When I first read the stories about the strange events in the US Embassy in Havana, Cuba, I accepted them as fact. Why not, I thought, after all Cuba is not very friendly, and then there's Russia, probably trying to make trouble by zapping the Embassy. It did seem a bit odd though.
Then things got stranger, Canadians reported being affected, and people were "targeted" in hotels. The incidents varied. And then I saw this list of symptoms today in The Guardian:
This rang a bell for me, as it's quite similar to symptom lists given for conditions that many consider to be psychosomatic. They are all symptoms of getting old. Other than "brain injuries," I personally have ALL those symptoms right now at this very instant.Senior state department officials who announced the decision said it was still not clear who was responsible for the “targeted attacks” which have caused injuries including various permanent hearing loss, brain injuries, dizziness, tinnitus, problems with balance, visual impairment, headaches, fatigue, cognitive issues and difficulties sleeping.
I'm familiar with this type of list because I used to write a lot about "Morgellons," a label for a similar constellation of symptoms that people self-diagnose with after convincing themselves that fibers are emerging from their skin. The Morgellons symptoms, if we remove itching and finding things on your skin, are, in short form:
- Life altering fatigue
- Neurological impairment
- Visual and hearing changes
- Brain fog and diminished higher cognitive abilities
- Hair loss
- GI changes
- Muscle aches, Joint pain
- General malaise; intense, life-impacting pain
- Dental deterioration
- Sleep disturbances
- Psychiatric manifestations can include anxiety, depression, new onset of panic attacks, changes in behavior and personality.
Could the Cuba attacks be mass hysteria? More specifically, we'd label it a "mass psychogenic illness"
Such events are not uncommon, and well documented through history:Mass psychogenic illness (MPI), also called mass sociogenic illness or just sociogenic illness, is "the rapid spread of illness signs and symptoms affecting members of a cohesive group, originating from a nervous system disturbance involving excitation, loss, or alteration of function, whereby physical complaints that are exhibited unconsciously have no corresponding organic" cause. MPI is distinct from other collective delusions, also included under the blanket terms of mass hysteria, in that MPI causes symptoms of disease, though there is no organic cause.
The idea that psychological factor might be at play in the embassy situation was also suggested earlier this month by sociologist Dr Robert Bartholemew:... an outbreak of mass sociogenic illness in the data center of a mid-western university town. Ten of thirty-nine workers smelling an unconfirmed “mystery gas” were rushed to a hospital with symptoms of dizziness, fainting, nausea and vomiting. They report that most workers were young women either putting their husbands through school or supplementing the family income. Those affected were found to have high levels of job dissatisfaction. Those with strong social ties tended to have similar reactions to the supposed gas, which only one unaffected woman reported smelling. No gas was detected in subsequent tests of the data center.
Of course, the possibilities here are not a binary choice of "Sonic Attack" vs. "Mass Hysteria." There are a number of possibilities. For a start, something had to trigger this. It's quite possible that one or more people experienced something - either a genuine illness, some environmental thing, a side effect of something going on nearby, or even an actual "sonic attack" by nefarious third parties. Although experts think that's unlikely:Be very skeptical over claims of a mysterious ‘sonic wave’ attack on U.S. Embassy personnel in Havana. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, and so far, the American government has failed to provide any concrete evidence.
More recently, some schools have removed Wi-Fi after complaints by parents that it was generating symptoms like headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Wind turbines have been blamed for everything from dizziness to headaches and tinnitus. Hearing problems, headaches, and lightheadedness have been associated with many cases of mass psychogenic illness.
Any "real" cause need not be the same for everyone who has non-psychosomatic symptoms. These are an incredibly common group of symptoms. WebMD lists 140 conditions that manifest symptoms of concussion like dizziness, fatigue, headache and hearing loss. Here's just the top 18And no single, sonic gadget seems to explain such an odd, inconsistent array of physical responses.
“Brain damage and concussions, it’s not possible,” said Joseph Pompei, a former MIT researcher and psychoacoustics expert. “Somebody would have to submerge their head into a pool lined with very powerful ultrasound transducers.”
If you work in a place where suspicion is normally quite high (like the embassy in Cuba), and people say that building is being subject to an attack that might damage your brain, then you are going to be hypersensitized to whatever your body is telling you. Right now I've got slight ringing in my ears, a headache, fatigue, and now that I think about it I have been having trouble hearing what people are saying on TV, plus my balance isn't what it was, I can't read fine print anymore, and I only slept around 4 hours last night!. I've just not paid it much attention because it's just me getting old.
So even if there's a genuine attack or other cause for some of these symptoms, it's highly unlikely that everyone reporting them was actually affected by that cause.
[Note: for discussion of possible physical causes, including exotic weapons, see: https://www.metabunk.org/exotic-wea...al-causes-of-the-cuba-embassy-syndrome.t9104/ ]