Episode 119: Jonestown: Killer Kool Aid

This episode is brought to you by El Yucateco

On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we look at the story of Jonestown, the city that housed the People’s Temple, where over 900 people died famously from poisoned Kool Aid in November of 1978. According to its founder, the Reverend Jim Jones, it was to be a Socialist paradise, a commune in the country of Guyana, and an escape from the evils of Capitalism and a corrupt American government. When you look at the young religious life of Jim Jones, this dream commune sounds like an actual possibility.

Because when Jones first started his Temple in the early 1960’s, he was a champion for integration of African Americans into American society. He held multiple governmental positions, was a friend to civil rights, and was a religious leader on the national stage. From Governor Jerry Brown (his first term way back when…) to First Lady Carter, Jim Jones advised them all.

However, somewhere in his time as the leader of his Temple, he started preaching about the nuclear apocalypse and called himself the reincarnation of multiple religious figures. (This may have been inevitable since his own mother thought she was the giving birth the messiah when she was pregnant with Jones…)

So how did a white leader of the black community become a murderous, drug-using cult leader? What crimes forced him to move his group to Guyana in the first place? How was the amazing Congressman Leo Ryan involved in bringing down Jonestown before he was gunned down on an airfield? What do conspiracy theorists say about the connection to the CIA? This is one of the craziest cult stories we’ve covered. And yes, I know, it was technically grape Flavor Aid, not Kool Aid…

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