I.4 DR. SUKHDEO AND DR. HERSH
not done with CIA. Its relationship to Jim Jones and the Peoples
Temple, and therefore to the Jonestown massacre, is an important issue
that will be discussed in subsequent pages.
we are concerned with the initial reports of the massacre. And,
in particular with those responsible for labeling the disaster a "mass
suicide"---contrary to the evidence being gathered by Dr. Mootoo.
The person who seems to have been most responsible for spinning the story
in that way was Dr. Hardat Sukhdeo, a psychiatrist.
is, or perhaps was, "an anti-cult activist" whose professional interests
(according to an autobiographical note) were "homicide, suicide, and
the behavior of animals in electro-magnetic fields." His arrival
in Georgetown on November 27, 1978 came only three weeks after he had
been named as a defendant in a controversial "deprogramming" case.  It is not entirely surprising, then, that
within hours of his arrival in the capital, Dr. Sukhdeo began giving interviews
to the press, including the New York Times, "explaining" what had happened.
he said, "was a genius of mind control, a master. He knew exactly
what he was doing. I have never seen anything like this...but the
jungle, the isolation, gave him absolute control." Just what Dr.
Sukhdeo had been able to see in his few minutes in Georgetown is unclear.
But his importance in shaping the story is undoubted: he was one of the
few civilian professionals at the scene, and his task was, quite simply,
to help the press make sense of what had happened and to console those
who had survived. Accordingly, he was widely quoted, and what he
had to say was immediately echoed by colleagues back in the States.
opinions were preconceived, rather than based upon evidence, however,
seems obvious. Even so, it is clear that he was aware of the work
that Dr. Mootoo had done---which, as we have seen, contradicted Sukhdeo's
statements about "mass suicides."
In an interview
with Time, Sukhdeo refers to an "autopsy" that had been performed on
Jim Jones in Guyana. This can only have been a reference to Dr.
Mootoo's somewhat cursory examination, in which Jones's body was slit
open on the ground. It is difficult to understand how Sukhdeo could
have been aware of that procedure without also knowing of Mootoo's finding
that most of the victims had been murdered.
was himself a native of Guyana, though a resident of the United States.
He claimed at the time that he'd come to Georgetown at his own expense
to counsel and study those who had survived. But that is in dispute.
According to his attorney, Robert Bockelman, Dr.
Sukhdeo retained him to prevent his having to testify at the Larry Layton
trial in San Francisco. (Layton was a member of the Peoples Temple
who participated in the events at the Port Kaituma airstrip.) Dr.
Sukhdeo's primary concern, according to Bockelman, was that it should
not be revealed that the State Department had paid his way to Guyana.
You see the issue: was Doctor Sukhdeo there to help the survivors---or
to debrief them on behalf of some other person or agency? 
Nor was this
all. Prior to retaining counsel in San Francisco, Dr. Sukhdeo
had himself been retained by Larry Layton's defense attorneys and family.
(Indeed, he testified in Layton's trial in Guyana, where "most of his
testimony concerned cults in general and observations about conditions at
Jonestown.")  During
the time that he was helping Layton's defense, it appears that Dr. Sukhdeo
was also meeting ---surreptitiously, according to his own lawyer---with
FBI agents. Asked about this, Sukhdeo says that at no time during these
meetings did he disclose any confidential communicatins between himself
and Layton. 
that Dr. Sukhdeo may have secretly "debriefed" Jonestown's survivors
on behalf of the State Department (or some other government agency) may
seem unduly suspicious. On the other hand, a certain amount of suspicion
would seem to prudent when discussing the unsolved deaths of more than
900 Americans who, in the weeks before they died, were preparing to defect
en masse to the Soviet Union. The government's
interest in this matter would logically have been intense.
is true, of course, that not every psychiatrist agreed with Dr. Sukhdeo's
analysis. Dr. Stephen P. Hersh, then assistant director
of the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH), commented that "The
charges of brainwashing are clearly exaggerated. The concept of
'thought control' by cult leaders is elusive, difficult to define
and even more difficult to prove. Because cult converts adopt beliefs
that seem bizarre to their families and friends, it does not follow that
their choices are being dictated by cult leaders." 
there is more at stake here than public perceptions. Investigators
of the Guyana tragedy have a responsibility to both the living and the
dead: to find out what actually happened, and to make certain that it cannot
II.1 THE DOG THAT DIDN'T BARK
the fate of the Peoples Temple, one must first understand why the intelligence
community seemed (against all odds) to ignore the organization for so
long---appearing to become interested only when Congressman Ryan began
his investigation. Consider:
The Peoples Temple was created in the political
deep-freeze of the 1950s. From its inception, it was a leftwing
ally of black activist groups that were, in many cases, under FBI surveillance.
 During the 1960s,
when the Bureau and the CIA mounted Operations COINTELPRO and CHAOS to
infiltrate and disrupt black militant organizations and the Left, the
Temple went out of its way to forge alliances with leaders of those same
organizations: e.g., with the Black Panthers' Huey Newton and with the Communist
Party's Angela Davis. And yet, despite these associations, and its
ultra-left orientation, we are told that the Temple was not a target of
investigation by either intelligence agency.
