Havana Syndrome: "Sonic Attacks" at the US Embassy in Cuba - Mass Hysteria?

Mick West

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US Embassy Havana Cuba Sonic Attack.jpg

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, people were "targeted" in hotels. The incidents varied. And then I saw this list of symptoms today in The Guardian:
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.
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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 symptom of getting old. Other than "brain injuries" I personally have ALL those symptoms right now at this very instant.

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.
Notice again these are just general issues associated with life and aging, and many are subjective self-reporting signs that cannot be objectively measured. I've had all these symptoms myself. Ask anyone over the age of 35 in depth about changes in their health over the last year, and they will likely respond "yes" to most, if not all, of these symptoms, to some degree. This become increasingly true with age.

Could the Cuba attacks be mass hysteria? More specifically we'd label it a "mass psychogenic illness"
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.
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Such events are not uncommon, and well documented through history:
... 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.
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The idea that psychological factor might be at play in the embassy situation was also suggested earlier this month by sociologist Dr Robert Bartholemew:
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.
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Of course the possibilities here are not a binary choice of "Sonic Attack", vs. "Mass Hysteria". There's 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:
And 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.”
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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 18

20170929-131222-g90rc.jpg

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 any more, 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/ ]
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
As for sonic devices:

That could be because a weapon that covertly uses sound energy to injure people doesn’t actually exist, experts say. “It sounds very appealing and interesting, but I find it hard to believe that there actually is such a device,” says hearing expert John Oghalai, Chair of the Caruso Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Southern California.
.....

“Obviously, we don’t know what any of the investigators have in terms of narrowing it down to say that it’s an acoustic weapon,” says James Jauchem, a retired scientist who previously investigated the biological effects of acoustic energy for the Air Force Research Laboratory. “I’d be highly skeptical of the reports.”
....
In reality, sonic weapons are much less sophisticated than the hype, and they involve significantly less diarrhea. They work by being noisy and obnoxious — which means that the crudest sonic weapon is loud music. In 1989, for instance, US forces unleashed a barrage of Black Sabbath and Guns N’ Roses to drive Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega out of hiding.


https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/16/...adian-diplomats-ultrasound-infrasound-science
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this above article (not sure how great "the Verge" is as a reputable source) suggests possible chemical attack. although i don't see how that would cause 'mild concussion'. ??
 
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Mick West

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although i don't see how that would cause 'mild concussion'. ??

I don't think that "mild concussion" is something that you can do a physical test to determine. In fact after you get hit in the head and have symptoms of dizziness etc, they do a CT scan, and if it does not show anything they diagnose you with concussion.

http://weillcornellbrainandspine.org/condition/concussion/diagnosing-and-treating-concussion

Anyone taken to an emergency room with a head injury will be given basic neurological tests, and may have neuroimaging tests such as an MRI scan or CT scan. A concussion does not cause structural injury to the brain, so these scans are used primarily to rule out a more serious injury, especially bleeding inside the skull. If the scans show visible injury, the diagnosis is usually “mild traumatic brain injury” (TBI). If the scans show no visible injury, the patient will be evaluated for concussion.

Since there’s no simple test for diagnosing a concussion, the process takes several steps:

  • Interview to document the extent of any retrograde amnesia (loss of memory of the events immediately before the injury), loss of consciousness, or post-traumatic amnesia (loss of memory of events after the injury). Post-traumatic amnesia is the best indicator of a patient’s prognosis after a concussion, so this step is extremely important.
  • Determination of the range and severity of post-concussion symptoms on the field. There are several standardized scales, the most common of which is the SCAT-2 (Sideline Concussion Assessment Tool). This scale inquires about symptoms, attention, and memory; asks about recent events in the game; and checks balance and coordination. (Download the SCAT-2.)
  • Examination for any neurologic signs or symptoms: Tests of strength, sensation, reflexes, coordination, cranial nerve functions, mental status, and other neurologic functions to determine any serious injury to the brain.
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So they are probably not finding concussion, but rather a set of symptoms consistent with concussion. And since they generally don't have a baseline they are going on the patient's subjective assessment of their own symptoms, which can be highly psychosomatic.

