Who was the first hippie to visit Goa? Or rather, ever wonder? Who was the first tourist to visit the state after the liberation? Well, the search is over. Yertward Mazamanian (1924 – 2010) popularly known as ‘Eight Finger Eddie’, was the first hippie to visit Goa and eventually introduced Goa to the hippies. Thus, Putting Goa on the hippie trail and the world map.
Eddie arrived in Goa in the mid 60s, falling in love with the place, he chose to stay. He is known to have run a small soup kitchen for the Hippies in Anjuna. At that time there was hardly any tourism related infrastructure available in Goa. Also, Eddie is credited with starting the flea market for the foreign visitors who wanted to sell their possessions or buy something.
Born in the US, Eddie is of Armenian descent. He did not serve in the US Army during World War 2 after he convinced an Army psychiatrist that he was unfit for military service. He was married and divorced. Eddie has worked as a Bass player in Jazz bands and for an electric company. He has lived in Mexico and Copenhagen, traveled to Spain, Morocco, Iran, India and Nepal.
He lived his entire life in Goa, occasionally leaving it to travel to Kathmandu and Bombay to renew his American passport. Eddie had three fingers on his right hand and that is how he earned his pet name. He passed away in Goa on October 18, 2010. His memory continues to live on, in the minds of the people he met. Due credit to ‘Eight Finger Eddie’ has certainly not been paid.