Author Topic: Ayahuasca Deaths and Warnings  (Read 21436 times)

Cheesy Little Life

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Ayahuasca Deaths and Warnings
« on: April 26, 2014, 10:49:23 am »
British Teenager Dies After Tribal Drug Ritual

A British backpacker has died after taking a hallucinogenic drug during a tribal ritual in Colombia.

Henry Miller, 19, was in a remote rainforest area, near the town of Mocoa, with other tourists when he drank yage with a local tribe.

The psychedelic drink, also known as ayahuasca, is made from leaves and is used by native people in South America for healing and spiritual purposes.

Mr Miller took the drug on Sunday without any effects. He took it again on Tuesday and was found dead later.

Filip Goematre, owner of Casa del Rio hostel, where the teenager was staying, told Sky News: "Lots of people come to this area to take the yage drug, which is part of an indigenous ritual.

"But I am not a fan of it. I prefer people come here to enjoy the Amazon and look at the animals and nature.

"Henry came here last week and heard about the drug from other tourists and got motivated to do it.

"I'm not involved in the drug and do not promote it in anyway. But it's an indigenous ritual and involves drinking juice from a medicinal plant. One of the effects of it is to hallucinate.

"Henry stayed at the hostel for seven days. He did it (the drug) once on Sunday night, and on the Tuesday he was travelling on.

"But he changed his mind at the last minute and decided to do the ritual. There is a police investigation going on and an autopsy is being carried out on his body, but it looks like the drink.

"It's an intoxicant, and hundreds of people do it and a couple of times people die. It's not considered dangerous, but it can happen."

Mr Miller, from Bristol, travelled with a group of eight people to land belonging to a local shaman, according to the Daily Mail.

After taking the drug, he reportedly started "lashing out with his hands and feet" and then "made weird animal noises, pig sounds and at one point he tried to fly".

The shaman's family told the other tourists they would look after him, but when they woke up in the morning Mr Miller was not there, the paper quoted one of the group as saying.

Police arrived and showed them a picture of Mr Miller's body, which was said to have been found by a dirt road.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office told Sky News: "We are aware of the death of a British national on April 23 in Colombia. We are providing consular assistance to the family at this very difficult time."

« Last Edit: November 03, 2014, 04:48:17 pm by educatedindian »

Offline ShadowDancer

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Re: British Teenager Dies After Tribal Drug Ritual
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2014, 06:14:07 pm »
I was curious about the shaman as he isn't named in the initial post. Found his name in the article in the Daily Mail.

Guillemo Mavisoy Mutumbajoy of the  Kamentsa tribe.  All searches on this name only refer to the death of the young man.


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Re: British Teenager Dies After Tribal Drug Ritual
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2014, 06:37:03 pm »
So sad.  The parents are blaming the hostel, but the hostel says they do not recommend taking the drug.  Another account says the hostel lists it on their website as "things to do".  I didn't see it there, but maybe they have taken it down already or it was never there (or it is there and I am not recognizing it). 

It is probably more likely that he was persuaded by one or more of the other guests at the hostel.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2014, 06:51:32 pm by Autumn »

Offline educatedindian

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Re: Ayahuasca Deaths and Warnings
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2014, 04:54:48 pm »
I retitled a thread under Etc and moved it to Non Frauds. Here we can post all articles about ayahuasca deaths or harm, plus warnings.

Recent CNN article lists some deaths and warnings.

Is ayahuasca a natural remedy for anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder or just another drug fad? Lisa Ling goes inside an ayahuasca ceremony in the Amazon on this week's episode of "This Is Life With Lisa Ling: Jungle Fix" Sunday, October 26, at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

(CNN) -- Imagine discovering a plant that has the potential to help alleviate post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal thoughts and paralyzing anxiety. That's what some believe ayahuasca can do, and this psychedelic drink is attracting more and more tourists to the Amazon.

If you Google "ayahuasca," you'll find a litany of stories about Hollywood celebrities espousing its benefits, as well as the dangers of this relatively unstudied substance that triggers hallucinations.

On this Sunday's episode of "This Is Life," Lisa Ling goes inside an ayahuasca ceremony in Peru and talks to the men and women who are drinking this potent brew in hopes that it will alleviate their mental and emotional traumas.