I suspect the "symptom" of "brain injuries" the state department listed was probably just this diagnosis being consistent with the symptoms. Which means if I went to Cuba and presented myself to the doctor they would find I had all ten of the symptoms
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
can they test for carbon monoxide poisoning? of course how someone would use it as an attack chemical i don't know.


Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the rare causes of hearing loss which may cause reversible or irreversible, unilateral or bilateral hearing loss after acute or chronic exposure.
....
The symptoms of CO poisoning are nonspecific [5]. Acute mild exposure to CO leads to headache, myalgia, dizziness, and neurologic disturbance [1, 6], while heavier exposure may lead to retinal hemorrhage, myocardial infarction [2], loss of consciousness, coma, and death [4]. After CO poisoning, patients may suffer from some neurologic sequelae such as motor disturbances, peripheral neuropathy, and hearing loss [4]. In contrast, chronic exposure may produce different symptoms comprising fatigue, memory loss, sleep disturbance, vertigo, and hearing loss [7, 8]. Sensorineural hearing loss is among the complications that may be caused by either acute or chronic exposure to CO. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/criot/2013/940187/
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Mick West

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can they test for carbon monoxide poisoning?
I'm pretty sure they would have carbon monoxide detectors in the building. But yes, you can do a blood test (Carbon Monxide affects the blood's ability to carry oxygen).

If it is some kind of mass hysteria, then it's probably not going to be too helpful speculating as to the various causes. Almost certainly there will be a variety of things behind what people are feeling, and most like banal explanations like existing health conditions, or just getting old.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
I'm pretty sure they would have carbon monoxide detectors in the building.
in what building? i read about 15 articles and the reporting is all over the board. so, really hard to come to any conclusions.

it sounds like there were only 2 episodes. December 2016 and August 2017. I do agree mass hysteria would eventually take over, it is also speculating a bit to assume everyone is getting old at the same time. :)
 

Mick West

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Looking at the comments on Bartholomew's blog, the story is also attracting some of the more fringe theorists. There's the DEW (directed energy weapons) enthusiasts who ascribe great capabilities to devices that are largely theoretical. But then there's the "gang stalking" folk who often claim that the government has organized groups of people who beam voices directly into their skulls. Example (of both together):
With individuals like ex black ops commander John Robb on the loose, who openly espouse the use of systematic stalking and harassment by groups (which he calls "Coercive Games" in his blog), and homemade acoustic devices and instructions for creating microwave guns readily available on the internet, and the $81 million dollars paid by the military for the psychological and physical enhanced interrogation techniques crafted by Mitchell and Jesson, and TED presentations made by LRAD inventor Woody Norris, in which he describes his "voice of god" weapons being able to transmit narrow beams of directed noise or speech at 155db (past the threshold of "pain") into the heads of individuals sitting on a couch a mile away, you have all the evidence you need to understand how dangerous harassment campaigns using DEWs are.
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Mick West

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You could be on to something there, compare the list of symptoms in Micks opening post

Again though, speculating as to a single physical cause kind of misses the point - and I think falls into the same mental trap that leads to ideas like the "sonic weapon". This is a constellation of common self-reported symptoms, not everyone in the Cuba situation has the same symptoms, or to the same degree. The symptoms are mostly going to be found in a subset of ANY similar group of people.

It's possible there's a physical cause in some or any cases. It's even possible that it's the result of being zapped by a microwave weapon. It's possible that here's something in the water.

But there's no evidence of that. Given that they are withdrawing 2/3 of the staff, you'd think they would have looked into this - set up some monitoring equipment, tested the water. They have no idea what is going on, so they started to speculate. People talked to each other about the sonic ray thing, nobody wants to go deaf, so it's highly stressful, more people feel ill, there's media reports, more people feel ill.

Investigators trust and respect the embassy staff. So they tend to rule out psychosomatic components prematurely, and then they start speculating.

