It’s been well over a year since the series of “mystery weapon” attacks on the American embassy in Havana sickened a large number of employees. Since then the finger of blame has been pointed in many directions. The Cubans, the Russians, the Chinese, and possibly even the Lizard People have come under suspicion. As to the method used, we’ve heard stories of sonic weapons, radiation or even poison.
But now at least one group of scientists believe they’ve cracked the case. The embassy was bugged. But we’re not talking about listening devices in this case. They’re talking about literal bugs in the form of an unusual breed of crickets. (The Guardian)
The mysterious wave of illness fuelled speculation that the staff had been targeted by an acoustic weapon. It was an explanation that appeared to gain weight when an audio recording of a persistent, high-pitched drone made by US personnel in Cuba was released to the Associated Press.
But a fresh analysis of the audio recording has revealed what scientists in the UK and the US now believe is the true source of the piercing din: it is the song of the Indies short-tailed cricket, known formally as Anurogryllus celerinictus.
“The recording is definitively a cricket that belongs to the same group,” said Fernando Montealegre-Zapata, a professor of sensory biology at the University of Lincoln. “The call of this Caribbean species is about 7 kHz, and is delivered at an unusually high rate, which gives humans the sensation of a continuous sharp trill.”
If the Indies short-tailed cricket is really to blame for all of these illnesses they should at least be able to rectify the problem with a sufficient amount of bug repellent. The sensory biologist who weighed in on the controversy said that he was used to that particular bug from his childhood in South America. Their mating call rings out at a frequency that can produce an unpleasant effect on human eardrums.
But does this answer really make sense? If these crickets are indigenous to the area, wouldn’t people have been complaining about such mysterious illnesses for decades, if not centuries? Of course, I suppose it’s possible that only new diplomats showing up in the country were affected because the native folks had grown used to the sound over the course of their lives. Still, that’s a pretty drastic effect being caused by the crickets. Some of the embassy workers were severely ill with effects that lingered long after they left the region.
I suppose we can go even further down the rabbit hole on this one. Maybe the crickets aren’t really common in that part of Cuba at all. Maybe they were brought into the embassy by the Russians, Cubans, Chinese or Lizard People and intentionally released. That would explain everything nicely, except now the crickets are doubtless spreading out across the city and the entire nation of Cuba will soon be solely inhabited by deranged zombies with ringing sounds in their ears.
Either way, somebody needs to call the Orkin man.