General > Research Needed

Kokopelli Ranch-Shamanic Fellowship


I was reading one of the other posts about some folks that died in a sweat and I was racking my brain as to where I have heard about this happening. I was visiting a website (The Bear's Byte) and I then remembered the article. He has it printed there. It is from 2002 but I was curious if this group was still around. Kept coming up with dead links. Every time I put in thier name I got a long page of shamanic listings that were downloads. The one with Shamanic Fellowship had nothing in it.

Did find some other links that have them listed and they are at the end of this posting. Here's the article (between the dashes):

2 seeking spiritual enlightenment die in new-age sweat lodge
Suzanne Herel, Matthew B. Stannard, Chronicle Staff Writers
Thursday, June 27, 2002
©2002 San Francisco Chronicle.


Before embarking on an intense spiritual retreat last week, Kirsten "Kris" Babcock gave each of her closest friends a handwritten note describing her impending death.

She was talking in symbolic terms -- or so she thought.

In an eerily tragic turn of events, Babcock did not survive the "death sweat" she wrote about -- a ceremony intended to be the first step toward spiritual enlightenment as part of a new-age program called vision quest.

Babcock, 34, of Redding and fellow seeker David Thomas Hawker, 36, of Union City died early Friday after spending more than an hour in a sweat lodge constructed of branches, plastic sheathing and blankets on a remote ranch in El Dorado County. Two others, a man and a woman, survived.

Police are trying to determine whether the deaths were caused by poor ventilation or a toxic substance poured on hot rocks.

Autopsies have been completed, but toxicology results could take eight weeks, said Lt. Kevin House of the El Dorado County Sheriff's Department.

The weeklong retreat was timed to honor the summer solstice and was sponsored by Kokopelli Ranch, comprising 40 verdant acres nestled in the vineyards of the Shenandoah Valley and run by the Shamanic Fellowship.

The fellowship was formed in 1994 "to develop a sacred and safe place for people to experience and practice shamanic principles in their day-to-day lives," according to the ranch's Web site.

No one at the ranch returned phone calls or e-mail messages this week.

Babcock had invited 10 friends and family members to join her at the ranch for the final weekend, which for her was to include four hours in the sweat lodge and 48 hours alone in the woods.

In her five-page note, she requested that her supporters camp far away from the "death lodge" because of the disturbing noises they might hear.

Babcock expected to emerge from the lodge around dawn, at which time she would paint her face black and participate in an "owl dance."

"The owls cut our ties to this world and send us to the other side," she wrote. "The rock pile is our symbolic grave. . . . When I cross the rock pile, people will grieve my going over. Don't be surprised if/when people call out for me not to go and if it feels real."

Dale McDonald, his fiancee, Tonya, and his 14-year-old daughter were among Babcock's supporters.

"We had been warned that there would be bizarre sounds, wailing," he said in a telephone interview. "We were camped less than a quarter of a mile away. .

. . We couldn't sleep."

Shortly after 4 a.m., Cina Hines, Babcock's domestic partner, came to them, he said.

"She called out our names and said, 'Wake up. Kris is dead,' " McDonald said. "We thought it was part of the script. And she said, 'No, she's really dead.' . . . We had to go see the body to make sure."

Witnesses told police that Aimee Phelps, one of the participants, had crawled out of the lodge shortly before 4 a.m., dizzy and vomiting.

(continued next post)


Soon, the chanting from inside ceased, and someone went in to find Babcock and Hawker dead and another man unconscious. By the time emergency personnel arrived, the surviving man had come to on his own.

Police are looking into witness reports that Hawker sprinkled something on the hot rocks that gave a strong metallic odor. The two survivors could not be reached for comment.

The other participants didn't know much about Hawker, McDonald said. While they had invited friends and family to join them at the ranch, Hawker was alone.

Hawker's friends described him as a spiritual person who had been looking forward to the vision quest.

"He was happier than anyone I've ever known," longtime friend Ken Mitchell said of the recently unemployed electrical engineer.

Mitchell said Hawker was not new to the sweat lodge ritual.

"He's done it before, and it was very intense, and he enjoyed it," he said. "It was a cleansing thing."

Last Thursday, before the sweat lodge session, the questers sponsored a "giveaway dinner," in which they honored their supporters with small gifts. Babcock gave each of her friends a cake of soap she had made by hand.

McDonald said Hawker gave the organizers crystals that struck sparks when he banged them together. He promised his fellow questers that he had a gift for them, too.

"He said, 'I can't give it to you now, but I'll give it to you on the other side when we know ourselves and each other better,' " McDonald said.

Then, McDonald said, Hawker raised his fist to his chest and said, "It's a good day to die."

It struck many as bizarre, McDonald said, but many similar things were being said that night, including McDonald's words to Babcock, just before she entered the lodge.

"I said, 'Die well, Kris.' And she said, 'That seems very apropos.' " McDonald said. "It was a beautiful moment."

E-mail Suzanne Herel at and Matthew B. Stannard at


Here are some sites that have links to them

Now for all I know they have been exposed and I am just kicking up dust.


In my determination to find something about these folks I came across this link which has a google listing for 200 million thousand (LOL) sweat lodge links.

The dead end link for the folks in this topic is listed there.

Here's one of the links, these folks take visa and mastercard for thier sweats,

Here's one asking for a donation comparable to what you would pay a doctor

Thats all,


That Hidden Creek Ranch "Activities" page is a laugh! In the "Riding" description it says "We have a horse for every type of rider. For slow riders, we have slow horses; for fast riders, we have fast horses; for those who have never ridden before, we have horses that have never been ridden before; and for those who don't like to ride, we also have horses that don't like to be ridden!"

Well you sure don't put a person who has never rode a horse on the back of a horse that has never been rode, that is absolutely insane!


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