A Jonestown Inventory (Text)

November 26, 1978

To: Jim Ward
Re: Jonestown
From: V. Dikeos

The following was dictated mechanically during a walk-through of Jonestown Saturday, November 25, 1978. Although the primary purpose of this walk-through was to compile a limited inventory of the personal effects and communal property at Jonestown, it also provides a subjective description of conditions, and for this reason I have left it in its informal, somewhat disjointed style. I must point out that this is not meant to be a complete inventory. Such a project would take several officers several days to accomplish. It does touch on those major items which I located, and other items which had apparent intrinsic value.


Location – A large communal building called Jane Pittman Gardens. Over 60 bunks – in terms of personal effects, I see some suitcases, all of them apparently broken into; the ones I have checked are empty. There are piles of clothing everywhere on the floors, most of it covered with mud; there are obvious signs of looters. Shelves across the ceiling rafters have been pulled down; clothes strewn everywhere. I don’t see a box or suitcase in sight that has not been opened. A couple of wooden shelves holding insignificant personal effects, an old brush, a whisk broom, etc. – some little pieces of junk jewelry, samples of which I will bring back. A single page flyer, apparently prepared and printed in Jonestown, entitled “Supplement To The News”, dated Aug. 8, 1978, covering items such as “The Baake [Bakke] decision”; “welfare, immediate struggle for independence”, “Whole family gives their lives for Religion in Salt Lake City”, “Exercise is good for you”, “Daniel Ellsberg” etc. There is also some personal correspondence, two wooden foot lockers, apparently homemade, one marked “Maria McMann”, one marked “Juanette Jones”, addressed to Georgetown, Guyana, both empty, except for a few pieces of debris.

In the next hut we enter, named Mary McLeod Bethume Terrace, conditions are exactly the same. There are some suitcases. Inside most of them tend to be empty, smaller suitcases. One Singer sewing machine, operating condition unknown. A book – one of the few I have seen so far – entitled “Three of Them Made a Revolution” by Bertram Wolfe, concerning Lenin, Trotsky, & Stalin. Some electric curling irons, other cosmetic devices; apparently this was the single women’s quarters. The looters appear to have been busy. The aisles are totally impassable; they are loaded with dumped out suitcases, clothes, empty footlockers and a large quantity of debris. Bedding has been pulled off several of the bunks. A footlocker marked “Johnny Jones” is here, containing nothing but some fragments of clothing and a child’s book called Sounds of Numbers, by Bill Martin, Jr. Quantities of correspondence again, mainly in the form of personal letters, photographs of various kinds, all of a personal nature. Most of them look like they were taken back in the states and brought here. One electric guitar, condition unknown; four umbrellas; quantities of empty luggage; clothes piled a foot deep or more in all of the aisles. This room holds 56 bunks – two bunks to a tier and there are 28 tiers, marked D-1 through D-56. At the foot of the stairs coming out of this hut is a bag apparently packed by a looter because it contains a variety of items including a large cassette portable tape recorder, the bag was dropped, and the tape recorder is busted beyond repair.

At Harriet Todman [Tubman] Place the scene is the same – the bunks have been pulled over and defy counting – a couple of live monkeys are still here – all of the trunks sem [seem] to have been looted – opened and tossed around the rooms. There is one document which might be of interest to Dover – a certificate of appreciation awarded to Mary Wharton from her friends at Los Medanos Community Hospital, no city or state, dated Dec. 15, 1977 – apparently given to her at the time she left for Jonestown. Again there is a huge assortment of various personal papers, litter, etc. but to try to collect them all or sort them out would be an impossibility without moving an entire team into each building.

Next is a building called Sojourner Truth Apartment – apparently it was a men’s dormitory. It is totally stripped; in fact, it looks like there were not a lot of possessions in it to begin with. It is being used as a storage area by the grave registration teams who have straightened up considerably so it is a little difficult to tell what shape it was left in.

