Psychonauts react to viral story of man who assaulted flight attendants after taking mushrooms on a plane
The mythical Florida Man has struck again. In this case, the culprit is Cherruy Loghan Sevilla, who allegedly assaulted multiple staff members mid-flight last week while under the influence of psilocybin mushrooms. The story has since gone viral, thanks no doubt to details like Sevilla reportedly breaking off a piece of the plane’s bathroom door while traveling from Miami to Washington, D.C.
Per the Washington Post, Sevilla was arrested on Oct. 4 when his flight landed at Washington Dulles International Airport. Greeted by police and FBI agents, the would-be mile high tripper was still “yelling profanities and unintelligible sounds” despite being restrained in handcuffs, FBI Special Agent Daniel Markey noted in a written affidavit.
Markey’s affidavit also details the saga of a father and daughter sitting nearby to Sevilla. After noticing the passenger’s strange behavior about “an hour” into the flight, the situation escalated when Sevilla grabbed the daughter’s arm. At that point, they found somewhere else to sit, but Sevilla’s psilocybin-fueled actions apparently continued to escalate, running down the aisles, assaulting flight attendants, and successfully ensured the trip to Washington, D.C. was miserable for all aboard.
The situation —as well as the subsequent headlines its generated— reflect a widening chasm between the spate of positive press praising psychedelics as a new wellness frontier and the reality that these are not substances to be casually ingested without fear of consequences. Psychedelic conferences and Netflix specials may be focused on the use of psychedelics in therapy, but the average citizen is still poorly informed about the potential dangers of these drugs, and the need for a safe setting (note: an airplane is not a safe setting). Indeed, the more we read of promising studies and more forgiving laws, the more inevitable incidents like what recently transpired on a United Airlines flight will become.
Over at the reputable online psychedelic forum The Shroomery, some users objected to what they see as drugs taking fall for one man’s stupid choices.
“Why do drugs always get blamed, even when the situation shows it was clearly the fault of the idiot who took them?” reads one reply.
Surprisingly, in this instance, the story is actually not one of someone (foolishly) choosing to take a mind-expanding substance for the first time in a public setting. To the contrary, Sevilla reportedly told authorities after his arrest that not only was it not his first experience with psilocybin, but that he “wasn’t surprised that he acted the way he did after taking it.”
Understandably, forum members were appalled by this revelation.
“It’s one thing to think you might want to try tripping on a plane —bad idea to begin with, seems like a guaranteed bad trip being in a confined space surrounded by strangers, but ok I wont judge as long as you can handle your sh-t— but it's another thing entirely if you already know that you have a tendency to act with aggressive violating behavior when under the influence,” one Shroomery user opined.
In the absence of universal, trusted guidance, the onus of responsible psychedelic consumption will remain squarely on the shoulders of consumers themselves. Bad apples are unavoidable, but without proper education, support, and access, the risk of bad psychedelic trips going viral will remain alarmingly high.
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