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Signs Supplement: Fortean Fire

Here at the Signs of the Times we document a wide variety of issues that affect us all: political, criminal, social and scientific. Two of the most popular issues with our readers appear to be earth changes and anomalous phenomena. Upheavals and change in all these issues seem to follow the same cyclical patterns as one examines our reality with discerning eyes, a critical mind and broad historical knowledge.

To help make sense of your place in history and to put these tumultuous times in perspective than your best source may be Ancient Science by Laura Knight-Jadczyk. Laura examines the possibility of time loops, at the cyclic appearance of cataclysms in the geological and archaeological record, and at how the ancients, prior to the imposition of the monotheistic religions, saw the world in terms of recurring cycles. The cyclic vision of birth and death, of periodic flood and fire cleansing the earth, leading to a renewed earth, moving in a spiral with each loop repeating the dynamics of the prior loop, was displaced by a vision of linear time with definite starting and end points of time and creation. The transition point, the point of a macrocosmic quantum leap, is the point of renewal. But it is also chaotic and catastrophic, a period of death and destruction prior to the birth of the new world.

Is the strangeness we are experiencing now a Sign of this transition, markers that our world is on the verge of a quantum change? It is possible. To read more about this, we encourage you to read Ancient Science. This work puts this speculation on a scientific footing, using research from scientists in many fields. Ancient Science was just been reissued in a new, revised edition, with 100 extra pages, including a detailed index.

We are attempting to place one of the stranger mysteries we have come across in a while in perspective. The first hint of this story, in English, comes from this small article on February 10, 2004:

10 Feb 2004

(Messina) - The mysterious phenomenon of the spontaneous fires that provoked fear and surprise among the residents of Canneto on the Tyrrhenian coast of the province of Messina has come to a standstill in the last twelve hours. The thirty or so inhabitants of the village who were evacuated for security reasons have not yet been able to go home. Experts of the State Rescue Services continue to carry out checks whilst awaiting special machinery from Milan in order to get more precise results.

Yesterday the fires had become paradoxical and were even breaking out in water pipes or between pieces of electrical wire which had been cut and were lying on the ground without being connected to any source of energy. The electricty has been turned off in Canneto for several days but this did not stop the fires breaking out. In the course of the last few days the flames developed again and again without any plausible explanation in domestic appliances, intercoms, plugs, meters. Checks by electricity company ENEL and technicians from the RFU have for the moment excluded any link between the fires and the electrical pylons of the Palermo-Messina railway line which passes only a few metres from the houses and which the residents believe are in some way responsible.

Comment: Before we get into some of the high strangenss from this current incident, we will take a look at a similar phenomena that occurred in northern Italy in 1990:

The Berici Hills Mystery

The trouble started in San Gottardo, a mountain village of 500 people above Vicenza in northern Italy, on 14 February 1990. Aldo Calgaretto saw the fuse box outside his house start to burn. Electricians found no faults, but even before they left, the new fuse box was in flames. Within two days, other bizarre events struck nearby houses on the narrow winding lane called Via Calora. Televisions switched themselves on and off, indicator lights flashed on a locked car, and armchair caught fire, as did a pair of ski boots and a plastic canopy. The electricity men returned with a sophisticated machine but the plastic switches melted.

When the fires started, Lucio Donatello, one of the joint mayors of San Gottardo, thought the village was affected by mass hysteria, but he soon changed his mind. 'One day I discovered my car engine running with all the doors locked. Then the right front door burst into flames in front of my eyes. Another time, I was given a jolt when the electric razor I was using caught fire in my hands!'

Mr Donatello and the other mayor, Giancario Zuin, visited Via Calora to restore confidence. As they stood talking, the parked car they had arrived in caught fire. 'We watched the rear plastic light slowly melt in front of our eyes,' said Mr. Zuin. 'There was more and more smoke and then it burst into flames. I couldn't believe it.'

The next event was Bertilla Moran's house filling with acrid smoke. The wheelchair used by his disabled father and kept under the stairs had caught fire and was destroyed. Dozens of people began to complain of headaches, sickness, stomach pains, and skin inflammations that seemed to be resistant to medication. Pets went off their food, while sheep, goats and chickens became restless.

Police, firemen and electricity men were unable to explain the events. Reaction in the village ranged from bafflement to terror. There was talk of the devil, UFOs, Martians, the supernatural. Some experts suspected 'excess electricity produced by high-power generators at a nearby US communications base.' The only reason many refused to leave was the fear that their homes would burn down in their absence and they would lose everything. Many families took turns to sleep so there was always someone to watch for fires. Sunday Express 11 March; Guardian 22 March; national Enquirer 9 April 1990. [The World's Most Incredible Stories: The Best of Fortean Times, New York 1992, p. 54]

On February 11, 2004 we have the following articles with more information. Panic is setting in, and wild emotional theories are being tossed around:

From Jeremy Charles In Rome
The Mirror

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 fireman 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 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 through 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 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.

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Italian villagers call for exorcist to end 'demon' fires

AN ITALIAN village was evacuated yesterday as investigators attempted to explain an outbreak of spontaneous household appliance combustions, which have left locals fearing for their safety.

Fridges, cookers, televisions, washing machines, mobile telephones and furniture have burst into flame for no apparent reason at a dozen houses in the Sicilian village of Canneto di Caronia near Messina.

Authorities initially suspected the fires were caused by overhead cables on a nearby railway line, but the outbreaks continued even after the village’s electricity supply was cut off, leading some locals to blame supernatural forces.

Pedro Spinnato, the village mayor, has ordered the evacuation so further investigations can be carried out.

"This has been going on for three weeks now and there is no explanation for it. We cannot risk a tragedy through these fires, so I have no other option but to evacuate the village," said Mr Spinnato.

