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Havana Syndrome: The Unsolved Mysterious Sound Causing Severe Brain Injuries

 The stage events five years back in Havana, the charismatic city famous for its rums and cigars, forced the US to evacuates its diplomats. The disorienting stage sound that perplexed doctors and researchers for half a decade because those who heard it for a prolonged time fell ill. Even though the end results of the Havana Syndrome were diverse and terrifying; it first started with a slight dizziness, slowly evolved into a headache, and Insomnia, leading to hearing issues and ultimately caused memory loss.

But even after years of the first reported case, the question persists, who should be blamed for the Havana Syndrom? What exactly is the source of this sound? And how dangerous is this inaudible syndrome?

Havana Syndrome: The First Case

Dating back to late 2016, US diplomates stationed in US Embassy Cuba developed some unusual symptoms, mimicking the symptoms of Persistent Concussion Syndrome. Memory loss, severe headaches, concentration difficulty, vestibular problems, and auditory disturbances were some of the most common symptoms amongst all the patients. The diplomats explained the sound as laser-light beams of sound aimed at them from no detectable source. The problem became so grave that the US government had to evacuate all but essential personnel from the Cuban embassy. This unexplained sickness was branded as the ‘Havana Syndrome.’

The victims heard this sound in Havana Syndrome. Source: TIME

The then-American President, Donald Trump, accused Cuba, saying, “I do believe Cuba is responsible. It’s a very unusual attack”. But Cuba denied any role, and it coughed up the idea of the sound being a weapon and accused America of letting it investigate the sickness.

The sickness resurfaced a year later in Uzbekistan, where a diplomat and his wife reported an acoustic attack; like the one experienced by diplomats in Havana. A few months later, the mysterious, un-explainable sound reemerged and was heard by the US diplomats deployed in China, Canada, and many unnamed middle-eastern countries. Recently, many government workers working in the US have been showing similar symptoms of the Havana Syndrome. Over the last five years, 130 cases of the syndrome with slightly different symptoms are reported globally.

Since 2016, the mysterious sound has received a lot of attention. It has been studied by various branches of government, including the CIA, State Department, the Department of Defence, and even the FBI. In addition, medical investigators have been studying the problems in universities and labs around the globe.

Joining the Dots

Because of the lack of any culprit, the American government has not pointed fingers at any specific country. But, from the possibility of chemical exposure from pesticides and other toxic substances to targeted microwave or ultrasonic impulses being directed towards the embassies; researchers have been trying to give the world a reasonable theory for the Havana syndrome. The National Academy of Sciences published a study in December 2020 on the syndrome claiming directed radiofrequency energy to be the most likely source.

The fact that the weapons capable of generating such radio frequency is small and can be easily hidden. And connecting the dots with the immediate sound that victims heard directed from a particular direction, makes the radio frequency theory the most likely cause of the havan syndrome. But such claims can only be tested in an autopsy, and all the victims are still alive, thus ruling out the proof for the time being.

The cognitive and physical symptoms of Havana Syndrome have been verified and are very real, and it cannot disagree with accusations towards the victims. but debaters also point towards concussion syndrome and trauma victims resulting from psychogenic causes, similar to mass hysteria. Even though the after-effects of Havana Syndrome are debilitating, studies prove it not to be fatal, as all the affected victims are still alive.

Havana Syndrome: Unfolding the Mystery

Biden administration understands the graveness of the matter and is emphasizing officials and scientists to find the cause of the syndrome. But, unfortunately, the Havan Syndrom has resurfaced again. After Presidents Joe Biden has taken office, over 20 US officials have reported similar symptoms, most of which is from the US embassy in Vienna, the new hotspot. Acknowledging the mental illness caused in many diplomats and families, the Senate recently passed legislation name The HAVANA Act (Helping American Victim Afflicted by Neurological Attacks), with a statement, “public servants who have incurred brain injuries from likely directed energy attacks.”

With no easy answers in close sight, only theories, but still, the primary cause of Havan syndrome is hard to pinpoint, even for the most talented researchers. But 130 cases is not a small number. Suppose there is any possibility of a mind-bending weapon powerful enough to drive a person mad. In that case, the world has to collectively investigate the cases because such an invisible weapon in the hands of terrorists could unfold an absolute nightmare.