In 2017, and after several diplomats complained of headaches, nausea and other ailments, the US Embassy in Havana reduced its staff by more than half. It had all started in November 2016 when, according to some people affected, a strange sound began to be heard near the houses and hotels where they lived. .
At first, nobody took it very seriously, but before the surge of cases a medical group of the University of Pennsylvania checked almost two dozen workers of the Embassy and concluded that, indeed, they had suffered similar injuries to the concussion.
The results have been disputed, but they were persuasive enough to unleash a collective hysteria of theories about ultrasonic weapons or microwave devices. Especially when AP published one of the famous sound recordings. Now, months of debates and conspiracies later, it seems that it is about crickets.
Yes, crickets. An Anglo-American group of researchers has just published a new analysis of the recording and its conclusions can not be further from the supposed acoustic weapon. According to his conclusions, the sound seems to come from a bug called Anurogryllus celerinictus, a short-tailed cricket typical of the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and the southern United States.
The new study searched large databases of insect sounds to find one that matched the recording. The call of that type of cricket turned out to be very similar. Although they did not coincide exactly (they had the same speed and similar frequencies), but the sound had an unequal pulse structure that is not found in the recordings.
According to the researchers, the discrepancy could be due to the environments where the recordings were made. The recordings of the catalogs are usually made in the middle of nature, but that recording must have been made in some interior room. That could change the recorded sound.
To test the hypothesis they tried to reproduce the sound of the cricket and record it from another room. In one of the tests effectively, they got a very similar sound structure.
“The recording is definitely a cricket that belongs to the same group,” said Fernando Montealegre-Zapata, professor of sensory biology at the University of Lincoln. “The call of this Caribbean species is approximately 7 kHz, and it is delivered at an unusually high speed, which gives humans the feeling of a continuous and acute trill.”
This does not rule out the attack, but it does doubt that communist espionage was responsible. After all, the causes and nature of the diseases of diplomats are not clear. However, the theory of the cricket would be a finishing touch to one of the most bizarre mysteries of recent years.