Fire is one of mankind’s greatest achievements. Greek mythology has it that the ancient god Prometheus lies chained to a rock where his liver is consumed by vultures because of the gift he gave mankind in the form of a burning ember. Without fire everything else in man’s arsenal would have been impossible. And yet when not bound fire can rage destroying everything else we create. And it still has strange properties that sometimes seem to defy explanation. One of the more troubling mysteries is the spontaneous creation of fire, such as those reported to have plagued the town of Canneto di Caronia in Sicily.
It all began in January of 2004 when a mysterious series of fires began sweeping the countryside around the small town. Authorities were soon called in to investigate, and the suspected arson was soon ruled out. Authorities then went from the townspeople to the very land itself wondering if the slumbering Mt. Etna, inactive for years were somehow causing the disturbance and destroying property. But the circumstances surrounding the fires was even more perplexing than the fires themselves.
It began in several cases with things we have in all of our houses. Televisions, vacuum cleaners, and kitchen appliances. Electrical wiring was suspected, though many were checked and confirmed to be perfectly in order. The events began happening more frequently and with more intensity. One such reported incident followed a wedding service which was interrupted when several of the presents (later all found to contain no known ignition source or fuel aside from the boxes) began bursting into flame. Additionally a piece of furniture, which had no connection to an electrical current whatsoever, also would later become a fiery conflagration by some unknown means. Even when the town’s electrical supply was cut off entirely the fires would remain and grow steadily in both intensity and frequency.
Gabriel Amorth, exorcist and expert on the paranormal suggested the force at work could be demonic. Experts and paranormal investigators descended on the town in the hopes of making sense of the phenomenon, but soon after the fires died out and eventually stopped entirely. By August of 2004 the city was once again back to normal with no new fires sprouting up. The only firestorm left was the media sensation the strange occurrence had created. Several witnesses would submit their testimony while others speculated on what the cause of the mystery could have been. Even Sicily’s Civil Protection Agency, suspecting a thus far unknown weapon of high energy could not uncover the truth.
To date the case remains unsolved. Culprits range from demonic influence to poltergeist activity, and finally even an organized crime syndicate utilizing a secretly developed high powered weapon capable of generating over ten times the power of a lightning bolt. Even the “mundane” explanations seem to suggest a far reaching conspiracy or technology we do not currently know of. And these sometimes bizarre attempts at explanation have only served to stoke the fires of curiosity for the rest of us.