device behind, not to mention sneaking into so many peoples homes undetected.

    This latest report says that "car central locking systems" have become "blocked up", which is reminiscent of the Las Vegas problems of last month, and suggests a radio frequency EM phenomenon is at work.

    Rather than go all the way to say that since it only happens when people are present then a person is the cause, it might be more fruitful to explore what other things are only happening when people are present. One thing that occured to me is that water supply and waste drainage systems would have been dormant when the people were gone. Not sure what they use for cooking, but if there is a natural gas supply system that would also have been inactive. Any manufacturing facility, if there are any, would have been shut down.
     
  7. Mar 18, 2004 #6

    Evo

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    Most people in that area use bottled gas, although there has recently been a project to build gas lines through the area. Not sure about Canneto in particular, but I can find out.

    In the local news they think the culprit is a mentally deranged person that is being shielded by family. Hey, it's Sicily. Know what I mean?
     
  8. Mar 18, 2004 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    For me, the religious slant is what immediately tainted the credibility of the reports. Because of this I have had serious doubts about the claimed as opposed to the actual events.
     
  9. Mar 18, 2004 #8

    Ivan Seeking

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    Re: Re: Re: Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Back Into The Fridge

    Or, more likely just a failed locking system.

    Like Clinton said, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
     
  10. Mar 18, 2004 #9
    At some point I'm hoping this will be cleared up with a good investigative article that has photos and expert analysis of the burned appliances showing one way or another that the fires were either electrical or that the damage was caused by proximity to something else that was burning (wad of cloth soaked in gas, for example). (I don't know how a cell phone could burst into flames. Can their batteries leak something that would react with something else in them?)
     
  11. Apr 2, 2004 #10
    Update on the confusion:

    Ghostbusters study Sicily's blazes
    Fri 2 April, 2004 05:49
    By Shasta Darlington
    CANNETO DI CARONIA, Sicily (Reuters) - The gate at the entrance to this tiny Sicilian village has come off its hinges and swings in the wind as cats wander into homes abandoned after a series of mystery fires. This is not your average ghost town.
    Canneto di Caronia has been taken over by an endless flow of scientists, engineers, police and even a few self-styled "ghostbusters" searching for clues to the recent spontaneous combustion of everything from microwave ovens to a car.
    The fires started in mid-January and have claimed home appliances and fuse boxes in about half of the 20 odd houses. The blazes originally blamed on the devil himself have not hurt anyone. After a brief respite last month, the flames have flared up again almost daily even though electricity to the village was cut off long ago. "We're working in the dark. We don't have a single lead so far," said Pedro Spinnato, mayor of the trio of Caronia towns. "Every time some new scientist comes to town they arrive thinking the whole thing has been invented or that they're going to solve the mystery in two minutes. They've all been wrong."

    More: Reuters | Latest Financial News / Full News Coverage
    Address:http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsPackageArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=487377&section=news
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2004
  12. Apr 2, 2004 #11

    Ivan Seeking

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    This is sounding more interesting. It seems that the story has legs [as they say]. Wow...I don't know of anything like this that has ever been documented.

    Thanks for the update Zooby.
     
  13. Apr 4, 2004 #12
    PROBLEM UN-SOLVED!
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2004
  14. Apr 4, 2004 #13
    One of the scientists from the Protezione Civile proposed much the same thing, that there was an excess of charged particles leaking out from the earth at this village, but this does nothing to explain how these charges might be causing fires. I don't believe this solves the problem at all.

    Ranyart, you might want to read the other thread on this subject that Ivan linked to as well.
     
  15. Apr 4, 2004 #14

    Ivan Seeking

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  16. Apr 6, 2004 #15

    Ivan Seeking

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    Well, maybe not.

    Since there is so little reliable information available the feeling is that too much opportunity exists for a free-for-all. We will keep this discussion in this forum for now.
     
  17. Apr 6, 2004 #16
    If it only happens when people are around could it be a prankster who has made some sort of homemade EM weapon.
     
  18. Apr 7, 2004 #17

    Ivan Seeking

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    I still think this might be some elaborate prank or mass hysteria. At this point I tend to doubt it, but maybe some mass state of confusion will eventually be shown as the culprit. Maybe the whole town is in on some prank for the money. I know that I really can't believe many of the reports. To me some of them sound really close to impossible. If not, the only thing that even remotely makes sense to me is that electric potential is somehow being induced in the power lines that feed the area. I don't know of any reports of seismic or volcanic activity having this effect but this is the only thing that I can even imagine at this point. I don't know it this is even possible.

    I know that the earthquake lights crowd uses this sort of argument to explain strange lights that are often interpreted UFO’s - that large releases of EM energy can produce lights in the sky in seismically active areas.
     
