Where did Jim Jones live in Jonestown? Was his residence separate from the community?

Jim Jones did in fact live apart from the community. Visit the map at http://jonestown.sdsu.edu/?page_id=35896, and use the rollover function on the house at the lower right to see how far away the West House was in comparison. This was where Jim Jones, Carolyn Layton, Annie Moore and maybe one or to others lived. His other sexual partners, whether willing or not – Maria Katsaris, as opposed to Shanda James – might have been in the second cabin at times.

His cabin consisted two rooms. Upon entering the front door, there was a small room to the left, maybe 9 x 12, which included a small office. It might have had a radio transmission/PA mike there before it was removed. A typewriter belonging to Carolyn Layton was still there when her sister Rebecca Moore and Fielding McGehee visited Jonestown in May 1979. The other room, to the right as you entered the house, was somewhat bigger and had a double bed.

This meant Jones had more privacy than most community residents. There were also people drifting in and out all day long. He wasn’t always competent to receive them – since survivors report that days would go by without seeing him, for which they were grateful – but whether it was because he was asleep or drugged (or both), is a matter of conjecture. Certainly there is aural evidence in some of his radio broadcasts that his speech was compromised – again, whether due to drugs and/or exhaustion is a matter of speculation – and oftentimes he would report that he had had no sleep or was operating on three hours of sleep in 72 hours. Was that a cover for his drug use? Arguments could be made on both sides of that debate, and most of the people who could answer the question are dead.

In short, he was away from much of the daily fray, but he was making (or hearing recordings of) his announcements and news readings. He was also grounded in terms of the passing days and months, in large part because he was the one reading the news. He might mistake Sunday for Monday or the 12th for the 14th, but he had more of an opportunity to stay up to date than most.

Jones’ larger deprivation was in terms of his self-imposed restrictions on movement outside of his own community. He felt he couldn’t go to Georgetown or Caracas (where his doctor wanted him to go) – much less back to the United States – but there aren’t even any reports of him going to Port Kaituma. That isolation likely contributed to his sense of paranoia, the consequences of having fewer external stimuli or challenges, whatever comes with truly being the master of everything you see.

Answer uploaded January 2017

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