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Sound linked to 'sonic attack' warning is that of crickets, scientists find

MIAMI – The mystery of the sonic weapon that is allegedly to blame over the health problems U.S. and Canadian government employees reported suffering after working in Havana has yet to be solved. And while the U.S. State Department's investigation on the alleged sonic attacks is still ongoing, a couple of scientists said the sound released as evidence was just crickets.

Fernando Montealegre-Zapata of the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom, and Alexander Stubbs of the University of California in Berkeley both believe the audio sample the Associated Press released in 2017 released as evidence "exhibits frequency decay in individual pulses, a distinct acoustic signature of cricket sound production." 

When the AP released the audio of "a recording of what some U.S. Embassy workers heard in Havana," the U.S. Navy did not respond to requests for comment, and the State Department didn't comment on the tape’s authenticity.

The two scientists believe their research showed the sound could be the call of the Indies short-tailed cricket, also known as the Anurogryllus celerinictus. This conclusion on the sound did not look at the reports by doctors who discovered brain abnormalities in the patients returning from Cuba.

The AP reported the recording was played for workers at the U.S. Embassy to teach them what to listen for, said several individuals with knowledge of the situation in Havana.

"I’ve met with the victims. I’ve met with their families," former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said during an interview with the AP early last year. "I’m concerned about their health and wellbeing."

The scientists who have studied the symptoms of the medically confirmed cases haven't had controversial results. A study published last month reported the symptoms 25 people reported were similar to a "mild traumatic brain injury following blast exposure or blunt trauma."  

Last year, another study published in the medical journal JAMA described the symptoms of 21 people who sought medical attention for symptoms that included headaches, memory, eyesight and hearing loss. Three required hearing aids.

The FBI report, which wasn't public, ruled out the U.S. State Department's sonic weapon theory.

Cuban officials have denied having a role behind the reported sonic attacks.

 


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