Sunday, 28th October 2007
Sat 27 Oct 2007
Spaced out, or switched on? Aliens blew up our fridge
NICK PISA IN ROME
A GOVERNMENT investigation into a series of unexplained fires in fridges, televisions and mobile phones in an Italian village has concluded that the responsibility lies with "aliens testing secret weapons".
In scenes similar to the drama series The X-Files, Canneto di Caronia on Sicily was the centre of world attention three years ago after residents reported everyday household objects - electrical appliances, a pile of wedding presents and furniture bursting into flames.
Dozens of experts including scientists, electrical engineers and military experts, arrived in the village, in the north of the island, to investigate. One amazed scientist reported seeing an unplugged electrical cable burst into flames.
Arson was ruled out while locals blamed supernatural forces and the Vatican's chief exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth suggested it was Satan's work.
The report, by the Civil Protection Department, was ordered by the Italian government and brought together dozens of experts including a NASA scientist who asked to help with the £1 million investigation.
According to leaked copies, the fires were "caused by high power electromagnetic emissions which were not man-made and reached a power of between 12 and 15 gigawatts".
The report also details an incident of a possible UFO landing close to Caronia - 60 miles east of Palermo - after "burnt imprints which have not been explained were found in a field".
Yesterday Francesco Mantegna Venerando, Sicily's Civil Protection chief who
coordinated the report, said:
"We are not saying little green men from Mars started the fires, but that unnatural forces capable of creating a large amount of electromagnetic energy were responsible. This is just one possibility. We are also looking at another one which involves the testing of top-secret weapons by an unknown power which are also capable of producing an enormous amount of energy."
This contrasts with Father Amorth's explanation. "I've seen things like this before," he said. "Demons occupy a house and appear in electrical goods. Let's not forget Satan and his followers have immense powers."
But the conclusion that aliens had been responsible was backed up by numerous interviews with residents who claimed to have seen UFOs overhead at the time of the fires.
Pietro Imbrodino, owner of Hotel Ze Maria, in Caronia, said he had "always suspected something supernatural". He added:
"I haven't seen any little green men but I know some people have seen UFOs."
Among other suggested explanations is a theory that magma spreading along underground passages from Mount Etna produces flammable gas, which seeps up and ignites.