The Sound: Mystery of Havana Syndrome

The Sound: Mystery of Havana Syndrome

By Brazen

In December 2016, a US official in Havana went to the embassy medical centre to report a debilitating and confounding  illness. The symptoms included headaches; nausea; hearing loss; problems with memory and vision – and its onset was characterized by hearing… something. A buzzing, hissing, grinding… sound.

Soon, a second official came down with the same symptoms. Then a third. Then a fourth. By the time the story went public in summer 2017, dozens of US diplomats, as well as some Canadians, had come down with what was becoming known as “Havana Syndrome.”

In this deep dive investigation, journalist Nicky Woolf peels back the layers of one of the most bizarre mysteries of the modern age. The Sound is a story about spycraft, technology, and the brain. It’s a story where, at every turn, you’re never quite sure what’s real and what’s an illusion. It’s a story about how the Cold War, maybe, never really ended.

The Sound is a Project Brazen production. For more fearless storytelling, search for the Brazen channel on Apple Podcasts or visit brazen.fm, home to all our podcasts, documentaries and newsletters. At Brazen, we show you how the world really works – from espionage and corruption to deal-making and organised crime, we’ll take you inside stories from hidden worlds. 

Don’t stay in the dark. Subscribe to Brazen+ on Apple Podcasts or at brazen.fm/plus and get exclusive bonus episodes for The Sound and all our shows, as well as ad-free listening and early access to new podcasts. For the latest from Brazen delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to our newsletters at brazen.fm/newsletters.

Episodes

Introducing The Professor: Hunting for the Mafia's Missing Masterpiece

This week on The Sound we’re sharing the first episode of a new four-part series from Brazen called ‘The Professor’. William Veres is in trouble. In 2018 he was arrested following the largest ever investigation by the Italian police’s art squad. They accuse him of running a pan-European art-smuggling ring with ties to the Sicilian mafia. He is alleged to have stolen $40 million worth of art and antiquities from Italy. Charged with 14 counts, including money laundering, forgery, wire fraud and conspiracy, he faces a jail term of up to 20 years.  But he has a plan to get out of trouble.  In this four-part podcast, host Simon Willis follows him as he puts that plan into action. It’s a story that takes listeners deep into the underworld, and into the dark heart of the most famous criminal organization of them all – Cosa Nostra.  It is a story of drug dealers, hitmen, smugglers, spies – even a corrupt prime minister. And in the middle of it all is William Veres’s quest to save himself. How? By solving the coldest cold case in the history of art crime – the theft of Caravaggio’s Nativity.  The Professor is a series for Hidden Worlds, the home of unbelievable true stories and gripping investigations into shadowy places. Subscribe to Hidden Worlds and get brand new series delivered to your favorite podcast app year-round. One podcast, endless stories. For more, visit brazen.fm/hidden-worlds. Subscribe to Brazen+ on Apple Podcasts or at brazen.fm/plus to get ad-free listening.
05/12/23·40m 21s

Bonus: The Music Behind The Sound with Attacca Quartet

A behind-the-scenes conversation with Attacca Quartet, the Grammy Award-winning group that composed and performed the haunting string melodies in THE SOUND: Mystery of Havana Syndrome. Lead producer Max Johnson and audio engineer Rebecca Seidel speak with three members of Attacca Quartet—violinist Domenic Salerni, violist Nathan Schram, and cellist Andrew Yee—about how they approached the score, what it was like to hear their music included in the podcast, and what’s next for them as a quartet. Learn more about the Attacca Quartet at www.attaccaquartet.com www.soundistheweapon.com The Sound is a Project Brazen production. Subscribe to Brazen+ on Apple Podcasts or at brazen.fm/plus and get exclusive bonus episodes for The Sound and all our shows, as well as ad-free listening and early access to new podcasts. For more fearless storytelling visit brazen.fm, home to all our podcasts, documentaries and newsletters. At Brazen, we show you how the world really works – from espionage and corruption to deal-making and organised crime, we’ll take you inside stories from hidden worlds.
24/04/23·29m 18s

Bonus: Live from the International Spy Museum

This week’s episode comes in collaboration with SpyCast, a podcast featuring in-depth conversations from the world of global intelligence and espionage. In this bonus, you’ll get to listen in on a panel discussion recorded live at the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Andrew Hammond, the host of SpyCast and historian and curator at the museum, and included The Sound host Nicky Woolf, former CIA officer Marc Polymeropoulos, and attorney Mark Zaid. The panel discussed personal experiences with Havana Syndrome, their take on government responses to the anomalous health incidents, and what can be done for victims moving forward. This episode was produced in collaboration with SpyCast, known to be the podcast real spies listen to. You can find SpyCast wherever you listen to podcasts, or visit www.spymuseum.org/podcast/ for more information. www.soundistheweapon.com For more fearless storytelling visit brazen.fm, home to all our podcasts, documentaries and newsletters. At Brazen, we show you how the world really works – from espionage and corruption to deal-making and organised crime, we’ll take you inside stories from hidden worlds.
11/04/23·51m 5s