A related topic:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8331040
many of the symptoms that people attribute to sick building syndrome (SBS) or building-related illness, such as headaches, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, cough, and eye irritation, are subjective, and studies often fail to take into account other possible causes that may be inherent in the subjects, such as sinusitis, hyperventilation syndrome, or psychosomatic illness. Unfortunately, most clinical studies on SBS pay little attention to the preexisting conditions that a subject may have and discount the possibility that the inciting agent does not cause symptoms, but merely exacerbates a preexisting condition. Moreover, they offer no information about the nature of the mechanisms of action or pathophysiological relationships. Clearly, further studies are necessary to further explain the complexity of complaints that currently exist. Indeed, SBS might properly be paraphrased as "what is it?--if it is!"
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Like I said, I'd not rule anything out. But my feeling here is that it's not binary, it's complicated. There's some real symptoms here, and some unintentionally magnified symptoms. There seems to be a cluster simply because of the focus of the investigation, the more they focus, the more magnified the symptoms become.
 

Mick West

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Getting back to the actual events, if it IS an exotic weapon then it's clearly something the US cannot detect, and does not know how it works. So it's going to be something rather unusual. So speculating here is unlikely to be helpful. Let's just say there's a possible exotic weapon. We can't really rule things in or out without the full facts.

More relevant than figuring out how such a weapon might work is asking if there's actually any evidence at all that it's a necessary explanation for what happened. Exactly how much hearing loss are we talking about here? Has it actually been measured? How many people had hearing loss? How much did they have? Did they all have this localised loud noise event? If there's devices making ultrasound inside the embassy (or embassy housing) then why have none been found after months of investigation?
 

Mick West

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I've been trying to dig through the repeated and reworded stories to find out exactly what is being reported. The most direct source seems to be the US Embassy web site and this teleconference from yesterday:

https://cu.usembassy.gov/senior-state-department-officials-cuba/

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE:
...
Over the past several months, at least 21 U.S. embassy employees have been targeted in specific attacks.
...
The Travel Warning will note that over the past several months, numerous U.S. embassy employees have been targeted in specific attacks. These employees have suffered significant injuries as a consequence of these attacks. Affected individuals have exhibited a range of physical symptoms, including ear complaints, hearing loss, dizziness, tinnitus, balance problems, visual complaints, headache, fatigue, cognitive issues, and difficulty sleeping.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: First, I don’t believe I said the attacks have stopped. I believe I said that the last reported attacks were in August. I think because of our concern for the safety and well-being of our staff, that is why we’re going to ordered departure. We don’t know the means, the methods, or how these attacks are being carried out, and so I could not characterize them as having stopped in August.

Separately, targeted in the sense – only in the sense that 21 of our diplomats have suffered from these different attacks, and it does appear that U.S. embassy personnel are most at risk. But we cannot rule out, given the nature of these attacks, that the American public traveling in Cuba might not also be at risk as well.

MODERATOR: Next question, please.

OPERATOR: The next question is from Conor Finnegan with ABC News. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Hey, thanks very much for holding the call. Previously we’ve referred to what’s going on in Cuba as “incidents,” and now you’re using the term “attacks.” I’m wondering why the change in terminology. And among the many injuries that you had listed you didn’t mention traumatic brain injury, which the American Foreign Service Union has mentioned. So are you denying that TBI is one of the symptoms that American diplomats have had? Thank you.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: The Secretary of State has said very clearly that these are health attacks and they are affecting the health and safety and well-being of our staff. I’ve listed out the physical symptoms that have been present – presented. I don’t think it’s in my competence to describe a medical diagnosis or specific syndromes or conditions.
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So two things there. Firstly "these different attacks" suggests different people experienced different things. Which suggests to me that this is just people connecting unrelated dots, like "my symptoms happened after I noticed a strange smell/heard a noise/saw a flash of light/felt a rumble/felt hot"

Then the lack of recent mention of brain injury suggests that all along it was simply a diagnosis of something like "symptoms consistent with mild concussion". i.e headache, dizziness, hearing issues, etc.

