Jonestown: the final recordings

Picture from Jonestown, 1978.

Don’t be afraid to die.

The above are the final recordings made just before Jim Jones demanded that his followers kill themselves. He was at this point very paranoid, fuelled by drugs, and delusional.

“Don’t be afraid to die. You’ll see, there’ll be a few people land out here. They’ll — they’ll torture some of our children here. They’ll torture our people. They’ll torture our seniors. We cannot have this.” That’s what Jim Jones said to his followers, to try and convince them to poison their children to death using a mixture of Flavor-Aid and cyanide. This quote is from one of the three recordings above.

There is a tape transcript of the above recordings available here. The entire tape is available for download from archive.org.

I’ve recently reviewed Jeff Guinn’s new, great book about Jim Jones and Peoples Temple; the review is here.

Undated picture of Jim Jones.

When authorities in Guayana first counted the number of dead, they reached a couple of hundred people. When the American authorities came in and started moving bodies, they discovered many more laid underneath what was a top layer of bodies. In the end, 918 people died in Jonestown, an incredibly horrendous murder-suicide.

Those who did not murder their own children, the children of others, or themselves, were murdered.

Jones was found having died by gunshot.

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