Everyone has heard the term, "drinking the Kool-Aid." This phrase has become part of American lexicon, although most people who use the term have no idea where it began.
Jonestown is a term used to describe an agricultural project and town that was being built within the triple canopy rain forest of Guyana, South America. Peoples Temple moved almost 1,000 people of the congregation into Jonestown and on November 18, 1978, the leader, Rev. Jim Jones gave the orders to shoot defectors trying to leave the compound, along with visiting US Congressman Leo Ryan and members of the media. Five were shot and killed at the airstrip in Port Kaituma and several were seriously injured. To this day, Leo Ryan is the only congressman who has died in the line of duty.
The 913 residents inside Jonestown were given instructions to kill themselves by drinking a Flavor Aid solution mixed with multiple drugs, including cyanide. The majority of people didn't want to die and struggled. These people were held down and injected with the poison.
Babies were ripped from mother's arms and the poison shot into their throats by nurse practitioners and others. The armed guards lined the pavilion, leaving no choice but to die.
During this historic tragedy, there were a small handful that escaped this final day. Only five actually witnessed the events in the Jonestown pavilion, others were away or were stationed in Georgetown.
On March 13, at 8 pm Pacific, a webcast program called, "Never a Niche Live" will be interviewing a survivor of Jonestown. Laura Johnston Kohl is a survivor who was in Georgetown at the time of the deaths in Jonestown. Laura and the rest of the members of Peoples Temple were told to kill themselves should orders come through. The orders came and fortunately, most opted to ignore the suggestion of suicide.
The show will include Laura's life before, after and during her Jonestown years and her new book. Questions may be phoned in with the number provided on the site during the show. Others might opt to use the live chat during the show. After the show airs, "Never a Niche Live" will make the interview available in podcast format (MP3).
For anyone who is interested in learning more about Jonestown and Peoples Temple, visit Alternative Considerations of Jonestown, a site hosted by San Diego State University. On the website, you will find transcripted audio tapes found in Jonestown, articles written by survivors and family of those who died. Other articles written by various people outside of the Peoples Temple members are also displayed. Photographs of members and the Jonestown site can be found as well.
As a story of historical value, Jonestown and Peoples Temple is still untold in its entirety. After almost 36 years, survivors and family members are learning unknown facts about what occurred. New evidence is surfacing each year, through survivors coming forth and speaking for the first time and with the papers being released through the Freedom of Information Act because of the hard work and dedication of Alternative Considerations of Jonestown website creators, Fielding McGehee III and Rebecca Moore.
Join "Never a Niche Live" on March 13 at 8 pm Pacific time to learn more about the life inside Peoples Temple and Jonestown through Laura Johnston Kohl's experiences.