The Cuffy Memorial Baby Nursery – located here is an Armstrong Universal Incubator model 188, apparently in operating condition. The nursery is divided up apparently into a crib area for infants and youth beds in various rooms for the older children. Not as much debris here as in the huts; mostly old blankets, immunization records, etc. … I did find card records on the children showing what they were treated for and other facts. I will bring these out since they might be of some use to the team at Dover. There is a four-drawer letter-size cabinet in what apparently is the clinic for the Center, filled primarily with literature of the medical type; printed matter on leukimia [leukemia], childhood diseases, etc. There is also a six-tiered bookshelf containing medical books, most of them relating to children such as “A Child’s World”, “Child Developement”, “Textbook of Pediatric Nursing”, Childhood Illness”, etc. On the floor of the nursery are large lidded jars of what may be the poison used on the children. It is possible it was administered here and the children were brought out to their parents. That’s not certain. There is another incubator called an Isolette Respirator, made by Air Shields, Inc. No model number. There is a medical cabinet containing a quantity of drugs and liquid vitamins mainly of the infant variety most of them marked with the names of the children. The floor is piled with baby shoes, small children’s tennis shoes, baby bottles, another trunk of medical products. Again evidence of looters is all around.

I am in one of the family huts. A large number of these are being used by the Guyanese troops and there is obviously nothing of any value left. The one I am in is empty but the evidence of the looters is obvious. There are about 5 rude wooden shelves stacked with clothes. It looks like in this one hut at least 8 people slept on the ground floor in two-tier bunks plus a low loft area for two children under the tin roof. There are some wooden footlockers on the front porches. One of them marked “Tiquan Hallmon” has had the lock busted open but it apparently contains nothing but clothes. On the other two, the locks are intact.

We’re in cottage # 30. It’s the same thing. There are 10 bunks for adults downstairs, space for 3 children upstairs. Space for the children is incredible – it can only be about 3 feet high at the highest point up underneath the tin roof.

Cottage # 24 – The story is the same; about 12 bunks for adults, a couple of footlockers, both broken into and emptied. An old Wallensach tape recorder has been dropped and probably isn’t working. Outside of each of these family huts are shelves designed for shoes, obviously because of the number of muddy areas in the fields and around the house.

Cottage # 15 is interesting because although it is the same size as the others, there are no double bunks, only 3 single bunk beds – also an entire box of rather expensive-looking field arrows, over 25 of them. The upstairs of this one apparently was not used for children. It is just piled high with articles of clothing.

I checked the dispatch office. Again it has been stripped clean. Nothing but a few spare electric and radio parts. I understand there have been some radio equipment at one time but it is now gone.

In the area where most of the bodies were, I find 3 or 4 professional long bows and at least 7 professional crossbows, obviously quite expensive.

The Pavillion area has been completely trashed. There is furniture knocked over and spilled everywhere, whether it was done during the incident or by looters is impossible to tell. There are things that were of considerable value at one time, for example a projection TV set which has a market value of close to $2,000 in the U.S.

We are in what’s apparently the children’s pavillion. It’s open, covered by a tent with low closed bookshelves around to serve as walls. There are two tables in the center and they are littered with drugs and empty drug bottles. There are over one hundred bottles of injectible valium, bottles of potassium chloride, thorazine, other items.

There is a separate pharmacy building. It is completely stocked with drugs, some medical gear, much of it unfamiliar, Q tips, a drainage pump, sterile pads, gauze pads, bandages, sponges, perhaps everything you would expect to find in a small, well-stocked drug store.

Nearby is the medical examination room. It holds an examining table, appropriate lights, medical slides, a large tank of oxygen, various medical books. The name on the wall is Lawrence Schact, M.D. There is also a jacket hanging on the back of the door with a San Francisco Hospital shoulder patch.

A small building called the Teachers Resource Center – filled with books – the sort of things you’d expect teachers of primary school children to use for their classes. Much of it has been thrown around the room.

The Jonestown Medical Center appears to be one of the largest buildings here, perhaps second only to the pavillion. There is what appears to be a small dentist chair; quite an extensive medical reference library and many bunks – apparently it served as a hospital as the need arose. Or perhaps this is where the aged were cared for.

A corrugated tin building obviously serves as the medical lab – cultures are growing in it, test tubes, a centrifuge, a sterilizer, small refrigerator, all the things you would expect to find.

A hut called “Troolie #2” looks like a residence for someone rather higher up in the hierarchy; two bunks; a few books; again victimized by the looters; nothing left but some clothes scattered around, open luggage and trunks. In the small dark room and photography shop, they had full developing equipment, a box of developing; paper marked “Terry Buford”; photographic paper; empty lens case; empty light meter case; again pretty well cleaned out.