Episode 8: Hammers and Nails

We answer our central question: What happened here? And we try to chart the path forward for “Havana Syndrome” victims. The Sound is a Project Brazen production. Subscribe to Brazen+ on Apple Podcasts or at brazen.fm/plus and get exclusive bonus episodes for The Sound and all our shows, as well as ad-free listening and early access to new podcasts. For more fearless storytelling visit brazen.fm, home to all our podcasts, documentaries and newsletters. At Brazen, we show you how the world really works – from espionage and corruption to deal-making and organised crime, we’ll take you inside stories from hidden worlds. www.soundistheweapon.com
13/03/23·38m 30s

Episode 7: The Two Exits

Host Nicky Woolf goes to the scenes of the alleged crime in Cuba where we find “the sound” and see the human impact of the Havana Syndrome story. The US Embassy has reopened just as Cubans leave the island en masse. The Sound is a Project Brazen production. Subscribe to Brazen+ on Apple Podcasts or at brazen.fm/plus and get exclusive bonus episodes for The Sound and all our shows, as well as ad-free listening and early access to new podcasts. For more fearless storytelling visit brazen.fm, home to all our podcasts, documentaries and newsletters. At Brazen, we show you how the world really works – from espionage and corruption to deal-making and organised crime, we’ll take you inside stories from hidden worlds. www.soundistheweapon.com
06/03/23·31m 12s

Bonus: Fresh Doubts out of Washington

While we were crafting our last few episodes, some big news dropped. A new report from the CIA and other intel agencies found that no foreign actor, attack or technology could be behind the Anomalous Health Incidents, aka Havana Syndrome. Co-creators Nicky Woolf and Max Johnston sift through the noise to find out what’s going on. The Sound is a Project Brazen production. Subscribe to Brazen+ on Apple Podcasts or at brazen.fm/plus and get exclusive bonus episodes for The Sound and all our shows, as well as ad-free listening and early access to new podcasts. For more fearless storytelling visit brazen.fm, home to all our podcasts, documentaries and newsletters. At Brazen, we show you how the world really works – from espionage and corruption to deal-making and organised crime, we’ll take you inside stories from hidden worlds. www.soundistheweapon.com
01/03/23·12m 50s

Episode 6: A Silent Injury

A CIA officer in Moscow gets sick, and his story fundamentally changes the narrative surrounding “Havana Syndrome.” We hear first-hand accounts of Soviet radiation that go back decades, and learn that the Cold War may have never really ended. The Sound is a Project Brazen production. Subscribe to Brazen+ on Apple Podcasts or at brazen.fm/plus and get exclusive bonus episodes for The Sound and all our shows, as well as ad-free listening and early access to new podcasts. For more fearless storytelling visit brazen.fm, home to all our podcasts, documentaries and newsletters. At Brazen, we show you how the world really works – from espionage and corruption to deal-making and organised crime, we’ll take you inside stories from hidden worlds. www.soundistheweapon.com
27/02/23·33m 29s

Episode 5: The Great British Nuke Off

Nicky heads to the UK to build a microwave device that could be the key to the mystery of Havana Syndrome. And we take a deep-dive into the American military industrial complex to see what the future of warfare and weaponry looks like. Is Havana Syndrome just the beginning of something much scarier? The Sound is a Project Brazen production. Subscribe to Brazen+ on Apple Podcasts or at brazen.fm/plus and get exclusive bonus episodes for The Sound and all our shows, as well as ad-free listening and early access to new podcasts. For more fearless storytelling visit brazen.fm, home to all our podcasts, documentaries and newsletters. At Brazen, we show you how the world really works – from espionage and corruption to deal-making and organised crime, we’ll take you inside stories from hidden worlds. www.soundistheweapon.com
20/02/23·31m 49s

Episode 4: The Frey Effect

The Havana Syndrome story is bigger than Cuba now. Cases are being reported on nearly every continent, so some investigators propose a new, strange theory. We wade into the science to see if Havana Syndrome is just the latest in a long pattern of attacks using microwave energy. The Sound is a Project Brazen production. Subscribe to Brazen+ on Apple Podcasts or at brazen.fm/plus and get exclusive bonus episodes for The Sound and all our shows, as well as ad-free listening and early access to new podcasts. For more fearless storytelling visit brazen.fm, home to all our podcasts, documentaries and newsletters. At Brazen, we show you how the world really works – from espionage and corruption to deal-making and organised crime, we’ll take you inside stories from hidden worlds. www.soundistheweapon.com
13/02/23·34m 29s

Episode 3: Speak of the Devil

When recordings of a strange sound in Havana go public, some wonder if these “Havana Syndrome” health problems are real or imagined. We take a critical look through the research – and enlist the help of a mentalist – to try to answer the question: is this whole thing in our heads? The Sound is a Project Brazen production. Subscribe to Brazen+ on Apple Podcasts or at brazen.fm/plus and get exclusive bonus episodes for The Sound and all our shows, as well as ad-free listening and early access to new podcasts. For more fearless storytelling visit brazen.fm, home to all our podcasts, documentaries and newsletters. At Brazen, we show you how the world really works – from espionage and corruption to deal-making and organised crime, we’ll take you inside stories from hidden worlds. www.soundistheweapon.com
06/02/23·35m 59s

