Microwave auditory effect

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The microwave auditory effect, also known as the microwave hearing effect or the Frey effect, consists of the human perception of audible clicks, or even speech, induced by pulsed or modulated radio frequencies. The communications are generated directly inside the human head without the need of any receiving electronic device. The effect was first reported by persons working in the vicinity of radar transponders during World War II. In 1961, the American neuroscientist Allan H. Frey studied this phenomenon and was the first to publish information on the nature of the microwave auditory effect. [1] The cause is thought to be thermoelastic expansion of portions of the auditory apparatus, [2] although competing theories explain the results of holographic interferometry tests differently. [3]

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Transponder device that emits an identifying signal in response to a received signal

In telecommunication, a transponder is a device that, upon receiving a signal, emits a different signal in response. The term is a portmanteau for transmitter-responder. It is variously abbreviated as XPDR, XPNDR, TPDR or TP.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.


Research in the U.S.

Allan H. Frey was the first American to publish on the microwave auditory effect (MAE). Frey's Human auditory system response to modulated electromagnetic energy appeared in the Journal of Applied Physiology in 1961. In his experiments, the subjects were discovered to be able to hear appropriately pulsed microwave radiation, from a distance of a few inches to hundreds of feet from the transmitter. In Frey's tests, a repetition rate of 50 Hz was used, with pulse width between 10–70 microseconds. The perceived loudness was found to be linked to the peak power density, instead of average power density. At 1.245 GHz, the peak power density for perception was below 80 mW/cm2. According to Frey, the induced sounds were described as "a buzz, clicking, hiss, or knocking, depending on several transmitter parameters, i.e., pulse width and pulse-repetition rate". By changing transmitter parameters, Frey was able to induce the "perception of severe buffeting of the head, without such apparent vestibular symptoms as dizziness or nausea". Other transmitter parameters induced a pins and needles sensation. Frey experimented with nerve-deaf subjects, and speculated that the human detecting mechanism was in the cochlea, but at the time of the experiment the results were inconclusive due to factors such as tinnitus. [1] [4]

The Journal of Applied Physiology is a monthly peer-reviewed medical journal of physiology published by the American Physiological Society. The journal was established in 1948, and is currently edited by Peter D. Wagner. According to the Journal Citation Reports, the journal has a 2014 impact factor of 3.056.

The vestibular system, in most mammals, is the sensory system that provides the leading contribution to the sense of balance and spatial orientation for the purpose of coordinating movement with balance. Together with the cochlea, a part of the auditory system, it constitutes the labyrinth of the inner ear in most mammals. As movements consist of rotations and translations, the vestibular system comprises two components: the semicircular canals which indicate rotational movements; and the otoliths which indicate linear accelerations. The vestibular system sends signals primarily to the neural structures that control eye movements, and to the muscles that keep an animal upright and in general control posture. The projections to the former provide the anatomical basis of the vestibulo-ocular reflex, which is required for clear vision; while the projections to the latter provide the anatomical means required to enable an animal to maintain its desired position in space.

Cochlea organ of the inner ear

The cochlea is the part of the inner ear involved in hearing. It is a spiral-shaped cavity in the bony labyrinth, in humans making 2 turns(full) and a 3/4(3 quarters) turn around its axis, the modiolus. A core component of the cochlea is the Organ of Corti, the sensory organ of hearing, which is distributed along the partition separating fluid chambers in the coiled tapered tube of the cochlea.

Auditory sensations of clicking or buzzing have been reported by some workers at modern day microwave transmitting sites that emit pulsed microwave radiation. Auditory response to transmitted frequencies from approximately 200 MHz to at least 3 GHz has been reported. The cause is thought to be thermoelastic expansion of portions of auditory apparatus, and the generally accepted mechanism is rapid (but minuscule, in the range of 10−5 °C) heating of brain by each pulse, and the resulting pressure wave traveling through the skull to the cochlea. [4]

In 1975, an article by neuropsychologist Don Justesen discussing radiation effects on human perceptions referred to an experiment by Joseph Sharp and Mark Grove at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research during which Sharp and Grove reportedly were able to recognize nine out of ten words transmitted by "voice modulated microwaves". Since the radiation levels approached the (then current) 10 mW/cm² limit of safe exposure, critics have observed that under such conditions brain damage from thermal effects of high power microwave radiation would occur, and there was "no conclusive evidence for MAE at lower energy densities". [5] [6]

Walter Reed Army Institute of Research biomedical research facility administered by the U.S. Department of Defense

The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) is the largest biomedical research facility administered by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The institute is centered at the Forest Glen Annex, part of the unincorporated Silver Spring urban area in Maryland just north of Washington, DC, but it is a subordinate unit of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC), headquartered at nearby Fort Detrick, Maryland. At Forest Glen, the WRAIR has shared a laboratory and administrative facility — the Sen Daniel K. Inouye Building, also known as Building 503 — with the Naval Medical Research Center since 1999.

Electronic warfare

In 2003–04, WaveBand Corp. had a contract from the U.S. Navy for the design of an MAE system they called MEDUSA (Mob Excess Deterrent Using Silent Audio) that was intended to temporarily incapacitate personnel through remote application. [7] Reportedly, Sierra Nevada Corp. took over the contract from Waveband. [8] Experts, such as Kenneth Foster, a University of Pennsylvania bioengineering professor who published research on the microwave auditory effect in 1974, have discounted the effectiveness of the proposed device. Foster said that because of human biophysics, the device "would kill you well before you were bothered by the noise". According to former professor at the University of Washington Bill Guy, ”There’s a misunderstanding by the public and even some scientists about this auditory effect," and "there couldn’t possibly be a hazard from the sound, because the heat would get you first". [9]

United States Navy Naval warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U.S. allies or partner nations. with the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the Navy is the third largest of the service branches. It has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the second largest and second most powerful air force in the world.

