Saturday, 27 October 2007

Italian Government Report Blames Aliens For Mystery Fires

"Aliens were responsible for a series of unexplained fires in fridges, TV’s and mobile phones in an Italian village, according to an Italian government report," according to the Telegraph, the Daily Mail and the Scotsman.

All of these stories refer to the peculiar events in the Sicilian village of Canneto di Caronia, where, in 2004, electrical appliances - and, apparently, other things - began bursting into flames of their own accord. The fires continued even after the village's electricity supply was cut off, and one of the independent boffins drafted in to investigate reported that an unplugged electrical cable went up in smoke before his (presumably astonished) eyes.

Of course, these events are old news, but I've been following the story with mild interest since it first made the headlines in 2004. Now, following an investigation ordered by the Italian government, a team of scientists, engineers and military experts apparently believe that the fires "caused by a high power electro magnetic emissions which were not man made and reached a power of between 12 and 15 gigawatts."

In a leaked interim report, the team reveals that the most likely cause of these emissions was "aliens". The report also makes references to a possible UFO landing close the village, saying "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 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."

Aliens? Secret weapons? Unknown power? Good grief! Now don't get me wrong here, I've nothing against the concept of extra-terrestrial life. It's a damn big universe, stuffed with billions and billions of stars, many of which appear to have planetary systems. The idea that, out of all those suns, our small, insignificant yellow star should be the only one to have provided the ideal conditions for life to have evolved seems incredibly unlikely.

But just because life has probably evolved "out there" doesn't automatically mean that it's coming here - or has been here already. Of course, it doesn't automatically preclude that possibility either, but I must confess to being a little sceptical of the UFO conspiracy theories that seem so common these days.

Think about it. On average, there are several thousand reports of Unidentified Flying Objects every year. By the time you've weeded out the genuine errors, the cranks, the commonly misunderstood astronomical phenomena etc., you're left with maybe a couple of hundred reports each year that cannot be identified and remain unexplained.

Let's be generous and assume that half of them really are alien space craft - that's about 100 per year, or slightly less than one every three days. Now, these alleged aliens obviously aren't all that keen on making their presence known to the world at large or they'd just set their ships down outside the White House and say hello - or, perhaps, destroy it.

So, their alleged presence here is essentially covert. Yet they are spotted every three days or so. Hmm. Either they are INCREDIBLY unlucky, and always manage to choose a spot where there is someone around to see them, or the number of sightings is such a small proportion of the true number of largely unobserved visits as to be statistically insignificant and within their acceptable margin for error.

Neither of these positions is entirely satisfactory; even I'm not THAT unlucky, and the idea that there could be hundreds, or thousands, of alien craft buzzing around all the time raises difficult questions like WHY? Not for the purposes of invasion, obviously - with so many of them around, and technology advanced enough to get them here, I can't see any reason for them to wait, yet we don't appear to have been conquered either. Scientific observation is another common theory, but how many observers does it take to do the job?

Overall, I'm not convinced. Yes, maybe, occasionally the odd alien craft might take a passing interest in this small planet. But hundreds, or thousands, every year? No.

That said, there's an awful lot of serious scientific effort and interest going into the task of looking for indications of extra-terrestrial life, and even more popular interest in UFOs. Shouldn't a story like this, apparently backed by solid, serious, slide-rule-wielding propeller-heads be getting a little more attention than it has?

If it's true - or even partly true - it's something that we all should worry about. Quite apart from the sheer wonder of discovering that we're not alone in the universe, the concept of real aliens with the power to destroy electrical devices at will is more than a little disturbing. Powers like that could blast human civilisation back to the stone age with ease - how much modern technology can you think of that doesn't require electrical power, either in its use or manufacture?

And even if the alternative explanation of some unknown power testing super-weapons is true, that's equally worrying. If there's even a shred of evidence to back up these conclusions, this should be international, front page, breaking news; EVERYTHING pales into insignificance when compared to either of these possibilities, and it's a damning comment on human nature that folks are happily reading about almost anything else today.

We need to know one way or the other - is it true, or isn't it?

Billy Seggars.

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