Ramblings of a Tampa engineer
Photo by Jametlene Reskp / Unsplash

This post blog is the first in my new tag called "cult" where I do a small investigation into a cult, whether past or present.

This started from just discussions with coworkers and friends that some large events in our world's history are sometimes not known among today's citizens, myself included.

We may watch movies that are loosely based on true events, but what is the true event?

For this blog, we are going to discuss Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple. Jim Jones convinced 909 people to commit suicide...at the same time. Though most readers to this blog may not have been born when this event took place.

Though we need to take a step back in time way back to 1931 where Jones was born. We are going to skip some time and just skip to his 20s where he began an immense interest in communism. From that research it bubbled into a vast interest into religion. Jones became a pastor at a local church, but after integrating African Americans was barred from it.

We are talking the early 1950s at this point, so basic human rights haven't yet reached the black community. Angered by this Jones opened his own church inviting all ethnic groups.

Jones obtaining award from Pastor Cecil Williams - Nancy Wong - CC BY-SA 4.0

The story begins to get strange though as Jones began fearing a nuclear holocaust after reading a variety of articles. Among those articles it was shown that a city in Brazil would be a safe zone when the missiles flew.

Jones traveled to Brazil hoping to set up more Template locations. He did, but the language barrier made it quite difficult to keep them growing. Having left Indiana, the locals began to guilt him for leaving until he folded – heading back to Indiana.

Once back in Indiana Jones needed a change. He told his entire congregation that nuclear war was close and that California was the Eden. Most of the congregation moved and this is where things painted a different story for those inside.

Some folks started digging into the truth of Jim Jones and it wasn't pretty. The dark past and present included beatings, sexual assault, child abuse and just plethora of crimes. He abused his power of pastor with his followers and this was catching up with him.

Jim Jones fled to Guyana (the country) on the tip of South America along with followers who would join him. As time passed, a congressman Leo Ryan flew into the city to investigate all the claims and darkness that surrounded Jones. During the visit, a temple member attacked the congressman, which led to a hurried plan to leave.

Unfortunately the armed followers of Jones met the congressman at the airport and opened fire. The congressman was killed along with most of the NBC media crew. This was the hectic day that would forever be recorded in history.

As the day went on, Jim Jones unloaded a 45 minute speech that was secretly being recorded. He mentions these conspiracy theories of folks parachuting into their home to torture them.

I don’t know who fired the shot. I don’t know who killed the congressman. But as far as I am concerned, I killed him. You understand what I’m saying? I killed him. He had no business coming. I told him not to come.

Jim Jones - "Death Tape" - source

He then begins and succeeds to convince all followers to drink a poison kool-aid to die with dignity. You can listen to this audio if you wish, but knowing that over 900 people are dying during and after this speech may add a bit of unsettling nature to it.

The kool-aid mixture of cyanide and some relaxants was made to create a fatal potion that would lead to sleep without waking up.

All credit to Associated Press (source)

For those who aren't squeamish, the Associated Press has a photo gallery from the events that unfolded on that day November 18, 1978. Additionally thank you to San Diego State University & Military Response to Jonestown where my information was sourced.

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