It was business as usual when Mount Etna, the active volcano on the Italian island of Sicily, erupted for the fifth time since the beginning of the year on Saturday afternoon, the Daily Mail reports. The eruption was brief but intense, sweeping enough ash to close Catania's Fontanarossa airport overnight, a measure that was likewise required for its eruption last May. But lately, the volcanic eruptions on the island have been linked to some very odd things...
It started last month, when large numbers of locals turned up for work early. As chatter over this unprecedented occurrence grew louder, two local Sicilians organized a Facebook page to compare notes. It came to light that for thousands of people, digital clocks and watchers, from computers to alarm clocks, were all running 15 minutes fast. RIA Novosti also reported that in Palermo digital clocks and watches in Sicily were running more than 15 minutes fast. One of the people who started the page, Francesco Nicosia, told French online magazine Rue89 that, "I realized something was wrong when I started getting to work earlier. After some investigation I noticed that I wasn't the only one who was on time, which is quite rare here in Sicily."
That quote is almost too amusing to be true. But according to the Daily Mail, Sicilians "were quick to blame the volcano."And apparently this isn’t the first time the island has experienced strange goings-on related to electronic devices: several years ago electronic equipment started spontaneously catching fire across the rural countryside, reports Rue89. At the time, fanatics "announced the return of Satan."
As for the more recent leap in time, scientists remain baffled. Could this just be a hoax? The Daily Mail is one of the few places reporting the story, which adds doubt as to its credibility (especially as it seems to suggest that yesterday's eruption pushed the clocks forward, when in fact it occurred in June.) If it's not a hoax, is it actually because of the volcano? Users on Facebook blamed aliens, poltergeists, solar explosions, and electrical disturbances caused by underwater cables. Naturally, others thought it was proof of the imminent demise of the world. And finally, some think that the whole thing is a conspiracy to punish Sicilians for their compulsive tardiness.
At any rate, dramatic footage of the eruption is below.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.