In late May, American ambassadors at the Chinese embassy fell ill, suffering from a strange illness that had all the signs of a concussion or head trauma: headache, nausea, vertigo and hearing loss after hearing. Maybe not so weird in itself–save for the fact that the Ambassador hadn't been hit over the head recently– this incident may have been dismissed completely, had it not been for two things.
One: the illness had been preceded by strange events, described to The New York Times as "disturbing sensations of sounds and vibrations that have been described variously as the noises made by cicadas, static, metal sheets waving or...marbles rolling around a metal funnel."
Two: The strange incident in China wasn't an isolated case; since 2016, American ambassadors in Cuba, along with their families, have been complaining of the same events and symptoms.
Is it a targeted attack on Americans overseas, a sonic coincidence or something possibly far worse... the beginning of a noise sickness pandemic? China has already sent out a health alert for residents in Guangzhou, a wealthy district where the ambassadors fell ill.
The idea of a "sonic attack" may sound scary, but it's almost inconceivable to imagine a sonic weapon capable of only targeting Americans in a large city without causing collateral damage on a nation's own people. (That's why the current popular theory is that it's the American boogeyman causing the attacks....Russia.)
Is there a precedent for sound sickness and how does it work? And which sounds can actually make someone sick? Find out below.