Sonic Truth

In 2016, 24 people at the US Embassy in Cuba reported symptoms like dizziness and nausea after hearing high-pitched noises. Investigators speculated it was some kind of “sonic weapon,” leading to a media frenzy.

But the symptoms didn’t match the source and there’s scant evidence of sonic weaponry. Brain scans confirmed anomalies in victims’ white matter, however, leading experts to confirm “mass psychogenic illness” (or “mass hysteria”), a documented disorder that disrupts brain pathways and intensifies everyday responses like pain or fatigue. The illness can be difficult to treat and ongoing media obsession with the possibility of a “sonic attack” may have obstructed proper analysis.


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