What happens when anthropology goes bad? The last in this series of great yarns from the world of anthropology is a story of sex, drugs and a long lost body in the desert. At its heart is the mysterious figure of Carlos Castaneda, to some a guru, to others a phoney.
Carlos Castaneda is the anthropologist who stepped over the line. Sent to study the works of shamans in Mexico, he claimed to have become a shaman himself. In a series of multi-million selling books he claimed to have learned from a Yaqui Indian how to enter an alternative, better reality.
Whilst some questioned whether any of Castaneda's writers were actually true, the man himself left academia and set up an institute to teach anyone who wanted it his route to enlightenment, for a fee.
Soon, Castaneda appeared to be at the centre of a cult, surrounded by a cluster crop-haired female followers. He even told them that he had found the key to immortality and that they could live forever with him. But what eventually followed was a fierce human tragedy and an anthropological scandal.