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Modern Mysteries

Cuba 'sonic attacks' may have been crickets

By T.K. Randall
January 8, 2019 · Comment icon 14 comments

Could insects really be responsible ? Image Credit: U.S. Department of State
It has been suggested that the mystery sounds heard by US diplomats may have been nothing more than insects.
The phenomenon, which targeted embassy personnel in Havana and sparked a breakdown of international relations between Cuba and the United States, was first made public in August 2017.

Thought to involve the use of sonic weapons, the attacks had been directly targeting the hotel rooms of US diplomats, inducing a range of symptoms that included hearing loss, dizziness, balance problems, visual complaints, headache, fatigue, cognitive issues and difficulty sleeping.

Now though, following an analysis of a recording of the audio captured by embassy workers, researchers have determined that the most likely culprit is the Indies short-tailed cricket.

An experiment that involved playing back recorded cricket sounds indoors seemed to confirm that there was indeed an uncanny resemblance between the 'sonic attack' and the insect's call.
"This provides strong evidence that an echoing cricket call, rather than a sonic attack or other technological device, is responsible for the sound in the released recording," researchers wrote.

While the findings don't confirm whether or not the sounds in the recording are those responsible for making people ill, they do suggest that the mystery could have a rather mundane explanation.

They could also help to dispel any mistrust between Cuba and the US over the matter.

"The safety and security of US personnel, their families, and US citizens abroad is and has always been the department of state's top priority," a State Department spokesman said in a statement.

"As we continue to report, a government interagency investigation, involving medical, scientific, and technical experts across the US government and academia, is ongoing to determine the source and cause of these events."

Source: Live Science | Comments (14)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #5 Posted by OverSword 5 years ago
So is this how they explain the alleged sonic attacks in China as well?
Comment icon #6 Posted by Seti42 5 years ago
Well, clearly the sound recording wasn't what caused the sickness/symptoms in all those people. I hear crickets every summer night, and I actually find it soothing.
Comment icon #7 Posted by cathya 5 years ago
Oh, come on!
Comment icon #8 Posted by RoofGardener 5 years ago
This whole 'sonic/microwave weapon' thing is total RUBBISH.  Whatever happened to those diplomats was NOT as the result of some sort of "death ray" weapon. 
Comment icon #9 Posted by Dark_Grey 5 years ago
It wasn't? Then what was it? LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device) (2012) LRAD in use at G20 protests (2009) LRAD can cause damages ranging from headaches to loss of bowel control and burst eardrums, depending on the setting used. If I can watch 9 year old footage of this weapon on YouTube, assume they have it down to the size of a tablet by now. Someone is trying to shape US/Cuban policy.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Hankenhunter 5 years ago
Crikey, crickets? I'm gonna have to pass on this. How gullible do they think we are? Trump voters; KILL ALL CRICKETS!!1!     
Comment icon #11 Posted by RoofGardener 5 years ago
And yet the 'diplomats' and their staff didn't suffer any such symptoms. Nor can ANYONE explain how an acoustic device could target people so far away, in an embassy building physically isolated from its surroundings, and without impacting civilians in nearby buildings.  The diplomats had a pre-existing condition. They took it to Cuba with them. 
Comment icon #12 Posted by Dark_Grey 5 years ago
It "sounds" like acoustic weapons are actually very directional. IE you can you focus the sound attack on a small area. It's not like they turn it on and every one within a mile radius goes deaf.  Hearing a noise and feeling pain in your ears at the same time doesn't fit any pre-existing condition I'm aware of. The odds of all of them sharing that same condition? I wouldn't put much money on that one.
Comment icon #13 Posted by RoofGardener 5 years ago
The ability to 'focus' sound only exists at high frequencies. And there is no medical evidence of high-frequency sounds causing anything even REMOTELY similar to the symptoms experienced by the USA and Canadian diplomatic staff and their relatives.  But not anybody ELSE working in the embassy ! The medical reports are somewhat speculative, and are innovative. For all we know, 50% of the US population might suffer from a similar diagnosis. 
Comment icon #14 Posted by Jon the frog 5 years ago
Probably a bad mix-up of medication like the gulf war syndrome... or  malaria medication has the cause for the PTSD cases rise in the Canadian army. The malaria medication can induce life brain damage mimicking PTSD. And lot of people working abroad got a mediaction package from their employer a lot of time, so they are prone to have the same symptoms.

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