In the early
1970s, suspicions began to surface in the press, implicating the Peoples
Temple in an array of allegations including gunrunning, drug-smuggling,
kidnapping, murder, brainwashing, extortion and torture. Under attack
at home, and feeling the pressure abroad, Temple officials undertook secret
negotiations with the Soviet Embassy in Georgetown, laying the groundwork
for the en masse defection of more than a thousand poor Americans.
According to the CIA, it took no interest in these discussions.
circumstances, only the most naive could fail to be skeptical of the disinterested
stance that the FBI and the CIA claim to have taken. But what does
it mean? Why would the FBI and the CIA give the Peoples Temple a
to those questions are embedded in the contradictions of Jones's own
past and, in particular, in that most mysterious period in the preacher-man's
life: the 1960-64 interregnum that his biographers gloss over.
As I intend to show, the enigmas of Jones's beginnings do much to explain
the bloodshed at the end.
II.2 JONES AND MITRIONE IN RICHMOND
was born in Crete, Ind. in 1931. When he was three, he moved with
his family to the town of Lynn.
was a partially disabled World War I vet. Embittered by the Depression
and unable to find work, he is alleged (without much evidence) to have
been a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Jones's mother, on the other
hand, was well-liked, a hard-working woman who is universally credited
with keeping the family together.
upbringing took place outside his own family. Myrtle Kennedy,
a friend of his mother's who lived nearby, saw to it that he went to
Sunday School, and gave him instruction in the Bible. While
not yet a teenager, Jones began to experiment, attending the services
of several churches. 
Before long, he came under the spell of a "fanatical" woman evangelist,
the leader of faith-healing revivals at the Gospel Tabernacle Church on the
edge of town.  (This
was a Pentecostal sect of so-called "Holy Rollers," a charismatic group then
believed in faith-healing and speaking in tongues.) Whether there
was more to their relationship than that of a priestess and her protege is
unknown, but it is a fact that Jones's association with the woman coincided
with the onset of nightmares. According to Jones's mother, he was
terrorized by dreams in which a snake figured prominently.
nature of his relationship to the lady evangelist, Jones soon found himself
in the pulpit, dressed in a white sheet, thumping the Bible.
The protege was a prodigy and, by all accounts, he loved the attention.
In 1947, 15-years-old
and still a resident of Lynn, Jones began preaching in a "sidewalk ministry"
on the wrong side of the tracks in Richmond, Ind.---sixteen miles from
his home. Why he traveled to Richmond to deliver his message, and
why he picked a working-class black neighborhood in which to do it, is
What is certain,
however, is that, while in Richmond, Jones established a relationship with
a man named Dan Mitrione. Like the child evangelist, Mitrione would
one day become internationally notorious and, like Jones, his violent death
in South America would generate headlines around the world. As
Jones told his followers in Guyana,
Myrtle Kennedy has confirmed that the two men knew
one another, saying that they were friends. 
knew Mitrione is strange coincidence, but not entirely surprising.
A Navy veteran who'd joined the Richmond Police Department in 1945, Mitrione
worked his way up through the ranks as a patrolman, a juvenile officer and,
finally, chief of police. It is unlikely that he would have
overlooked the strange white-boy from Lynn preaching on the sidewalk to blacks
in front of a working-class bar on the industrial side of town.
What is surprising
about Jones's statement, however, is his description of Mitrione
as a "vicious racist." There is nothing anywhere else to suggest
that Mitrione held any particular views on the subject of race. Communism,
certainly---but race, no. 
Which is to
say that either Jones was wrong about the Richmond cop, or else he knew
something about Dan Mitrione that other people did not.
were to play no further part in Jones's story, there would be little
reason to speculate any further about their relationship. But,
as we'll see, Jones and Mitrione cross each other's paths repeatedly,
and in the most unlikely places. Neither family friends nor playmates
(Mitrione was eleven years older than Jones), their relationship must
have been based upon something. But what?
suggest themselves: either Mitrione was counseling in Jones in the way
policemen sometimes counsel children, or their relationship may have been
professional. That is to say, Mitrione may have recruited Jones as
an informant within the black community. This second possibility
is one to which we'll have reason to return.
| "There was one guy that I
knew growing up in Richmond, a cruel, cruel person,
even as a kid, a vicious racist---Dan Mitrione." 
II.3 JONES IN THE FIFTIES
research seems to have been carried out by anyone with respect to Jones's
early career. It is almost as if his biographers are uninterested
in him until he begins to go off the deep end. This is unfortunate---particularly
in light of the possibility that Jones may have been a police or FBI informant,
gathering "racial intelligence" for the Bureau's files.
What is known
about his early career is, therefore, known only in outline.
He graduated from Richmond High School in about
January, 1949, and began attending the University of Indiana at Bloomington.
 He was married to his
high school sweetheart, Marceline Baldwin, in June of the same year.
In the Summer
of 1951, Jones moved to Indianapolis to study law as an undergraduate.
While there, he began to attend political meetings of an uncertain kind.
Ronnie Baldwin, Marceline's younger cousin, was living with the Joneses
at the time. And though he was only eleven years old, Baldwin recalls
that Jones sometimes took him to political lectures. On one such outing,
Baldwin remembers, he and Jones went to a "churchlike" auditorium where
"communism" was under discussion. They didn't stay long, however.
