Health retreat shocked over death at 'private event'

The regional Victorian wellness centre where a woman died and two others wound up in hospital after consuming a drink says it had nothing to do with the tragedy.

Soul Barn in Clunes describes itself on social media as an alternative and holistic health service and hires out its workshop space to external businesses and facilitators.

The death of the 53-year-old from Ringwood North is being probed by detectives from the Moorabool Crime Investigation Unit, who are awaiting the results of a post mortem.

It hasn't been confirmed if they are examining whether the drink contained poisonous mushrooms.

"The event which took place on April 13th was a private event, and those facilitating the event do not work for or represent Soul Barn in any way," Soul Barn said in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

"None of our regular therapists, staff or facilitators were present at any point during this event.

"We share the shock and devastation of everyone involved, and our hearts are with those families affected."

Soul Barn advertises multiple services, including facials using "wild foraged plants".

On Friday night, the retreat hosted an event with a medium where guests were given a chance to "ask questions of the spirit communicators".

A planned event described as "sound healing" was cancelled on Sunday.

The centre will be closed while the police continue their investigation.

Clunes is about 30km from Ballarat, which has experienced a series of tragic events in 2024.

Three local women, Samantha Murphy, Rebecca Young and Hannah McGuire, have died allegedly at the hands of men in the past two months.

Miner Kurt Hourigan died in a mine collapse in March and the area experienced bushfires over summer.

Less than a year ago, three people died and another was hospitalised for months after allegedly consuming poisonous mushrooms in eastern Victoria.

Don and Gail Patterson, both 70, and Gail's sister Heather Wilkinson, 66, died after eating a meal at the home of Erin Patterson in Leongatha in July 2023.

Ms Wilkinson's husband Ian, who was also at the lunch, spent close to two months in hospital.

Erin Patterson, a mother of two, has been charged with three counts of murder and five of attempted murder and is due back in court on Monday.

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