Town Battles 'Demonic' Mystery Blazes

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  • #1
megashawn
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A Sicilian town is struggling to work out why dozens of household items from fridge-freezers to furniture keep mysteriously bursting into flame, terrifying locals and sparking theories of demonic intervention.
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=573&ncid=757&e=2&u=/nm/20040211/od_nm/fires_dc [Broken]

Hmm, any guesses on whats going on here?
 
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  • #2
Ivan Seeking
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First guess: The report is bogus.

If this is true and not just a series of unlikely coincidences then obviously it would be quite amazing! The skeptical argument seems to be that the furniture was ignited by appliances or cigarettes, a few or many people are exaggerating, and we have some sort of mass hysteria setting in. I almost expect to hear that some single source or event ignited this whole episode…so to speak. Perhaps a local legend comes into play.

This all sounds like the making of a some future Sociology PhD’s.
 
  • #3
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Well, I prefer to speculate along the lines of some exceptionally peculiar, but natural phenomena. That part of the world is quite volcanic. I propose that piezo-electric spikes created by volcanic stresses in the bedrock are inducing current in various metal conductors around the house in the range of frequencies you would need to get sparks to jump. The sparks then start the fires. I wouldn't be surprised if a new volcano suddenly forms in that town tomorrow.
 
  • #4
megashawn
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I think this one is related;

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=573&ncid=757&e=2&u=/nm/20040213/od_nm/italy_exorcism_dc [Broken]

hahaha
 
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  • #5
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Or this:

Volcano webcams, Mount Etna, Stromboli and Vulcano in Sicily 2003
Address:http://volcanos.sicilian.net/ [Broken]

These pictures look pretty hellish:

Ring of Fire Volcanos: Travel photos, diaries & quotes (Reizen foto's reisverslagen vulkaan)
Address:http://home.planet.nl/~monique.schilders/europe/volcanoes_e.html

Click on the pics to see that they are of Mt. Etna, Sicily, erupting in 2001, except for one of Stroboli erupting (Island near Sicily.)
 
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  • #6
mouseonmoon
quote
-----
First guess: The report is bogus.
---------

Ivan,Please!
I thought you were a true skeptic!

I believe the 'report' is at least 95% accurate-
And again, the explanation will be found among
the "conspiracy" files.

1. local policeman who did not want to be named

This is preposterous--as is his 'story'--seeing " unplugged electrical cables burst into flames with my own eyes...."

conclusion: not a policeman--and obviously part of the 'story'--one of the 'main characters' in fact!!

2."I've seen things like this before," the exorcist reports. "Demons occupy a house and appear in electrical goods.....

fact: Exorcists are having a hard time these days finding anything to do-good chance this guy will be shifted to another 'department' if something doesn't 'come up' soon.....may even be transferred to another country!.....he's got a gravy job and getting anxious.

3. Get a description of this 'policeman' and compare with exorcist==wahla!==case solved!
======
((and that's how a 'real skeptic' solves a case-you gotta investigate---you gotta 'put things together'--simply scouffing at these 'reports' and dismissing the "panic" of the locals will never 'solve' anything!

Any Pelicans reported in the area-that'd be another story.
======

i'm about to report on a fasinating "UFO" case in India-trying to find time to 'put it together'
wish i coulda been there in person-but i'm tied to this rockin chair--darn difficult situation--
tongued typed..... m x c v b n z
 
  • #7
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this isn't entirely a debunk, but yahoo news [from what i know] is known for the amount of garbage it posts on its website, so its usually an unreliable source. hehe that smiley rules
 
  • #8
Ivan Seeking
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Welcome Vodka.

Mouseonmoon,
I am looking forward to your UFO report. I have been really buried with work lately and I have had little time for the important subjects.
 
  • #9
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blurb from italian news agency

blurb provided by the Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA), a well respected italian news service. not very technical i'm afraid, but dismisses demonic theories. fyi, the Protezione Civile is also a nationwide civil protection agency service, involved in studying natural phenomena as well as assisting victims in the case of natural disasters.

from http://www.ansa.it/regionali/sicilia/2004-02-17_927978.html [Broken]:
(translated)

Unexplained fires: the Protezione Civile, natural phenomena

(ANSAweb) - PALERMO, 17 FEB - The regional branch of the Protezione Civile affirms they have scientifically resolved the mystery of the inexplicable fires in the Canneto district of Caronia. It would consist of a natural phenomenon, albeit rare. At Canneto, even after having disconnected the homes from the electrical network, appliances, mattresses, and even houses were inexplicably catching fire. It is a known electrotechnical phenomenon. (ANSAweb).

2004-02-17 - 14:06:00
Edited translation for accuracy at GMT 17:10 on Feb 17.
 
