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...
Reggie Ugwu • New York Times • Dec 4, 2023
"...twisty investigation ...A pair of high-profile interviews in the eighth and final episode bring the series (majestically scored by the Attacca Quartet) to a compelling conclusion."
Patricia Nicol • The Times UK • Feb 5, 2023
"Havana Syndrome is a brilliant subject for a speculative podcast series, which is presumably why two have arrived at once.,,two episodes in, this is shaping up to be a transporting, atmospherically produced, wild ride. It has a brilliantly bombastic soundtrack."
Miranda Sawyer • The Guardian • Jan 29, 2023
"More intensive investigation with ambiguous results. In the fifth, he even tries to replicate the sound that might be the culprit. Woolf’s approach – deceptively light and entertaining... …"
Fiona Sturges • Financial Times • Jan 29, 2023
"Here he has alighted on a similarly knotty story, one that is a mystery, a conspiracy theory and a tale of espionage and geopolitical strife rolled into one. The series goes heavy on the drama, deploying chilling sound effects imitating the experiences of victims and opening with choir...The writing is also terrific."
James Marriot • The Times UK • Jan 27, 2023
"...it is a beautifully written show, full of cliffhangers, deep research and interesting sources. It’s a twisty-turny tale. A lot of dead ends. Woolf is promising to take the story to a deeper level. Let’s see where he goes."
Lauren Passell • Podcast The Newsletter • Jan 23, 2023
"U.S. intelligence agencies say it’s nothing, but it’s hard to believe that when you hear the personal stories of the victims. Some of them haven’t spoken out before. This is a maddening mystery that feels too nuts to be true."
Stephen O. • Podcast Delivery • Jan 23, 2023
"At the risk of having the FBI enter the chat, we’ll take the word of the folks who’ve experienced things first-hand. One thing is for sure, when you listen in on The Sound: Mystery of Havana Syndrome it’ll likely be one of your more purposeful listening sessions and you’ll be rewarded for giving this podcast about the Havana Syndrome your time and auditory attention."
Rachel Cunliffe • New Statesman • Jan 21, 2023
"There is still no official explanation – but that makes the series no less compelling. I don’t know if we’ll ever find out what happened in Havana, but the intimacy and intrigue of this podcast has me thoroughly spooked. Immersed in the narrative, I found myself lowering the volume on my headphones whenever the interviews were punctuated by white noise or piercing electrical hissing. Just in case."