What was purported by the Trump administration to have been widespread illnesses of US diplomats in Cuba resulting from the use – by some nefarious state actor – of advanced acoustic warfare weaponry, turned out to be caused by the mating calls of crickets. In response to accusations that a sonic weapon was targeting US personnel in Cuba, the Trump administration withdrew half of its staff from the US embassy in Havana and expelled 15 Cuban diplomats from their embassy in Washington, DC. During 2017, some 26 US diplomats complained of nausea, headaches, vision problems, cognitive disorders, and other maladies brought about by a high-pitched drone sound they experienced at their homes and hotels.
In fact, a detailed study of the phenomenon revealed that the culprits were not the Russian, Chinese, or Cuban intelligence services but Indies short-tailed cricket, scientifically known as “Anurogryllus celerinictus.” The male mating call of these pesky nighttime creatures is at 7 kilohertz, just the right frequency to cause discomfort and sleeplessness for some humans.
Two biologists – Dr. Fernando Montealegre-Zapata of the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom and Alexander Stubbs of the University of California – ran comparative studies of the recordings taken of the suspect sounds affecting the Americans in Cuba and those of the Indies cricket. The result is that the acoustic pulse repetition rate, frequency harmonics, and duration matched almost completely with those of the Indies short-tailed cricket. The slight variance between the sounds was due to recordings taken outside and those taken indoors, with echoes caused by walls and floors accounting for the slight difference. The two scientists’ initial findings received favorable peer reviews from their academic colleagues.
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