Wade Davis

Wade Davis

Professor of anthropology Wade Davis is a true polymath who has made substantial contributions in at least four significant areas. Aged only twenty he completed a traverse of the Darien Gap with British explorer Sebastian Snow. He then became an ethnobotanist under the tutelage of Dr Richard Schultes and went on to discover the ‘zombie poison’ used in voodoo rituals in Haiti. 

This lead him towards anthropology and the study of shamanic practices all over the world. It also led to a Hollywood film based on his exploits in Haiti - the marvellous Serpent and the Rainbow (titled after his own account of his time there). He is an explorer in residence at National Geographic as well as a photographer and documentary filmmaker. (He is also a qualified river rafting guide). At the same time he has pursued a career as a non-fiction writer on a variety of subjects including an investigation of the 1924 Everest attempt and its links to the collective trauma of WW1. Here Dr Davis talks to Robert Twigger about exploration, the need to take risks in life and a preview of his new fascinating book about Colombia.