Soon after they'd arrived, someone came up to Jones and whispered in
his ear---whereupon Jones took his ward by the arm and exited hurriedly.
Outside, Jones said "Good evening" to a man whom Baldwin believes was
an FBI agent. 
It's a peculiar
story, and Jones's biographers don't seem to know what to make of it.
What sort of meeting could it have been? The assumption is made,
in light of Jones's later politics, that it was a leftist soiree of some
kind. After all, they were talking about communism. But that
makes very little sense. Indianapolis was a very conservative city
in 1951. (It still is.) Joe McCarthy was on the horizon, and
the Korean War was beginning to take its toll. If "communism" was
being discussed in anything other than whispers, or anywhere else than a
back-room, the debate was almost certainly one-sided and thumbs-down.
It was at
about this same time that Jones gave up the study of law and, to everyone's
surprise, decided to become a minister. By 1952, he was a student
pastor at the Somerset Methodist Church in Indianapolis and, in 1953,
made his "evangelical debut" at a ministerial seminar in Detroit, Michigan.
By 1954, Jones
had established the "Community Unity" Church in Indianapolis, while preaching
also at the Laurel Tabernacle. To raise money, he began selling
monkeys door-to-door. 
1956, Jones had established the "Wings of Deliverance" Church as a successor
to Community Unity. Almost immediately, the Church was christened
the Peoples Temple. The inspiration for its new name stemmed from the
fact that the church was housed in what was formerly a Jewish synagogue---a
"temple" that Jones had purchased, with little or no money down, for $50,000.
the man who gave the Peoples Temple its start was the Rabbi Maurice Davis.
It was he who sold the synagogue to Jones on such remarkably generous
terms. A prominent anti-cult activist and sometime "deprogrammer,"
Rabbi Davis is an associate of Dr. Sukhdeo's.
II.4 JONES AND FATHER DIVINE
By the late
1950s, the Peoples Temple was a success, with a congregation of more
than 2000 people. Still, Jones had even larger ambitions and, to
accommodate them, became the improbable protege of an extremely improbable
man. This was Father Divine, the Philadelphia-based "black messiah"
whose Peace Mission movement attracted tens of thousands of black adherents
and the close attention of the FBI, while earning its founder an annual
income in seven figures.
reasons, beginning in about 1956, Jones made repeated pilgrimages to the
black evangelist's headquarters, where he literally "sat at the feet"
(and at the table) of the great man, professing his devotion. With
the exception of Father Divine's wife, Jones may well have been the man's
only white adherent.
It was not
entirely inconvenient. Living in Indianapolis, Jones could easily
arrange to transport members of the Peoples Temple by bus to Philadelphia---where
they were housed without charge in Father Divine's hotels, feasted at
banquets called "Holy Communions," and treated to endless sermons. 
made a study of Father Divine, emulated him and hoped to succeed him,
is clear. The possibility should not be ruled out, however, that
Jones was also engaged in collecting "racial intelligence" for a third
Jones may have picked up from his study of Father Divine, there is reason
to believe that it was in the context of his visits to Philadelphia that
he was introduced to the subject of mass suicide. Among Jones's personal
effects in Guyana was a book that had been checked out of the Indianapolis
Public Library in the 1950s, and never returned. In the
pages of Father Divine: Holy Husband, the author quotes one of the
black evangelist's followers:
| "'If Father dies,' she tells
you in the calmest kind of a voice, 'I sure 'nuff
would never be callin' in myself to be goin' on livin'
in this empty ol' world. I'd be findin' some way of gettin' rid
of the life I never been wantin' before I found
him.' "If Father Divine were to die, mass suicides
among Negroes in his movement could certainly result.
They would be rooted deep, not alone in Father's relationship
with his followers, but also in America's relationship with its
Negroe citizens. This would be the shame
of America." (Emphasis added.) 
II.5 JONES GOES TO CUBA
1959, Fidel Castro overthrew the Batista dictatorship, and seized power
in Cuba. Land reforms followed within a few months of the coup,
alienating foreign investors and the rich. By Summer, therefore, Cuba
was in the midst of a low-intensity counter-revolution, with sabotage operations
mounted from within and outside the country.
Within a year
of Castro's ascension, by January of 1960, mercenary pilots and anti-Castroites
were flying bombing missions against the regime. Meanwhile, in Washington,
Vice-President Richard Nixon was lobbying on behalf of the military invasion
that the CIA was plotting.
It was against
this background, in February of 1960, that Jim Jones suddenly decided
to visit Havana.
The news of
Jones's visit to Cuba---one is tempted to write "the cover-story for
Jones's trip to Cuba"---was first published in the New York Times
in March, 1979 (four months after the massacre in Guyana). The story
was based upon an interview with a naturalized American named Carlos Foster.
A former Cuban cowboy, Baptist Pentecostal minister and sometime night-club
singer, Foster showed up at the New York Times four months after the massacre.
