At least 24 diplomats based in Havana were affected by non-tangible, unexplained bizarre noises and physical symptoms from a “non-natural source”.
US officials detailed how personnel came to experience a variety of symptoms including sharp ear pain, headaches, ringing in one ear, vertigo, disorientation, attention issues and signs consistent with mild traumatic brain injury or concussion.
In nearly all cases — 24 in total — the ailments were preceded by some sort of “acoustic element,” such as a “high-pitched beam of sound” or a “baffling sensation akin to driving with the windows partially open in a car.”
FBI investigators reportedly uncovered “no evidence that sound waves could have damaged the Americans’ health” but US officials still based in Cuba were advised to move if necessary by Dr. Charles Rosenfarb, medical director of the board of medical services at the Department of State: “The only mitigation factor is to limit your exposure. We inform people that should they hear or feel a sensation, to move away as quickly as possible. We know from our patients who have already been there that the less exposure the better.”
This story has parallels with the experience of personnel based at the American embassy in Moscow during the Cold War when US diplomats claimed that the high incidence of headaches and cancer-related illness and deaths were linked to the strong microwaves directed at the embassy by the Russians.