Suicide In Jonestown

Saturday, April 9, 2022 10:25:50 AM

Suicide In Jonestown

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They thought about guillotines, lining everyone up in front of a ditch and shooting them in the head. Eventually, the idea of poison started coming up during these brainstorming sessions. What about using poison, specifically? Why not use one of the other methods? Who made it? Larry Schacht, and he had a couple of nurses as well. He was the Jonestown physician. He was a guy Jim Jones had taken off the streets.

Jones had an uncanny ability for putting people in positions where he knew they would excel. How did he know how to make the poison correctly, with the right proportions of each ingredient? Was it just the drink of choice at the commune, or was it brought on specifically for this purpose? It was the drink of choice on the commune. It was cheaper than Kool-Aid. The thing with Jonestown is it was not supposed to hold people. It was for about people. So most of the time, they ate rice with little specks of meat in it. They drank Flavor Aid, which was a knockoff Kool-Aid.

And that was a treat. I imagine it was also used to mask the flavor of the cyanide? They were instructed to take the money to the Soviet embassy in Georgetown along with letters authorizing transfer of millions from temple bank accounts to that government. It was to be Jones' last gesture for socialism. But the trio ditched most of the cash during the arduous hike to Port Kaituma, and they were detained by police there.

Some injected with poison Two days later, Carter was brought back to Jonestown to help identify the bodies. I saw people who had been injected with poison. In the aftermath, he went to live with his father in Boise, Idaho. Walking on the street, he felt that others looked at him with loathing and fear. Friends from his youth on the San Francisco Peninsula, where he had introduced some people to the temple, called him a murderer or refused to speak with him.

Though he listed Peoples Temple on his resume, Carter landed a job at a travel agency and worked in the industry for many years. He has had two long-term relationships and is the father of three children. He collects disability payments for post-traumatic stress from Vietnam, but he reflects on the nightmare of Jonestown each day. Late on the afternoon of Nov. Then members in the Guyanese capital and San Francisco — a couple of hundred people — should commit suicide. Bay Area businessman Sherwin Harris had sat down for supper at the house with his teenage daughter Liane and his ex-wife Sharon Amos' two other children.

Oblivious to Jones' dire orders, Harris felt hopeful and upbeat. He had traveled to Guyana with the Ryan party to check on his daughter's welfare and, after several days of trying, was finally able to see her in person. Later, Harris took a cab back to his hotel, his spirits lifted by the visit. But that night police informed him that his daughter, Amos and her two other children were dead. I just left her.

Amos killed her two youngest children with a butcher knife; then she and Liane died the same way. Harris clings to the belief that his daughter was killed, and did not commit suicide. Since that night, Harris' two surviving children have made him a grandfather four times over. He has become friends with his daughter's closest temple confidante. Other people think it never would happen to them. It could happen to anyone caught up in those circumstances. Who shot Jones? One enduring mystery is who put a bullet in Jones' head. Evidence suggests that he shot himself at the pavilion or was killed by a close aide, as he had planned. Two of those aides, sisters Annie Moore and Carolyn Layton, were among 13 people whose bodies were found in Jones' cottage.

But Moore was the only one who was shot and may well have been the last person to die in the settlement. Her suicide note praised Jonestown and Jones. Personal connection to the tragedy Rebecca Moore, who lost her two sisters and nephew that day, is chairwoman of the religious studies department at San Diego State University, and when she teaches about new religions and death and dying, she talks about her personal connection to the tragedy. She and her husband launched a Web site dedicated to conveying the humanity of temple members she feels were dehumanized by photos of their bodies and dismissed as robotic cultists.

Moore thinks her sisters, socially conscious daughters of a minister, were true temple believers to the end. Still, she cannot fathom how they could have joined in planning murders and suicides. Others, including my sisters, wrote letters about how to kill people. What is baffling is why people would participate in something so inhumane. He was 19, and in Georgetown with other basketball team members on the temple's last day. Today, he is the father of three daughters and is the vice president of a small Bay Area office installation and services company.

In Jonestown's aftermath, Stephan hated his father. But he has come to recognize that the capacity for good and evil, and mental sickness, coexisted in Jones. He cut his teeth as a street preacher, and was, unusually for the time and place, a passionate advocate for racial equality. He called his burgeoning church the Peoples Temple. The Peoples Temple advocated socialism and communitarian living and was racially integrated to an exceptional standard rarely matched since. In , when Jones was in his mids, he ordered the Peoples Temple moved to California.

He drifted away from traditional Christian teachings, describing himself in messianic terms and claiming he was the reincarnation of figures like Christ and Buddha. By the s, the Peoples Temple, now based in San Francisco, had gained significant political influence. There were already signs, however, of a sinister undercurrent to the Peoples Temple. They were expected to raise their children within the commune.

As a show of commitment, Peoples Temple members were asked to sign false testimonials that they had molested their children, which the church kept for potential blackmail. He chose Guyana, a former British colony in South America whose socialist regime was politically sympathetic. In the Peoples Temple moved its headquarters to a remote area of Guyanese wilderness. Here, Jones declared, they could build a utopian society without government or media meddling.

In the evenings they attended mandatory propaganda classes. Back in the US, however, parents of Jonestown inhabitants — concerned by the strange letters, or lack of letters, they received from their children — had been lobbying the government to investigate. After a family in the US won a custody order for a child in Jonestown, paranoia escalated.

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