Jungle Trip has been shown all around the world.
Here is a brief extract from the film… taking frog poison with the Matses in Peru. Disturbing footage not suitable for children:
The entire documentary has been uploaded onto Google Videos so you can watch it all online:
Here is a Youtube video that uses part of the soundtrack of Jungle Trip to make a rather lovely tune, Deep Fall Ayahuasca by Gaudi..
Fawning on flora
by Pete Clark, Evening Standard
19 December 2002
A couple of days ago, I was writing in this column about the disturbing effects
that vast quantities of cannabis can have on the mental health of a human being. Having watched Unthinkable: Jungle Trip (Sci-Fi channel), I have come to the conclusion that there are even worse things that could catch on in the modern world.
Would you believe that in the forests that surround the Peruvian stretch of the Amazon river there are plants that talk to humans? I know that Prince Charles and one or two of his close friends talk to plants, but surely no one could believe that they actually talk back?
Piers Gibbon did. In fact, he was convinced of it. To his great credit, Piers cut rather a sympathetic figure as he set out on the first part of his odyssey to Kew Gardens. This was, it could not be denied, the easy part of the journey, but Piers was intent in presenting his credentials in the most austere light. He was no cheap seeker of cheap thrills.
He admitted to many experiments with hallucinogenic flora, but insisted that this was all in the cause of solving a conundrum which dominated his waking hours: he knew beyond doubt that plants spoke, it was just that he did not understand their particular dialect. And just to show that he had one foot in the real world, Piers admitted that he also wanted his name to be given to the rare plant that he was determined to bring back to Kew from those Peruvian forests. You’d have thought that a chap called Gibbon might have been a fauna man, but there you go.
The rite stuff: But Piers Gibbon could have achieved the same effect with 10 pints of beer
It was at this point that this edition of Unthinkable became less a physical journey and more a metaphysical voyage into one of those hearts of darkness that we know lurk in the jungle, ready to consume Western man with its strange and potent spells. The camerawork was rudimentary, but this could have been a knowing nod to such low-budget movies as the Blair Witch Project.
As he drew near what he hoped would be, if not nirvana, then a source of some enlightenment, Piers began to get excited. He was talking of shamans. I was reminded of a time long ago when a chap in the next room to me at university would shoot out of his door every now and then to announce that Carlos Castaneda had seen the light and we must all go immediately to Mexico and eat cacti.
Piers’s search for a shaman led him directly to a bloke called Alan who was, needless to say, American. Alan explained to Piers in a somewhat self-important manner that the most important factor in what they were about to experience was to get rid of the ego.
He then added in a casual aside that there might also be some other business that involved getting buttnaked and being spanked with bunches of nettles. Had I been present at this exchange, I would have strongly advised Piers to call the whole thing off on the spot.
For what he was about to undergo was an Olympic trial in puking – shamans are skilled at one thing and one thing only: boiling up disgusting potions, mumbling a few platitudes about the purging of the body and then watching as everyone-throws up at once. Alan also had a neat little chaser to this routine which involved injecting thick, black tobacco juice up his victims’ noses. Then they got naked and were spanked by nettles.
Piers Gibbon, it has to be admitted, was made of stern stuff. Deciding that Alan was essentially a lightweight, he sought out Richard, who helped him find David, who had gone native. The natives to whom David had gone believed that true enlightenment could only be achieved by rubbing frog poison into the holes in the flesh caused by the ends of red-hot sticks. Immediately after submitting to this procedure, Piers found himself down on his knees puking up once again.
No one had the good sense to tell Piers that he could have achieved the same effect at home by drinking 10 pints of beer and a bottle of creme de menthe, but perhaps I was missing the point.
By the time we said goodbye to Piers, I felt he had gone completely off his rocker. Through the good graces of an anthropologist called Francoise, he had met a really out-there shaman called Don Demetrio, who made Piers spend days on end in the jungle on his own, taking vile potions and being sick. Piers claimed that he was beginning to reach some degree of enlightenment. I felt he was probably suffering from lack of sleep and malnutrition. When Don Demetrio regurgitated what looked like a worm from his stomach and got Piers to eat it, I decided that they deserved each other.
One positive result of the trip – and for all I know, Piers is still there – was that he found the plant he wanted to give to Kew Gardens and had it sent there, where it would, he hoped, one day bear his moniker.