Without being asked, he volunteered a strange story about meeting Jim Jones
in Cuba during the Winter of 1960. (Why Foster went to the newspaper
with his story is uncertain: news of his friendship with Jones could hardly
have helped his career as a childrens' counselor). 
according to the Times story, the 29-year-old Jones traveled to
Cuba to expedite plans to establish a communal organization with settlements
in the U.S. and abroad. The immediate goal, Foster said, was
to recruit Cuban blacks to live in Indiana.
the Times that he and Jones met by chance at the Havana
Hilton. That is to say, Jones gave the Cuban a big hello, and took
him by the arm. He then solicited Foster's help in locating forty
families that would be willing to move to the Indianapolis area (at Jones's
expense). Tim Reiterman, who repeats the Times' story, adds
that the two men discussed the plan in Jones's hotel-room, from 7 in the
morning until 8 o'clock at night, for a week. More recently, Foster
has elaborated by saying that Jones offered to pay him $50,000 per year
to help him establish an archipelago of offshore agricultural communes in
Central and South America. Foster said that Jones was an extremely
well-traveled man, who knew Latin America well. He had already been
to Guyana, and wanted to start a collective there.
After a month
in Cuba, Jones returned to the United States (alone). Six months
later, Foster followed, on his own initiative, but the immigration scheme
went nowhere. 
in this story are many, and one hardly knows what to make of them.
Foster's information that Jones was well-traveled in Latin America, and
had already been to Guyana, comes as a shock. None of his biographers
mentions Jones having taken trips out of the United States prior to this
time. Could Foster be mistaken? Or have Jones's biographers
overlooked an important part of his life?
An even greater
anomaly, however, concerns language. While Reiterman reports that
Foster was bilingual, and that he and Jones spoke English together, this
isn't true. Foster learned English at Theodore Roosevelt High School
in the Bronx---after he'd emigrated to the United States.  (Reiterman seems to have made
an otherwise reasonable, but incorrect, assumption: knowing that Jones
did not speak Spanish, he assumed that Foster must have been able to speak
Foster is asked which language was spoken, he says that he and Jones
made do with the latter's broken Spanish.
is an important one because Foster is, in effect, Jones's alibi for whatever
it was that Jones was actually doing in Cuba. That the two men did
not have a language in common makes the alibi suspect: how could they
converse for 13 hours at a time, day in and day out, for a week---if neither
man understood what the other was saying?
As for Jones's
own parishioners, those who've survived have only a dim recollection of
the trip. According to Reiterman, "Back in the States, Jones revealed
little of his plan, depicting his stay more as tourism than church business."
This sounds like a polite way of saying that the trip served no obvious
purpose. Nevertheless, he did bring back some strange souvenirs.
"He showed off photos of Cuba... One picture---a gruesome shot of
the mangled body of a pilot in some plane wreckage---indicated that Jones
witnessed the pirate bombings of the cane fields. Jones told his
friends that he had met with some Cuban leaders, though the bearded man
in fatigues standing beside Jones in a snapshot was too short to be Castro."
It would be
interesting to know just what Reiterman is talking about here.
The presumption must be that there is a photograph in which Jones is seen
with a man who might easily be confused with Castro---if it weren't for
the latter's diminutive size. In fact, however, it probably was
Castro. When Jones arrived in Brazil in 1962, he carried a photograph
of himself and his wife Marceline, posing with the Cuban premier.
Jones said that the picture was taken on a stopover in Cuba on the way to
Sao Paulo.  That is to
say, in late 1961 or early 1962.
met Fidel Castro---and why---is an interesting question. So, too,
we can only wonder at his proclivity for taking photographs of mercenary
pilots in their crashed planes. Pictures of that sort could only have
been of interest to Castro's enemies and the CIA.
to Carlos Foster, if the tale that he told to the Times was a pre-emptive
cover-story, a "limited hang-out" of some sort, what was Jones actually
doing? Why had he gone to Havana? At this late date, and in the
absence of interviews with officials of the Cuban government, there is probably
no way to know. What may be said, however, is this:
Emigration was an extremely sensitive issue in
the first years of the Castro regime. The CIA and the State Department,
in their determination to embarrass Castro, did everything possible to
encourage would-be immigrants to leave the island. As a part of this
policy, U.S. Government agencies and conservative Christian religious organizations
collaborated to facilitate departures.  Jones's visit may well have been a part of this
is no way to be certain of that. Cuba was in the midst of a parapolitical
melt-down. While the CIA was conspiring to launch an invasion, irate
Mafiosans and American businessmen had joined together to finance the bombing-runs
of mercenary pilots. Meanwhile, the Soviets had sent their Deputy
Premier, Anastas I. Mikoyan, to Havana for the opening of the Soviet Exhibition
of Science, Technology and Culture.  The visit coincided with the Soviets' decision to
give Cuba a long-term low-interest loan, while promising to buy a million
tons of Cuban sugar per annum. The "Hilton Hotel" at which Jones
was staying was the temporary home of a Sputnik satellite that the Soviets
had put on display. According to former CIA officer Melvin Beck, the
CIA was trying to photograph it, and the lobby was crawling with spies from
as many five different services (FBI, CIA, KGB, GRU and DGI). 
cannot say that Jones's 1960 visit to Cuba was necessarily a spying mission,
the circumstantial evidence suggests that it was. That is to say, virtually
every element of the trip can be shown to have been of particular interest
to the CIA: encouraging Cuban emigration; documenting the destruction of
aircraft piloted by mercenaries; the Sputnik at the Hilton; and, it would
seem, Castro himself.
II.6 JIM JONES, HIS PASSPORT AND THE
wasn't the only country to which Jones intended to travel in 1960.
