A series of mysterious spontaneous fires some blame on demons have flared up again in a small Sicilian village.
The 39 residents of Canneto di Caronia were evacuated from the coastal town in January after regional authorities declared an emergency.
The fires have broken out in the residents’ furniture and electrical devices – everything from refrigerators and televisions to washing machines and cell phones.
Electricity to the village has been cut off, but after a brief respite last month, the almost daily fires are back, reports Reuters.
Scientists, engineers, police and “ghostbusters” have searched far and wide for clues, but Mayor Pedro Spinnato says, “We’re working in the dark. We don’t have a single lead so far.”
Spinnato added, according to Reuters, “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.”
Residents decided with the local priest, Don Antonio Cipriani, to allow the scientists to examine the fires, but a Catholic exorcist, Gabriele Amorth, told the Italian newspaper Il Messagero, “I’ve seen things like this before.”
“Demons occupy a house and appear in electrical goods,” he said. “… Let’s not forget that Satan and his followers have immense powers.”
In cases of demon behavior, the Vatican expert said, “it is normal for domestic appliances to be involved and for demons [to] make their presence known via electricity.”
Reuters said the head of the Committee for the Control of Paranormal Claims has ruled out demons or poltergeists for the time being.
“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,” the committee’s Massimo Polidoro said. “But we don’t exclude further investigation if things aren’t eventually explained.”
Spinnato, the mayor, is sounding desperate for an answer, according to Reuters.
“Someone wrote to us saying the solution was to sacrifice a black goat and collect its blood,” he said. “At some point, that’s going to start looking like a good idea.”