This explanation does tightly wrap up a few questions about the incident; acoustics researchers say that ultrasound can be deflected by objects like walls and windows, though that doesn’t rule out Cuban intelligence officials from having hidden the devices throughout the embassy or in diplomats’ homes. As noted in a recent review in medical journal JAMA, inflicting neurological damage with infrasound would require massive speakers, and other explanations like chemical and biological agents or mass hysteria don’t seem to be supported by the evidence. Other explanations like unidentified agents aiming exotic microwave weapons at embassy staff are increasingly speculative.


The University of Michigan team argues that there is a “lack of consensus and research on damage caused by ultrasound,” per the Herald, which certainly could lend itself to some sort of accident.

Of course, just because this explanation is parsimonious does not mean it is correct. Fu told the Daily Beast the relevant field is probably too small for him to submit his findings for peer review. Meanwhile, a spokesperson from the University of Miami told the Herald that a Miami Miller School of Medicine research team is following up on prior studies and will present a “high level of comprehensive detail that has not yet been reported.”


It’s far from likely the Cuban government would ever admit a role in the incident if it were indeed involved. US-Cuban relations were just starting to warm after decades of mutual hostility and suspicion, though allegations the Cuban government attacked or was complicit in an attack on the embassy staff have provided a pretext for President Donald Trump’s administration to reverse that trend. For their part, Cuban researchers have said the sounds were probably just humming Jamaican field crickets.

[Miami Herald/The Daily Beast]