MEDUSA is a directed-energy non-lethal weapon designed by WaveBand Corporation in 2003-2004 for temporary personnel incapacitation. The weapon is based on the microwave auditory effect resulting in a strong sound sensation in the human head when it is subject to certain kinds of pulsed/modulated microwave radiation. The developers claimed that through the combination of pulse parameters and pulse power, it is possible to raise the auditory sensation to a “discomfort” level, deterring personnel from entering a protected perimeter or, if necessary, temporarily incapacitating particular individuals. In 2005, Sierra Nevada Corporation acquired WaveBand Corporation.

University of Pennsylvania Private Ivy League research university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania is a private Ivy League research university located in the University City neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Chartered in 1755, Penn is the sixth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States. It is one of the nine colonial colleges founded prior to the Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin, Penn's founder and first president, advocated an educational program that trained leaders in commerce, government, and public service, similar to a modern liberal arts curriculum. The university's coat of arms features a dolphin on its red chief, adopted from Benjamin Franklin's own coat of arms.

Microwave effects have been discussed as a possible source of the otherwise unexplained illnesses of U.S. diplomats in Cuba and China occurring in 2017 and 2018, [10] though this possibility has been discounted by numerous experts. For example, bioengineer Kenneth R. Foster noted of the health effects observed in the diplomats, "it's crazy, but it's sure as heck not microwaves." [11] High-pitched sounds by crickets have been proposed as explanation as their calls match recorded sound patterns. [12]

Cricket (insect) family of insects

Crickets, of the family Gryllidae, are insects related to bush crickets, and, more distantly, to grasshoppers. The Gryllidae have mainly cylindrical bodies, round heads, and long antennae. Behind the head is a smooth, robust pronotum. The abdomen ends in a pair of long cerci (spikes); females have a long, cylindrical ovipositor. The hind legs have enlarged femora (thighs), providing power for jumping. The front wings are adapted as tough, leathery elytra, and some crickets chirp by rubbing parts of these together. The hind wings are membranous and folded when not in use for flight; many species, however, are flightless. The largest members of the family are the bull crickets, Brachytrupes, which are up to 5 cm (2 in) long.

Conspiracy theories

Numerous individuals suffering from auditory hallucinations, delusional disorders, [13] or other mental illnesses have claimed that government agents use forms of mind control technologies based on microwave signals to transmit sounds and thoughts into their heads as a form of electronic harassment, referring to the alleged technology as "voice to skull" or "V2K". [14]

There are extensive online support networks and numerous websites [13] maintained by people fearing mind control. California psychiatrist Alan Drucker has identified evidence of delusional disorders on many of these websites and other psychologists are divided over whether such sites reinforce mental troubles, or act as a form of group social support. [15]

Psychologists have identified many examples of people reporting 'mind control experiences' (MCEs) on self-published web pages that are "highly likely to be influenced by delusional beliefs". Common themes include "Bad Guys" using "psychotronics" and "microwaves", frequent mention of the CIA's MKULTRA project, and frequent citing of a scientific paper entitled "Human auditory system response to modulated electromagnetic energy". [16]

See also


  1. 1 2 Allan H. Frey (1962). "Human auditory system response to modulated electromagnetic energy". Journal of Applied Physiology. 17 (4): 689–692. PMID   13895081 . Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  2. Levy, Barry S.; Wagner, Gregory R.; Rest, Kathleen M. (2005). Preventing occupational disease and injury. American Public Health Association. p. 428. ISBN   978-0-87553-043-7.
  3. Holographic Assessment of Microwave Hearing Science 05 Sep 1980: Vol. 209, Issue 4461, pp. 1144-1145
  4. 1 2 Ronald Kitchen (2001). RF and Microwave Radiation Safety Handbook. Newnes. ISBN   978-0-7506-4355-9.
  5. D. R. Justesen. "Microwaves and Behavior", Am Psychologist, 392 (Mar): 391–401, 1975.
  6. Armin Krishnan (4 October 2016). Military Neuroscience and the Coming Age of Neurowarfare. Taylor & Francis. pp. 125–. ISBN   978-1-317-09607-8.
  7. "Navy search database – summary report: Remote Personnel Incapacitation System". SBIR/STTR Search Database (Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer). U.S. Navy . Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  8. Hambling, David (3 July 2008). "Microwave ray gun controls crowds with noise". New Scientist . Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  9. Heger, Monica. "Why Microwave Auditory Effect Crowd-Control Gun Won't Work - Experts say you'd fry before you heard anything". IEEE Spectrum, July 208. IEEE. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  10. Broad, William (September 1, 2018). "Microwave Weapons Are Prime Suspect in Ills of U.S. Embassy Workers". New York Times. Retrieved 2018-09-01.
  11. Kaplan, Sarah; Achenbach, Joel (September 6, 2018). "Scientists and doctors zap theory that microwave weapon injured Cuba diplomats". The Washington Post . Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  12. "'Sonic attack' on US embassy in Havana could have been crickets, say scientists". January 6, 2019. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  13. 1 2 Monroe, Angela (13 November 2012), Electronic Harassment: Voices in My Mind, archived from the original on 2015-08-29, retrieved 2016-03-10
  14. Weinberger, Sharon (January 14, 2007). "Mind Games". Washington Post . Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  15. Kershaw, Sarah (November 12, 2008). "Sharing Their Demons on the Web". New York Times .
  16. Bell, Vaughan; Maiden, Carla; Muñoz-Solomando, Antonio; Reddy, Venu. "'Mind control' experiences on the internet: implications for the psychiatric diagnosis of delusions". Psychopathology . Psychopathology, 39(2), 87-91. Retrieved 10 March 2016.

References and further reading

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