The Unexplained: The Mysterious Havana Syndrome

The U.S. Embassy in Cuba where diplomats first felt the effects of what became known as the Havana Syndrome. Photo: U.S. State Department

Why were our diplomats suffering from nausea, headaches, dizziness, auditory hallucinations, and loss of memory?

Those of us who lived through the nail-biting and eerie Cold War may think the Havana Syndrome is a relic of that era.  The ominous Bay of Pigs episode still brings a chill to the soul when conjured up in the brain.  Not so.  There is a fairly recent mystery that is yet to be solved.  When you first learn about it, all sorts of scary things can pop into your head.

It has the ability to become  more widespread in usage, and can involve anyone on the whim of “the sender.” Could it have satellite capabilities?  This is one horror that comes to my mind.

In August of 2017, puzzling reports were filtering in from our small neighbor, Cuba.  Canadian and American diplomats there were reporting odd medical symptoms:  nausea, headaches, nosebleeds, dizziness, auditory hallucinations, ringing in the ears, earaches, loss of memory, and more.

Sara Marie Hogg

It was determined that some of the symptoms had first appeared in 2016.  Then some of our diplomats in China started reporting similar bizarre symptoms.  Remarkably U.S. diplomats all over the world were reporting some of the symptoms.  Was it poison?  How was it administered? What could it be?

The original set of Cuban diplomats examined did have some brain injury, when tested.  A barrage of medical tests was conducted on Canadian and American diplomats that had been in Cuba and it was determined that the symptoms were caused by Directed Microwave Radiation.  Who or what was selectively directing the radiation?

The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine would try to find out.  In examining all of the afflicted, scientists learned that the symptoms started with hearing grating noises that came from a specific direction.  This was accompanied by a feeling of vibration and air pressure changes—described as like driving a car with the window partially down.  The time span of the noises was from 20 seconds to 30 minutes.

The people with the symptoms were in a specific hotel or their own living quarters.  Other people in nearby areas did not report any noises or vibrations.  One lady diplomat recalled leaving her living area for a couple of weeks and when she came back the refrigerator was unplugged and all the food was spoiled.  That was a big clue that someone had come in while she was gone—disconcerting to say the least.

Some of the diplomats have reported long-term symptoms that have made it almost impossible to work, especially with their memory loss problems.

In September of 2017, the U. S. State Department started removing all but the most essential diplomats from the U. S. Embassy in Cuba.  It had earlier expelled two Cuban diplomats.  In a similar move in 2018, Global Affairs Canada began removing some staff that had their families with them in Cuba.

When reports leaked out that the U. S. was suspicious, a Cuban Foreign Minister accused the U. S. of lying about microwave attacks.  In a show of good faith, the Cuban government offered to help investigate the incidents.  They scoured hotels and did huge sweeps of embassy buildings.  They examined soil samples and looked for toxic agents in the area.

In a real stretch, the vibrations and noises were declared to be caused by Jamaican Field Crickets, or rare jungle crickets.  Mosquito control pesticides and mass hysteria were also offered up as causes for the strange symptoms.

In a 2018 JAMA study, microwaves were considered the main suspect:  Pulsed Radiofrequency/Microwave Radiation via The Frey EffectThe Frey Effect is named for Allan H. Frey, an eminent neuroscientist.

In 2019, a 19-member committee of medical and scientific experts concluded “Overall directed pulsed RF energy (radiofrequency) appears to be the most plausible mechanism explaining the cases of distinct early manifestation (of the afflicted).”

What gadget created these aimed, pulsed, microwave bursts and who operated them is still a mystery.  Some think Russia may have the answer.  Deja vu.

Sara Marie Hogg is the author of Curious, Indeed, a collection of true stories about the strange and mysterious world around us. Please click HERE to find the book on Amazon.

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