Monkeys helped man who mysteriously vanished in the Bolivian Amazon


Originally published at:


I work for a monkey, an unkind and spiteful one, but a monkey all the same.


I saw this story a couple of days ago, and have been thinking on it.

Something tells me maybe some local viewed him as being completely disrespectful about the gods, and decided to slip him a Mickey, if he hadn’t already ingested one on his own.



See? If he had just smoked the cigarette like all the cool kids then this wouldn’t have happened.


Great those monkeys helped him, but who lured him into the jungle in the first place? It’s like the fireman who commits arson.


I see this story ending up as a segment on the Futility Closet. In a few decades, after a fine patina of speculation and mystery has built up.


Some context:

“He was acting a little bit strange,” Feizer recounted. “His face just didn’t look normal.”

He was most likely on something. Why someone would do this in such a remote spot? Who knows but clearly he’s not very bright.

Also an observation/explanation:

“Disrespect Pachamama, for example, and she could let you be driven mad by Duende, a mischievous sprite who hides his victims in another dimension.”

The Duende thing i’ve heard of before even in Venezuela. Duende means dwarf, but it tends to refer to something mystical and more than often sinister.


It’s good to see that impoverished monkeys have mastered the basics of kindness and altruism that far too many rich humans still struggle with (Oh crap, heaven must be FULL of monkeys).

Perhaps we could strand the the clown car currently operating the government of the US in the jungles of Bolivia, and see if they can learn some lessons from the monkeys before they die?


haha. :slight_smile:

cigarettes and tobacco are often used in ceremonies and as offerings, same with tea and spices. many shamans use them in healing ceremonies as well.

I assumed he slipped away on his own intentionally and stayed close by, a short while later he re-emerges unharmed with a story of monkeys taking care of him. it is possible that it happened, also possible he was after his 5minutes of fame.

maybe he was one of those yahoos who think dropping their own drugs before a ceremony in the jungle is a good idea. that is also not an unlikely scenario.


“It’s because he offended the Pachamama.” Feizar said. “He didn’t want to participate in the ceremony.”

And there you have it. A universe with monkeys who help a lost human find food, shelter, and water just isn’t wondrous enough for some people unless invisible entities are also brought into the story.


In the article the guy explains:

“Maykool revealed that the night he disappeared, strange, terrible thoughts had begun to creep into his mind. He said he had an irresistible urge to get out of the rainforest.”

Which i would take as him having a bad trip or extreme paranoia from whatever he took. It’s entirely possible he was sober and had a moment of intense superstitious panic, especially in such a remote place i’d say it’s quite plausible. Either way what a dumb ass thing to do…


I’ve always used enano to mean dwarf.

When I’ve had duendes explained to me, it was that they were like elves, but not exactly.


Duende has similar connotations. But yes it’s usually in reference to the folklore concept of an elf of sorts.


Going back to the monkeys helping the guy out, That seems to be mostly glossed over in the article and isn’t given more than a single sentence. I find that particular bit the most interesting, wonder if similar instances have happened to other people.

My assumption is that the monkeys clearly saw the man was in distress and decided to help though i wonder why.


Because they were naive country monkeys who did not realize that humans are utter bastards who put monkeys in cages and experiment on them, so they did not realize that they ought to be pelting the man with feces?

Or maybe because they were religious monkeys who believe in the Golden Rule and so they were doing good to those who do them evil.


Yes, but they usually use mapacho, which is Nicotiana rustica, not the same tobacco that’s used in commercial cigarettes. Much stronger that commercial tobacco, which has been selectively bread to decrease the nicotine content.

This type of tobacco is usually made into a liquid, which is then poured up the nose. Much retching and vomiting usually follows. (I grew N rustica one year, and got pretty stoned from what I absorbed through the skin when harvesting it.)

They should be thankful they were offered cigarettes!


Yea, but I gotta ask: why the hell would you take all the time and expense to go down to a tourist eco-lodge in the Amazon and not participate in the ceremonies? For fuck’s sake, the guy could have just stayed at home and watched nature documentaries.

One of the nice things about actually traveling is that it puts things into perspective. Guess he was too good/sophisticated to try his host’s perspective on for the experience.


You’re, understandably, frustrated. Hence the chimp on your shoulder.


Or the pest control guy who sprinkles termites around your place.

Or the surgeon who busts your kneecaps. (Forget that one.)


Oi! Get back to work, you ungrateful human!