"We have had electrical engineers in to examine cables and wires but they can find no explanation. It is not just electrical items, furniture is also catching fire for no reason.

"Already people are blaming the events on evil spirits and I am being asked to get the local priest to perform an exorcism."

The civil protection chief, Tullio Martella, said: "For the time being there is no scientific explanation for it and I have never heard of anything like this happening before in Italy. The fires continued even when we cut power to the village to see if that was a possible cause."

Last night more than 100 engineers were in the village and geologists were also due to carry out underground surveys.

Nino Pezzino, 42, one of 39 villagers evacuated yesterday, said: "Twelve of our houses are uninhabitable. Fortunately, for the time being, the only damage has been to houses and no-one has been hurt, but you can sense the growing fear.

"How can anyone live in a house where any minute something can catch fire for no apparent reason?"

Father Gabriel Amorth, the Vatican’s chief expert on exorcisms, said: "With cases of demon behaviour it is normal for domestic appliances to be involved and for demons make their presence known via electricity."

Comment: We want to see your data Father Gabriel!

If he, a spokesmen for the Catholic church, can talk about "demons", then surely we can discuss our own theories. We don't have enough data yet for a sound working hypothesis, but surely we can come up with something better than demons.

How about this for starters: It could be a fourth density bleed through. We have very little idea how dimensions and densities interact in our reality, so if it is open season on all things weird then let's really get down to the nitty-gritty. See our brief commentary on the topic of densities and dimensions from Sunday, February 8, 2004. You can also examine our research into the phenomena of mystery booms, many that have no "rational" explanation. Also see Physics of the Mysterious.

Update: The sea in this area is boiling:

Jan 29

(Lipari) - The bad weather, with a strong northwest wind and a stormy sea, prevent a team of technicians and experts of the Civil Emergencies Centre to make an inspection in Panarea, where the so called phenomenon of the 'boiling sea' resumed. This phenomenon is due to the creation of sulphur whirpools caused by underwater de-gasification activities. Staff from the forecast and prevention of volcanic risks of the CIvil Emergencies Centre and geo-chemists of the National Institute of Volcanology and Geo-Physics were due to make exams and analysis, after a superficial boiling with an intense sulphur smell was noticed by a fisherman among the Bottaro and Lisca Bianca reefs.

The Lisca Bianca reef was also concerned by a small landslip, as the Coast Guard and the Lipari major, Mariano Bruno, reported. This area is the same when the 'boiling see' phenomenon was observed for the first time in Nov. 2002. After a peak in December it progressively slowdown. The last inspection on the stretch of water between Bottaro and Lisca Bianca was made last Monday, when the situation seemed normal.

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Jan 29

(Palermo) - The bad weather disrupted the maritime connections between Sicily and its minor islands. Siremar's ferries couldn't leave Trapani for Pantelleria, nor Porto Empedocle for Lampedusa and Linosa, isolated for two days. Also Eolie cannot be reached by hydrofoils and ferries. The smallest islands of the Eolie have been in isolation since yesterday. The Egadi are partially connected, as connections for Marettimo are completely suspended. The hydrofoil sailed from Palermo to Ustica was forced to came back because of a strong northwest wind.

Comment: This article from The Scotsman ties in these current fires with another incident of mysterious fires in Italy, and details just what can happen when fear and superstition take precedence over open minded investigation:

Sicilian fires recall nanny's 'witch' ordeal

EVEN amid the folklore and superstition which is woven through the fabric of rural Italy, it is a phenomenon which Sicilians have never faced before: a series of unexplained fires, arising in household appliances, even when the electricity is switched off.

But as the village of Canneto di Caronia remained deserted yesterday amid claims that demonic spirits were to blame for the blazes, the hysteria had an all too familiar ring for one Scottish mother.

In the 1980s, Carole Compton went on trial in Italy, branded a witch and a sorceress who used supernatural powers to start fires in the homes where she was employed as a nanny.

Last night, she was attempting to block from her mind the happenings in Canneto di Caronia, which bring sinister echoes of the ordeal which led to her spending 16 months in an Italian jail.

"What happened to me is something that never goes away," she said, from the home she shares with her husband, Zaroof Fazal, and their three school-age children in Yorkshire.

"It was a dreadful ordeal, and all this doesn’t help. I don’t know what’s happening over there now, and I don’t want to. I have a happy life now. I try not to think about the past."

Italian officials remained at a loss yesterday to explain the cause of the recent events in Canneto di Caronia. Pedro Spinnato, the mayor of the village near Messina, ordered residents to evacuate their homes on Tuesday, to allow investigations to be carried out.

The move follows a series of fires in recent weeks, which have seen fridges, cookers, televisions, washing machines and mobile telephones burst into flames spontaneously in 12 different homes.

Enel, the Italian utility company, cut the power to the town after the first reports but the fires have continued.

Officials are now trying to discover if an electromagnetic disturbance, caused by a natural phenomenon, or a problem in the electrical supply network, is to blame.

However, yesterday, fears were escalating that supernatural powers are at play.

Father Gabriel Amorth, the Vatican’s chief expert on exorcisms, indicated that the Roman Catholic Church has not ruled out the possibility of demonic intervention.

According to the Italian daily newspaper, Il Messagero, he said: "I’ve seen things like this before. Demons occupy a house and appear in electrical goods. Let’s not forget that Satan and his followers have immense powers."

The Italian government was yesterday braced for the fact that one of Europe’s richest and most industrialised nations is once again hitting headlines around the world as a country where superstition and fear of the paranormal remain part of modern culture.

The authorities were deeply embarrassed in 1982 when Ms Compton was arrested amid claims that she was a witch with powers of pyrokinesis - the supernatural ability to start fires by thought alone.

The young Scotswoman’s ordeal began in 1982, when she went to Italy with an Italian man she had fallen in love with in her home town of Ayr.

