Internet chatter fuels Rome quake fears

For tourists who prefer to explore a city without having to dodge the crowds of locals who populate it, Wednesday might be just the day to take a look around the Italian capital of Rome – just so long as you don’t believe the recent prediction regarding the city.italy

As the BBC reports, an apparent prediction of a quake hitting the capital on May 11 has alarmed its residents to such am extent that there has been an 18 percent jump in the number of city workers asking for the day off. The prediction is said to have been made in 1915 by a scientist called Raffaele Bendandi. He died 30 years ago.

Not surprisingly, the Internet has been playing its part in fuelling speculation about the supposed May 11 quake, with social networking sites alive with chatter on the subject. TV stations, as well as the country’s emergency response agency, have tried to reassure residents that it is impossible to tell precisely where and when a quake will strike, but their efforts have fallen on deaf ears for many.

Custodians of Bendandi’s papers have also come forward to say they cannot find any mention of this particular prediction in the late scientist’s work. Most in the capital will recall the damaging 2009 quake that hit the town of L’Aquila, 60 miles from Rome, and it is this memory which is likely making many people more nervous than they otherwise would be.

The BBC’s report says that Bendandi became widely known in Italy in the 1920s when he apparently predicted a 1923 quake that killed 1,000 people. The scientist believed that quakes could be predicted by studying the movement of the planets. He was even honoured by the Italian dictator Mussolini.

Hopefully the day will pass off without any major ground-shaking incidents in the Italian capital (or anywhere else for that matter), and that anyone who has taken the day off can enjoy a relaxing time in the countryside, or wherever it is they’ve escaped to.

Image credit: Mnemoc