Goa's hippy legend passes away at 86

The ageing American — described as the “original freak” and “guiding light for travellers” — passed away on October 18 at this last hippy station and was cremated by friends in Mapusa. “May his soul go beyond the highest heavens,” the obituary for him in the local papers said. 

Yertward Mazmanian, better known as Eight Finger Eddie, would have wished so as well. He said in one of his last interviews: “We all become one with the sun.”

Turning up in Goa in the early ’70s, Eight Finger Eddie would soon become a legendary part of the Goa hippy tribe. Anjuna was the centre of the scene, and Eddie made it his home. “I don’t want to waste my life in a menial job and work for money. That’s throwing a life away,” he once said. And while most from the tribe moved on — a few to making trance music that really paid off and still others to corporate jobs — Eddie stayed on to trawl the beaches, the full moon parties and the flea markets between Baga, Anjuna and Arambol, a sight as familiar as the coconut palm. Wizened and sunburnt from years in the Goan sun, Eight Finger Eddie lived life to the full – on his terms. He was 86.

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