She found a job caring for the children of the Ricci family in an exclusive area of Rome. But within weeks she was linked to objects and religious paintings flying or falling around her, and a number of fires which broke out in holiday homes used by the Riccis.

Another fire also broke out in the bedroom of the Riccis’ two-year-old son, Emanuele.

When told she was no longer needed, the nanny moved to another family, but again, objects were said to have inexplicably fallen off walls in her presence.

When the cot of her three-year-old charge, Agnese, caught fire, she was arrested.

The grandmother of one of the children accused her of being a sorceress, and although she was not charged with witchcraft, this formed the basis of the accusations against her. Italian officials were hugely embarrassed at the panic surrounding her trial, where Italians used crucifixes and amulets to ward off evil.

She was found guilty of arson and attempted arson, although a charge of attempted murder was dismissed.

She was sentenced to two and a half years in prison, but having spent 16 months in jail on remand, she was freed immediately.

After her release she published Superstition: The True Story of The Nanny They Called A Witch, a book which included evidence from experts who suggested she was the unwitting victim of a poltergeist.

Today, she has created a new life with her husband and children in West Yorkshire. However, it seems the superstition which led to her imprisonment is still rampant in the land she once called home.

Comment: More theories...

Village evacuated after spontaneous fires
From AFP
February 12, 2004

[...] Locals are convinced they are more likely the victims of a pyromaniac than a pyschic phenomenon.

Comment: Makes no sense. A bunch of invisible pyromaniacs in a coordinated effort of setting refrigerators on fire? This is more fantastic than anything we could come up with.

Professor Giuseppe Maschio of the University of Messina believes the fires may have something to do with an electromagnetic field.

"If the results are negative, we must then exclude this hypothesis along with those of seismic phenomena," said Maschio. [...]

Comment: Yes, but how do these electomagnetic fields come to manifest themselves in our environment, in such a specific locale for an extended period of time?

There is a little known history of these types of fires, other than the one we have included already. In fact, we discovered so many accounts of strange fires that we had to limit ourselves to the examples that contain the most similarity to our current case.


Thessaloniki, 13 February 2004 - A blizzard has struck most of the country, while Attica is in a state of emergency, as the snow has made movement in the streets very difficult. Anti-skid chains are required even at Syntagma Square. Schools and courthouses are closed. The “El. Venizelos” and 7 other airports have closed throughout Greece. The General Secretariat of Civic Protection has recommended emergency measures be taken due to the dangerous weather phenomena.


Comment: A reader from Athens sent us the above photo and commented, "The temperature in Athens is -5C. This is the first time in 60 years this happens. [This picture is taken] only 500 meters from the sea."

It just so happens that Athens is at the same latitude as Messina, Sicily.

Also, Sicily and Athens are on the same latitude where the meteorites fell in Spain just last month! El Mundo reported that it was estimated that the meteorite was the "size of a house" and up to 100 tons. It was reported across the full width of Spain with hundreds of witnesses seeing fireballs with "silver trails" streaking across the sky. Many also heard loud explosions that rattled windows and doors and felt the ground shake. Also:

Blizzards Lash Turkey, 20 Missing as Ship Sinks
By Daren Butler
Fri February 13, 2004
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Blizzards cut off thousands of Turkish villages, blocked roads and kept air and sea routes closed on Friday, while rescue workers battled high seas in the search for 20 men lost when their ship sank off Istanbul. [...]
Comment: Turkey and Athens just happen to be neighbors.

Now read this passage we just discovered from Charles Fort's book LO!:

EMISSIONS of arms -- the bubbling of faces, at crevices -- fire and smoke and a lava of naked beings. Out of a crater, discharges of bare bodies boiled into fantastic formations --

Or -- five o'clock, morning of Dec. 28, 1908 -- violent shocks in Sicily. The city of Messina fell in a heap, which caught fire. It is the custom of Sicilians to sleep without nightclothes, and from this crater of blazing wreckage came an eruption of naked beings. Thick clouds of them scudded into thin vapours.

The earth quaked at Messina, and torrential rain fell. According to Nature, Dec. 31, 1908, a fall of meteorites had been reported in Spain, a few days before the quake. According to the wisemen of our more or less savage tribes, the deluge at Messina, at the time of this quake, fell only by coincidence. No [313/314] wisemen would mention the fall of meteorites, as having any relation.

There were, at the time, world-wide disturbances, or rather, disturbances, along a zone of this earth -- Asia Minor, Greece, Sicily, Spain, Canary Islands, Mexico. But all wisemen who wrote upon this subject clipped off everything else, and wrote that there had been a subsidence of land in Sicily. It is the same old local explanation. Scientists and priests are unlike in some respects, but they are about equally parochial. [...]

1908 also happens to be the year of the Tunguska blast.

Is there some sort of 96 year cycle of upheaval?

Also in 1908, Fort reports these strange items in LO!:

[...] Shining things, flying like birds, in the fields of North Norfolk continued to be reported. The brilliant things looked electric. When they rested on trees, everything around them was illuminated. Purdy's descriptions are very different from "a pale, yellow glow." Upon the night of December 1st, he saw something that he thought was the lamp of a motor cycle, moving rapidly, in a field, stopping, then rising several yards, moving higher, and then retreating. It moved in various directions. See the Field, Jan. 11, 1908. [...]

Something else was reported, in this region. In the Eastern Daily Press, Jan. 28, 1908, it is said that, at night -- moon bright -- "a dark, globular object, with a structure of some kind upon the side of it, travelling at a great pace," had been seen in the sky, by employees of the Norwich Transportation Company, at Mousehead. (10) "It seemed too large for a kite, and, besides, its movements seemed under control, for it was travelling against the wind." [...]

