Hallucinating Peruvian Shamans Predict the Election Winner

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 6 2012 10:38 AM

Hallucinating Peruvian Shamans Predict the Election Winner

77473806
A healer (L) starting an Ayahuasca ceremony by offering the plant to a person taking part of the ritual in Tarapoto, northeastern jungle of Peru in 1999

Photograph by Jaime Razuri/AFP/Getty Images.

You can look at the numbers. You can go with with your gut. Or you can go the slightly more exciting route and ingest a hallucinogenic cocktail and then use flower petals and a couple of photographs to choose the winner of this year's presidential election. Completely your call.

The AFP explains:

Using maracas, coca leaves and a hallucinogenic brew [ayahuasca], shamans in Peru got down to business Monday using pre-Columbian traditional ceremonies to pick a winner in the US presidential race. "The apus (gods of the hills in indigenous mythology) tell us (Barack) Obama will be reelected," predicted Juan Osco, known as the Shaman of the Andes on San Cristobal hill overlooking Lima.
Members of the group placed flower petals on photos of the candidates that were also swept over with tobacco smoke. The shamans chewed coca leaves, a traditional ceremonial and medicinal plant since Inca times that helps fight altitude sickness.
Advertisement

Feel free to doubt the shamans' drug-fueled predictive powers all you want (and we obviously do), but keep in mind they've offered about as much of a detailed explanation of their methodology as some political pundits who are covering this race professionally. They also have much less of a stake in the outcome.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 12:44 AM We Need More Ben Bradlees His relationship with John F. Kennedy shows what’s missing from today’s Washington journalism.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 11:44 PM Driving in Circles The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.