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. Cuba has vehemently denied engaging in any such attack, calling it baseless and ridiculous. 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. The claims do not make logical sense. For instance, an acoustical device generating inaudible sounds, cannot damage a person’s hearing. The most serious case is described as “mild traumatic brain injury” and could be entirely unrelated. Furthermore, what exactly does this diagnosis mean? It is very, very vague.
There have been many documented cases in the mass hysteria literature of so-called ‘sick buildings’ that have supposedly caused outbreaks of illness, that turn out to be psychological. The human mind can play tricks on itself, especially in the wake of rumors and conspiracy claims. For instance, shortly after the anthrax mail attacks attributed to possible terrorists during the fall of 2001, the U.S. Postal Service began to irradiate mail to kill any biological agents sent through the mail. Soon dozens of workers at the irradiation centers reported feeling unwell and blaming their symptoms on the machines. Yet the irradiation of medical supplies had been going on for over a decade, without any reports of adverse effects. Irradiating mail produces no residual radiation, but the perception was that it was radioactive.
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.
The likelihood of mass hysteria is certainly in possible. If it is the culprit, what could have triggered such an outbreak? There is a long Cold War history of Cuban agents harassing American Embassy personnel in Havana. Many of these stories have been exaggerated and become part of American military folklore. This could have given rise to the expectation that similar shenanigans are happening again now that the U.S. has re-opened diplomatic relations with Cuba. It is also worth noting that the symptoms were not officially noticed until February 2017, after the Trump administration took office – an administration that is prone to creating conspiracy theories with little supporting evidence, such as the recent announcement by the Justice Department which said that claims Barack Obama had ordered wiretaps of Trump Tower, were unfounded.
It all sounds very fishy.