Or maybe it is a 9.6 year cycle:

Another computer study of twelve hundred anomalies and unusual occurrences, sifted from the works of Charles Fort, was recently carried out by C.L. Mallows of the Bell Telephone Laboratories. Here it was found that a broader cycle of 9.6 years was seemingly involved. "The conclusion is inescapable that these cycles of activity, which pass through our world like radio waves of enormous length, must have a common cause," Damon Knight explained in his book, Charles Fort: Prophet of the Unexplained. "The cause of the cycles, the controlling force that keeps them in synchrony, must lie outside the earth."

The Bell study includes such diversified phenomena as sky falls (odd objects dropping out of the sky, unusual storms, rains of frogs, etc.) things observed in space, and things seen in the sky. All of these phenomena tended to cluster - to occur simultaneously in specific months and specific years. The waves or cycles of these events were repeated approximately every 9.6 years. The study dealt largely with data from the nineteenth century. [Our Haunted Planet, John A. Keel, Minnesota, 1999, p. 83]

Regular readers of the Signs page know that we have experienced a large surge of reports of all kinds of phenomena. Another interesting phenomena that follows cycles is the Chandler Wobble, which is the movement of the earth's axis:

Scientists have been particularly intrigued by the Chandler wobble since its cause has remained a mystery, even though it has been under observation for over a century. Its period is only around 433 days, or just 1.2 years, meaning that it takes that amount of time to complete one wobble. The amplitude of the wobble amounts to about 20 feet at the North Pole. It has been calculated that the Chandler wobble would be damped down, or reduced to zero, in just 68 years, unless some force were constantly acting to reinvigorate it. But what is that force, or excitation mechanism? Over the years, various hypotheses have been put forward, such as atmospheric phenomena, continental water storage (changes in snow cover, river runoff, lake levels, or reservoir capacities), interaction at the boundary of Earth’s core and its surrounding mantle, and earthquakes.

Researcher Michael Mandeville has charted and analyzed the Chandler Wobble and suggests that it is progressively shifting the location of the poles at an accelerating rate. His conclusion is that something is “driving” this change — possibly some interaction between the earth and the Sun and/or Moon. Whatever is driving it, it seems that the result is a heating up of the interior of the earth resulting in increased El Nino activity, and accelerating earthquake activity.

The above quotes are from Laura Knight-Jadczyk's book Ancient Science, that we discussed in the opening of this supplement. A vital book in helping to understand these cycles that affect every one of us.

Most of the examples we have collected, and include later in this article, are not quite as widespread, debilitating an entire town. Which leads us to the next theory:

It could be microwave weapons in space.

Considering that these upheavals may be cyclical may give more weight to the theory that what is going on now is "natural" rather than man made. By natural we mean forces not controlled by human beings, but then again, humans may also be affected by these upheavals and act out in strange and bizarre ways.

U.S. 'negation' policy in space raises concerns abroad
By Loring Wirbel
EE Times May 22, 2003 (1:26 p.m. ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — While much of the talk around the Pentagon these days focuses on "transformation" of the military, some of the United States' closest allies worry about another buzzword being used in subtler ways at the National Reconnaissance Office: "negation."

The nation's largest intelligence agency by budget and in control of all U.S. spy satellites, NRO is talking openly with the U.S. Air Force Space Command about actively denying the use of space for intelligence purposes to any other nation at any time—not just adversaries, but even longtime allies, according to NRO director Peter Teets. [...]

The program will include two components: the Counter Communication System, designed to disrupt other nations' communication networks from space; and the Counter Surveillance Reconnaissance System, formed to prevent other countries from using advanced intelligence-gathering technology in air or space.

"Negation implies treating allies poorly," Robert Lawson, senior policy adviser for nonproliferation in the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, said at a Toronto conference in late March. "It implies treaty busting." [...]

Comment: So lets not get going on the Russians and Scalar weapons business - a favorite of Tom Bearden's. If anyone decided to test microwave weapons it would be the US and/or the "secret government". One of the few hypotheses regarding the cause of the mysterious Columbia explosion was that it was shot down with a satellite based weapon, perhaps an EM pulse. It is very likely such capabilities really do exist.

Rumsfeld Sets Stage for Weaponization of Space

Washington - Noting today that the Air Force will be tasked with the responsibility to prepare for sustained offensive and defensive space operations, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld "has formally established the Pentagon infrastructure that will lead to the weaponization of space," according to Tom Cardamone, Executive Director of the Council For a Livable World Education Fund. [...]

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Early Steps toward Weaponization

In late 1968, Maj Gen Oris B. Johnson, commander of the 9th Aerospace Defense Division, wrote an article that helped open the door for weaponization advocates. In "Space: Today's Front Line of Defense," General Johnson emphasized the "continuity of the air/space medium" and the inevitable nature of the Air Force's growth into space. "Both physically and conceptually," he argued, "the extension of military systems beyond the lower atmosphere has turned out to be natural and evolutionary." [...]

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U.S. Weaponization of Space: Implications for International Security
Theresa Hitchens
Vice President, Center for Defense Information
Sept. 29, 2003

It is clear that under the administration of President George W. Bush, the United States is on a pathway toward becoming the first nation to put weapons in space.  The consequences of such a major shift in long-standing U.S. policy – which since the Eisenhower administration has eschewed the deployment of space weapons – for U.S. and international security, while not completely predictable, are likely to be widespread and deep seated. [...]

Comment: There also was this strange little story from Colorado that we posted on the October 10, 2003 Signs page. Probably no connection, but then we can't say there is not for certain either. Radio waves and microwaves have different effects of course, but strange things are broadcast through the air without our knowledge all the time:

Airwave glitch hits Springs area: Garage-door openers jammed, hundreds say
By Eileen Kelley
Denver Post

COLORADO SPRINGS - Next time NATO officials say they're doing a lockdown, the folks in the luxury Broadmoor neighborhood will take them seriously.

Very seriously.

