Forgive me, gentle readers, for it has been six months since my last
confession post. The truth is that a handful of health issues and other, more pressing projects have kept me away from my favorite corner of the Internets. (Bear with me here, I promise it’s relevant.) One of the former is a rather debilitating case of tinnitus of unknown origin. I have been using power tools a bit more often than usual (building a greenhouse, because “Winter is Coming”), and just before it began I did accidentally jam a knockoff brand Q-tip far too far into my ear (don’t ask), but everything I’ve read about my particular brand of this malady suggests it may be vascular in nature. Yes, if you didn’t know, abnormal blood flow can register as a whole host of hideous sounds in your own eardrums. Perhaps the narrator of Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart wasn’t insane after all but was simply suffering from a blocked artery…
And so, with the lovely and oh so apropos sound of sub-dermal crickets sawing through the tiny bones in my ears, I turn to the strange case of the aurally assaulted diplomats in Cuba. If somehow you missed the news on this, here’s the recap: The US State Dept. has cut its staff in Cuba by as much as 60% because so many of them, along with some of their Canadian colleagues, are reporting a rash of serious ailments somehow connected to a high-pitched sound several of them heard while staying in Cuban hotels. There’s even a recording of it. (Listen at your own risk. Standard liability disclaimers apply ;-))
Cuban officials continue to deny responsibility, involvement, and the feasibility of an auditory weapon. They even let the FBI come down to investigate. Nonetheless, the range of symptoms and localization of the afflicted is disturbing to the say the least. At least twenty one Americans and ten Canadians are suffering from vertigo, nausea, hearing loss, and most baffling of all — concussions and actual brain damage.
Other theories include electromagnetic attack, poisoning, and illness but so far the case resists all explanation.