On June 28 of that year, at about the same time that Foster arrived in Indianapolis
from Cuba, the State Department issued a passport (#2288751) to Jones for
a seventeen-day visit to Poland, Finland, the U.S.S.R., and England.
The purpose of the trip, according to Jones's visa application, was "sightseeing
us with an enigma. According to State Department records, this was
Jones's first passport. How, then, did he travel to Cuba in February
if he did not receive a passport until the end of June? Did he enter
the country "black"? Was he using someone else's documents?
And what about Carlos Foster's certainty that Jones had previously traveled
throughout Latin America? Was Foster mistaken, or had Jones in fact
It is almost
as if we are dealing with two Jim Joneses. And perhaps we are.
It's a subject to which we will need to return.
I want to point out certain coincidences of timing in the lives of Jim
Jones and Dan Mitrione, and to discuss Jones's own file at the CIA.
typically require about 4-6 weeks to be mailed out. Since Jones's
passport was issued on June 28, 1960 his application would have been
filed in early May. As it happens, it was during that same month
that Dan Mitrione was in Washington D.C., being interviewed for a new
job with a component of the State Department's Agency for International
Development (AID), the International Cooperation Administration (ICA).
An acknowledged cover for CIA officers and contract-spooks such as Watergate's
E. Howard Hunt and the JFK assassination's George de Mohrenschildt, the
ICA would become infamous during the 1960s, funding the construction of
tiger-cages in Vietnam, and training foreign police forces in the theory
and practice of torture.
A few years
earlier, in 1957, Mitrione had spent three months at the FBI's National
Academy.  The connections
he'd made stood him in good stead. Immediately after his
interview with the ICA, he was hired by the State Department as a "public
safety adviser." Three months later, in September, 1960 he was in
Rio de Janeiro, studying Portuguese; by December, he was living with his
family in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
was an undercover CIA officer in South America is disputed. The
Soviets say he was.  Officially,
however, Mitrione was an AID officer attached to the Office of
Public Safety (OPS). But OPS was very much a nest of spies: in
the Dominican Republic during the mid-1960s, for example, six out of
twenty positions were CIA covers.  Moreover, Mitrione's partner at the time of
his 1970 kidnapping in Uruguay was a public safety officer named Lee Echols---whose
previous assignment had been as a CIA officer in the Dominican Republic.
not Mitrione was an undercover CIA officer, it is a fact that the CIA's
Office of Security opened a file on Jones, and conducted a name-check on
him, coincident with Mitrione's departure for Rio. Why it did so is
a mystery: the Agency won't say.
It is speculated,
of course, that the file and name-check were sparked by the Soviet Bloc
destinations for which Jones had applied for a visa. But that could
hardly have been the case. The visa requests had been made in May,
and the passport issued in June. It was not until November, some
five months later, that the Office of Security sent agents to the State
Department's Passport Office, there to examine Jones's records---an activity
that would hardly have been necessary if the passport application had stimulated
the name-check in the first place.
CIA's reluctance to clear up the matter, one can only speculate that
the Agency may have been "vetting" Jones for employment as an agent.
should be made here. The first is that the CIA claimed, in the aftermath
of the Jonestown massacre, that its file on "the Rev. Jimmie Jones" was
virtually empty. According to the Agency, it had never collected
data---not a single piece of paper---on Jones or the Peoples Temple.
It simply had a file on him.
open for 10 years. According to CIA record, the file was only closed---and
closed without explanation---in the wake of Dan Mitrione's assassination
by Tupamaro guerrillas in Uruguay.
Which is to
say that the lifespan of Jones's file at the CIA coincided precisely with
the dates of Dan Mitrione's tenure at the State Department. What
I am suggesting, then, is that Richmond Police Chief Dan Mitrione was
recruited into the CIA, under State Department cover, in May, 1960; that
a CIA file was opened on Jones because Mitrione intended to use him as
an agent; and that Jones's file was closed and purged, ten years later,
as a direct and logical result of Mitrione's assassination in 1970.
II. 7 JONES IN SOUTH AMERICA
the significance of next occurred, one has to go back more than one hundred
years. It was then, in the Northwest District of Guyana, that a
prophet named Smith issued a call to the country's disenfranchised Amerindians,
summoning them to a redoubt in the Pakaraima Mountains---the land of El
Caribs and Arawaks came from all around to witness what they were told
would be the Millennium. "They would see God," Smith promised,
"be free from all calamities of life, and possess lands of such boundless
fertility, that a...(large) crop of cassava would grow from a single stick."
had lied. And "when the Millennium failed to materialize, the followers
were told they had to die in order to be resurrected as white people...
"At a great camp meeting in 1845, some 400 people
killed themselves." 
years later, in the Fall of 1978, at a great camp meeting in the same
Northwest District of Guyana, upwards of a thousand expatriate Americans,
most of them black, and about as poor and disenfranchised as the Amerindians
who'd preceded them, died under circumstances so similar as to be eerie.
They, too, had been promised that they would be freed from the calamities
of life, and that they would possess lands of boundless fertility.
Like Smith, their charismatic leader had a generic sort of name and he,
too, had lied.