Last week, NATO workers erected security and communications towers in the area in advance of this week's defense ministers' conference.

By 9 a.m. Friday morning, all 10 lines at Overhead Door Company of Colorado Springs were lit up with calls from the Broadmoor and the nearby town of Security complaining that their garage- door openers had jammed.

More than 400 calls from frantic, frustrated and flustered residents came on that day alone. They haven't stopped since, said the company's receptionist, Tina Oetken.


Oetken and her bosses don't think so.

"With over 600-plus calls, it's hard to believe that it can be anything but" NATO, Oetken said Wednesday. [...]

Comment: Just what is going on over there in Colorado? If you go to the above link, the right bar on the page links to the Denver Post's coverage of NATO's meeting which includes staging a mock crisis. We want to know if the citizens of Colorado Springs start manifesting strange symptoms.

There happens to be a NATO base in the near vicinity of Messina. Sicily is a great location for such a test. Modern enough to receive data on such an experiment from the journalism, religious enough for a large portion of the population to listen to the Catholic Church and write it off as the work of demons with out further examination of the data. There are a couple of discussion groups in Italian discussing this issue. If any of our readers, who know Italian, want to write a summary for us, we would appreciate it: microwaves are discussed here, and, what appears to us, as supernatural explanations discussed here.

Update: A reader has responded:

Hi, A friend of mine was able to translate at least part of the post message regarding the Sicilian weirdness. I'll see what else she can do.

To the TG5 and open study and the greater TG they have shown of the strange events every hour in course with a lot of directed activities in the area. Similar phenomena had happened also in a county of Vicentino: the conclusion was finally reached that that the occurence was not due to radar not since it was found to be just to unorthodox and too powerful.

The radar system was placed by the Americans in one little far military base. Naturally piovute refutation and refusals of inspections, but after some things the events have returned to the normality.

Even if there was some military base (not necessarily USA or NATO: also Libyan: -) it goes well) also near Caronia? Even with a beautiful large radar? The only "logical" explanation that comes to me in mind... Salutes, Luca Pole caronia is close to Messina, must see if the radars are adapedi to transmit microwaves to high energy as in the microwaves but a lot more powerful and short that instead continuous.

A few more details from The Guardian:

Devil in the detail of Sicily's mysterious village fires
John Hooper in Rome
Wednesday February 11, 2004
The Guardian

Is Lucifer loose on Sicily? No lesser figure than the honorary president of the International Association of Exorcists believes he may be.

"What is happening is what normally happens when the devil enters the lives of those who let him in," Father Gabriele Amorth said yesterday as scientists and officials confessed themselves unable to explain a string of fires and explosions which began in the middle of last month in the fishermen's quarter of a Sicilian village.

Thirty-nine inhabitants of Caronia, on the north coast, were preparing to spend their third night away from their homes last night, having been evacuated at the weekend.

Since then, in an operation that could have come straight from the television series X Files, a multi-disciplinary team of experts armed with measuring devices has been examining the area for clues to the spontaneous combustion of washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators, electricity meters and cables.

Gianfranco Allegra, of the Italian Centre for Electro-technical Experimentation, told the newspaper Corriere della Sera that he had watched as "an electrical wire lying on the floor that was not plugged in to the mains inexplicably caught fire". When he reported the incident to his superiors in Milan he was told to sober up.

What makes the incidents all the more puzzling is that the area has been without an electricity supply since January 4.

On Monday the affair took a new turn when a chair burst into flames. Then a fire started in a water pipe.

The mayor of Caronia, Pedro Spinnato, said yesterday: "I have no idea what is going on."

He believed that arson had been ruled out.

Tullio Martella, the regional civil defence chief, said the fires and blasts seemed to derive "from a dispersion of electrical energy, but the origin of the presumed dispersion has yet to be determined".

The houses in which the fires have broken out are all in an area 350 metres (about 380 yards) by 70 metres between the shoreline and a railway.

At first suspicion centred on the railway line, but that has now been discounted.

Yesterday technicians were busy measuring emissions from local mobile telephone facilities.

But Fr Amorth said they should not rule out vibes of a different sort.

"The priest of the parish ought today to go and bless all the houses that have witnessed paranormal phenomena, because that is what they are," he said.

Comment: And now for a bit of historical perspective:

Unconventional Fires

Travelers Insurance Company in 1951 reported the case of the mystery fires which plagued the home of William hackler, near Odon, Indiana.

The insurance company says there was no fire and no electricity in the home at the time the first fire broke out in an upstairs room at eight in the morning. The Odon Fire Department extinguished the flames and left. Before the firemen got back to the fire station the Hacklers were calling for help again. This time the flames were coming from a layer of papers between the bedsprings and mattress.

Between 8 am and 11 am, nine different fires broke out in the house. A calendar on the wall went up in flames. A pair of overalls hanging on the back of a door were consumed. A book taken from a smoking drawer was found to be afire inside the pages of the book, although the cover was untouched.

By eleven that night, says the Travelers Insurance report, there had been twenty-eight fires in the house. The exhausted Fire Department from Odon called for help from the nearby community of Elnora. The exhausted Hackler family slept on cots in the front yard. Later they tore the house down and built another.

Says Travelers Insurance:

"Proposed solutions appear non too plausible. The case remains even to fire officials a most baffling mystery."

[...] January 10, 1958, was a Friday; and Mrs. Charles king of Glendive was doing her week-end household chores. Everything was quite normal until she walked into the front room about 8 am. Just as she entered the room the window curtains burst into flames. Mrs King tore them from the hangers and extinguished the blaze. As a precautionary measure she pulled all the extension cords from the electric outlets in the room, on the off chance that a short circuit or a spark might have touched off the fire.

There followed a thirty-minute respite and then the same thing happened in her dining room. Mrs. King had had enough - she called the Fire Department and the put out the fire that time.

