November 18, 1978, is a day that many people around the world will never forget. This day marked the largest amount of American lives lost until 9/11. A mass murder in the town of Jonestown, Guayana led by cult leader Jim Jones. It was almost as if it was a terrible nightmare that no one wanted to continue seeing on their televisions. A true American tragedy.
The People’s Temple was a community church founded by Jim Jones in the 60s. Jones wanted to create a community for people to come and feel safe. Initially, he seemed like an extreme liberal socialist. He has one of the first blended families in the country.
As time moved forward, Jim Jones seemed to be getting more power hungry. He became more controlling of his congregation, making them live at the church and work full time for him. This control took an extreme turn when he convinced his people to relocate to the Guayana jungle and begin a new community there. The community seemed to thrive but as many things go, soon people began wanting to relocate back to the United States.
After some of the congregations family members in the States began the process of showing Jonestowns true colours, an NBC camera crew that included Congressman Leo Ryan went down to Guayana to see what was going on. Jim Jones wanted to make it seem as if everything was going smoothly and welcomed them with open arms. People soon began sliding notes to the crew letting them know that they wanted to go back to the USA with them.
the congressman and the camera crew left, Jim Jones made a couple of his workers escort them to their plane. As they were getting on the platform, shots were fired and they killed the congressman as well as some of the camera crew.
Realizing he was going to get in trouble. Jim Jones gathered his people and gave a speech about how their time on this earth is up. He made everyone take a drink mixed with cyanide and as soon as they drank it, everyone instantaneously began throwing up and falling left and right. Once all was said and done, a total of 909 individuals died of cyanide poisoning in Jonestown. Jim Jones shot himself in the head.
Jonestown is said to be a mass suicide but in reality, those survivors and audio evidence show that people did not want to die but were forced to.
This event is truly a tragic tale that needs to be remembered. These innocent people had lives and stories to tell.
Rest In Peace.