A Canadian man has stabbed to death a Briton during a psychedelic ceremony, known locally as ayahuasca, at a spiritual retreat in the Peruvian Amazon. Both the men had consumed a hallucinogenic plant brew called ayahuasca before the incident.
Witnesses told local police that Unais Gomes, 26, tried to stab Joshua Andrew Freeman Stevens, 29, with a knife during a bad trip. In self-defence, Stevens ended up killing Gomes with the same knife. Gomes was stabbed in the chest and stomach, the police said.
The incident occurred near the jungle city of Iquitos on the night of 16 December, Normando Marques, a police chief in the region, said. Stevens is in police custody, he added.
Gomes had apparently attacked Stevens with a knife he picked up from the kitchen of the alternative health centre Phoenix Ayahuasca. Stevens stabbed Gomes in the chest and stomach using the same knife, a source told Reuters.
The hallucinogenic plant brew that both the men had consumed is a combination of an Amazonian vine and plants that contain dimethyltryptamine (DMT). DMT is a potent psychedelic compound that gives users a distorted view of objects and reality and can cause hallucinations. However, the drug is not known to be associated with violence.
Peru's ayahuasca tourism has risen in recent years because many tourists want to experience the drug so as to help ease depression and other mental health issues. Jungle retreats in Peru offer the hallucinogenic plant brew to tourists under the supervision of a guide.