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  • #10
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Originally posted by firefly
http://www.ansa.it/regionali/sicilia/2004-02-17_927978.html [Broken]:
Thanks for the blurb and translation, firefly.

It's interesting to see the Sicilian authorities are taking it seriously, and to find out it continued to happen after the town had been disconnected from the electrical grid. Just makes me curious to know exactly what "electrotechnical" phenomenon they are ascribing it to.

-Zooby
 
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  • #11
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italian interview with Protezione Civile tech

from article in ADNKRONOS (Italian paper) http://www.adnkronos.com/RegioniAdn/Sicilia/2004/Settimana08da16-02a22-02/02incendi_canneto_170204.php [Broken]. Giuseppe Maschio, a member of the Protezione Civile involved in the technical measurements, states
(translation)

"the phenomenon appears related to geochemical emissions, probably because the area is geographically close to the Eolie islands, a vulcanically active area. [...] In effect, there would be a continuous flow of negatively charged particles, which collects and condenses in electrically charged areas, such as the main switches. The excessive heating of this equipment could be the cause of the fires."
so it seems like so far it's a working hypothesis... guess those demon lovers are probably still hanging garlic about the place... heh heh. Anyway, Maschio basically continues to say(sorry if i don't go on translating but...) that they will continue taking measurements, and that it would be a very rare occurrence and one scarcely studied.
 
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  • #12
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Originally posted by zoobyshoe
Well, I prefer to speculate along the lines of some exceptionally peculiar, but natural phenomena. That part of the world is quite volcanic.
looks like you were on the right track... perhaps one step ahead of the Italian Protezione Civile! ;-)
 
  • #13
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Thanks for digging that more detailed one up, firefly, and for the translation work.

I don't find that Maschio's explanation makes any particular sense, at least not the way he put it, but perhaps someone with some real physics knowledge will get interested, go there, and figure it out. I still suspect the local vulcanism to be the cause somehow.

-Zooby
 
  • #14
Ivan Seeking
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I am very interested in the explanations suggested but this one does appear to have big problems. The accumulation of charge is a function of geometry and the EMF driving the charges. For example, a switch has a limited capacitance that is not going to change just because more free charge is available. Also, I don't see how enough current could flow to create any significant heat. I will read and say more when I have more time; maybe later tonight.
 
  • #15
mouseonmoon
seriously-after the power was cut off to the entire town...

quote:
====
In effect, there would be a continuous flow of negatively charged particles, which collects and condenses in electrically charged areas, such as the main switches. The excessive heating of this equipment could be the cause of the fires."

.... and that it would be a very rare occurrence and one scarcely studied.
====

indeed!....i think i'd be headin to the store to get garlic right about now myself!

Good call Zooby!
I definetly need some 'grounding' on this one
 
  • #16
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Originally posted by mouseonmoon
i think i'd be headin to the store to get garlic right about now myself!
well, this would found in bountiful and regular supply in any Sicilian household, indeed more reliably so than power, even during the best of times.
I definetly need some 'grounding' on this one
LOL. but seriously, so might some of the homes in that area. Sicily, and the south in general, are much less developed areas of Italy. I would not place any bets on the quality of the buildings, wiring, or the authenticity of "inspections." Even my parents' condo outside Milan, the industrial capital, has NO grounding.

I'm afraid that interview was the best i could find at the time, with the time I had. Maschio's statement clearly targets an Italian non-technical audience, which I realize you are not. But basically, the exorcists here are now looking elsewhere for employment.

I since saw another article which would take me a bit more effort. When I can I'll translate this or perhaps a more updated one as more precise info comes available. It does seem a bit silly for me to translate more partial detail at this point. Perhaps soon there will be something in international news too.

In any event, I leave the physics critique to others. :smile:

regards,

firefly
 
  • #17
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Here's a more fleshed out telling of the original story from England's Daily Mirror Feb 11, 2004:

It was just little things at first... a TV would smoulder, a mobile phone would catch fire.
But then it got worse - a whole lot worse.
Over three weeks fridges, washing machines, cookers, and furniture all began bursting into flames for no reason. Twelve houses were badly damaged by blazes in the quiet village.
Now, with panic stricken locals blaming evil spirits and calling for an exorcism, the mayor has ordered a full scale evacuation.
Last night Italian TV showed people fleeing in tears while firemen rushed to fight yet another spontaneous blaze.
Engineers called to Canneto di Caronia, near Messina, Sicily, were baffled because the fires continued even when the power was cut off.
Mayor Pedro Spinnato said 'This all began three weeks ago and we can discover no explanation. We cannot risk a tragedy through these fires so I have no other option than to evacuate.'
'We have had engineers in to examine cables and wires but they can find nothing wrong. Twelve houses have been severely damaged after various domestic appliances burst into flames.
'But it is not just electrical items. Furniture is also catching fire for no reason.
'For the time being we have asked families to leave and stay with friends and relatives so a thorough examination can take place.
'People are blaming evil spirits and I am being asked to get the priest to perform an exorcism.
Civil protection chief Tullio Martella said: 'What is going on here is like a scene from some paranormal film
'The fires continued even when we cut the power to the village to see if that was a possible cause
'For the time being there is no scientific explanation and I have never heard of anything like this before.'
Last night more than 100 engineers were in the village and geologists were also due to carry out underground surveys.
 