Here are six things to know about ayahuasca, which some call a drug and others call a medicine:

War vets are seeking it for PTSD

Former Marine Lance Cpl. Ryan LeCompte organizes trips to Peru for war veterans, like himself, who are seeking ayahuasca as a possible treatment for PTSD and other emotional and mental trauma suffered after multiple combat deployments.

He says he's aware of the risks, as there's very little known about ayahuasca's effect on the body, but he says "it's a calculated risk."

"Ayahuasca is a way to give relief to those who are suffering," says LeCompte, who says many veterans are not satisfied with the PTSD treatment they receive when they return from combat.

"It's just, 'Here's a pill, here's a Band-Aid.' The ayahuasca medicine is a way to, instead of sweeping your dirt under the rug, you know, these medicines force you to take the rug outside and beat it with a stick until it's clean," LeCompte explains. "And that's how I prefer to clean my house."

Libby, an airman 1st class, is one of the veterans who accompanied LeCompte to Peru to try ayahuasca for her PTSD diagnosis, which includes sexual trauma while on active duty. She says antidepressants made her more suicidal.

"I would like to wish not to die all the time," she said, when asked why she was seeking ayahuasca. "I want that to go away"

It's endorsed by some Hollywood celebrities

As more ayahuasca centers pop up in the United States, not surprisingly, celebrities including Sting and Lindsay Lohan have spoken publicly about their experiences with the substance -- albeit illegal outside of religious purposes in the United States.

Lohan, who has struggled with addiction, called her ayahuasca experience "eye-opening" and "intense." "I saw my whole life in front of me, and I had to let go of past things that I was trying to hold on to that were dark in my life," she said on her OWN reality series "Linsday."

Sting said he and his wife, Trudie Styler, traveled to a church in the Amazon where they tried ayahuasca, which the British singer said made him feel like he was "wired to the entire cosmos."

It's not a cure.

Those of have tried ayahuasca say that any benefits -- like with other drugs or medicine -- must be combined with therapy.

"If you think you're just going to take 'joy juice' ... you're nuts," explained author and ayahuasca expert Peter Gorman, who settled in Iquitos, Peru, during the first wave of ayahuasca tourism in the 1990s.

"The five years of work to get rid of [mental trauma] is still gonna be on you."

Gorman, author of "Ayahuasca in My Blood," explains that ayahuasca can help "dislodge that negative energy" and show people what their life could be like without the negativity.

"[Then] you can go back home and work on getting rid of it."

And it used to be taken by only the shaman

Gorman says ayahuasca traditions in the Amazon have changed since Western tourists began seeking its benefits.

"Traditionally, the shaman drinks [ayahuasca], he accesses other realms of reality to find out where the dissonance is, that if the shaman corrects, will eliminate the [symptoms] -- could be physical, could be emotional, could be bad luck," Gorman explains. "[Then] we Americans come, and we said we insist on drinking the damn stuff -- we want our lives changed and we want that experience, so that certainly set things right on its head."

You can even buy ayahuasca powders and extracts online and in the local markets in the Peruvian Amazon, but Gorman warns "you don't know what it would be."

As more and more Western tourists consume ayahuasca, Gorman says it has him worried. "I've had this feeling in my bones for five or six years that something could go slightly wrong here that could sour a lot of stuff."

Some ayahuasca tourists have died

In April, 19-year-old Briton Henry Miller died after taking part in an ayahuasca ceremony in Colombia, according to various media reports. And Kyle Nolan, an 18-year-old from northern California, died under similar circumstances in August 2012 in Peru.

The shaman who provided Nolan with the ayahuasca and who initially lied about his death was sentenced to three years in prison, his mother, Ingeborg Oswald, told CNN.

There have been other reported deaths, as well as reports of physical and sexual assaults. Writer Lily Kay Ross says she survived sexual abuse by an ayahuasca shaman.

"We have to take seriously the potential for harm alongside the huge potential for benefit," Ross says on a video on a fundraising website for the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council. "Standards of safety and ethics would go a long way in making sure that this kind of abuse isn't experienced by anyone else."

