Front cover image for Havana syndrome : mass psychogenic illness and the real story behind the embassy mystery and hysteria

Havana syndrome : mass psychogenic illness and the real story behind the embassy mystery and hysteria

Robert W. Baloh (Author), Robert E. Bartholomew (Author)
It is one of the most extraordinary cases in the history of science: the mating calls of insects were mistaken for a "sonic weapon" that led to a major diplomatic row. Since August 2017, the world media has been absorbed in the "attack" on diplomats from the American and Canadian Embassies in Cuba. While physicians treating victims have described it as a novel and perplexing condition that involves an array of complaints including brain damage, the authors present compelling evidence that mass psychogenic illness was the cause of "Havana Syndrome." This mysterious condition that has baffled experts is explored across 11-chapters which offer insights by a prominent neurologist and an expert on psychogenic illness. A lively and enthralling read, the authors explore the history of similar scares from the 18th century belief that sounds from certain musical instruments were harmful to human health, to 19th century cases of "telephone shock," and more contemporary panics involving people living near wind turbines that have been tied to a variety of health complaints. The authors provide dozens of examples of kindred episodes of mass hysteria throughout history, in addition to psychosomatic conditions and even the role of insects in triggering outbreaks. Havana Syndrome: Mass Psychogenic Illness and the Real Story Behind the Embassy Mystery and Hysteria is a scientific detective story and a case study in the social construction of mass psychogenic illness
eBook, English, 2020
Springer, Cham, Switzerland, 2020
1 online resource (xvi, 194 pages)
9783030407469, 9783030407476, 3030407462, 3030407470
Foreword I
Foreword II
About the Authors
1: Chasing Ghosts in Cuba
Havana 'Syndrome' Unmasked
The Curious Case of Chris Allen
The Press Briefing
Ever-Increasing Circles
The Alarming Discovery of White Matter Changes
December 2017: The Cuban Sonic Investigation Committee Findings
2: The Crisis Deepens
The JAMA Fiasco
Dismissing Mass Hysteria
The Golden Investigation
Spectacle in Miami
Ear-Witness Testimony
The Context: Ghosts of the Cold War Past
From Sonic Attacks to Microwaves
References 3: Canadian Contagion
60 Minutes Enters the Fray
Unsound Science: The Second JAMA Study
The Canadian Fumigation Study
Mixing of Politics and Science
4: Psychogenic Illness on the Battlefield: From the Civil War to Gulf War Syndrome
The U.S. Civil War
The First World War
World War II and Traumatic Neurosis
The Korean and Vietnam Wars
Concussion-Like Symptoms in Afghanistan and Iraq
The Persian Gulf War
5: Mass Hysteria Through the Ages: From St. Vitus Dance to Mystery Odors
The Middle Ages
Saint-Médard Pilgrim Outbreak The Modern Era of Secular Outbreaks
The Power of Belief
The Power of an Idea: 'Fried' Mail and 'Bad' Coke
The Belgian Coca-Cola Scare
Recurrent Themes
Laughing Mania
The Resurgence of Motor Hysteria in the West
6: Musical Illness and Telephone Sickness: An Early History of Sound and Suggestion
The Curious Case of the Glass Armonica
Telephone Sickness
Acoustic Shock Today
7: Modern-Day Acoustical Scares: From 'The Hum' to 'Wind Turbine Syndrome'
The Devon Zoo Giraffe Saga
The Hummers
Wind Turbine Syndrome
A Social 'Illness' 10: State Terrorism Masquerading as Psychogenic Illness
Pseudo-Poisonings in the Middle East
Tainted Chewing Gum Panics
Other Pseudo-Poisonings
11: The Social Construction of 'Havana Syndrome'
Sonic Weapons and Science Fiction
A Pattern Emerges
Historical Parallels
Common Misperceptions