De Mille, Richard

De Mille, Richard – De Mille became suspicious that elements of Carlos Castaneda’s Yaqui “ethnography,” and indeed the shamaninformant Don Juan himself, were inauthentic—an elaborate fiction. He wrote a lengthy volume entitled Castaneda’s Journey: The Power and the Allegory (1976) assessing the veracity of Castaneda’s work in meticulous detail, with the follow-up work, The Don Juan Papers: Further Castaneda Controversies (1980) presenting arguments from both camps. De Mille pointed to the unavailability of Castaneda’s field notes due to their mysterious accidental loss or destruction, as well as to inconsistencies in dates, locations, and so on. In one specific example of plagiarism, the “waterfall jumping” of Don Juan’s fellow sorcerer Don Genaro replicates Barbara Myerhoff’s experience of watching the Huichol shaman Ramón Medina Silva perform this feat. Supporters of Castaneda point to the “validity” of the Don Juan mythos in speaking “truths” that stand outside ethnographic fact, whether the original ethnography was invented or not. Nonetheless, de Mille, Daniel Noel, and Yaqui representatives have conclusively debunked Castaneda.

SOURCE:

Historical Dictionary of Shamanism by Graham Harvey and Robert J. Wallis 2007

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