Ron Wheelock, an American shaman who leads an ayahuasca healing center in the Peruvian Amazon, says he fears there may be more deaths.

"I hate to say it, yes there probably will be," he told Lisa Ling. "It's in the cards"

There's a movement to create safe ayahuasca 

Through, the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council is raising money to create a health guide for ayahuasca centers in the Amazon, so tourists know which centers are safe and harvesting the plants in a sustainable manner that supports the local communities.

The idea would be to put the ESC's logo outside ayahuasca ceremony sites to signify those centers that meet the council's criteria for safety and sustainability.

In addition, there are efforts to study the medicinal benefits of ayahuasca so that it can be regulated and legalized in the United States, explains Rick Doblin, executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies.

"At a time when drug policy is being reevaluated, when marijuana looks like it's on the road toward legalization, when psychedelic medicine is moving forward through the FDA and we can envision a time when psychedelics are available as prescription medicines, how ayahuasca should be handled in a regulatory context is really up in the air," Doblin said.

Offline moreinfo

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Re: Ayahuasca Deaths and Warnings
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2014, 03:23:43 am »
here is an older article from an incident in Canada, these deathes have been happening for sometime now..

Cheesy Little Life

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Re: Ayahuasca Deaths and Warnings
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2015, 02:33:46 pm »

Briton stabbed to death by Canadian during 'bad trip' in Amazon spiritual ceremony

Witnesses told police Joshua Andrew Freeman Stevens killed Unais Gomes in self-defence after Gomes had ‘bad trip’ on hallucinogenic ayahuasca plant.

A Canadian man killed a Briton after the two took a hallucinogenic plant brew known as ayahuasca together at a spiritual retreat in the Peruvian Amazon, authorities have said.

Witnesses told police the Canadian man, 29-year-old Joshua Andrew Freeman Stevens, killed the British man, Unais Gomes, 26, in self-defence after Gomes allegedly attacked him with a knife during an ayahuasca ceremony near the jungle city of Iquitos on Wednesday night, said Normando Marques, a police chief in the region.

Ayahuasca is a combination of an Amazonian vine and plants that contain dimethyltryptamine. These give users psychedelic experiences when combined. It is not normally associated with violence.

The Canadian citizen was in police custody on Thursday, Marques said.

Witnesses said Gomes tried to stab Stevens during a bad trip, according to a police source in Iquitos familiar with the case.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Gomes apparently used a knife from the kitchen of the alternative health centre Phoenix Ayahuasca to attack Stevens. Stevens ended up killing Gomes with the same knife, stabbing him in the chest and stomach, he said.

Phoenix Ayahuasca did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Its Facebook page describes it as a safe place to “experience plant medicines and explore the true nature of the self”.

The health centre is run by Tracie Thornberry and Mark Thornberry.

Tracie Thornberry is an Australian who studied counselling at the University of Newcastle. She is currently away from the centre in New South Wales.

When contacted about reports of Gomes’ death she told the Guardian in an email: “I’m aware of the situation but probably don’t know any more than you at this point. I don’t want to make any statement as I’m unaware of all the facts.”

Ayahuasca tourism in Peru has surged in recent years, with dozens of jungle retreats offering the traditional indigenous brew to visitors under the supervision of a guide or shaman.

Many tourists seek the drug out because of its reputation as a way to help ease depression and other mental health issues.



Phoenix Ayahuasca is run by Tracie Thornberry and Mark Thornberry:


Nuage thrill-seekers should LEAVE IT ALONE! I am very sorry that casualties continue to get reported. However, I do not think they have a clue about the damage they so mindlessly and selfishly inflict on Amazonian cultures. And now they are starting to kill each other too.

Search 'ayahuasca' under all four categories - Frauds, Research Needed, Non-Frauds and Etcetera - in this forum; there is plenty of back-reading to catch up on.

See especially:

I have posted this under Non-Frauds, but maybe Tracie Thornberry and Mark Thornberry should go under Research Needed.

Offline educatedindian

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Re: Ayahuasca Deaths and Warnings
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2015, 11:48:17 pm »
An expat in Peru has this relevant rant.


