- Authorities are investigating after cases of “Havana syndrome” are detected in the U.S.
- Originally, people reported mysterious symptoms in Cuba.
- Experts are not sure why people have developed these symptoms.
Federal authorities, including the Pentagon, are investigating numerous “invisible sonic attacks” on U.S. personnel stationed domestically and abroad.
These incidents were first detected in Cuba in 2016 when American officials reported headaches and other issues with no known cause. The cases were often dubbed “Havana syndrome.”
Now, reports tell of an episode that occurred in 2019 against a White House official in a Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C. A more recent potential attack happened in November 2020 and took place near the White House, according to CNN.
It occurred near the Ellipse, the large oval lawn on the south side of the White House, and sickened a National Security Council official.
Havana syndrome first identified in 2016
A preliminary report found that certain U.S. government personnel in Havana, Cuba, experienced “persistent” mental, inner ear, and eye movement dysfunction, accompanied by sleep disruption and headaches.
The first cases were identified in 2016, and symptoms were associated with reports of “directional audible and/or sensory phenomena of unclear origin.”
According to the report, the affected individuals seemed to have suffered injury to widespread brain networks “without an associated history of head trauma.”
Is Havana syndrome a psychological condition?
A 2019 study in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine investigated the possibility that Havana syndrome is a form of “psychogenic illness.”
“Psychogenic illness is a term which refers to physical disorders which arise from emotional or mental stressors, and likely originate from some sort of psychological or psychiatric disorder,” Ken Jones, PsyD, LCSW-S, administrator of behavioral health at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital, told Healthline.
“They are usually identified after medical or biological causation has been ruled out,” he added.
The study authors emphasized that new technologies have often heightened anxieties and prevailing fears.
“Soon after the invention of the radio, many people believed that the invisible waves were making them sick,” the study authors wrote. “When computer terminals became widespread during the early 1980s, some were convinced that they were causing birth defects and miscarriages.”
They noted that more recent fears that mobile phones, microwave ovens, and Wi-Fi would cause an increased incidence of brain tumors – something that has not happened.
Psychogenic pain is real, says expert
According to Jones, psychogenic pain is a condition in which someone’s pain experience doesn’t match their physical symptoms.
“However, the experience of pain is real and should be acknowledged and assessed fully,” he said. “Psychological treatment may include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), certain antidepressants, as well as non-narcotic painkillers.”
When asked if psychogenic illness could cause actual physical problems that can be detected medically, Jones said, “Yes.”
“Psychogenic illnesses are real, and reflect the power and complexity of the interaction between our mind and body,” he explained. “Psychogenic illnesses can manifest in serious and chronic physical conditions which warrant psychological and sometimes adjunctive medical interventions and treatment.”
Too many confirmed cases to be psychological
Dr. Darius Kohan, director of otology/neurotology at Lenox Hill Hospital and Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat Hospital in New York, insisted “Mass psychogenic illness is highly unlikely.”
“On an individual basis – absolutely,” he said. “But it’s too many.”
Kohan noted that this has been going on for a long time, in multiple places throughout the world, and the most likely cause is something is being projected toward U.S. facilities worldwide, “and it doesn’t seem like it’s happening in friendlier countries.”
He doesn’t think an infectious disease is causing Havana syndrome.
“I doubt that it is. It’s very targeted,” he said. “So, what kind of pathogen only affects employees? That would be an amazing bioweapon that only attacks whoever works for the government!”
Directed sound can cause injury
Kohan explained that a directed sonic device could be a powerful weapon.
“To give you an idea how strong this can be, about 10 years ago – maybe less than that — one of the cruise ships was attacked by pirates on Somalia’s coast, and they had aboard very loud projectors, and they literally projected them like a cannon toward the pirates and basically protected the ship,” he said.
Kohan also described a sound-based surgical tool called a harmonic scalpel, which vibrates sound so quickly that it can cut through tissue.
“There are something called ultrasonic aspirators in the operating room, and the waves are so powerful that they liquefy the tumor and it can be sucked out like fluid,” he continued. “They [sonic devices] can definitely cause a lot of damage.”
Microwaves another possibility
Kohan added that microwaves, which we routinely use to cook with, can also cause potentially great harm.
“If you have a device of some sort that can project and focus microwaves or any other sound wave technology, that’s very damaging toward a target, and it can cause a lot of disruption of the target,” he explained.
“I think that there is something going on, and the only thing we can come up with is some sort of external beamed radiation, and that’s affecting the patients and the people’s cognition,” he concluded.
Federal authorities investigating attacks
Marco Rubio, vice chairman of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Chairman Mark Warner recently released a joint statement about the committee’s investigation of suspected direct energy attacks against U.S. government personnel.
“For nearly five years, we have been aware of reports of mysterious attacks on United States Government personnel in Havana, Cuba, and around the world,” Rubio and Warner said. “This pattern of attacking our fellow citizens serving our government appears to be increasing. The Senate Intelligence Committee intends to get to the bottom of this.”
The bottom line
U.S. government authorities are investigating a medical condition called Havana syndrome, first identified in 2016 as affecting U.S. personnel in Cuba, and most recently reported happening near the White House.
Theorized by some researchers to be a psychological issue, mounting evidence points to a directed energy weapon as the most likely cause.
Experts say that focused sound or microwave energy can potentially cause serious harm, and the odds this condition is the result of an infectious disease are remote.