Crickets May Be the Cause of Havana Syndrome

ECE/Khoury Professor Kevin Fu believes the real cause of the mysterious Havana syndrome is caused by the chirps of the short-tailed West Indies cricket.

This article originally appeared on Northeastern Global News. It was published by Cody Mello-Klein. Main photo by Getty Images

What’s the real cause of Havana Syndrome? Northeastern professor explains on ‘History’s Greatest Mysteries’

In 2016, Central Intelligence Agency employees stationed in Cuba started reporting something strange. They began experiencing intense headaches, ringing in their ears and fatigue. For some people, it was even worse, with cases of brain damage and cognitive function being reported.

Kevin Fu, standing on the bridge over the railway that connects both sides of Northeastern Boston

Kevin Fu, Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Since then, there have been 1,000 reported cases of the mysterious illness now known as Havana syndrome. Some people have speculated it was caused by a secret sonic weapon deployed by another geopolitical power, while others claimed it was a mass psychogenic illnessKevin Fu, an electrical and computer engineering professor at Northeastern University, says the real cause is probably something simpler: crickets.

“The greatest contender right now is the short-tailed West Indies cricket, which has a chirp that’s extremely annoying to the point where it can cause harm to you,” Fu says. “That’s the theory I’d put my money on, but it’s still unsolved. In my opinion, it’s not likely it’s a nation state trying to deliberately cause harm.”

With his experience in the “dark arts of electronic warfare,” Fu appeared on the most recent episode of History Channel’s “History’s Greatest Mysteries” focused on Havana syndrome. In 2018, Fu performed experiments with ultrasound that showed how Havana syndrome could be the result of “malfunctioning ultrasonic eavesdropping devices.”

But since that time, Fu has come around to the cricket theory––and he’s not alone. In a declassified report, JASON, an advisory group that works with the State Department, also found reason to believe that the Indies short-tailed cricket could be the culprit. The group performed a pulse repetition analysis of audio captured in Cuba and audio of these crickets and found they were remarkably similar.

Read full story at Northeastern Global News

Related Faculty: Kevin Fu

Related Departments:Electrical & Computer Engineering