Cuba's 'Sonic Attack' on US Diplomats in Cuba May Have Been Weaponized Cricket Noises

Monday, 07 January 2019 - 2:04PM
Weird Science
Monday, 07 January 2019 - 2:04PM
Cuba's 'Sonic Attack' on US Diplomats in Cuba May Have Been Weaponized Cricket Noises
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Composite adapted from Pixabay images
Back in October 2018, we reported on a series of sonic 'attacks' on US diplomats in China, which bore a striking resemblance to the ones that occurred at the American embassy in Havana in 2016. The Associated Press claimed to have an audio recording of one of these sonic attacks (taken from a hotel room in Havana), but upon closer inspection, it looks like the recording isn't a mysterious sonic device—it's probably just an exceptionally loud species of cricket, called the Indies Short-Tailed Cricket.

The researchers who studied the recording aren't claiming that the diplomats in Cuba were faking it—there's plenty of medical evidence, including brain damage, that something other than crickets was at work. Still, they say that the AP recording probably isn't the smoking gun investigators are looking for. According to their report, which will soon be submitted to scientific journals, the sound produced by the cricket "matches, in nuanced detail, the A.P. recording in duration, pulse repetition rate, power spectrum, pulse rate stability, and oscillations per pulse."

If you think this sounds like a government cover story, like swamp gas or a weather balloon, you may not comprehend just how loud these crickets can be. According to one of the researchers, Alexander Stubbs of UC Berkeley: "They're incredibly loud. You can hear them from inside a diesel truck going forty miles an hour on the highway." The Indies Short-Tailed Cricket's known habitat range matches up with the area the recording was taken as well.

It should be noted that not all victims of the sonic attacks in Cuba reported hearing high-pitched, loud noises like the recording—according to Dr. Douglas Smith, one of the medical professionals who examined the diplomats, some victims heard different noises, or nothing at all. "It could be like a low-tone motor, or metal scraping, or like driving in a car with the back window open," he said. At this point, the source of those sonic phenomena is still unknown.
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