There's also no specifics at all on anything serious.

Then there was a bunch of "no comment" type answers:

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: Yeah, no, in terms of technology, again, I would say the investigation’s not reached definitive conclusions on any, again, source, cause, type of technology that may or may not have been employed. So I’m not going to comment or speculate on what’s been ruled out or ruled in. I think the investigators are looking at the whole range of possibilities.
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Joey

New Member
It's Mass Hysteria absolutely. If these were high school girls it would be diagnosed as mass hysteria immediately. But these are people with important jobs, men in suits, they have to find an outside source to blame.
 

DasKleineTeilchen

Active Member
first time I heard this I was like "well, thats a lot of BS and doesnt make a lot of sense". I still think this is all nonsense, at least the "sonic-weapon"-part. how many people working at the embassy? which percentage of them are those 21 people? how old are they? are they kinda top-employees with responsibillitys or just random all over staff? and WHY, why would cuba stage an attack at the embassy?!? still sounds like BS.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
August 23, 2017 press briefing

MS NAUERT: The first reported activity took place in late December of 2016. That is correct. I’ve confirmed that here before. When these things started to come in – and I’ve talked about this before – people reported a variety of symptoms. Not everyone has experienced the same type of – the same type of symptoms. So after the initial reports came in, then we started to get some other reports. And it took some time for people to be able to determine that yes, there is a pattern taking place here; yes, there is something going on. It’s much like – I would liken it to if you have an illness and you kind of maybe – you mention it to a colleague, you mention it to a doctor, but you don’t think anything of it. The doctor hears about somebody else who has maybe a different kind of symptom. It may not all be put together at the same time and say, “Aha. This must be it.” It takes some time for that information to come in.

But since that information started coming in, we take this very seriously – safety and security of Americans, which obviously includes U.S. Government officials and employees who are there on business. It is a huge priority for us and we’re trying to get them all the care that they need. Okay?
https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2017/08/273592.htm#CUBA
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Mick West

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Still trying to track down more direct sources of info on the more severe claimed symptoms and loud noises. This article is from yesterday:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/29/us/politics/us-embassy-cuba-attacks.html

Of the 21 people who have become ill, 17 were government employees and four were spouses. Three of the spouses worked at the embassy. For some, the injuries appear permanent, with symptoms including hearing loss, dizziness, tinnitus, balance and visual problems, headache, fatigue, cognitive issues and difficulty sleeping. But despite an intensive investigation by the F.B.I., the cause and perpetrators of the attacks remain a mystery.

Some of those affected reported hearing odd sounds in particular rooms of their homes, leading some experts to speculate that some kind of sonic weapon or faulty surveillance device may have been at fault.

Just looking at the symptoms, it sounds like they’ve all had traumatic brain injuries like a concussion or a series of minor head injuries even though we know they haven’t,” said Dr. Martin Gizzi, a neurologist in Portland, Ore., who is a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology.

Dr. Gizzi said neither ultrasonic nor subsonic waves have been known to produce such injuries surreptitiously. Among the other possibilities are a virus, poison or radiation, he said.
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Covering all your bases there. But again we have a variety of different symptoms, in different places, and a diagnosis of brain injuries only from other symptoms which can have well over a hundred different causes.

I think a big problem here is with paraphrasing. Things go from "like concussion" to "concussion" to "traumatic brain injury".

The root story behind the "traumatic brain injury" thing only goes back to Aug 23, and a report by CBS news.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/some-u...rious-health-conditions-medical-records-show/
According to medical records reviewed exclusively by CBS News, a U.S. doctor who evaluated American and Canadian diplomats working in Havana diagnosed them with conditions as serious as mild traumatic brain injury, and with likely damage to the central nervous system.

The diplomats complained about symptoms ranging from hearing loss and nausea to headaches and balance disorders after the State Department said "incidents" began affecting them beginning in late 2016.
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Again, this seems to be a possible diagnosis of a condition consistent with symptoms, not an actual finding of brain injuries.

