Thursday, March 29, 2007

Weird Juan

Here's a strange tale from the Guardian (although I think the strangeness is all in the telling):

Bloody, satanic, amnesia case baffles Italian police

Police and prosecutors in northern Italy are wrestling with a mystery that brings together a man with memory loss, evidence of devil worship and a blood-drenched apartment.

One evening earlier this month, a dishevelled young man wandered into a Carabinieri barracks at Vercelli, between Turin and Milan. He said he had no idea who he was, or why he was there.

Three days earlier, on March 16, the owner of a bed-sit outside Bergamo, more than 70 miles away, had broken into the flat. The tenant had not paid his rent and she wanted to know if he was still there.

She found a scene of pure horror. The apartment was in chaos and there were signs everywhere that it had been used for a satanic rite.

There were upturned crosses, and the walls and floor were smothered with esoteric symbols written in blood. Police forensic experts estimated that as much as 3l had been splashed around.

Only later was it established that all of it belonged to the young man who had turned to the Carabinieri.

He has since been identified as a 22-year-old called Daniele - investigators have not released his surname - who, until recently, worked in a nearby factory. His family said his only real hobby was UFOs.

They told police that, last September, he had suddenly broken with his past. He had left his job and spent his savings, though his relation with his parents, whom he now says he cannot recognise, continued to seem normal.

According to a report in the daily Corriere della Sera, psychiatrists who have examined Daniele are convinced he is not feigning amnesia. Doctors, meanwhile, have found he has a scar, about an inch long, on his right arm and a series of smaller punctures on other parts of his body.

But there is no evidence that Daniele had taken drugs, and the marks do not correspond to those left when blood is extracted in the normal way by medical staff.

Among the puzzles vexing investigators are how a man who had lost almost seven pints of blood could have made his way 70-odd miles across country - and what happened to him in the at least three days that he was missing.

Domenico Chiaro, the prosecutor who has taken up the case, has said he is treating it as a case of attempted murder.

But he and the Carabinieri working for him are hampered by a number of factors. The hard drive in Daniele's computer is missing, as is the SIM card of his mobile phone.

As for the young man himself, all he can offer them is the faint recollection of an abbey.
And again I remember the St. Bernard sized slime mould, and wonder if someone's pulling somebody's leg!