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The Jonestown Death Tape

15 June 2010
Contributor: Haystack

From the Internet Archive: An audio recording made on November 18, 1978, at the Peoples Temple compound in Jonestown, Guyana immediately preceding and during the mass suicide or murder of over 900 members of the cult.

A total of 909 Temple members died in Jonestown, all but two from apparent cyanide poisoning, in an event termed “revolutionary suicide” by Jones and some members on an audio tape of the event and in prior discussions. The poisonings in Jonestown followed the murder of five others by Temple members at a nearby Port Kaituma airstrip. The victims included Congressman Leo Ryan, the first and only Congressman assassinated in the line of duty in the history of the United States. Four other Temple members died in Georgetown at Jones’ command.

To the extent the actions in Jonestown were viewed as a mass suicide, it is the largest such event in modern history and resulted in the largest single loss of American civilian life in a non-natural disaster until the events of September 11, 2001.

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