The last tape to be made at Jonestown – Q 875 – was anomalous because it was made after Jim Jones and so many others had died.
That in itself was no big deal, but what seemed to make the tape mysterious when I first heard it several years ago was the possibility that it might have been made by someone who survived the White Night. As a survivor, that person would have been a remarkable, and even unique, witness. But no one has ever come forward to admit that they made the tape, so one could only suppose that person in question was hiding something. But what?
After reviewing the tape, I no longer think the issue is as mysterious as I once thought. This is so because the Guyanese radio announcer dates the broadcast as having been made on Sunday afternoon or later. He does this when he says that eight wounded people were flown out of Timehri airport “this afternoon,” following the ambush of Congressman Ryan and his party on Saturday afternoon.
The evacuation in question did not occur until Sunday, so it would seem that Q875 was made at some point after that, late Sunday afternoon, perhaps, or in the evening.
This was long after the Guyanese Defense Forces had arrived in Jonestown, which suggests that it was someone in their party that made the tape. Why that person or persons should have done so is unknown, but I think it’s interesting that someone in the room shushes someone else. It’s as if the room is being searched while the tape is being made. This might explain why the radio was on – to cover the noise being made in the room – but it would not explain why anyone would tape the broadcast in the first place.
So it is a mystery, but not as big a mystery as I once supposed. I think we can say with certainty that the tape was made by someone in the GDF. But that’s as far as we can go. Like everything else that happened at Jonestown, the real question isn’t what happened, or who did it, but why?
(Jim Hougan is an investigative reporter, and was likely the first person outside the FBI to hear Q 875. His complete collection of writings for the jonestown report may be found here. His website is at http://www.jimhougan.com/. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)