A guest post by an AIDESEP worker

For just as Iquitos was once enriched off rubber during the genocide of Native tribes, so today the foreign owned “aya” lodges enrich themselves off Native sacred ceremonies. First of all are you aware of the fact that these foreign owned ayahuasca lodges are in VIOLATION of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples? Not only are they unethical as an affront to tribal dignity by commercializing for private gain tribal traditions, ceremonies, icaros, prayers, and other sacred rites; but they are against international law, by abusing indigenous intellectual property rights. Here, decide for yourself how one is to interpret indigenous peoples’ rights in reference to this. Article 31#1 “They have the right to maintain, control, protect, and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions.” Article 8 #22 “Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identity.” There is more. What may be done is that AIDESEP, Peru’s national indigenous organization, may seek legal action against these bio-pirate foreign ayahuasca lodges.


How ironic that these places which claim to bring healing and higher consciousness are actually low life cultural criminals with no integrity for indigenous rights. So don’t be fooled by the fact that they may have a Native shaman. For rarely are these shamans informed or know anything about indigenous legal matters. For often they work like prostitutes doing their “tricks” out of poverty all at the enrichment of foreign owners. Let me put it this way. Grave robbing is rightfully condemned, but these foreign ayahuasca lodges are actually robbing living indigenous traditions. And while foreign mining on indigenous land is considered an unethical crime, foreign owned ayahuasca lodge strip-mine indigenous cultures and commercialize their tribal traditions.

WAKE UP WHITE PEOPLE and don’t be fooled ! Here we go again, the anthroposophagous white race consuming more indigenous cultures. For this is a”gringo” problem, not Hispanic or Nativo. And these foreign owned aya lodges don’t have an ethical leg to stand on and the apus would like to see them all be shut down. What gives them the right? Their white skin? Their will? The——- Monroe Doctrine? Or is that what the dimethyltryptamine jaguar throne taught them? It is surely not the indigenous tribes they abuse. Only in permissive Peru are these unethical lodges allowed to exist. So by paying these people one is actually participating in the unethical and illegal exploitation of indigenous peoples sacred traditions. Just like the beautiful tiled buildings in Iquitos were all once built off the blood of the indigenous, so do these foreign owned ayahuasca lodges enrich themselves off the exploitation of indigenous intellectual property rights. Just like with the buildings some people see the beauty and others see the blood. And just like during the genocidal rubber years, the money generated buys off the community all at the expense of the indigenous people’s human rights. Roger Casement once wondered if anyone here cared about the indigenous genocide. He didn’t think so. And now too this topic of abuse against Indigenous rights is not popular. For when the local English language paper, the Iquitos Times, gets paid for by the advertizements of some of the biggest indigenous rights abusers (like Scott Petersen’s REFUGIO ALTIPLANO), what can one expect? “Finance takes little account of the methods whereby its golden counters are produced,” Casement wrote. So I am sorry that the Iquitos Times continues to be a vehicle for indigenous abuse instead of a voice for indigenous rights. After all they are promoting a crime according to The UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights. It is hard to have it both ways. And things get really muddled when I read their articles about Roger Casement and then see adds by these abusive foreign owned aya lodges. You should try printing some three dollar bills.

So if people want to partake of ayahuasca NEVER GO TO FOREIGN OWNED LODGES! And if people are so self-centered to spend so so so much $$$$$$$$ on “feeding” their head, while so so so many people worry about feeding their stomachs, then they have really learned nothing. Go to a Native or mestizo, but NOT to some a foreign lodge.


A guest post by an AIDESEP worker

The views expressed by this author are not necessarily the views of Bill Grimes, Dawn on the Amazon Tours and Cruises, or the Captain’s Blog.

Offline Sandy S

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Re: Ayahuasca Deaths and Warnings
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2015, 03:44:51 am »
This link was sent to me by another NAFPS member:

Offline Sparks

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Re: Ayahuasca Deaths and Warnings
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2017, 09:50:22 pm »
This link was sent to me by another NAFPS member:

There is a thread here about that group: Ayahuasca Healings Native American Church (AHNAC).

(A continuation of contents in this thread: James "Flaming Eagle" Mooney).

