U.S. citizen dies during Ayahuasca ceremony in Ecuador

Ayahuasca tours have become a money maker in the tourism in Ecuador. Leslie Allison from Texas who is a member of many expat groups on facebook died January 14 while participating in an Ayahuasca ceremony. She was with a group of 32 participants. There are still numerous questions to be answered. … gle/35577/

crowdpub :

Ayahuasca tours have become a money maker in the tourism in Ecuador. Leslie Allison from Texas who is a member of many expat groups on facebook died January 14 while participating in an Ayahuasca ceremony. She was with a group of 32 participants. There are still numerous questions to be answered. … gle/35577/

Peru is another popular place for ayahuasca ceremonies amongst foreigners. Imagine there will be more deaths in the years to come as psychedelics are making a comeback in popularity. One of the potential problems is that many of these retreats are completely unregulated, and have no trained medical staff to monitor the participants that can intervene with medical attention if needed.

Not knowing anything about the compound, i did a quick search. This article is quite informative. … a-20130215

Condolences to the family.  However....

The Allison report -- by an unnamed author, no named originating news organization, not even with a geographical dateline -- was disseminated by the Latin America Current Events website with questionable vetting, to say the least.

The commentary based on unidentified, supposedly "reliable sources" was not documented as being anything more than the author's or the mother's invention.

As far as we know from the article, the anonymous author did no investigation into the facts beyond talking to the mother, without either one of them leaving the United States. 

The ayahuasca retreats in Amazon countries certainly may pose a health risk to participants.  But unless a serious, identified journalist or a respected news organization gets into it, we're left with this faux journalism representing only a one-sided aspect of what may be a much more complicated story.

Let the reader beware.

cccmedia in Quito
M.A., Journalism, American University, Washington, D.C.

As you may see in the article, it says it is a developing story. is a news aggregator. However, if you look under the about page you will see: is an independent, unbiased, nonpartisan news reporting and news aggregation organization, which focuses on Latin America and the Caribbean. . This site also provides for original news reporting, comments, and analysis.

As the story develops there will be further reports. In an effort to provide nonpartisan and non biased information - the leader of the Ayahuasca ceremony was contacted by He declined to make comments or answer questions after originally agreeing to do so. Other witnesses and sources have been contacted. Some are only willing to speak on condition of anonymity.


If you have any further questions you may direct them to the lead editor which is posted on the site along with all contact information.


Nicholas Crowder

Moderated by Bhavna 2 years ago
Reason : Please do not post links to your own books (promotion of your books) unless they are free.
We invite you to read the forum code of conduct

I'm sorry crowdpub, but the news reporting agency is still pretty shakey at best. Certainly nothing that is verifiable has appeared through the traditional news agencies like AP or Reuters anywhere.

The foregoing notwithstanding, the unfortunate death of one American citizen who comes to Ecuador to take part in a high-risk (cult-like) activity in dense jungle, possibly, using psychedelic drugs is hardly an international crisis.

In fact, such native rituals can be extremely dangerous and US citizens are now well aware that they don't even need to leave home to die in such activities. Everyone knows about the death of three people in a 2009 Arizona sweat lodge ritual.

Apart from the rather tenuous information in the so-called "news" report, there is also the question of your own personal agenda here. Just so our other members know, it is worth noting that you are also the owner of the so-called "news" aggregating agency so I would just like to make that perfectly clear to everyone. I'm not sure whether the story itself is all that earthshaking given the number of US citizens actually die while abroad each year, not all of them necessarily participating in high-risk activities. This posting seems rather to be a bit of self promotion if anything.

James Experts Team

After posting my comment, I remembered hearing a strangely identical story quite some time ago and did a bit of digging. In fact, I've found several (not the one I remembered) and I'm beginning to wonder if this is real news or something that has become sort of an urban legend??? … emony.html … wrong.html … wrong.html … g-ceremony

Either the ritual itself is far more dangerous than people are aware of, or the majority of these stories are "Facebook-like" inventions built upon previous fabrications, it's hard to tell which. One need only do a quick Google search of "deaths during ayahuasca rituals" and many strangely similar stories come back in the search results.

James Experts Team

Being that the forum is about expats in Ecuador, it is my opinion the story is worthy of posting. As  stated it is an ongoing process and hopefully, there will be more information as to what happened and why. Because / is not AP does not mean the reports here are not true or accurate. Drudge is not a large news organization and is widely red.  Again, the primary purpose of LACE is to aggregate news via human monitors. Also, there are times events are reported and written about when they have not been covered by other elements of the press. 

As to these events being a myth, there is no question Ms. Allison died at a Ayahuasca event. This has been verified by her parents, friends and several witnesses. The U.S. embassy has also verified her death. Mr. Chiriap the Shaman in charge of the event acknowledges her death and was given an opportunity to answer questions about Ms. Allison and declined to do so. What has not been verified to date or reported is what the exact cause of death was. There are many unanswered questions. With perseverance hopefully we will have a better understanding of this unfortunate event.

