Hallucinogen Honey Hunters

Hallucinogen Honey Hunters

2013, Society  -   12 Comments
Ratings: 8.68/10 from 184 users.

In Nepal, an isolated tribe known as the Gurung go on the hunt for a special honey perched high upon a series of cliffs. The honey is known for its hallucinogenic potency, and is often taken for recreational use or medicinal purposes by the villagers. Hallucinogen Honey Hunters takes viewers on a rarely glimpsed journey to this region, and observes the culture surrounding this mystical honey.

Known as "mad honey", the hallucinogenic substance is produced by the largest wild bees in the world measuring up to 3 cm in length. In order to procure the honey, the villagers must brave steep climbs up treacherous cliffs and the fury of swarming bees. Their hunt begins at the break of morning. A small group of male villagers are shown filling their knapsacks with essential supplies, and trekking off to the foot of the nearest cliff. They fashion a makeshift ladder out of bamboo, and begin their climb. The process is carried out with great care and reverence, and serves as the elaborate and inventive preamble to a potentially dangerous encounter with thousands of angered bees.

Hallucinogen Honey Hunters takes viewers step by step through this process, and invites us to marvel at the fearless commitment of each hunter. By taking part in this annual ritual, they are following in the footsteps of several generations which came before them.

What is it about the honey that so defines the lifestyle and identity of the Gurung? In its smallest doses, the honey can ensure a soothing sense of inebriation much like the experience produced from a substance such as absinthe. Some villagers ingest a teaspoon of the honey each morning, as they believe it strengthens the immune system and can lead to a longer and more fruitful life. In larger quantities, it can induce cardiac arrest, full-scale hallucinations or a period of time when the body seems to undergo a purge and rebirth.

With Hallucinogen Honey Hunters, prolific documentary filmmaker and world traveler Raphael Treza once again places us inside the fascinating culture of a largely unobserved people, and his unflinching camera invites us to watch with equal parts fear and fascination.

Directed by: Raphael Treza

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Jürgen Lehmann
5 years ago

Why cannot this type of delicious drink (or even food) have been the so long sought for rigvedic SOMA PLANT?

6 years ago

I've been there. Very cool part of the world

7 years ago

I love how the narrator talked up the health benefits of the honey. I know that convulsions, vomiting and potential death are great qualities for an aphrodisiac. Just ask depak.

7 years ago

...wow..can you make a more fascinating 27 minute documentary...? – ...so I gave it nine glorious stars...it was great in so many respects...Thanks for the extraordinary work

8 years ago

a very good documentry and presentation ! happy to see Nepal..i miss u

Dave Dardis
8 years ago

Yep, I could dig living there. It's so beautiful and I like honey in my tea.
Now, is China going to take it over?

8 years ago

These beats are siick

hakan kaplan
8 years ago

now i want to go to nepal :-)

Carl Hendershot
8 years ago

Peacful existence and a fantastic short DOCU.... 2 thumbs up and a 5 ? for educational value.

8 years ago

nicely done. 2 thumbs up! cheers!

8 years ago

I'm so glad to have found this site. So many great doc's. BRAVO!!

8 years ago

Would love to try that out, whe dont have that kind of bees in our country.