People often write and ask questions about the experience of taking ayahuasca and filming Jungle Trip…
Dear Mr. Gibbon,
I hope this finds you well.
My name is xxx from xxx. I had my first Ayahuasca experience one month ago.
I have just finished watching your film Jungle Trip…
I have to say even watching was pretty intense.
Would you mind letting me know how you feel about this experience now, 9 years later?
How do you reflect upon your connection with Don Dimitrio (milipede)?
Thanks for your email and for getting in touch. Yes..filming it was pretty intense too! There is something uniquely paranoia-inducing about being interviewed while under the influence of ayahuasca. But ten years later I’m still very glad I did it – both the film and the ayahuasca.
I am still very grateful to all the shamans who invited us in to the ceremonies, and Don Demetrio especially – he took me under his wing and did that induction ceremony with the millipede. I am still musing on whether these “other powers” exist in the form that Don Demetrio believes in..personally I suspect not, but respect the abilities he (and the others) have for inducing a healing response in their patients.
I’ll let you know if I change my mind!
Hi, I watched your series about the Shamans in Peru, etc and want to know how long ago that was and how you feel now about it and if you truly broke thru the wall you had. I was not convinced by the end of the series. Thank you.
Thanks for your message. Jungle Trip was only a one-off, not a series and it was filmed a decade or so ago. I remember in the markets of Iquitos they were watching the USA election dispute between Al Gore and Bush..
So I have plenty of time to reflect about it. No, I do not think I broke through whatever wall I have – then and there. But I feel very glad now that I went through the whole thing, especially the ayahuasca “dieta” where I took it every night for a month. I think that is unique to the ayahuasca brew (the possibility of taking it every day). I would only advise doing that however under the tutelage of a real maestro.
So..I guess in conclusion I would say that ayahuasca may not be able to break down walls but it can be an incredibly powerful solvent.
planning medicine trip to Peru in 2012 May
Piers, I am sure that you had 1000s of people asking you about advice and directions and info about Peru. I want to located that woman who helped you in a documentary. The one that brought you to the real shaman at the end of the movie. IF you are too busy answering, would you direct me to one of your crew members who could give the coordinates?
any info would help,
Many thanks for your email. Yes there have been quite a few people who have asked about getting in touch with Don Demetrio and Francoise Freedman. Francoise is on facebook so you can message her directly there. Unfortunately many years ago I gave out the single telephone number for Yumbatos – the village where Don Demetrio lived when I worked with him. I was told that the number no longer worked and the trail went cold. If you have any better luck in tracking him down please let me know – I’d love to know how he is. Have a great time in Peru. You should also consider contacting Alan Shoemaker (on facebook) as he has many contacts in this area. Best of luck
Jungle Trip in South Africa, Romania, Norway, Romania…
10:00 pm Teama sÂ¸i dezgust
Piers Gibbon pornesÂ¸te catre junglele amazoniene Ã®n cautarea unei specii foarte rare de plante. De asemenea el Ã®nvatÂ¸a Ã®n premiera despre un cocteil halucinogen preferat de sÂ¸amanii locali.
Unthinkable midn’t-1.00am Sci-Fi/130 Rerun of the amazing/terrifying journey undertaken by ethnobotanist Piers Gibbon into the Peruvian jungle.
The series Unthinkable continues with Jungle Trip – In the Shadow of the Shaman (Thursday, 22:00). Piers Gibbon goes in search of an Amazonian shaman, suffering ghastly rites of passage as he encounters frog poison and the hallucinogenic ayahuasca brew. Not for viewers with weak stomachs.
Frykt og avsky
Piers Gibbon drar til Amazonasjungelen for Ã¥ finne en sjelden plante, og for Ã¥ lÃ¦re fÃ¸rstehÃ¥ndskunnskap om en hallusinogenisk cocktail som er foretrukket av lokale sjamaner.
Many thanks to Keo Films, Gavin Searle and Will Anderson, Andrew Palmer, Dr Francoise Barbira Freedman, The Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, Mad and Distracted (Music), Eli Perl, Henry Stein, Claire Hamilton, Richard Brunskill, Rosey Taylor, Caroline Bottomley, Jon Hubbard, Zam Baring