913 people died in front of a large, hand-lettered sign that read: "Those
who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it."
here is so dramatic that is impossible not to wonder if Jim Jones knew
of Smith's precedent. Because, if he did know, and if his politics
were, as seems very likely, a fraud, then the Jonestown massacre is revealed
to have been a ghastly practical joke---the ultimate psychopathic prank.
to Kathleen Adams, the anthropologist who first related the story about
Smith and the Amerindians, Jim Jones was in fact familiar with the suicides
of 1845. He had learned of them, she said, while working as a missionary
in the Northwest District.
not tell us when this was, but the implication is that it was long before
the establishment of Jonestown. The possibilities here are two:
is that Jones's Cuban friend, Carlos Foster, is correct when he says
that Jones was well-traveled and had been to Guyana prior to 1960.
The difficulty with this, of course, is that Jones's biographers are
ignorant of any such travels. But if Jones did not go to Guyaya
prior to 1960, he must have learned about Smith's precedent while doing
missionary work in Guyana---after his 1960 visit to Cuba. But when
could that have been?
would appear to be at about the end of October, 1961. Arriving at
that conclusion is by no means an easy matter, however, given the chronological
confusion that his most responsible biographer, Tim Reiterman, relates.
 Because this confusion
raises a number of interesting questions about Jones's activities, whereabouts
and true loyalties, the matter is worth straightening out.
In the Fall
of 1961, Jim Jones was becoming paranoid. Under treatment for stress,
he was hearing "extraterrestrial voices," and suffering seizures.  Hospitalized during
most of the first week in October, he resigned his position as Director
of the Indianapolis Human Rights Commission.  It was then, according to Reiterman, that Jones
confided in his ministerial assistant, Ross Case, that he'd had a vision
of nuclear holocaust.
"A few weeks
later, Jones took off alone in a plane for Hawaii, ostensibly to scout
for a new site for Peoples Temple...." (At a loss to explain why
Jones should have gone to Hawaii, Reiterman implies that Jones viewed
the islands as a potential nuclear refuge---a ludicrous notion in light
of their role as stationary aircraft carriers.)
"On what would
become a two-year sojourn, Jones made his first stop in Honolulu, where
he explored a job as a university chaplain. Though he did not like
the job requirements, he decided to stay on the island for a while anyway,
and sent for his family. First, his wife, his mother and the children,
except for Jimmy, joined him. Then the Baldwins followed with the
adopted black child.... During the couple of months in the islands,
Jones seemed to decide that his sabbatical would be a long one." 
to Reiterman's chronology, therefore, Jones left Indianapolis for Hawaii
near the end of October, 1961. He then sent for his family, which
joined him in what we may suppose was November. The family remained
in Hawaii for a "couple of months": i.e., until January or February.
1962, Esquire magazine published an article listing the nine safest
places in the world to escape thermonuclear blasts and fallout....
The article's advice was not lost on Jones. Soon he was heading for
the southern hemisphere, which was less vulnerable to fallout because of
atmospheric and political factors. The family planned to go eventually
to Belo Horizonte, an inland Brazilian city of 600,000."
goes on to say that, after leaving Hawaii, he subject traveled to California,
and then to Mexico City, before continuing on to Guyana. There, Jones's
visit "made page seven of the Guiana Graphic." 
made page 7 of the local newspaper is a matter of fact. Unfortunately
for Reiterman's chronology, however, he did so on October 25 (1961).
Which is to say that the head of the Peoples Temple is alleged to have
been in two places at that same time: in Hawaii and Guyana during the last
week in October---with intervening stops in California and Mexico City.
Reiterman is mistaken, but the issue is not merely one of a confused chronology.
There is evidence (including, as we'll see, a photograph) which strongly
suggests that two people may have been using Jones's identity during the
1961-63 period. Because of this, rumors that Jones was hospitalized
in a "lunatic asylum" during that time should not be dismissed out of
hand. The rumors were started by a black minister in Indiana who
is said to have been jealous of Jones's success among blacks at the Peoples
Temple. While the allegation has yet to be documented, there are
many other references to Jones's having been under psychiatric care at
one time or another.
says that Jones sometimes referred to "my psychiatrist." Others
have suggested that the real reason Jones went to Hawaii was to receive
psychiatric care without publicity.
In later years,
Temple member Loretta Cordell reported shock at seeing Jones described
as "a sociopath." The description was contained in a psychiatrist's
report that Cordell said was in the files of Jones's San Francisco physician
(probably Dr. Carleton Goodlett).
In a recent
interview with this author, Dr. Sukhdeo confirmed that Jones had been
treated at the Langley-Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute in San Francisco
during the 1960s and 70s. According to Sukhdeo, he has repeatedly
asked to see Jones's medical file from the Institute, but to no avail.
"I have asked
(Langley-Porter's Dr.) Chris Hatcher to see the file several times," Sukhdeo
told this writer. "But, each time, he has refused. I don't
know why. He won't say. It's very peculiar. Jones has
been dead for more than 20 years."
leading center for brain research," Langley-Porter is noted for its hospitality
to anti-cult activists such as Dr. Margaret Singer and, also, for experiments
that it conducts on behalf of the Defense Department's Advanced Research
Projects Agency (ARPA). While much of that research is classified,
the Institute has experimented with electromagnetic effects and behavioral
modification techniques involving a wide variety of stimuli---including
Some of the
Institute's classified research may be inferred from quotations attributed
to its director, Dr. Alan Gevins (see Mind Wars, by Ron McRae,
St. Martin's Press, 1984, p. 136). According to Dr. Gevins, the military
potential of Extremely Low Frequency radiation (ELF) is enormous.