On that same afternoon, Jack Shearer was was putting up some storm windows on the King home when he chanced to glance in the window and saw a waste paper basket in flames. He extinguished that one himself.

So far, three fires that day and it was only 4:30.

Two teen-age girls were watching television at the King home shortly after 6 pm. They smelled smoke [...] and investigated. The flaming curtains in a bedroom had become the fourth fire of the day. When the Fire Department answered that call, Chief Smith decided it was time for him to make a personal inspection. He checked the house carefully and could find no clue tot he puzzle. the Kings took a hand in the matter on their own behalf. They disconnected the electricity where it entered the house. The collected all combustibles and put them into the open. They realized the windows and gave the house a good airing-one of several it got that day. And during the night they took turns standing watch in case the baffling blazes should return.

It was quiet night after a busy day - but there was more pandemonium to come. In the next seven days five other fires broke out in the house. One burned up all the clothing inside a closed wardrobe; another gutted a clothes storage closet; and still another burned a tablecloth right off the table. Mrs. King's married daughter was burned about the hands fighting one fire and the daughter's husband was overcome by smoke.

Chief Smith called the State Fire Marshal, who came and saw and shook his head. Like Smith, he could only say he had never seen anything like it.

In December of 1941, the new Dominion golf and Country Club, a few miles out of Windsor, Ontario, had a touch of wildfire. It began a little after one o'clock in the morning, when a departing customer reached into the coatroom to get his coat and hat - and came racing out yelling that a piece of paper had just burst into flames in the center of the floor before his eyes. Nicholas White, the owner and manager, had grabbed a fire extinguisher and started toward the cloakroom when a waiter yelled to him that a table cloth was on fire. Sure enough, a table which White had just passed was covered with flame. He gave it a squirt and again started for the cloakroom. Before he could get there, every table in the dining room was covered with tiny flames with water from the pitchers, which they did. He extinguished the smoldering pieces of paper on the cloakroom floor and rushed back to the dining room. Good thing he did, for now they were yelling for him in the kitchen, where all the towels on the the towel rack had burst into flames. He threw the towels on the floor, doused them with the fire extinguisher, and ordered the kitchen help to fill every available container with water - he had a hunch they might be needed.

Mr. White decided this thing was too big for him and his little fire extinguisher and he ran into his office to call the Fire Department. when he jerked the phone book out of his desk, the book caught fire.

Mrs. White, who had been awakened in her room on the second floor, came into the hall to ask the meaning of all this commotion. Before her husband could explain to her, the curtains in Mrs. White's own room burst into flames. All in all, white and his waiters had to extinguish fires in seven of the eleven bedrooms. By the time the Fire Department got there, a total of forty-three separate fires had been located and extinguished.

When the Province of Ontario Fire Marshal came to investigate, accompanied by an insurance adjuster, White told them that in all he had fought about fifty separate fire in that one fantastic night. as the men talked in the dining room, the attendants were cleaning up the charred debris from the night before. One waiter set his broom in the corner and moments later the broom burst into flickering blue flames, right before the eyes of the once-skeptical insurance man.

Again, all the experts could say was that they had never seen anything like it. Nor had Mr. White - and he certainly was not anxious to see anything like it again.

[...] The recurrence rate of unconventional fires is higher than is generally realized, and it has been going on for years.

The French authorities conducted lengthy and intensive investigation of the strange fire that raced through the Cabaret Casanova on January 6, 1939. Death toll was two, with eight injured in the panic which followed the burst of flame. Witnesses told the experts that the first hint of trouble came in the form of tiny white fingers of light along the floor and around the walls - and then the burst of heat. The origin of the fire remains a mystery.

[...] From the Nordiska Dagbladet, July 29, 1938 comes, the eerie report of a fiery catastrophe which overtook the little village of Parajaevarra in northern Lapland. Globes of incandescence, resembling fire, drifted down from an overcast sky into the community and set fire to everything that was combustible. One person was incinerated, several badly burned, five dwellings destroyed. There were the usual speculations that the fiery orbs were ball lightning, which they may have been; but, if so, it was a most peculiar type of that phenomenon for there were no explosions, according to witnesses.

Those [interested] in fiery phenomena [...] should pursue the subject through the pages of the Otago Witness and the Sydney Herald [...] for the months of November and December, 1902. During that sixty-day period, both australia and New - Zealand were the scene of a fantastic array of fire from the skies. Fireballs came flashing down from the storm clouds and caused fires and explosions in many communities. How many homes were destroyed is not clear from the accounts in the papers, but they were careful to set down the number of businesses which were adversely affected by what must have been a most alarming phenomenon. As an Australian meteorological expert said in the Sydney Herald: "There has been nothing like it in the history of these colonies!" [Strange World, Frank Edwards, New York 1964 pp. 294-300]

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From Jeremy Charles In Rome
The Mirror
Mar 18 2004

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.

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Call the Ghostbusters! The mysterious phenomena of spontaneous combustion in Caronia continue

Comment: So far, no new updates regarding the mysterious Fortean Fire in Sicily. The above links goes to a Google translation of an Italian news article. Very little new to say; everyone is still befuddled. Other articles in Italian, say they have lugged out high tech equipment in an endeavor to examine a wide range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Some appear to be irate that a few have accused villagers of illegally connecting to the electric grid, "All lies! All slander!" or so Google translates it. (Computer translators do a poor job from Italian to English) This does not account for water pipes, disconnected electric cables, or mobile phones bursting into flames!

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UPDATE: New inexplicable fires in Caronia

The service car of a night-surveillance worker (Metronotte) stops.

Yesterday evening the Fiat Fiorino of a pensioner was set afire inexplicably. And from today's dawn the Fiat Punto of a Metronotte's worker (a Surveillance Company), one that it guarantees the vigilance in the rooms of Via 'Del Mare', is blocked inside the off-limits zone.

