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Spontaneous Fires Still a Mystery

We recently wrote about mysterious fires spontaneously breaking out in the Italian town of Canneto di Caronia. TVs and appliances burst into flames, cars refused to unlock and cell phones rang when no one was calling. The residents were evacuated and the scientists moved in with their equipment. Now the villagers have moved back home, but there's still no solution to the mystery.

Lester Haines writes in The Register that scientific theories include a burst of electro-magnetic energy or supercharged ions released from a fault in the Earth's crust. Tullio Martella, of Sicily's Civil Protection Agency, says, "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?It is not certain that the fires are finished forever. They were episodic to begin with."

Resident Nino Pezzino says, "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?If we're going to do it, we have to do it right. 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."

Sometimes life can seem like it must be the end of the world.

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