Used as a medium for secret communications between submarines, ELF waves
are a thousand miles long, unobstructed by water, and theoretically "capable
of shutting off the brain (and) killing everyone in l0 thousand square
miles or larger target area."
"'No one paid
any attention to the biological affects of ELF for years,' says Dr. Gevins,
'because the power levels are so low. Then we realized that because
the power levels are so low, the brain could mistake the outside signal
for its own, mimic it (a process known as bioelectric entrainment), and
respond when it changes.'"
is one that would no doubt fascinate Dr. Sukhdeo. (As an aside,
it's worth noting that virtually every survivor of the Jonestown massacre
was treated at Langley-Porter. This occurred as a consequence of
San Francisco Mayor George Moscone's request that Dr. Hatcher undertake
a study of the Peoples Temple while counseling its survivors. (Hatcher's
appointment was made with surprising alacrity since Moscone himself was
assassinated only nine days after the killings at Jonestown.)
to the Guiana Graphic article about Jones's visit to Guyana, it
is worth pointing out that the story throws a crimp in much more than
Reiterman's chronology. It makes a hash as well of Jones's motive
for going to South America. The Esquire article, published
in January, 1962 could hardly have prompted Jones to go anywhere in October,
So, too, the
story in the Graphic provides clear evidence of Jones's immersion
in political intrigue.
At the time
of his visit, the former British colony was wracked by covert operations
being mounted by the CIA and MI-6.
By way of
background, the most important political group in the country was the
People's Progressive Party (PPP), established by Dr. Cheddi Jagan during
the 1940s. A Marxist organization, the PPP's activities had caused
the British to declare "a crisis situation" in 1953. Troops were sent,
the Constitution was suspended, and recent elections were nullified in order
to "prevent communist subversion."
Over the next
four years, MI-6 and the CIA established a de facto police state in Guyana.
Racial tensions were exacerbated between the East Indian and black populations---with
the result that the PPP was soon split. While Jagan, himself an East
Indian, remained in charge of the party, another of its members---a black
named Forbes Burnham---began (with the help of Western intelligence services)
to challenge his leadership.
schism, the PPP was victorious in 1957 and, again, in 1961---just prior
to Jones's visit. Coming on the heels of Castro's embrace of the Soviets,
Jagan's re-election chilled the Kennedy Administration. Accordingly,
the CIA intensified its operations against Jagan and the PPP, doing everything
in its power to increase its support for Burnham, provoke strikes and exacerbate
racial and economic tensions. It accomplished all these goals, secretly
underwriting Burnham's political campaigns, while using the American Institute
for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) as a cover for operations against local
these operations would succeed: Jagan would be ousted, and Burnham brought
to power. A decade later, that same Burnham regime would facilitate
the creation of Jonestown, leasing the land to the Peoples Temple and approving
its members' immigration.
It was in
this somewhat dangerous context that Jim Jones arrived in the Guyanese
capital. Putting on a series of tent-shows, replete with faith-healings
and talking in tongues, he warned the local populace against thieving
American missionaries and evangelists---who, he said, were largely responsible
for the spread of Communism.
who accepts almost everything at face-value, is puzzled by this: "Entering
politically volatile South America," he writes, Jones "seemed to want to
put himself on the record as an anticommunist." 
And how convenient for the CIA, whose activities were being hindered by
32. Sukhdeo was named with "deprogrammer"
Galen Kelly in a suit brought by the Circle of Friends on behalf of Joan
E. Stedrak. The suit is believed to have been filed on November 6,
1978. Click here to return.
33. Asked about this in a recent interview,
Sukhdeo continued to insist that he paid his own way to Guyana. Click here to return.
34. United States v. Layton,
Federal Rules (90 F.R.D. 520/1981), pp. 521-22, in re a "Memorandum and
Order Denying Plaintiffs Motion to Compel Production of Sukhdeo Tapes."
Click here to return.
35. Ibid. Click here to return.
36. The CIA has stated that, in deference
to its Charter, which prohibits the Agency from collecting information
on Americans, it took no notice of the Temple's approaches to Communist
Bloc organizations in Guyana. The disclaimer is widely disbelieved.
Click here to return.
37. Associated Press, story by Chris
Connell, November 21, 1978. Click here to return.
38. For many years, the FBI maintained
a "Racial Intelligence" file. A 1968 Airtel sent to that file refers
to the Bureau's concerns the possible emergence of an American "Mau Mau,"
the "rise of a (black) messiah," and "the beginning of a true black revolution."
Click here to return.
39. Raven: the Untold Story of Rev.
Jim Jones and His People, by Tim Reiterman with John Jacobs, E.P. Dutton
(New York, 1982), pp. 9-21. Click here to return.
40. It is Jones's biographer, Tim Reiterman,
who characterizes the unidentified woman evangelist as "fanatical."
See Raven, p. 18. Click here to return.