  19. Apr 16, 2004 #18
    Here's a story that provides some current socio-political info about Sicily, that may or may not be relevant:



    "Mafiosi are losing more than just their freedom.
    *
    Italy's distribution of former mafia-controlled land and assets to Sicilian farmers has not just created jobs and revived the region, but also helped clean up Sicily's notorious gangster image.
    *
    For most foreigners and even mainland Italians, Sicily is synonymous with the mafia. But in recent years the island has been trying to shake off the image that everything is run by organized crime.
    *
    Sicilian authorities are keen to show that large areas of the island are run by honest cooperatives of young farmers and entrepreneurs. These cooperatives have been allocated millions of dollars worth of land and property that used to be formerly controlled by the mafia.
    *
    Italy first adopted laws on the seizure of financial resources and property from imprisoned mafia bosses over two decades ago. But it wasn't until 1996 that new legislation allowed these confiscated assets to be used "for the good of society".
    *
    Birthplace of feared mafia bosses
    *
    Nicolo Nicolosi, the mayor of Corleone, 60 kms south of Palermo where land has been confiscated, said the mafia had acquired it illegally. "These properties were the fruit of money laundering, violence and drug trafficking. The mafia had taken over the best lands, but now these are being given back to the people."**
    *
    Corleone, a farming community is Sicily's most famous mafia town, largely thanks to a Godfather movie trilogy directed by Francis Ford Coppola. But, Nicolosi admitted that *Corleone's association with the mafia is not just fiction.
    *
    "There is no doubt that the most important mafia bosses in the past ten or twenty years were born here. Corleone was the birthplace of* the 'boss of bosses', Toto Riina, arrested in 1993, and of Bernardo Provenzano, who has been at large for 40 years and is believed to rule the mafia today."
    *
    Large land holdings were confiscated from Riina, now serving numerous life sentences. The powerful mafia boss ordered the 1992 killings of two crusading anti-mafia judges, causing outrage in Italy and abroad. In Corleone, Riina was feared and respected by
    many.
    *
    Fear of retaliatory mafia action
    *
    Nicolosi said that when Riina's seized properties were handed over to a cooperative of farmers, locals were concerned there would be deadly repercussions for those entering what was considered to be "sacred territory".
    *
    "Generally people were convinced that assets seized by the mafia should not be touched. Just like relatives of turncoats were killed by the mafia, people feared that those who did would pay for violating mafia territory."
    *
    This was certainly the case in the beginning. The 'Placido Rizzotto' cooperative was assigned 200 hectares of land, partly owned by Mafia boss Riina. The members grow wheat which is then turned into what has been labeled "anti-mafia pasta".
    *
    Francesca Massimino, one of the members said the cooperative has had problems. "The first year we could find no one to provide the machine to harvest the wheat. The police had to intervene to find a harvester," he said.
    Massimino believes the company that had agreed to provide the machine had been threatened.
    *
    Other cooperatives have also faced trouble including discovering that their vines had been cut or experiencing sudden fires. In one case, two Dobermans disappeared from a farm only to be found days later dead in trash cans.
    *
    Giuseppe Randazzo, owner of the Tempio del Monte Jato cooperative, which farms the land that once belonged to another infamous mafia boss Romualdo Agrigento, too said the going hadn't been easy. "The mafia had carried out acts of vandalism. When we came here in 1998 we found it totally abandoned, destroyed, with walls torn down, vines cut down, pipelines severed, total destruction,"

    More:Godfather Country Gets a Makeover | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 16.04.2004
    Address:http://www.dw-world.de/english/0,3367,1433_A_1171733_1_A,00.html Changed:10:33 AM on Friday, April 16, 2004
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2004
  20. Jun 22, 2004 #19
    This strange electrostatic effect I just read about is one I had never heard of before. The accident whereby it was discovered (described at the end) demonstrates that if you just recombine commonly encountered things in the right way the result can be completely unexpected.

    "If mercury is shaken up in a dry glass tube in the dark, a glow is seen, proving the production of small charges of electricity. In fact, enough electricity is produced to cause the tube to attract light bodies. This demonstrates that the friction of liquid bodies against solids can produce electricity.
    This method was not used, however, until, in 1840, an accident showed an easy method of producing large quantities of electricity by driving a jet of steam against a solid body. This is the principle of Armstrong's machine shown in Fig. 83. An insulated boiler is filled with distilled water, which produces high pressure steam that escapes through a row of jets after being partly condensed by passing through pipes surrounded by cold water. The drops of water produced by the condensation strike against a plate of boxwood round which the steam has to pass before it escapes from the jets made of the same wood, as shown in Fig. 9. Electricity is developed in proportion to the increase of the pressure of the steam; the jets become charged positively and the steam negatively. To collect the latter charge an insulated conductor is used, which is furnished with a series of points held opposite the jets. These hydro-electric machines are very powerful but were so difficult to use that they were never adopted in place of friction machines. There was one at the Polytechnic in London with fortysix jets, and which gave sparks two feet long, and one at the Sorbonne, in Paris, has eighty jets, and produced* sparks several inches in length."



    "3The discovery of the principles upon which this machine is constructed were made by chance. "A mechanic was busy repairing a steam?engine near Newcastle, having one hand in a jet of steam which was escaping from a leak, with the other hand on the lever of the safety valve ; he drew a brilliant spark and received a violent shock. Armstrong studied the. conditions of the phenomenon," &e. (Mascart's Traité d'Electricite statique)."
    Static History
    Address:http://www.sparkmuseum.com/FRICTION_HIST.HTM Changed:3:21 PM on Wednesday, November 13, 2002

    No news lately from Canneto di Caronia, but I still think these fires were the result of some kind of freak effect, the proper setup for which may only exist there.
     
  21. Jun 22, 2004 #20

    jimmy p

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    I would have just said voltage spikes like above, but mobile phones and door locks?? How "electrically powered" is a door lock?
     
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