Episode 2: The Immaculate Concussion

Havana Syndrome cases are spreading. Investigators flock to Cuba while politicians start hunting for a culprit. Host Nicky Woolf breaks down the early investigations by the US and Cuban governments while our own search ramps up. Meanwhile, a political narrative starts to take shape. The Sound is a Project Brazen production. Subscribe to Brazen+ on Apple Podcasts or at brazen.fm/plus and get exclusive bonus episodes for The Sound and all our shows, as well as ad-free listening and early access to new podcasts. For more fearless storytelling visit brazen.fm, home to all our podcasts, documentaries and newsletters. At Brazen, we show you how the world really works – from espionage and corruption to deal-making and organised crime, we’ll take you inside stories from hidden worlds. www.soundistheweapon.com
30/01/23·32m 47s

Episode 1: Jericho

There’s a mysterious outbreak of neurological problems among American spies and diplomats in Cuba. Host Nicky Woolf documents the first cases with never before heard accounts from Havana, while parsing through classified intelligence to learn how this mystery began. The Sound is a Project Brazen production. Subscribe to Brazen+ on Apple Podcasts or at brazen.fm/plus and get exclusive bonus episodes for The Sound and all our shows, as well as ad-free listening and early access to new podcasts. For more fearless storytelling visit brazen.fm, home to all our podcasts, documentaries and newsletters. At Brazen, we show you how the world really works – from espionage and corruption to deal-making and organised crime, we’ll take you inside stories from hidden worlds. www.soundistheweapon.com
23/01/23·29m 3s

Meeting Nicky Woolf: Answering the Global Mystery of Havana Syndrome

What is Havana Syndrome? Nicky Woolf speaks with Project Brazen co-founder Tom Wright about his upcoming investigative podcast, THE SOUND: Mystery of Havana Syndrome. Nicky shares his experience following the unexplained phenomenon from Havana to Washington DC, Miami, London, and beyond. He talks about meeting victims of the devastating illness, efforts to understand the science that could have caused it — even building his own device — and how new cases of the syndrome continue to appear to this day. The Sound is a story about spycraft, technology, and the brain. It’s a story where, at every turn, you’re never quite sure what’s real and what’s an illusion. It’s a story about how the Cold War, maybe, never really ended. The Sound is a Project Brazen production. Subscribe to Brazen+ on Apple Podcasts or at brazen.fm/plus and get exclusive bonus episodes for The Sound and all our shows, as well as ad-free listening and early access to new podcasts. For more fearless storytelling visit brazen.fm, home to all our podcasts, documentaries and newsletters. At Brazen, we show you how the world really works – from espionage and corruption to deal-making and organised crime, we’ll take you inside stories from hidden worlds. www.soundistheweapon.com
13/01/23·6m 6s

Introducing The Sound: Mystery of Havana Syndrome

In December 2016, a US official in Havana went to the embassy medical centre to report a debilitating and confounding  illness. The symptoms included headaches; nausea; hearing loss; problems with memory and vision – and its onset was characterized by hearing… something. A buzzing, hissing, grinding… sound. Soon, a second official came down with the same symptoms. Then a third. Then a fourth. By the time the story went public in summer 2017, dozens of US diplomats, as well as some Canadians, had come down with what was becoming known as “Havana Syndrome.” In this deep dive investigation, journalist Nicky Woolf peels back the layers of one of the most bizarre mysteries of the modern age. You’ll hear about how the US agencies failed to agree even on the basic premises. State department said it’s a “sonic device,” then rolled that back. The CIA have hinted microwave radiation might be involved. The FBI said there was no “there” there – now they seem to be rolling that back as well. We’ll explore the wild and wide variety of theories that have been put forward. Could it be caused by noisy crickets? Or mosquito spray? Or could it all be a mass delusion? We’ll hear from the cast of characters who inhabit this world; diplomats and spies, neurologists and physicists, skeptics and believers – and, with their help, begin to piece the evidence together. THE SOUND is a story about spycraft, technology, and the brain. It’s a story where, at every turn, you’re never quite sure what’s real and what’s an illusion. It’s a story about how the Cold War, maybe, never really ended. www.soundistheweapon.com The Sound is a Project Brazen production. Subscribe to Brazen+ on Apple Podcasts or at brazen.fm/plus and get exclusive bonus episodes for The Sound and all our shows, as well as ad-free listening and early access to new podcasts. For more fearless storytelling visit brazen.fm, home to all our podcasts, documentaries and newsletters. At Brazen, we show you how the world really works – from espionage and corruption to deal-making and organised crime, we’ll take you inside stories from hidden worlds.
09/01/23·2m 12s
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