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British teen seeking spiritual enlightenment finds death in Columbia

Yage, also known as ayahuasca
Yage, also known as ayahuasca
Wikicommons, GNU Free Documentation License

Henry Miller, 19, of Bristol, England had come to Mocoa, Columbia for a “spiritual experience,” but found death instead after reportedly taking the dangerous hallucinogenic drink Yage (pronounced ja’he). His body was later discovered by local police dumped on a remote road, and showed he had suffered injuries to his head “consistent with falling from a motorbike.”

According to Christopher Dearden, 27, who had joined Miller (along with several other travelers) on an excursion to visit a shaman in the area who gave them the yage, everyone had recovered from affects of the drug after vomiting, “all except for Miller, who just got worse and worse. He was lying face down on the ground making very weird breathing noises,” he stated. “We picked him up and put him in a chair. He wasn't speaking, he was lashing out with his hands and feet. Then he started making weird animal noises, pig sounds and at one point he tried to fly. He kept saying, 'What's going on, oh my God' and holding his face."

It was then reported that Miller became unconscious and was left with the Colombian tribe who said they would take care of him.

Yage, also known as ayahuasca has been used by South American tribes for centuries for the purpose of spiritual awakening. Many who have taken it have said that they experienced “spiritual revelations through contact with ‘extra-dimensional beings’ who act as guides helping them to understand their purpose on earth, the true nature of the universe as well as deep insight into how to become ‘the best person they can be,’”

While natives throughout South America state that yage should only be taken in the presence of “real and experienced shamans,” there are cases in which unsuspecting tourists are often duped into taking it by “brujos” (witches) who pretend to be the real thing in so that they can “steal the victim's energy and/or power, which they believe every person has a stockpile of,.” Which may have been what happened in Miller’s case, although authorities have yet to release their findings.