From Roswell to Majestic 12 to Serpo, in Ufology it often seems that there are more government conspiracy theories than there are cases to cover up. So how does a story go from headlines to rumor to urban legend?
The case of the exploding toasters of Canneto di Caronia provides a rare real time view of fact deliberately turned into fiction by The Powers That Be. Please join me in a trip down the disinformation rabbit hole.
Who can forget the well-documented yet unexplained incendiary events that occurred in the Sicilian village of Canneto di Caronia? It was big news, covered by mainstream media around the world in stories like this one from Reuters in April 2004:
"Sicily's blazes put science to the test."
The fires started in mid-January and have claimed home appliances and fuse boxes in about half of the 20 odd houses. The blazes originally blamed on the devil himself have not hurt anyone.
After a brief respite last month, the flames have flared up again almost daily even though electricity to the village was cut off long ago.
"We're working in the dark. We don't have a single lead so far" said Pedro Spinnato, mayor of the trio of Caronia towns.
"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."
The 39 inhabitants of the town halfway between Palermo and Messina were evacuated after the regional government declared a state of emergency in Canneto...(more)
The Italian government took immediate action, commissioning a group of international experts, including a NASA scientist, to investigate the combustible community and write an official report. In 2007 an "interim" report was leaked, sparking another round of shocking international headlines:
"Aliens caused Sicily fires say officials."
"According to the report the fires were 'caused by a high power electro magnetic emissions which were not man made and reached a power of between 12 and 15 gigawatts.'
The report also detailed a possible UFO landing close to the village, citing 'burnt imprints which have not been explained were found in a field.'
Francesco Mantegna Venerando, Sicily's Civil Protection chief who coordinated the report, said: "This is not the final report. We are still working on our conclusions and this has been leaked.
'We are not saying that 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'" (more)
Wow! What an awesome story! So, are we at war with the fire-starting aliens? Are they sharing their advanced technology with Italy? Is Prime Minister Berlusconi under their control and if so does that explain his recent erratic (or do I mean erotic?) behavior? You don't have to subscribe to The Lone Gunman to guess what happened next.
First the anomalous events were discredited and the case closed:
June 2008 -- Translated by Google
Fires in Canneto di Caronia, the investigation is closed. There remains the mystery of their origin
The prosecutor's office has filed Mistretta 's investigation launched in February 2005 to try to shed light on the fires in that period covered the small village of Canneto di Caronia, in Messina. Were the same 40 inhabitants of the village affected by the fires inexplicable to disclose the outcome. According to experts appointed by the prosecutor, who had played a supplementary investigation after an initial request for storage , there would be doubts about the 'human hand' behind the fires in dwellings.
[Basically they're saying that in order to close the case the prosecutor found experts to provide evidence that the fires were set by "human hands," implicating the villagers themselves as the fire starters]
Taking as evidence some of the episodes that occurred during the emergency, consultants speak of 'flame', denouncing the theory of electromagnetic fields which until now have been shared by all experts who have studied the matter and the same judges in 2004 they said they did not even consider the possibility of fraud. [Here they're saying that this view contradicts all previous expert opinion and the judges who previously heard the evidence.]
A report that angered residents of Canneto ready to lodge an objection and denied the pool of scientists who in recent months had spoken of possible military weapons testing as a cause of fires. [This is perfectly clear, but WTF?]
Then the research money dried up and research was shut down:
April 2009--Translated by Google
The inhabitants of Canneto di Caronia submit a complaint in Procur.
They are afraid of being abandoned. They fear for their safety and especially for their health. There's this behind the exposed proxy by 40 residents of Canneto di Caronia after withdrawal of remote surveillance and monitoring by the Civil Defense, who immediately after the occurrence of unexplained fires in the homes of citizens, between 2004 and 2005, had installed different equipment to monitor the alleged phenomena of electromagnetism.
The confirmation of the suspension of inspections was made even by the head of inter-institutional task force investigating the phenomena, Francesco Venerando, during the program "One Morning". So December 9 Canneto di Caronia residents have turned to the Prosecutor of Mistretta to ask to intervene in light of the discovery made by the City and reported to Police that a coupling of the water network brass made from few years has been drilled in several points from electric shock.
The good news is that at least one member of the MSM (mainstream media) is doing its job. In October, the Italian edition of Wired ran a two-part update: The mysteries of Canneto di Caronia and The mysteries of Canneto di Caronia, the state of current research (in Italian). Reporter Charles Pizzati, talked to villagers and scientists in his attempt to get to the bottom of the mystery. Although the Google translation leaves quite a bit of the content open to interpretation, it's clear that there are a lot of theories floating around--some point fingers at the military (electromagnetic warfare), the government (they're keeping the lid on technology, close encounters with ET, or some combination of those elements), or technological wizardry of unknown source such as HAARP or Tesla's Death Ray, or a "transverse wave magnetic hydrodynamic system," whatever that might be.
The second part of the story discusses the government's position, and although the Goggle translation is especially poor in this section, the upshot seems to be that the government is extremely reluctant to go on the record about the case, glibly blames the shut down of research on a change in government between 2005 and today combined with the usual excuse: lack of funds. They say that they have every intention of reopening the investigation as soon as approval of funding comes down from Rome. Indeed there was a flurry of Italian news reports in October claiming the same thing. Most said they expected the new monitoring to begin by the end of 2009.
To date, I've been unable to find a single news update confirming that the monitoring has been reinstated. MU will keep you posted, but we don't advise holding your breath or moving to Canneto di Caronia anytime soon.