Jonestown: The Death Tapes

Jim Jones photo by Roger Ressmeyer.
Reverend Jim Jones ordered the deaths of 900 men, women and children in 1978.

On November 18th 1978, more than 900 members of the bizarre and strangely charismatic Reverend Jim Jones' Peoples Temple perished in a mass suicide in a ragged settlement named Jonestown in South America.

This was the final destination for all of Jim Jones most fanatical followers. They died all at once, deep in the humid and unforgiving jungle. Men, women and children were either shot, injected or otherwise poisoned to death based on the orders of a dying megalomaniac.

Four days earlier Illinois Congressman Leo Ryan, concerned about constituents who had joined the group, had arrived on a fact-finding mission to Jonestown. After meeting with Jones and his followers, Ryan's small party was ambushed by members of The Peoples Temple as they were leaving. Ryan and four others were shot to death as they were attempting to board a chartered plane and return the United States.

Jonestown 1978. Photo by David Hume Kennerly.
The aftermath of the massacre as seen by first responders.

The following 1.5 hour (21mb) audio file was made directly from cassette tapes recovered in the aftermath of the mass suicide at Jonestown. Reverend Jim Jones narrates the suicides of 900 cultists and their children.

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