  • #18
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Last night I googled "standing waves" looking for acoustic phenomena when this extremely interesting paper came up:

The Physics of Resonance
Address:http://www.intuitor.com/resonance/standingEwaveDemo.html

It is a project you can build to demonstrate standing electrical waves. This was news to me. I didn't know there was such a thing.

It involves the use of a small radio transmitter. Basically a radio frequency is fed directly into the ends of two parallel thin copper tubes held in a mount. Since they are not grounded or connected to anything else the radio signal bounces off the free ends and doubles back on itself creating a standing electrical wave which can be seen by placing a fluorescent bulb between the copper tubes: areas of light and dark will appear corrresponding to the standing waves nodes and antinodes.

What caught my eye was the warning that appears if you go to the site and scroll down a bit:
__________________
Cautions
__________________
1. Radio frequency power can cause burns.
It's best to limit radio transmitter output to no more than 5 watts and avoid holding fingers or other body parts between the transmission lines.

If you recall the very first post in this thread one of the witnesses claims to have seen an electrical power cord that wasn't even plugged into the wall burst into flames right in front of his eyes.

That seems absurd at first. But if a radio signal of the proper frequency in the radio range of sufficient wattage were to be transmitted to the electrical cord a standing electrical wave might be set up in the parallel insulated wires such that the insulation between them (plastic probably) would be heated to the point of combustion.

So, the question now becomes, could volcanic stress and heat down in the earth beneath the village actually generate an oscillating electric field, or EM field, that was in the range of radio frequency and of sufficient wattage to induce enough of a standing wave in a power cord to have this heating effect?
 
  • #19
mouseonmoon
WOW

Are Angels playing with their HAARPS?

No. 1 Forte mentions over and over again reports of
"light balls" seen around volcanoes, especially before they
blast off.....

No. 2 since then, the world has been 'hooked up' , and 'filled'
with 'radio' transmissions, micro -waves, etc.....


So, wild speculation......some 'natural' earth formation
just happens to become a 'receiver' of sorts.....what's the geology
of the area--caves lined with layers of copper deposits---i don't know-
suddenly becomes a 'cystal radio' zone.

i'm wondering if somehow there may be natural earth formations that may in effect become 'transmitters' or function as 'amplifiers' ....whatever
--that earth changes due to volcanic or earth-quake or even slight shifts may suddenly produce heat/electrical phenomena that ....
(links welcomed)

===

http://www.pbs.org/tesla/dis/papad.html

Selections from interview with
Dr. Dennis Papadopoulos
Professor of Physics, University of Maryland
Senior Science Advisor, H.A.A.R.P
(High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program)

quote:
========
........
It's nothing more than a radio station, which sends power at 10 megahertz — television, for example PBS, is at 100 megahertz. HAARP sends power at between 3 and 10 megahertz, and sends it up in the ionosphere. What happens is it operates like a microwave oven. As soon as it finds ionized particles, charged particles which start existing at 70 kilometers, this electric field shakes them up and down. When they shake up and down they collide with a lot of neutral particles and it makes them hotter. So, the region where you are focusing your energy
becomes hotter than the rest of the region. That changes the property of the medium.....
======

This guy knows 'radio waves'---and Tesla ( in April this PBS special will be re-broadcast-the web-site PBS has is great! check it out--Colorado Springs experiment, all of it!--really cool
http://www.pbs.org/tesla/
it's not just about the ionosphere though,
we know HAARP is being used to search for 'caverns'.......

yep-add a little conspiracy to the mix--this is a great X-Files case!!


Zooby-couldn't find the article in the Daily Mirror
haven't been able to get anything but Italian news with google?

====
edit link
 
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  • #20
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I actually stole that article from a British paranormal sight where someone had posted it. I didn't take it directly from the Mirror myself. Unfortunately that person didn't post a link, just the text of the article. I couldn't find it searching, either. Here is a similar report from a Scots paper:
Scotsman.com News - International - Italian villagers call for exorcist to end 'demon' fires
Address:http://news.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=165132004 [Broken]

It seems to me that natural cavities in the earth could act as resonators for radio waves, but I don't suspect that in this case because the phenomenon started so suddenly. Haarp has been operating for a long time now.

It could be, though, that the cavities were filled with water or mud that suddenly drained after a minor earthquake opened a blocked channel or something like that.
 
