The following individuals have agreed to speak with researchers, scholars, and members of the media about their experiences in Peoples Temple.
Please note: To improve your chances to secure interviews with the people on this page, the managers of this website urge you to research the ones you wish to speak with, by reviewing the articles on their home pages where they are noted in their listing. We also suggest that you visit the Personal Reflections page for additional contacts and articles.
Jonestown survivors (Temple members in Guyana in 1978)
Terri Buford was in Peoples Temple for seven years (1971-1978). She lived in Jonestown for the better part of a year in 1977 and 1978. She defected from the Temple three weeks before the massacre. She can be reached through this website. Her writings on this website appear here.
John Cobb, who was born into Peoples Temple and was a member his whole life, was with the basketball team in Georgetown on November 18. Nine members of his family died that day. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Vernon Gosney left Jonestown with Congressman Leo Ryan on November 18, 1978, and was seriously wounded during the shootings at the Port Kaituma airstrip. His articles on this site appear here. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laura (Johnston) Kohl was a member of Peoples Temple in California and in Guyana. She lived in Jonestown but was working in Georgetown on 18 November. She can be reached at email@example.com. Information about her book Jonestown Survivor appears here. Her articles on this website appear here.
Deborah Layton grew up in Berkeley during the turbulent 1960’s. At just eighteen, she joined Peoples Temple. It was at this point that her life dramatically changed. As a trusted aide to Jim Jones, she became embroiled in the upper-level workings of the Peoples Temple. Four weeks after her escape from Guyana, Deborah’s affidavit became front page news across the country. Six months later and only four days before the tragedy, she was in Washington D.C. giving testimony before State Department officials requesting help for the 900 people held against their will in Jim Jones’ encampment in Guyana. Layton’s memoir, Seductive Poison has been required reading at major universities, and the audio version of the book, narrated by Kathe Mazur and Deborah, is available here. An extensive “interview” – in the form of questions she answered online for a number of readers on the Reddit website – is here. She can be reached through her website, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Herbert Newell was on the Temple boat, the Cudjoe, on November 18, 1978, but more than a half dozen relatives died in Jonestown. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Eugene Smith joined Peoples Temple in 1973 and lived in the Temple’s San Francisco commune before leaving for Jonestown in fall 1977. He was in Georgetown on November 18 clearing items from customs. Numerous members of his family – including his mother, wife, and infant son – died in Jonestown. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His articles on this website appear here.
Mike Touchette was among the original pioneers who built Jonestown. He and his wife were in Georgetown on November 18, but several family members died in Jonestown: MichTouc@aol.com. His articles on this website appear here.
Jordan Vilchez became a member of Peoples Temple as a teenager when her family joined. She was in Georgetown, Guyana on November 18, 1978, but her sisters and nephews died in Jonestown. She was on the Planning Commission and is familiar with many inner workings of the organization. She can be reached at email@example.com. Her articles on this website appear here.
Leslie Wagner-Wilson (Fortier/Cathey) was a child of Peoples Temple living in Redwood Valley from age 13. She lived in Jonestown until escaping with her three year old son and several others the morning of November 18th. Her husband, mother, sister, brother, niece and nephew died in Jonestown. She is the author of Slavery of Faith and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her articles on this website appear here.
Other Temple members
Kathryn Barbour, a survivor, joined Peoples Temple in 1970 with her companion, Richard Tropp. She was living in the San Francisco Temple on November 18, 1978. That night, she determined to continue working for the principles the Temple had personified, and resolved to broaden her focus to society at large, as a citizen of the world. Her writings on this website appear here. She may be reached at email@example.com.
Don Beck, a member of Peoples Temple living in Redwood Valley in November 1978, was part of group making original trip to Guyana, and for summers of 1974 and 1976 as Jonestown was being built. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. His articles on this website appear here.
Mike Cartmell’s family joined Peoples Temple in Indianapolis in 1959, and he was a member for 17 years until he left in February 1977. His mother, step-father, sister and adopted brother died in Jonestown. He may be reached at Beemermcart@aol.com. His articles on this website appear here.
Laurie Efrein Kahalas, a long-time Temple member and author of Snake Dance, created the website www. jonestown. com which now appears on this site here. She can be reached through email@example.com. Her articles and reports of her investigations appear here.
Hue Fortson, Jr. was the Associate Pastor of Peoples Temple in Los Angeles at the time of the deaths in Guyana. His wife and son died in Jonestown. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His articles on this website appear here.
Garrett Lambrev was the first person to meet Jim Jones and join Peoples Temple after the exodus from Indiana to the west coast. A recent dropout from a doctoral program in history at Stanford and seasoned peace activist, he thought he had found in Peoples Temple the realization of all his dreams. His passage through Peoples Temple was stormy, but he didn’t finally cut the umbilical cord until apprised of what he still considers “torture”in the summer of 1976. Today he’s a semi retired public librarian, living in Oaktown, California, who operates an online used book business through Amazon Marketplace. He’s written poetry since the age of twelve. His first collection, Dogstar and Poems from Other Planets: 1964-1989, was published by Beatitude Press in 2007. He can be reached at email@example.com. His writings on this site appear here. (Academic queries limited to graduate students and professors, please.)
Vera (Ingram) Washington was a member of Peoples Temple for several years but left in 1973 because of conflicts she had with the leadership of the group: firstname.lastname@example.org. Her writings on this website appear here.
David Parker Wise was a Pastor of the Los Angeles branch of Peoples Temple, and is writing the book Jonestown Legacy. His email address is email@example.com. His writings on this site appear here. Mr. Wise is also the manager of the Jonestown Legacy website.
Lela Howard, niece of Jonestown victim Mary Pearl Willis, speaks about the shame and other emotions her family and others have endured as loved ones of Peoples Temple members, giving a different perspective as to how the massacre and media coverage affected survivors, creating a silent shame. She is dedicated to correcting this stigma. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her writings on this website appear here.
John R. Hall author of Gone from the Promised Land, is at the Department of Sociology at University of California – Davis. His e-mail is email@example.com. He is the author of Jonestown in the 21st Century on this website.
Massimo Introvigne, CESNUR – Center for Studies on New Religions, Via Confienza 19, Torino, Italy 10121; telephone 39-011-541950; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. He is the author of Jonestown and Liberation Theology on this website.
Kristian Klippenstein is a Ph.D. student in Religious Studies at the University of Alberta. His particular area of research interest is new religious movements. He may be reached at email@example.com. (No press queries, please.)
Gary Maynard received his PhD in Sociology from Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York in May 2013 and is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. His writings on this website appear here. He can be reached at Gary-Maynard@utc.edu.
Rebecca Moore, Professor Emerita, Department of Religious Studies, San Diego State University; 485 Friday Avenue, Friday Harbor, WA 98250; telephone 360-317-1313; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Her writings on this website appear here.
Patrick O’Reilly is the co-author, along with Phyllis Rosen, of Undue Influence: Cons, Scams and Mind Control (Point Richmond, CA: Bay Tree Publishing LLC, 2013). His writings on this website appear here. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Catherine Wessinger, Department of Religious Studies, Loyola University, 6363 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118; telephone 504/865-3182; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Wessinger’s articles on this site appear here.
Rikke Wettendorff is the administrator of the Peoples Temple Discussion Forum and the co-editor of the jonestown report. Her articles on the site appear here. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Philip Zimbardo has written and lectured extensively on the power of charismatic leaders and the creation of obedient followers. His articles on the site appear here. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.