It’s been said the devil is in the details, but residents in the Sicilian village of Canneto di Caronia are leaving town, thinking the devil is in their appliances.
The small village near Messina on the Mediterranean island’s coast was evacuated this week, after a mysterious outbreak of spontaneous fires among residents’ furniture and electrical devices – everything from refrigerators and televisions to washing machines and cell phones.
“This has been going on for three weeks now and there is no explanation for it,” mayor Pedro Spinnato told the Scotsman.
“We cannot risk a tragedy through these fires, so I have no other option but to evacuate the village. 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.”
Local authorities originally theorized problems with a railway’s overhead electrical cables were to blame, but the blazes continued to be sparked even after electricity was completely shut off.
“For the time being there is no scientific explanation for it and I have never heard of anything like this happening before in Italy,” civil protection chief, Tullio Martella, told the Scotsman.
Some 40 homes have reportedly been evacuated to help protect local citizens, some of whom believe supernatural forces are responsible for the phenomenon.
“I’ve seen things like this before,” Catholic exorcist Gabriele Amorth told the Italian newspaper Il Messagero. “Demons occupy a house and appear in electrical goods. … Let’s not forget that Satan and his followers have immense powers.”
“With cases of demon behavior,” the Vatican expert on possession told the Scotsman, “it is normal for domestic appliances to be involved and for demons [to] make their presence known via electricity.”