An older Aug 10 story says only:
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/u-s-go...a-report-incidents-causing-physical-symptoms/
A source familiar with the incidents said Thursday that U.S. officials are looking into whether the incidents were caused by a possible type of acoustics device that was in or outside homes of embassy workers provided by the Cuban government. State Department employees suffered loss of hearing, constant painful headaches, sleeplessness, exhaustion and other symptoms.
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scombrid

Senior Member.
Just looking at the symptoms, it sounds like they’ve all had traumatic brain injuries like a concussion or a series of minor head injuries even though we know they haven’t,” said Dr. Martin Gizzi, a neurologist in Portland, Ore., who is a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology.
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This is one of the ways that the mass media spreads bunk. They get some expert that hasn't actually examined the facts to speculate on what the claimed facts may mean. In this case he is speculating as if the symptoms are verified even though he has examined nothing. It isn't just in matters of health that the media will find someone that sounds authoritative to make declarative impressive sounding speculations even though their "expert" has no direct knowledge of the case at hand.

Dr. Gizzi has credentials but I don't see in the piece any mention that he has examined the "victims". So where does he or any of these other experts get off speculating to the media when they don't have the first hand knowledge that would be needed to accurately make statements? Are they dumping their ethics because the are getting paid or do they just like the attention?
 

Critical Thinker

Senior Member.
From the NYTimes


A ‘Sonic Attack’ on Diplomats in Cuba? These Scientists Doubt It
Carl Zimmer

OCT. 5, 2017

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Experts in acoustics, however, say that’s a theory more appropriate to a James Bond movie.

Sound can cause discomfort and even serious harm, and researchers have explored the idea of sonic weaponry for years. But scientists doubt a hidden ultrasound weapon can explain what happened in Cuba.

“I’d say it’s fairly implausible,” said Jurgen Altmann, a physicist at the Technische Universitat Dortmund in Germany and an expert on acoustics.
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The Pentagon funded development of loudspeakers to deliver long-range blasts of sound. The Navy uses them to ward off pirates, while the Army deploys them at checkpoints. In recent years, police have used so-called long range acoustic devices to break up crowds like those at the protests in Ferguson, Mo.

But these weapons work because they are insufferably loud, and if one were used against diplomats in Cuba, there would be no mystery about it. So speculation has swirled around another possibility: a device producing a sound outside the range of human hearing.

One possibility is infrasound — low-frequency sound that cannot be heard by humans. A report by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in 2002 noted that the military had tried to weaponize infrasoundbut had not succeeded because it was hard to focus the wavelengths.

The primary effect of infrasound on humans “appears to be annoyance,” the report concluded.

Ultrasound is the more likely possibility. At frequencies higher than 20,000 hertz, beyond human hearing, ultrasound can damage tissue if produced with enough power.

Doctors use focused blasts of ultrasound to smash kidney stones. Decades ago, researchers created intensely powerful ultrasound beams in laboratories that can kill a mouse at close range.

Less powerful ultrasound beams don’t cause injuries and have a variety of medical uses, including commonplace medical scans. But there’s anecdotal evidence at certain intensities, they can make people very uncomfortable.

Steven L. Garrett, who taught acoustics at Penn State University before retiring last year, used to demonstrate ultrasound beams to his students. Often he would get nauseous and develop a headache; eventually he took to wearing protective gear.
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Even if another player has succeeded in developing an ultrasonic weapon, researchers said, the laws of physics make it unlikely that the device could harm diplomats from afar.

“Ultrasound cannot travel a long distance,” said Jun Qin, an acoustic engineer at Southern Illinois University. The further the sound goes, the weaker it gets. And, noted Dr. Garrett, humidity in a place like Havana would weaken it still more.

Moreover, a beam of ultrasound will mostly bounce off the exterior of a building. What little sound got through would be of a lower, less harmful frequency.

One way to overcome these hurdles would be to use a bigger weapon. But a massive vehicle topped with a giant sound cannon in front of diplomatic houses would probably not go unnoticed.

