Note: The folks at our sister paper Riverfront Times have ventured into the breach that is the Gathering of the Juggalos in Hardin County, Illinois. Rocks Off will be following their exploits all weekend.
UPDATE (Sunday, 1 p.m.): Reached by phone on Sunday afternoon, Hardin County coroner Jessica Cullum released the name of the man who died as Cory Collins, 24, of Harrisburg, Illinois, a town about 35 miles northwest of the music festival. Cullum said the cause of death was still pending.
More details about the fatal overdose that took place Friday afternoon at the fourteenth annual Gathering of the Juggalos in Cave-In-Rock, Illinois, have emerged. The deceased was a 24-year-old man, according to the coroner, and a source at the scene says his body was found in a tent alongside four others who were sleeping.
The incident took place near the seminar tent, central on the Gathering grounds. The man who died, whose name has not been released, reportedly came from the direction of the "drug bridge" two to three hours before his body was found, feeling sick, and asked the owner of a large camping tent if he could have a place to sleep for a while, citing "family" (in reference to the Juggalos' sense of community) in his plea.
He was granted accommodations alongside four other individuals who were already sleeping.
When the owner of the tent, who admitted that he had taken mescaline earlier in the day, returned around 2 p.m. to check on the man, he found that the body was cold. He explained that he went to lift the man's arm up (which reportedly displayed track marks) to check his pulse, but when he did so "the guy's whole body came up -- rigor mortis had begun to set in -- and blood came out of his mouth."
Our source explains that the man then frantically began trying to wake his sleeping friends, telling them that there was a dead man in the tent with them. "These are four dudes that had been sleeping with a corpse." His friends initially thought he was joking or playing a prank -- this sort of twisted humor, centered on death, would not be out of place among juggalos.
When our source came upon the scene, the owner of the tent was speaking with security and staff, who were in golf carts. Emphatically, he was saying to them "I want you to know that I had nothing to do with this." He was eager to tell his story to whomever would listen. At this time, the nearby "drug bridge" was still open for business.
"You could tell something was wrong," our source tells us of his first impressions on the scene. "There was no crowd, just a few people. But they had ashen faces. I overheard someone say something about a body -- someone asked 'Is there a sick kid?'" A woman speaking Spanish, one of the food vendors, then motioned with her hand across her neck, signaling that he was dead.
The Southern Illinoisan newspaper reports that the Hardin County coroner confirmed the man was 24, but did not release his name because his family had not been notified.
EMS arrived on the scene and entered the tent with an orange box of supplies. "Shortly after that, they zipped up all the windows and closed the front door." Nearby, at the seminar tent, an MC began warming the crowd up for a comedy act, playing the music of the Insane Clown Posse over the loudspeakers and encouraging people to come and hang out. "It was by far the most surreal detail of the whole thing."
We've been seeing usage of 25I-NBOMe, a psychedelic designer drug being passed off as run-of-the-mill acid, though no cause of death has been announced yet, and this man's death is believed to be from a heroin overdose.
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A representative at the Hardin County Sheriff's Department referred us to the Illinois State Police, who could not be reached Saturday afternoon. We'll update this story as more information arrives.