41. The possibility that Jones was sexually
abused as a child should not be ruled out---particularly in light of his
own abusive sexual behavior as an adult. Even those who remain loyal
to Jones, insisting that he was somehow "misunderstood," lament his enthusiasm
for sexually humiliating those who had displeased him---not occasionally
by resorting to homosexual rape. Click here to return.
42. The quotation is from type-written
fragments of an autobiography found amid the carnage at Jonestown. Click here to return.
43. It was independent researcher John
Judge who asked Kennedy about Jones's relationship to Mitrione. Click here to return.
44. A book about Mitrione, and his 1970
assassination in Uruguay, is Hidden Terrors, by A.J. Langguth, Pantheon
Books (New York, 1978). Click here to return.
45. Jones moved from Lynn to Richmond
in the Fall of 1948. Click here to return.
46. Op cit., Raven, p.
40. Click here to return.
47. One hardly knows what to make of
this bizarre fund-raising method. There can't have been that much
demand for the beasts. Nevertheless, the practice is worth noting,
if only because it constitutes, however tenuously, Jones's first known link
to South America. Contrary to some reports, the monkeys were not obtained
from university research laboratories in Indiana, but from suppliers below
the Equator. Click here to return.
48. When Father Divine died in the summer
of 1972, years after Jones had moved his own congregation to California,
Jones nevertheless arranged for a caravan of buses to cross the country to
Philadelphia---where Jones announced that he was Father Divine's white reincarnation.
In that capacity, he said, he was quite prepared to take control of the Peace
Mission movement (and its considerable assets). Mrs. Divine said no.
Click here to return.
49. Father Divine: Holy Husband,
by Sara Harris, pp. 319-20. Click here to return.
50. New York Times, "Jim Jones
1960 Visit to Cuba Recounted," by Joseph B. Treaster. As evidence of
his veracity, Foster provided the Times with letters and an affidavit
that Jones had signed, promising to support Foster if he should emigrate to
the United States. Click here to return.
51. Foster came to Indianapolis in August,
1960. He accepted the hospitality of the Peoples Temple for the remainder
of that Summer, and then decamped for New York (where his fiance was living).
Click here to return.
52. Ascent, "Lure of the Cowboy
Mystique," by Aubrey E. Zephyr, October, 1983. This is an article
about Foster's Urban Western Riding Program (for inner-city youngsters).
Click here to return.
53. Op cit., Raven, p.
62. Click here to return.
54. The reference to a Cuban stopover
on the way to Brazil, and to a photo of Jones, Marceline and Castro, is told
in The Broken God, by Bonnie Thielmann with Dean Merill, David C.
Cook Publishing Co. (Elgin, Ill.), 1979, p. 27. Click here to return.
55. Religion In Cuba Today, edited
by Alice L. Hageman and Philip E. Wheaton, Association Press, New York, p.
32. Click here to return.
56. Mikoyan was in Havana from February
4-13. Click here to return.
57. In this connection, an interesting
coincidence concerns the presence of New York Times reporter James
Reston at the Hilton. He was there to cover the Mikoyan visit, as
well as the Soviet exhibition, and it seems fair to say that, in a literal
sense, at least, he must have crossed paths with Jim Jones.
It is ironic, then, that nearly
twenty years later, his son should one day write a book (Our Father Who
Art In Hell) about the decline and fall of the Peoples Temple.
And in that book, a peculiar story is told:
"In December, 1978, James Reston, Jr.
(met) a journalist friend at the Park Hotel in Georgetown. The journalist
announced ominously that he now knew the full story behind Jonestown.
But he would not write it. He would not tell his editors he knew it.
He would forget it and flee Guyana as soon as possible. He told
Reston the name of his informant. "'He will contact you at your hotel.
If you want it, you will get the full story. I have just heard it,
and I've sent the man away. If I were you, I wouldn't take it either.
It will make you the most celebrated writer in America, and you will die
"Reston felt a nervous laugh rising
from his belly and controlled it."
Reston seems not to have pursued
the matter. Click here to return.
58. Mitrione was then Chief of Police
in Richmond. Click here to return.
59. Who's Who in the CIA, by Dr.
Julius Mader, Berlin (1968). Click here to return.
60. "U.S. A.I.D. In the Dominican
Republic - An Inside View," NACLA Newsletter, November, 1970.
This was according to David Fairchild, the Assistant Program Officer for
USAID in Santo Domingo. (NACLA is the North American Conference on Latin
America.) Click here to return.
61. "Echols takes dead aim on laugh,"
San Diego Union, June 12, 1986, p. 11. Click here to return.
62. Guyana Gold, by Wellesley
A. Baird, Three Continents Press (Washington, 1982), pp. 164-181.
The quotation is from an Afterword by Kathleen A. Adams. Ms. Adams
wrote her doctoral thesis (for Case Western Reserve University) on the impact
of the gold-mining industry on Amerindian tribes in the North West
District of Guyana. Click here to return.
63. Op cit., Raven, pp.
75-78. Click here to return.
64. Dr. E. Paul Thomas was Jones's physician.
Click here to return.
65. Jones's hospital stay is related
in the Indianapolis Recorder, October 7, 1961. Click here to return.
66. Ibid., p. 77. Click here to return.
67. Ibid., p. 78. Click here to return.
68. Op cit., Raven, p. 78. Click here to return.