“If you’re talking about a ray-gun rifle knocking out someone with ultrasound they can’t hear at a hundred meters — that’s not going to happen,” said Dr. Leighton.

An ultrasound-emitting device planted inside a building, on the other hand, might be close and powerful enough to cause harm to occupants. But even an interior wall would block its waves.

A smaller emitter placed even more closely, perhaps in someone’s pillow, might do the trick, said Dr. Qin. But it’s hard to believe such a device could escape attention. In theory, a building could be packed with small emitters; however, experts called it unlikely.

And while ultrasound can cause many of the symptoms reported, there’s no evidence that it can cause mild brain injury.

“I know of no acoustic effect that can cause concussion symptoms,” Dr. Altmann said. “Sound going through the air cannot shake your head.”

For all of these reasons, experts said, ultrasound weapons should not top the list of possible explanations for the hearing loss and headaches and other symptoms said to have been observed in diplomats.

“I believe those people got something that hurt them,” said Dr. Qin. “But it could be something in the environment.” The possibilities include toxins, or bacterial or viral infections, that can damage hearing.

Dr. Leighton said contagious anxiety or another psychogenic contributor couldn’t be ruled out. “If you make people anxious that they’re under attack from an ultrasonic weapon, those are the symptoms you’ll get,” he said.

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Henry Crun

New Member
Mass hysteria may explain 'sonic attacks' in Cuba, say top neurologists

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/12/cuba-mass-hysteria-sonic-attacks-neurologists

Senior neurologists have suggested that a spate of mysterious ailments among US diplomats in Cuba – which has caused a diplomat rift between the two countries – could have been caused by a form of “mass hysteria” rather than sonic attacks.

The unexplained incidents have prompted the US to withdraw most of its embassy staff from Havana and expel the majority of Cuban diplomats from Washington.

The neurologists who talked to the Guardian cautioned that no proper diagnosis is possible without far more information and access to the 22 US victims, who have suffered a range of symptoms including hearing loss, tinnitus, headaches and dizziness.

I've followed the site for a long time and hadn't even realized Mick was a top neurologist :eek:
 
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skephu

Senior Member.
AP claims to have obtained a recording of the sound some US Embassy workers heard.
https://apnews.com/88bb914f8b284088bce48e54f6736d84
WASHINGTON (AP) — It sounds sort of like a mass of crickets. A high-pitched whine, but from what? It seems to undulate, even writhe. Listen closely: There are multiple, distinct tones that sound to some like they’re colliding in a nails-on-the-chalkboard effect.

The Associated Press has obtained a recording of what some U.S. Embassy workers heard in Havana in a series of unnerving incidents later deemed to be deliberate attacks. The recording, released Thursday by the AP, is the first disseminated publicly of the many taken in Cuba of mysterious sounds that led investigators initially to suspect a sonic weapon.
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Source: https://youtu.be/Nw5MLAu-kKs
 

Abe

New Member
A new AP story on the "sonic attacks" is trying to extend the number of victims:

https://apnews.com/53d931c2e7e14e2c980644bd10bfef46

"The tourist from South Carolina had cut short his trip to Cuba two years earlier after numbness spread through all four of his limbs within minutes of climbing into bed at the same hotel where American government workers were later targeted."

Unless I'm mistaken, numbness is a new complaint.

This article also illustrates how this story is dominated by rumor and how details cannot be pinned down:

"The AP has learned that an FBI agent sent down to Cuba this year was alarmed enough by an unexplained sound in his hotel that he sought medical testing to see whether he was the latest victim of what some U.S. officials suspect are “sonic attacks.” Whether the FBI agent was really affected is disputed.

But there’s no dispute that a U.S. government doctor was hit in Havana, half a dozen U.S. officials said.

Dispatched to the island earlier this year to test and treat Americans at the embassy, the physician became the latest victim himself. How badly he was hurt varies from telling to telling."

