Starting sometime in January 2004, unusual fires were reported in Caronia. The exact date that the problems began was likely January 21, but a few newspaper articles cast doubt on this date by claiming that Caronia's electrical supply has been cut off since January 4.
Appliances, starting with a television and evidently including a cooker and vacuum cleaner, were reported to catch fire spontaneously. Fires also struck wedding presents and a piece of furniture, the type of which is unknown. One article also claimed that a water pipe caught fire, though this report seems dubious.
At least one person, either a police officer or, according to one report, a scientist, was said to have observed an unplugged electrical cable ignite while he was directly observing it. ENEL, the Italian power utility, cut off the town's power supply, but the outbreaks continued.
The authorities ruled out arson fairly early.
English news articles were mixed as to the reaction of the villagers: most pegged them as blaming demonic forces, while some others cast them as blaming the railroad or other man-made agencies. A Catholic exorcist, Gabriele Amorth, suggested that the causes are supernatural; others, such as (according to some sources) the mayor, Pedro Spinnato, assume a natural cause.
Authorities seemed to agree that some sort of electrical anomaly was responsible, and many experts traveled to Caronia to investigate. A few people have blamed volcanic oddities, others speculate that someone was intentionally creating an electrical phenomenon for nefarious ends, possibly including a con on the villagers, with a Tesla-type Magnifying Transmitter or similar device. (Although this raises the question of why the villagers have not heard the thunderous noise produced by it, unless it is very well hidden indeed, and the fact that no attempt at extortion has yet been reported seems odd.) Many aspects of the case were typical of poltergeist phenomena
The phenomenon abated, but began again in April 2004. By August, it appeared to be gone for good. The cause remains unknown, but some electrical improvements were apparently made to the village's power system.