Canneto di Caronia: a Poltergeist town

Dear Reader,
Remember Sicilians and superstitions saga on this blog?
Well, mystery and curiosity struck again and Stanito & staff are right there on spot.

It all happened one day, when I receive this piece of news via e-mail:

The mystery of Caronia’s fires, a 10 year long-lasting nightmare. 
A trip to Canneto di Caronia, in the province of Messina, through people and houses burnt down by mysterious fires that have stricken the area since 2004. 
TVs, fridges, washing machines and even couches and sofas catch fire seemingly without an explanation… 

And then the video:

As part of my Sicily plan, Canneto di Caronia was set towards the end of the trip.

What Happened?

First incidents are dated back to 2004 so it’s been going on for about 13 years now. This bizarre phenomenon revolves around spontaneous combustion of mattresses, beds, cars, and devices like fridges and mobile phones, even when these are switched off. Quite obviously, the events couldn’t but attract the attention of physicists, geologist who gave all sort of explanations. Villagers were not convinced though…

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Theories:

Grounded theories vary. It could have been simply arson or old devices and poor electrical cables simply gave up.
Well, arson was ruled out when the devices that caught fire were unplugged. Then something happened: in 2007 an Italian newspaper published a leaked report from Civil Protection, concluding that aliens were the only plausible explanation as the result of the two investigation led to ” 15 gigawatts high power electromagnetic emissions that were not man-made”. Investigation remained open attributing the causes to simply “unknown electromagnetic radiation”.

And then something even more incredible happened! The Vatican’s chief exorcist, Gabriele Amorth, backed the villagers true fears by saying the following: “these fires are caused by the Devil. I have seen incidents like these before. Demons occupy houses and appear in electrical devices”. The interview in Italian is right here.

Another report also detailed a possible UFO landing close to the village, citing “burnt
imprints which have not been explained were found in a field.”

What’s Canneto di Caronia like today?

Years have gone by and eventually the town emptied considerably. Don’t forget that this is the region where superstitions have a big role in people’s lives (read my post on Sicilian superstitions for more on the subject). The episodes have attracted the attention of geologists, physicists and volcanologists, NASA experts without providing an accurate scientific explanation so far or a logical real conclusion to the case. Naturally, the villagers are blaming supernatural entities like UFOs, poltergeists, or other demonic forces, prompting them to evacuate the town.

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Some of the villagers came back but the town still remain in ghost state…

 

 

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How thick is an ancient column?

Dear Reader,

there are those things that arouse my curiosity and push me to find answers to the most unusual questions, such as: how thick is an ancient Roman or Greek column?

This came after I was face to face with a dissected Greek column in Selinunte, Sicily. I had never seen one before, at least not cut down like that 😀

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Glad the weather permitted it, this is my own favourite photo of Selinunte. Note the sea in the background 🙂
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A perfectly dissected Greek column cut in many roundels. These are the remains of Temple G. In Selinunte, unlike other sites, each temple is identified with the alphabet letters.

The city of Selinunte rises on a hill, not far from the sea, between Marsala and Agrigento. First inhabited by Sicani and then by the Phoenicians, Selinunte was a Greek colony since the end of the sixth century B.C. Now this site is considered as the most imponent in all Europe, quite rightly. Here I found numerous temples, shrines and altars.
All the temples here in Selinunte are all built following to the canons of the Doric order which is the oldest greek architectural style. It is easy to identify as its main features are simplicity and essentiality which give a sense of order and divine immortality, contrasting the fleetingness and frivolous chaotic world.
The Doric order has columns with no base and with a very simple capital. In other words, Doric buildings were the least decorated. Archaeologists believe that Doric architectural buildings, which were built in stone and covered in stucco, evolved from wooden buildings that were very similar.

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Doric style column, this one seemed smaller than the previous Ionic styled. These are the remains of Temple F. 

 

The distance between each column as well as their diameter can vary greatly: some of them are constituted by sixteen grooves with a diameter of 1.72 m (see my first photo with the dissected columns) while others have twenty grooves and a bigger diameter, ranging from 1.84 m to 2.00 m.

 

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This is what’s left of Temple A, a temple dedicated to the dioscuri Castor and Pollux.

 

Below I’m sticking out of Temple G.

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Tiny Volcanoes

Dear Reader,

I have seen the smallest volcanoes I could ever imagine. Yes. They are tiny and you can find them in Sicily.

It all happened one hot summer…

We were driving through Sicily, the best part of Italy for the record, following a very basic travel map we drafted before departing. This is because, dear Reader, the best trips are those which have the minimum planning component. Satisfaction is guaranteed 🙂

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We set out of Agrigento, 15 km north of town where we found this desolated spot with one particular attraction: the mini volcanoes of Macalube.

They really are very small… look at these photos.

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This place, also known as L’Occhio di Macalubi (epitaph given by the locals) has always exerted charm and fascination over the local people and travellers. In fact the first descriptions of this place date back to big people such as Platon, Aristotle, Diodoro Siculo and Plinio il Vecchio, 200-300 BC. Because of the ancient Roman and Greeks were in the area, they believed that some divinity put in there a source of natural healing as they cherished the gushy mud for beauty and rheumatic treatments.
Lots of legends surround the area, precisely because the Romans and the Greeks loved to believe some devine scheme behind every natural phenomena. Some legends say that the tiny volcanoes erupted following a bloody battle between Arabs and Normans. Another says that a city used to stand in that exact place, but because the locals offended a god or goddess (don’t forget how vengeful Greek gods used to be) the city crumbled down disappearing forever…

Whichever legend says some of the truth we don’t know… Fact is there are many teeny tiny volcanoes and Stanito found them for you 🙂

These are mud volcanoes caused by the rare geological phenomenon known as sedimentary vulcanism, a phenomenon that is directly linked to inconsistent clay terrains interposed by salty water and methane.  When the gas surfaces due to pressure it brings up clay and water with it thus creating a muddy cone. And if you look at it it looks like a volcano crater.

 

Here you can kind of see the size as I’m standing next to one

Fascinating, aren’t they?

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Sicily’s Refugees’ Boats Graveyard

Dear Reader,

Sicily’s southernmost community, Portopalo di Capopassero (Marzamemi), is often the witness of the arrival of hundreds of refugees escaping from North Africa seeking asylum, work opportunities, or simply a safer life. Continue reading “Sicily’s Refugees’ Boats Graveyard”

Sicilians vs Superstitions: the Black Cat

Dear Reader,

If someone wanted to list (and I’m sure that someone has done it already) all superstitions present in different cultures, I can assure you the list would be very very long. Every thing, or person, or event could potentially bring us good luck, bad luck or all sort positive/negative effects.

Luckily, I have two Sicilian flatmates – Angelo and Teresa – who are more than happy to share their beliefs with me anytime something of valuable significance happens, and I enjoy those moments like crazy 🙂 Continue reading “Sicilians vs Superstitions: the Black Cat”