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  • #21
mouseonmoon
quote:
===
It seems to me that natural cavities in the earth could act as resonators for radio waves, but I don't suspect that in this case because the phenomenon started so suddenly. Haarp has been operating for a long time now.
=====

couple thoughts--actually it's been 'on and off' --testing
(and I don't follow this too much-but the 'conspiracy' boys keep bringing it up, and recently had this brought up again from a friend - that goes into another NASA story......)

anyway, the whole shabang can be 'directed' to specific areas,
and why this 'cavern study' of the earth via HAARP?

The 'rumor mills' are working over-time with this 'project'--messing up whale migrations, power brown-outs,
weather control (addressed in my link above),searching the caves for Bin Laden !
blah, blah, blah

and btw--the Scotsman is one of my 'fav' papers--did a fine report on the 'India UFO'.....why can't something like this happen near me?

enjoy your comments/reports--keep up the good work!
 
  • #22
Evo
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Zooby - great guess on the volcanic connection!

Firefly - thanks for the articles and translations!!

The area is very active, lots of earthquakes too. The area of the Aeoli Islands (which this part of Sicily is near) has a reputation for "fire & brimstone".

Zooby, one of my reasons for my being interested in infrasound is that my friend in Sicily can detect an earthquake minutes before the onset. He gets a very strong "weird" feeling a few minutes before an earthquake hits. Before the last earthquake, a few months ago, he was sound asleep and the "feeling" woke him up, he realized an earthquake was coming and he made it to the doorway of his mother's bedroom before the quake started. Scientists have recorded infrasound prior to an earthquake and he apparently is very sensitive to infrasound.
 
  • #23
Ivan Seeking
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In an earthquake, the P-[pressure]waves precede S-waves [shear waves]. P-waves are longitudinal which means that they are sound waves by definition. We then feel the transverse motion of the S-wave passing as the quake. I was in two large quakes [~7.0] and a few lesser 5.5-6.0 events as well [having grown up in LA]. I almost always heard the quake before I felt it. Since the signal attenuation of waves increases with frequency, the longer the wave, the farther it travels.

Seismic waves which travel through the interior of the earth are called body waves. There are two types of body waves:
S-waves (also called secondary or shear waves).
The particles making up the medium through which the S-wave is traveling move perpendicular to the direction of propagation of the S-wave (transverse). The S-wave motion can be split into SH (horizontally polarized motion) and SV (vertically polarized motion). S-waves involve shearing and rotation of the material through which the wave passes but does not involve volume change.
P-waves (also called primary or pressure waves).
The particle motion of P-waves is longitudinal, that is, in the same direction in which the P-wave is traveling. The particles in the medium vibrate about an equilibrium position. The medium through which a P-wave travels experiences compression and rarefaction, but not rotation.
http://www.gps.caltech.edu/~polet/body_waves.html [Broken]

A couple of problems that I have with EMF induced activities as an explanation:

1). Events of that magnitude would be detected at great distances.
2). Events should be observed throughout the area and simultaneously; not sporadically with a cell phone here and a couch cushion there.
 
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  • #25
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Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
I almost always heard the quake before I felt it.
I've never heard one. The shaking of the building I was in was the only manifestation. I've never been closer to the epicenter than two hundred miles.
A couple of problems that I have with EMF induced activities as an explanation:

1). Events of that magnitude would be detected at great distances.
They probably were. Radios in a wide area probably experienced momentary static that was dismissed as due to conventional reasons.
2). Events should be observed throughout the area and simultaneously; not sporadically with a cell phone here and a couch cushion there.
I don't suspect "seismic" phenomena, rather "volcanic" phenomena. As mouseonmoon suggested with his speculation about caves beneath this specific village, what is going on is obviously dependent on something unique to the local geography.

I suspect that fluctuations in pressure caused by a flow of hot magma close to the surface beneath the village is the prime generator of electrical or EM signals that are being processed by the specifics of the local geography, in a way you wouldn't be able to predict. I don't think there have been any actual quakes.

The last story I linked to said they were investigating local sources of man made radio signals as well (Or microwave?) so mouseonmoon may have a point about the village geography doing something unusual to man made signals, and that the vulcanism may be immaterial. His suggestion of subterranean copper deposits is not without merit: the island of Cyprus, also in the mediterranen, was the ancient center of copper mining.

Whatever is happening is clearly the result of some quite peculiar arrangement of things. Trying to explain it in terms of the normal effects that happen in normal configurations will only lead you to having to dismiss all possibilities.

The caution I found in that paper:

1.Radio frequency power can cause burns.

really struck me as fitting the "criminal profile" of the sort of culprit that could cause the fires reported, in so far as it can be invisibly transmitted to any conductor.
 

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