Jonestown’s Final Months

The last few months of Jonestown was a period of escalating collapse, according to several people who survived the period. The reasons were readily apparent – Jim Jones’ illnesses, both physically and mentally; the increasing paranoia of its leadership group, undoubtedly fueled by Jones’ deterioration; the increase in security and harsher punishments for petty infractions; the constant demands for more productivity from an overworked labor force; the distractions and diversions from the work that needed to be done created by the outside pressures upon the group and the leadership’s response to them – and the results were just as obvious. There was a deepening sense of despair and exhaustion that drained the energy of the community’s residents.

The documents below, and the tapes from September and October (located here), reflect this deterioration, and show how the people of Jonestown became vulnerable to the events of November 1978.

  1. Instructions for October 1978
  2. Carolyn Layton’s Analysis of Future Prospects
  3. Possible Resettlement Locations in USSR
  4. Petition to Move to USSR
  5. Richard Tropp’s Dramatic Reading
  6. Phyllis Chaikin on Revolutionary Suicide
  7. Annie Moore’s Letter to “Dad,” Fall 1978
  8. Annie Moore’s Letter of October 25, 1978
Last modified on March 21st, 2014.
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