People working in the US embassy in Cuba have been, for the past year, reporting the experience of extremely unusual collection of symptoms from vertigo, hearing loss, nausea, concussions etc. as reported by CBS news. The source of this illness is being termed as a mystery, with several rumors and speculation pointing towards a secret sonic weapon being used (existence unknown to the world).
Associated Press has just recently reported that the number of victims has risen to twenty one US citizens, making this mystery even murkier. Even the Canadian households have been reported to have been affected, as stated by the Associated Press.
The Cuban government has vehemently denied any kind of involvement and with no kind of gear of equipment being unearthed that might be causing these symptoms, it has led to widespread fear and speculation.
John Oghalai, Chair of Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Southern California states that the reason no device of any kind has been found is because he says that such a device doesn’t exist. The whole concept sounds very interesting and might even be a Sound Engineer’s wet dream, but till the time the existence of such a device is really confirmed, all that one can say about it is its science fiction!
Experts on the matter also corroborate John Oghalai’s statement that such a device that covertly uses sound energy to injure people doesn’t actually exist Even James Jauchem, a retired scientist who had previously investigated the biological effects of acoustic energy for the Air Force Research Laboratory is very skeptical of the existence of such a device.
He further states that the devices or weapons that are known to use sound such as Flashbang grenades and sound cannons (which are used against revolting protesters) are extremely loud, obvious to notice and its effects are immediate. One cannot describe these devices as covert. He also lays doubt on the investigators’ findings that would have led to them narrowing down to call the device an acoustic weapon.
The Associated Press, after investigations of their own, reported that the attacks most probably happened in the night when the victims would have felt the vibrations or heard the ringing noises at their homes of their hotels.
In theory, silence would be very unusual for a weapon that uses sound energy to deter and disorient people, as a sonic weapon would mostly achieve these effects by causing ear pain or by making a person dizzy or by vibrating inside the body of the victim, resulting in their bowels being liquified and being reduced to a diarrheic mess.
There are quite a few sounds that aren’t audible to human ears, such as the high pitched dog whistles that are categorized in the ultrasonic range and the rumbles of an earthquake which are extremely low pitched, and therefore, are categorized in the infrasonic range.
Considering these facts, Oghalai states that for a sound based weapon to actually cause hearing loss, one would indeed have to listen to it.
The existence of such a device would be extremely wild for discovery but seems improbable for the time being. The scientist community though has a real mystery on their hands to solve now.