“Troolie #3” is a cabin with two double beds, obviously attractive at some point. The beds have mosquito netting; there are curtains separating the room; on one side is a picture of Rev. Jones. It does not have the same crowded conditions of the other huts.

The building marked “Intensive Care Unit” has 10 bunks in 2 rooms – 4 in one room and 6 in the other. It looks like whoever was in one of the 6 bunks was shot – the entire bunk is stained with blood; the back room also has one bunk with blood soaked completely through mattress. There is absolutely nothing of value remaining in the hut.

Two larger buildings linked together are marked “Central Supply” and “Tool Room”. Central Supply is the Commissary. The front room is stocked with canned goods, soft drinks, 2 refrigerators and 3 freezers, presumably in working order. The freezers are full of meat and other items. The back area held clothes, all of which have been rifled through by looters. Most of the shelves have been pulled down on the floor.

The Tool Room is a mechanic’s dream. There is a tractor engine, a GM 6 cyl diesel that is being completely rebuilt indicating they had all the tools necessary for major repairs. I see a complete mechanic’s tool set, a heavy duty press, drill press, quantities of lubricants, a wide assortment of plumbing fittings, etc. The lower part of the machine shop is equipped with tools of the blacksmith variety, including torches, presses, crimps, heavy duty anvil, goggles, a variety of hoses and hose fittings, tanks, etc.

The back area is a parts shop that would be the equal of any auto supply store. All kinds of tools, auto parts, heavy bolt cutters, gears, pulleys, large wrenches, hose clamps, wire, electronic engine analyzers, etc.

Under the Administration Office is electronic gear; army telephones, oscilloscopes, tv sets, radios, CB sets, a lot of them pretty muddy but presumably some in working order; reels of wire for laying down land lines; also “snooper ears”, apparently used as listening devices.

Jones’ son’s house is much larger than the normal Jonestown house. On the screened front porch is bedding and an empty foot locker. Again it looks like it was cleaned out by looters. There is an air conditioner still on the wall, the only one I’ve seen. The hut has its own sink and only two single beds. There is a carton marked “unexposed x-ray film”, but broken, so presumably the film is no longer useful.

Jones’ house has been pretty well ransacked. There is a brand new radio receiver transmitter. An adding machine/calculator has been dropped and broken. The interior is really gutted, in bad shape. It’s difficult to get to anything. It would take days to get through the books, photos and paperwork lying on the floor. There is a carton lying outside filled with drugs of various types. The safe in the central room of Jones’ house is open and empty. I see two small portable typewriters, a case full of drugs, a half-size refrigerator, a case with the name S. Bradshaw on it. Scattered on the floor are large quantities of books, propaganda, old newspapers – the “Communist Manifesto” by Marx, “Street Fighting in the Courtroom”, “The Peoples’ Advocate”, “When New York Succumbed to Riots”, etc. The shelves in Jones’ room have been emptied out, probably mostly clothes, a lot still on the floor. His bed is the fanciest one here – it is a 4 poster with mosquito netting and built-in draws underneath. Drawers appear to be filled primarily with personal medicines.

Woodworking shop: One could start with trees and build furniture, and they probably did. There are drill presses, laths, routers, air compressors, saws, table saws, hand saws, all kinds of screws and other parts. A whole cabinet full of electric sanders, drills, polishers, sabre saws, a small fortune in this type of equipment. All the large equipment necessary for a basic sawmill in the open area behind the shop.

Out in the field behind the sawmill is a backhoe, apparently still in working condition and obviously an expensive piece of machinery. There is also a tractor which we know is in operating condition since we have been using it to haul remains.

In a field located some distance away from the sawmill area is the storage area. In it is at least one new, large gas generator, uncrated, and several more large crates. This was apparently an auxiliary supply depot – all large items – some of the boxes are empty, some still crated and stel banded. Unfortunately, it is difficult to tell what was inside them. There is no major identification on the crates, except numbers like 77, A25 etc. One of the crates we were able to open contains generator parts, looks like a mixture of used and new valve covers, head gaskets, etc. One of the other interesting things here – there is equipment which obviously came from a military source. O.D. cans marked “Reusable”, a rear axle assembly for a large truck.

There are 48 to 50 drums, 55 gallons each, contents not marked. They are each numbered except for one of them; which bears just the letter “C”; it’s possible that this is some type of insecticide.