And it looks like people sort of want to be victims of these attacks, but the evidence for their victimhood is worse than that of the tourist the AP mentions in detail:

"Since the AP began reporting on the Cuba attacks, roughly three dozen American citizens have contacted the news agency to say they believe they may have been affected by the same or related phenomena. The AP has not published those accounts, because closer examination gave ample reason to doubt their situations were connected."

Overall, the AP report is a bit too credulous, but they do a pretty good job of pointing out the discrepancies in the "sonic weapon" story.
 

Mick West

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Skeptic Magazine has weighed in on this with an article supporting the mass hysteria theory. https://www.skeptic.com/reading_roo...bout-sonic-attack-diplomats-cuba-dont-add-up/

Since June, FBI agents have been on the Caribbean island conducting forensic analyses of the possible crime scenes, but remain stumped.14 This leaves one plausible explanation for the illness cluster in Cuba: mass psychogenic illness.]
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That's Robert Bartholomew again, he published a similar article back in Sept 05 2017, linked in the OP.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blo...ic-attack-the-us-embassy-likely-psychological
Based on the scant information that has been disclosed thus far, it is very possible that the symptoms are psychogenic in nature, as most of the complaints are headaches and dizziness.
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In the newer article he talks more about "sick building syndrome" and "hum scares"

London and South Hampton in the United Kingdom have had their own Hum Scares. Scores of residents have complained of an irritating low frequency sound dating back to the 1940s. They too have claims that it has caused health problems. In 1989, an organization was formed to investigate reports: The Low Frequency Noise Sufferers Association, nicknamed “the Hummers.”20

The “sonic attack” on embassy staff in Cuba appears to be a case of old wine in new skins. It is the Hum Scare and Sick Building Syndrome dressed up in a different social and cultural garb.
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David Coulter

Senior Member.
Fascinating thread. I was also suspicious of the ambiguous symptoms. My wife and I suffered dual hysteria once: I said I felt a bit dizzy, she said she did as well and maybe a bit nauseous, then I felt nauseous and had a bit of a headache, then she also had a headache. Suspecting CO poisoning we left the house and called the fire department. They found no CO and suggest we might have suffered from a collaboration of symptoms, something that they often see at schools.

The main concern I have on the Cuban story line is why would the Cubans do something like this? (Regardless of the fact that there does not appear to be the technology in a stealthy package.) The Cuban government wants improved relations with the US. A rogue actor in the government? Seems like that would be discovered quickly. A Russian plot to disrupt a growing US-Cuban relationship? Their social media machine is effective and easier to implement.

Since there is no evidence disclosed that actual brain injury was diagnosed via an MRI the diagnoses seems unreliable. Even if one person showed MRI evidence of injury it might have been pre-existing.

Living in a tropical developing country subjects you to a lot of stress and environmental impacts. You are breathing more polluted air, routinely get intestinal bugs, subject to a host of minor and major tropical ailments that locals are accustom to.
 

jonnyH

Senior Member.
something that they often see at schools.
Reminded me of this:

School pupils collapse at Outwood Academy in Ripon

Up to 40 school pupils simultaneously fell ill at a North Yorkshire school.

Students at Outwood Academy in Ripon showed signs of "sickness and feeling faint sometime between 11:00 and 11.30", police said.

The ambulance service said children were treated at the school on Clotherholme Road. A hazardous materials team also attended.

...

A fire officer told the BBC they believed the hall "was a hot room and some children had become overwhelmed" and no chemicals or gases had been detected in the scare.

Fire station manager Dave Winspear said: "We are of the view the children just fainted and there was a ripple effect throughout the school."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-34793710
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There are lots more examples in a follow up article in the BBC magazine.
 

jonnyH

Senior Member.
Active denial system weapon is well tested and can cause symptoms like described above:: Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9p5naCkz2w
Can cause symptoms like described above?

