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U.S. Diplomats In China Are Getting Sick After Hearing Strange Noises—And It's Not The First Time

By Jonna Ivin-Patton

In what is becoming an increasingly alarming mystery, U.S. diplomats and their families are being evacuated from China after hearing strange noises and then falling ill. The affected Americans reportedly heard sounds similar to cicadas, the waving of metal sheets, or static. Afterwards, they complained of symptoms consistent with a traumatic brain injury, such as headaches, nausea, cognitive issues, and hearing loss.

What is most frightening is this is not new. It happened before in Cuba in 2016 when 24 American embassy employees fell ill after hearing similar sounds. The unknown cause of their illnesses strained relations with Cuba and caused the U.S. to expel Cuban diplomats.

At the time, the Associated Press theorized that the events in Cuba may have been the result of “an advanced sonic weapon that operated outside the range of audible sound.” Officials speculated that someone had placed devices in the diplomats' homes. Others thought spy gear placed too close together could interact, sending out strange sounds and causing the illnesses.