Its engine doesn't start, but the engine's battery is perfectly functional. The night has passed away between doubts, uncertainties and a new mysterious episode in Canneto of Caronia, in the Messinese, where the citizens have once again fallen in anguish after the nth inexplicable fire that yesterday evening has completely destroyed a car, the Fiat 'Fiorino' owned by Mr. Basilio Siracusano.

The pensioner was making return from a small town near Canneto, Marina di Caronia, when the car began to burn without warning. From the dawn of today, the Fiat Punto owned by Metronotte's Company, one that guarantees the vigilance in the rooms of Via Del Mare, is blocked.

Today the Vigilante, at the moment to drive back home, realized that the car wouldn't start, in spite of the fact that the battery was in perfect conditions. The car is going to be impounded by the local authorities by now. In the meanwhile, waiting for the arrival of other surveillance machines, the National Fire Departments carry out measurements with a Geiger counter. Near the surrounding fences, numerous citizens are waiting for more news, and a civil employee of the Navy, is waiting to arrange the work to be done soon [...]

Comment: The above has been translated from the Italian by a reader. One of the strangest stories recently, and it has received very little press. Many more details are needed to build a really decent hypothesis. So far, it appears that it is primarily metal bursting into flame, with very little effect (Except for shock, of course!) on the inhabitants of this little village. Not even rings have not burst into flames. It may very well be weapons testing of some sort. Someone who is carefully selecting targets.

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Villagers in Madhya Pradesh face mysterious enemy
By Rohit Ghosh, Ratria
(Madhya Pradesh)
Mar 21

People of a village in Madhya Pradesh are facing hostility from an unseen and a mysterious enemy.

The people of Ratria village in Neemuch, a district in western Madhya Pradesh, for the last one week have been coping up with unexplained fires and stone pelting. And they do not know who is behind them.

Not only the villagers, even the district administration and the police have till now failed to provide any solace to the villagers.

The villagers feel that if their problem is not solved soon, they may soon face shortage of water. "Our wells have started drying up fighting the fires," said a villager.

Ratria is a village around 20 km from the district headquarters of Neemuch, with a population of 1,000 people. Most of the villagers are farmers.

It all started a week back when a fire suddenly broke out in the village.

The villagers did not find anything unusual in the fire. Assuming that the fire resulted from the stub of a cigarette, short-circuit or a matchstick, they doused it.

But to the horror of the villagers, breaking out of fires soon became very common. "Fire breaks out anywhere in the village and at anytime of the day," said Sardar Singh Gurjar, the headman of Ratria village.

"We draw water from the wells of the village to douse the fire. The wells have started drying up. Major fires have broken out in the villages 11 times in a span of few days," said Gurjar.

But the villagers of Ratria do not have to have to cope with fire only. "Stone pelting is another problem," said Gurjar.

According to the villagers, they suddenly have to face shower of stones. "Many people have been injured in the stone pelting till now," said the chief of Ratria.

"I was going to my fields in a usual manner a couple of days back when suddenly the stones started hitting me from all directions. I ran for cover," said Ram Deo, a farmer of the village.

"I thought that it was a mischief. But the same thing happened on the following day also," he said.

The harassed villagers informed Neemuch Police about the matter.

Taking the incidents seriously, district police chief Yogesh Deshmukh visited the village. But much to the surprise of Deshmukh, he and his men also came under the shower of stones and had to scamper for saving themselves.

Once the "rain of stones" subsided, Deshmukh sent his men to all directions of the village. He was suspecting the hand of some mischievous person. But all his men returned empty handed.

"We have deployed policemen in plainclothes in the village. Secondly we have decided to take scientists to the village to allay the fears of the villagers. We have also deployed cameramen on rooftops," said additional superintendent of police N P Varkade, while talking to IANS. "We believe it's a mischief," he said.

Comment: These strange fires are similar to those happening recently in Sicily.

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Ghostbusters study Sicily's blazes
By Shasta Darlington
Fri 2 April, 2004 05:49

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." [...]

"I've seen an air conditioner burst into flames and burn down in 30 seconds. These are not normal events, but I think we're going to have to start looking for a different kind of help," said Antonio Pezzino, whose house was first hit. [...]

"The fact that the phenomenon occurs only when there are people present makes it hard to believe that it is a natural, or even supernatural phenomenon," said Massimo Polidoro. [...]

The hypotheses now range from a build-up of electrical energy caused by grounding wires running off the railway to a rare "natural phenomenon" in which surges of electricity rise from the earth's core.

The fires have even consumed unplugged lamps and an entire apartment. Black scorch marks still scar the apartment walls.

Italy's big utility Enel cut off electricity to the town and hooked it up to a generator -- but that caught fire as well. [...]

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Electricity Goes Wild. Did the Devil Make It Do It?
June 24, 2004

CANNETO DI CARONIA, Sicily - There are many ways for evil to arrive but perhaps only one way to get rid of it: exorcism.

That about sums up the collective psyche of this stone-filled village perched above the sea after a series of puzzling electrical shorts, unexplained fires and smoky outbursts that struck in nine houses, displacing 17 families.

First to explode was Nino Pezzino's television, two days before Christmas.

Fuse boxes then blew in houses all along the Via Mare. Air-conditioners erupted even when unplugged. Fires started spontaneously. Kitchen appliances went up in smoke. A roomful of wedding gifts was crisped. Computers jammed. Cellphones rang when no one was calling, and electronic door locks in empty cars went demonically up and down. [...]

The intervening months can be summed up like this: Enel, the country's electrical company, cut power to the village. Some scientists came. They studied things. They made declarations about the release of electromagnetic waves. The town replaced its wires and grounded them. Now, the weird phenomena seem to have stopped, but the scientists are at a loss to explain why. [...]