The active denial system heats the surface of the skin. In the video you posted one test subject describes it a 2:50 in:

It feels like an intense warm feeling, kinda like someone opening a very hot oven door.
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There's more info on the device here, which includes a similar description of its effects

A Reuters correspondent who volunteered to be shot with the beam during the demonstration described it as "similar to a blast from a very hot oven – too painful to bear without diving for cover."
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However there is no mention in the video you posted or in the wikipedia article I linked that the ADS is capable of causing symptoms anything like:

permanent hearing loss, brain injuries, dizziness, tinnitus, problems with balance, visual impairment, headaches, fatigue, cognitive issues and difficulties sleeping.
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
However there is no mention in the video you posted or in the wikipedia article I linked that the ADS is capable of causing symptoms anything like:
It also needs a clear line of sight. It’s not going to work through walls, even if it made the same symptoms.
 

I believe you

New Member
"Here it is", this [attached .mp4] is what i thinks is the weapon, FIRE ALARM System. Mass hysteria proved a fact to me.

AP claims to have obtained a recording of the sound some US Embassy workers heard.
https://apnews.com/88bb914f8b284088bce48e54f6736d84
WASHINGTON (AP) — It sounds sort of like a mass of crickets. A high-pitched whine, but from what? It seems to undulate, even writhe. Listen closely: There are multiple, distinct tones that sound to some like they’re colliding in a nails-on-the-chalkboard effect.

The Associated Press has obtained a recording of what some U.S. Embassy workers heard in Havana in a series of unnerving incidents later deemed to be deliberate attacks. The recording, released Thursday by the AP, is the first disseminated publicly of the many taken in Cuba of mysterious sounds that led investigators initially to suspect a sonic weapon.
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Source: https://youtu.be/Nw5MLAu-kKs

Compare the sounds, that is what I think it is. Fire alarm.
 

Attachments

  • received_2287225004837088.mp4
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Compare the sounds, that is what I think it is. Fire alarm.

Interesting possibility - but surely everyone would have heard it? Maybe a fire alarm in another building heard through an open window. Somewhat location dependent.

That's rather an odd sound for a fire alarm. What is the source of this video? What brand alarm is that?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
The fire alarm in the video I just posted is lower pitched. Yours has a similar sound but also seems to have the high pitched noise that's similar to the "Dangerous Sound" video. Possibly harmonics. I'm sure most people have had the experience of walking down a corridor when fire alarms are going off, and hearing weird effects at different positions.
 

I believe you

New Member
Interesting possibility - but surely everyone would have heard it? Maybe a fire alarm in another building heard through an open window. Somewhat location dependent.

That's rather an odd sound for a fire alarm. What is the source of this video? What brand alarm is that?
I can only tell you that the fire alarm belongs to the embassy but I can't tell you the brand or specs but if you compare the sounds obtained to this one I'm confident it will be that same pitch of sounds But its just my personal theory.
 

I believe you

New Member
Here's a hotel fire alarm that sounds similar:
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1oOrUoccmg
Nice!. Very similar, mine its from the State department, and it went off right next to me but I can't tell locations sorry and instantly came to muy mind the sounds I heard in the youtube videos

How do you know this? And was the recording done at the embassy? I thought the "attacks" were at residences and hotels?
I was at the right place in an ambassy when it went off next to me and this came to my mind but sorry I cant tell of locations
 

I believe you

New Member
This one has another view and distance to the alarm, so depending how close you are its very loud and disturbing.
20171126-111431-nvx9e.jpg
 

Attachments

  • received_2287224134837175.mp4
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deirdre

Senior Member.
mine its from the State department, and it went off right next to me but I can't tell locations sorry
you already said it's from "the embassy". Now you say it's from the State Department. Why not just drop the 'cloak and dagger' swag and say "the sound could possibly be from a fire alarm" and then find some real life examples, not just some undocumented sound you 'say' is from such and such location.
 

I believe you

New Member
you already said it's from "the embassy". Now you say it's from the State Department. Why not just drop the 'cloak and dagger' swag and say "the sound could possibly be from a fire alarm" and then find some real life examples, not just some undocumented sound you 'say' is from such and such location.
I don
Well, this is just an idea I dont know for sure if this is the same noises heard in Cuba. What bothers you?, i'm just like everyone here, trying to figure out because that noise does not come from Cícadas.
 

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