Status: Former Cult Site: Deep Jungle; Extremely Difficult to Reach
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Attribution: Jonestown Institute
Reader Discretion Advised:
This Article Contains Depictions of both Mass Suicide and Mass Murder under the Direction of a Madman.
If you are considering any self harm or harm to others please contact your nearest Mental Health Department or go to your nearest Emergency Department.
If you feel you are controlled by anyone or a group please leave immediately. There are many agencies that are willing to help you both governmental and societal.
The Peoples Temple was formed by Jim Jones in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1955.
Despite the obvious oxymoron Jones purported to be both a Marxist and Christian. He was fascinated with the influence of religion and it’s ability to control the masses.
Jones was interested in historical figures such as Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler and Mao Zedong. He thought of both Vladimir Lenin and Stalin as heroes.
Jones received a lot of negative feedback in Indiana especially for his integrationist views. He moved his movement to Redwood Valley, California.
In California both he and his movement began to gain political power with public support coming from such figures as First Lady Rosalynn Carter, Walter Mondale and Gov Jerry Brown.
The movement quickly expanded opening offices in both Los Angeles and San Francisco.
As the movement moved further and further to the left they began to face more and more legal troubles in the United States. Even California has it’s limits.
There were also numerous reports of abuse including inflicting harm on children.
The group began to look to Canada and/or the Caribbean as a place to flee should it get too hot in the US.
In the end they became fixated on Guyana on the northern coast of South America due to it’s socialist and mostly African American government. They felt the cult’s members would be left alone there.
In 1974 Jones negotiated the lease of 3,800 acres (1,200+ hectares) deep in the Guyanese jungle near the disputed border with Venezuela. Even by Guyanese standards the soil was very poor and hardly suitable for farming.
500 members of the movement moved to Jonesboro and began working on building houses and planting crops. All the other members were encouraged to move to what Jones called a socialist paradise free from media and governmental interference.
Numerous kickbacks were made to the Guyanese government to ensure the cult’s assets could be moved there without any tariffs including weapons and drugs.
In 1977 Jones and hundreds more of the cult members moved to Jonestown permanently. They fled just as articles began to come out about abuse happening in the cult.
However, they were still enjoying strong support from some key US political figures.
The cult members were put to work and also subjected to hours of “education” which amounted to nothing more mind control and brainwashing techniques that had been honed in North Korea and the Soviet Union.
By 1978 the cult was in talks with the Soviet Union about resettling there.
In 1978 Jones health began to seriously deteriorate and he developed a lung infection from the tropical environment. He told his followers he had lung cancer in order to create sympathy and gain more control. Meanwhile he was becoming more and more of a drug addict abusing valium, quaaludes and barbiturates.
A visit by a Congressman, reporters and concerned relatives to Jonestown spelled the beginning of the end. 11 People decided to leave the cult resulting in cult members opening fire inside of one of the planes evacuating people and on the other plane from the outside resulting in a number of deaths.
In Jonestown Jim Jones made an announcement that everything was fine and for everyone to return to their homes. Meanwhile his aides were making the kool aid laced with drugs to make people calm as well as cyanide.
The children and babies died first – smaller body weight allowed the cyanide to work faster – causing the adults to panic. Jones told everyone to die with dignity. On audio tapes made of the massacre you can clearly hear many adults and children screaming.
The guards were told to shoot anyone trying to escape and then kill themselves after most people were dead; they followed their orders. Thankfully some people did manage to escape into the jungle.
Jim Jones was found on the site near his car with a fatal gunshot wound to his head which was later determined to be self-inflicted.
On November 18, 1978 918 people died in this massacre. Until September 11, 2001 it was the largest number of American civilians to die in a single deliberate act in history.
The bodies were removed by the US Military units trained in cleaning up battlefields. About 400 bodies – many of them Caribbean children the cult had “adopted” – were buried in a mass grave in Oakland, California.
This location cannot be found without a local guide and there’s almost nothing left now except a few rusty vehicles in the jungle. The jungle has completely reclaimed Jonestown although it’s stain of evil remains.
There are no longer any roads into the area and even the memorial to the massacre has been buried in the jungle.
Most locals consider the site both cursed and haunted.
Apparitions have been seen wandering in the heavy jungle. They all seem to be either very confused, frightened or both. They do not seem to be aware of the living in any way and will fade into nothing if approached.
Tragically, they seem to be trapped in the Hell of Jonestown for eternity.
Other reported activity: shadow figures; phantom screams and crying; disembodied voices; cold spots; time slips; empathic sensations of fear, confusion, anxiety, and anger; electrical disturbances; light anomalies; a pervading feeling of darkness, evil and this is no place for the living and a feeling of not being alone.