My 18 year old son, Kyle Nolan, died late August 2012. He's on the right in the photo, next to his triplet siblings, Marion and Kevin. Those two went off to college, while Kyle started at a nearby junior college, then dropped out. Finding his way, he didn't know what he wanted to do. He thought Coast Guard, and I encouraged him. I encouraged him anytime he had a plan.
He started reading about ayahuasca, a South American plant that supposedly has profound transformative powers. He latched on to it because he was desperate to know what to do with his life. Over and over he watched a professionally done 90 minute documentary about the Shimbre Center in Peru, "Stepping Into the Fire," where ayahuasca was the central experience. Kyle worked odd jobs Summer 2012, mainly weeding, mowing, to pay the $1200 Shimbre ten day program fee, plus the flight to Lima, Peru. It's what he wanted to do.
Both his mother and I researched Shimbre, got reassured by their website and their promotional documentary, "Stepping Into The Fire," where participants had attendants.
Had I dug deeper, beneath the promotional film, I would have found cautions and warnings, but not many, because Kyle had not yet died. Here's the response to Kyle's death from the ayahuasca community, loud and clear.
Kyle's mother and sister went to Peru from California when Kyle wasn't on his return flight to SF. They were told by the Shimbre Center that Kyle had wandered away, disconsolate, walking down the dirt road out, pulling his wheeled luggage. Then the Peruvian police got involved, shaman Mancoluto confessed he had found Kyle dead the day after the ceremony in a ditch. Mancoluto wanted to protect his business, so he carried or dragged my son's body further into the jungle and secretly buried him, and lied to the face of Kyle's mother and sister that he had simply wandered off.
Kyle was sent out into the night jungle alone after taking ayahuasca. Shimbre didn't mention this, nor that the shaman Mancoluto believes himself a 5th generation Martian who can protect those wandering in the jungle high on ayahuasca with his Martian telepathy and ESP, while he sits in his hut at the center, on a bank of batteries watching Peruvian soap operas.
Roberto Velez is the man who started Shimbre Center in Peru. Velez is a derivatives broker in NYC. He had transformative experiences with Mancoluto 2008-9, then spent a million or millions building the Shimbre Centerand making the 90 minute promotional film, Stepping Into The Fire.
For two years (2010-12) now back in NY, Velez was warned repeatedly his shaman was out of control, his particular ayahuasca brew included known toxins, esp. datura, and no one attended the ayahusaca participants wandering through the jungle. In response Velez did nothing.
Shimbre (9 miles from Puerto Maldonado) has closed down because of my son's death. The shaman got 3 years probation for secretly burying my son in the jungle.
The cautionary tale? Dig deeper.
Sean Bruce Nolan