Regarding Ecuador there are over 10,000 articles in LACE aggregated about the country covering a wide degree of topics. These are completely FREE to anyone. We attempt to locate and present stories and reports that are not widely covered and are considered from open sources. 

I see that the names of my books on Ecuador were removed. The reason I placed the titles and links below my name is that CCCMedia seemed to me to question my credibility regarding reporting on Ecuador. It was to establish among readers that the article is valid and holds merit in relation to the particular risks that may be associated with being involved in such activities such as ayahuasca or said spiritual events. 

I have never previously mentioned on what few posts I have made in this forum that I write books about Ecuador. I also never did a formal introduction as to what I do as encouraged by the forum moderators. My intention for being involved in the forum is to learn more about Ecuador and to help contribute information to a more enlightened group of future or current expats regarding life in Ecuador.


Nicholas Crowder.

Nick, you said you are investigating and we would welcome your findings.

Nobody called Ms. Allison's death a myth.  We said the anonymous report disseminated by LACE was shoddy "journalism" ... and so we don't know the true facts of her death at this time.

I never questioned your own journalistic integrity.  In fact, I had no knowledge at the time (before James's later post) of your professional connection to the Latin America Current Events website.

For the record, I commend you on your excellent book about 100-plus things to know before moving to Ecuador .. and prior to this Allison matter, I have had no reason to question your judgment.


Nobody is impressed by the repetitious drum-beat about how the shaman was given a chance to comment and didn't.  Expecting a jungle-based, non-English-speaking Ecuadorian shaman to comment on the record about the circumstances of a Gringa's death if he is not compelled to by the authorities .. is unrealistic, IMO.

cccmedia in Quito

Erowid is one of the most comprehensive sites for information on pretty much every drug, and hallucinogens.  Here is a link with some info about the dangers of ayahuasca if anyone is interested. … eath.shtml

People hopefully will also keep in mind that hallucinogenic ceremonies have a long history in South America, as well as human history. It might be your thing, or it might not be, but please be careful about making a mountain out of a molehill. Yes, there will always from time to time be a few deaths associated with ayahuasca, or other psychedelic type drugs, but in reality it's vary rare for such a thing to happen.

The Shaman initially agreed to an interview. When he was contacted in Spanish the cellphone service was not doable. He was then sent the questions and declined to answer questions presented in Spanish. My conversations with him were in Spanish and he had an assistant who is German respond.

The Wikipedia article points out that many other herbs and hallucinogenics may be added.  You don't know exactly what's in it anyway, nor how it may interact with other medicines one may be taking, or how it will affect you compared to another person - even with modern Western medicines that are dosage-controlled some compounds do not work the same on everyone.

I think I'll stick to ron and aguardiente.

To all of the members of the Ecuador Forum,

I have just received a private message from a member of Leslie's family, the content of which I shall not reveal, but it has prompted me to post this message in addition to my personal response.

Nobody should ever have to go through what you and your family must obviously be suffering at this moment. My deepest sympathies go out to you and all of your family.

My deepest apologies if you were offended in any way by my comments which were really questioning the news source and not the event itself.  I sincerely regret any discomfort that my comment may have caused you, even if through misuderstanding. Since those comments were made here publicly, I feel it only fitting that my apology to you also appear here publicly too. Saying "I'm sorry" in private just didn't seem to be enough in my mind.

James Experts Team

Leslies neck was broken and the city cremated her before the family could fly down there.
I guess there needs to be journalism to prove that right?

The locals can't even stand this guy. Something needs to be done so more people are not left suffering in a jungle.

I grew up with Leslie and this is a very real's unfathomable. I continously pray for her family

Over a year ago I reported the death of Leslie Allison in southern Ecuador. She was a regular visitor to the country and made the decision to attend an ayahuasca ceremony. She died and it was first considered  an accident and possibly a result of the chemicals in the brew. The family and prosecutors in Ecuador pursued the case relentlessly.

The autopsy revealed that Leslie died of a broken neck. Subsequently the shaman was charged in her death as culpable homicide. The court found him guilty today. Apparently according to the family he will be sentenced to prison.

JUSTICE DELIVERED for family of Leslie Allison - breaking news - Shaman found guilty in Leslie's death.
I have posted the link to the story which is my website as it is the source for this news which was kindly provided by Leslie's family. … ony/38891/

Late last year I saw a National Geographic documentary on these ceremonies and it was done in Peru and Ecuador.  Just the other day, I also saw the US has now issued a warning on their travel site to ecuador on this plant/drug and the ceremonies.  Hopefully justice will be served and the sentence will be adequate.  Praying for the family!!  🙏🏻

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