Offline Sparks

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Re: Ayahuasca Deaths and Warnings
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2017, 09:58:47 pm »
In the old thread Lists of Deaths attributable to New Age fraud this one post qualifies for posting in the present thread. Many of the links are now long since gone, but since I want to comment some points in here I quote the whole post as a beginning:

Hello everyone!

My name is Marie, I'm Ojibwe from K.B.I.C (Keweenaw Bay Indian Community).

Someone asked in the old forum if anyone is tracking the deaths due to twinkie sweat lodges.

Probably the best source for sweat deaths is links page on the Three Fires Cyber Warriors sites:

They post a memoriam every year - so no one forgets how deadly New Age irresponsibility can be.

Archie Fire Lame Deer was the first (recorded) twinkie to kill somebody in a 'Vision Quest" Since 1980 there have been 7 sweat lodge deaths.
Don’t' forget there have also been some deaths of young people who try Jimson Weed after reading Carlos Castaneda – I met someone in one of my classes who was taken to the hospital after trying to see a vision with a Jimson root extract potion he made weeds he found in his neighbor’s yard. He said he got the idea from the internet from someone in a chat room who was reading THE TEACHINGS OF DON JUAN: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge. ?

In Tucson Arizona July 2002 2 young boys died in 102 degree heat after reading Castenada's books. However, the Arizona Daily Star refused to link the deaths to Castaneda or the New Age.

Some idiots still talk about it in alternative forums like these:

Brooke Medicine Eagle also almost killed a woman at the Michigan Womyn's Music festival in 1993 when she told all the women at her workshop they should use Pennyroyal to change their moon time to the new moon.  A woman almost bled to death from taking too much Pennyroyal in too strong a tincture.

Also, I remember that several years ago a lot of Ojibwe people were devastated when one their elders from Wiki (Wikwemikong Ontario) died of Ayahuasca vine poisoning.

The 'shaman' Juan Uyunkar only had to perform 150 hours of communitiy service for the negligent homicide of the beloved elder, Jane Maiangowi, a 71 year old woman with diabetes.

Mrs. Maiangowi was fooled by a fraud named Juan Uyunkar who came to the reserve. ? The New Agers in the States organized a campaign against the Ojibwe who tried to run the guy out of business. ? The Canadian government eventually forced him out of Canada, but he went to the Ann Arbor area and found a whole new (up scale) audience. ?

Most of the recent deaths that I've heard of aren't from sweat lodges, but from young people trying to have visions with stuff like Jimson weed, Ayahuasca and Salvia Divinorum. ? Colleges are really good at covering up the link to the New Age. ? It would be a lot harder to track those deaths because they people who do hallucinogens want to keep the practice underground. Their deaths are usually attributed to recreational drug use and not linked to trendy spiritual practices. A couple of years ago, Jimson weed was fairly popular here at the University of Arizona, but it's being replaced by "Sally D" or Salvia Divinorum.

The latest death I know of was on January 23, 2006. Brett Chidester, a 17 year old student, took his own life after smoking Salvia Divinourum leaves – He wasn't any different from a lot of young people - trying to get instant spirituality though hallucinogens.

Sally D is the hallucinogen of choice among the waanaabiiz here. Head shops sell it as a legal alternative to weed.  Dread-locked hippies claim it helps you see the "fourth dimension"

 NPR did a story on it Monday March 20, 2006

 Our elders have always told us that if you don't understand the powers that you're messing with, you can do great physical harm to yourself.

 Hope this is helpful for the person who asked.


Offline Sparks

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Re: Ayahuasca Deaths and Warnings
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2017, 11:16:00 pm »
The linked article contains quite a diatribe about Ayahuasca deaths and the persons who cause them:

Great blog post here:

For the second time in all the years I have been working with traditional healers in the plant medicine world, I am stepping into this story to beg for caution and respect among those of you using sacred plant medicines for any reason.

On behalf of jungle healers and curranderos, I send this as a warning to the ‘ayahuasca community’, and all those seeking ‘ceremony’. The covenants are breached, the chemistry gone bad – the dark omens around the sacred plants of South America are well in force so beware the cup your drink from!

More about Ayahuasca and also about one particular shaman/healer or curandero that the writer seems to trust: