Ayahuasca, sometimes referred to as yage, is a potent hallucinogenic tea that’s brewed in the Amazon by the indigenous people of Peru. Performers of ayahuasca rituals believe that they receive brewing instructions from the spirit of the plants. Recently, adventurous travelers from all over the first world have begun venturing to the Amazon to seek out this drug’s spiritual qualities. But for as many life-changing experiences people claim to have had from the tea, there are just as many ayahuasca horror stories.
From young people on holiday who disappear into the jungle, to faux shamans who make toxic brews, a lot can go wrong when ingesting yage. Even when one of these cleansing rituals goes well, the side effects of Ayahuasca are incredibly gross. At best, you throw up in a bucket, cry, and lose your mind for about six or seven hours. If you plan on drinking ayahuasca, read this first.
The worst things that can happen on Ayahuasca range from death (obviously), to abuse by your shaman, or terrible sickness. And even worse than that, there are stories of ayahuasca cults who committed ritualistic murders while under the spell of the psychedelic tea.
There are plenty of ayahuasca negative effects, but the thought of going insane in the middle of the Peruvian jungle is a nightmare. One of the silver linings of the popularity of ayahuasca is that the drug is making its way into America, so soon enough you won’t have to travel to the jungle to puke out your guts. If you plan on trying this psychedelic tea, make sure you read this list very carefully.
Ayahuasca Cult Burns Baby Alive
In 2013, a man who referred to himself as "Antares from the Light,” led a small cult of ayahuasca drinkers who were chased by the police after they took part in the ritualistic murder of an infant girl. No one knows for sure if the psychedelic tea was the cause of the murder, but it's entirely possible that multiple doses of ayahuasca would make a group of cultists more susceptible to such a horrific act. The cult leader was found dead after a month-long chase by the authorities.
In July 2015, nursing assistant and mother Deise Faria Ferreira disappeared after going on a weekend-long purging ceremony with a cult of ayahuasca drinkers. Her family said that the cult convinced her to stop taking prescribed antidepressants and anti-convulsion medicine, and that when they contacted the cult leader, he said that she never went with them on the trip.
During a weeklong ayahuasca retreat, Matthew Dawson-Clarke, a 24-year-old from New Zealand, died while in the middle of a cleansing ceremony. The details surrounding his death are mysterious, but his parents were able to have his body returned from Peru for a proper burial.
Melvin Hartzog was a big shot personal trainer in New York City until he traveled to Peru to try ayahuasca for the first time. He admits that he was skeptical at first, but after spending $3,000 guzzling bowls of the psychedelic tea, he decided to ditch his all of his stuff and disappear down to Peru with his girlfriend to go to shaman school.