One theory was that high pressure from under the crust of this volcanic spit of land on Sicily's northern coast had caused underground shifts that released electrical energy that eventually found its way to the village.

The supercharged ions, once in contact with man-made electronic devices, may have caused sparks to fly, the scientists say, especially since the hamlet is near transmission lines and railroad tracks. But the fires could just as easily have been caused by some unexplainable problem in the atmosphere, Mr. Martella said.

"The cause of the fires seems to have been static electric charges," he said. "What we don't understand is why there were these static electric charges."

Even less definitive was Gianfranco Allegra, of the Italian Center for Electro-technical Experimentation, in Milan. "No one knows what the cause of these fires are," he said. "They are inexplicable."

In the absence of clear science, villagers say there is no question it is the Devil's work. The causes, they say, have more to do with superstitions in a land known on maps as Demon's Valley, a veritable cradle of vampire lore. [...]

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Killer cyberappliances: Satan implicated
By Lester Haines
Monday 28th June 2004 12:39 GMT

Inhabitants of the Italian village of Canneto di Caronia - previously evacuated after domestic appliances staged an inflammatory uprising - have made a fearful return to their homes.

The tiny hamlet earlier this year became the front line of the war of annihilation between man and machine when normally docile equipment - including TVs and fuse boxes - began to spontaneously combust.

To add to the terror, mobile phones rang without reason and electronic car door locks became self-aware. After several house fires, the residents moved out, and the scientists moved in.

Despite extensive investigations by bodies as diverse as the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, the National Research Centre and power company Enel, no single plausible reason for the occurrences has been found. The theories include a burst of electro-magnetic energy, or supercharged ions released from a fault in the Earth's crust, or good old static electricity.

The head of Sicily's Civil Protection Agency, Tullio Martella, admitted to the NY Times: "The cause of the fires seems to have been static electric charges. What we don't understand is why there were these static electric charges." He further conceded that: "It is not certain that the fires are finished forever. They were episodic to begin with."

Some villagers, however, are certain they know the cause: mephistopholean intervention. Nino Pezzino, a 43-year-old insurance salesman who has just rather reluctantly moved back to his house of terror, said: "I'm Catholic. I believe in the Devil. I don't know why the Devil is here. If it happens again, I'm bringing in the exorcist."

Pezzino will not stop at exorcism to purge his village of this evil: "If we're going to do it, we have to do it right," he said. "In order to do it, you need a sacrifice for the immortal gods, like a black goat or a black sheep. You have to dig a hole into the ground, because this is serious."

It is indeed. And those of us who have been watching the inexorable rise of the machines with growing alarm know it will take more than a bottle of Holy water and sacrificial black goat to turn back the tide.

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Caronia, still inexplicable phenomena
21 October 2004

CARONIA (MESSINA) - Dopo sei mesi di calma ritrovata, ritorna la paura nella piccola frazione di Canneto, la borgata teatro, tra gennaio e aprile scorsi, di misteriosi fenomeni di autocombustione mai definitivamente chiariti. Negli ultimi giorni dei flessibili, che collegano i tubi dell'acqua ai rubinetti di bagni e cucine di tre diverse abitazioni della frazione, hanno presentato inspiegabili fori con conseguenti perdite.

I pezzi idraulici sono stati sequestrati dai Carabinieri che hanno svolto una serie di sopralluoghi. I cittadini della borgata hanno avvisato la Protezione Civile a cui hanno chiesto un immediato monitoraggio. Secondo i residenti, infatti, i fori sarebbero provocati da dispersione di corrente catodica che dal sottosuolo si propaga attraverso la condotta idrica. Una tesi già esposta dal consulente di parte, nominato dagli abitanti della frazione, in una relazione depositata in Procura.

L'ultimo caso si è verificato ieri notte e anche stavolta i carabinieri hanno acquisito la prova. Nella frazione di Canneto, intanto, si attende l'arrivo della Protezione Civile, sollecitata dai residenti quattro giorni fa, dopo la ripresa di misteriosi episodi collegabili alla presenza di elettricità nel terreno. Niente a che vedere con gli incendi che tra gennaio ed aprile tennero in scacco esperti provenienti da tutta Italia, ma piccoli fori negli impianti dell'acqua che arriva in casa.

Episodi, questi ultimi, che secondo Franco Valenti, consulente di parte degli abitanti, sembrano confermare le ipotesi depositate nelle precedenti relazioni. «Si tratta di correnti catodiche localizzate sulle condotte - scrive Valenti in una relazione - che incrementano lo squilibrio geoelettrico del sottosuolo, in presenza di cariche vaganti». In pratica, secondo l'esperto, bisognerebbe realizzare le adeguate protezioni catodiche alla rete idrica per evitare che l'elettricità, evidentemente presente ancora nel terreno, raggiunga le case.

A Reader Comments:

This evening the Italian TV networks, Rai1, claim once more that Canneto is under new unexplicable events.

In brief, in 9 cases and 3 different houses, holes are appearing in water pipelines(!), showing signs of corrosion from the inside.

All the broken pipes have been confiscated.

Just a big ? here.

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(AGI) - Messina, 23 October - A joint summit of the inter-institutional work group of the civil protection forces and the technical consultants of the Mistretta prosecutor's office (Messina) will take place tomorrow morning. Their task will be to try and understand what is happening in Canneto di Caronia, in the province of Messina, where many families have reported cases of plumbing pipes suddenly perforated, attributing this occurrence to the dispersion of electrical current. The same thing had happened at the beginning of 2004 when a series of mysterious fires had taken place. Stray current, has this time affected Caronia's aqueduct which has no cathodic protection. The technicians of the prosecutor's office and the civil protection forces will examine the broken tubes and will try to draw some initial conclusions on this anomalous incident which is filling local families with fear and uncertainty.

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