1)        Massey Ferguson 178 from the internet
2)        Massey Ferguson 178 from Jonestown (filmed at the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project)
3)        Massey Ferguson 178 from Jonestown (filmed at the Port Kaituma airstrip, November 17, 1978)
4)        Massey Ferguson 178 from Jonestown (filmed at the Port Kaituma airstrip, November 18, 1978)
5)        The “Tractor” Used in the Attack (filmed at the Port Kaituma airstrip,  November 18, 1978)







Pictures 1-5 side by side


As outlined in the “Quick Spotting Guide,” the front end of the real Jonestown tractor and the “tractor” used in the attack had front-end features that were duplicated.  Shown at the top of panel 6 are all of the pictures used for these comparisons, but picture 3 was selected as best for comparison as its features are visible close up.

The bottom of panel 6 shows the main front-end features as they appear in pictures 3 and 5, respectively.



            Driver’s Inset Open in Real Jonestown Tractor

The driver’s inset is a key determinant that the real Jonestown tractor and the vehicle used in the attack were different; more specifically, that the divider between the front and back of the respective vehicles, namely the area of the real tractor called the driver’s inset, was different from vehicle to vehicle.

            The driver’s inset is the wide open space where the driver steps right in from the outside to sit.

As with a car, the driver’s seat falls just behind the engine in the front.  Unlike a car, however, with a shut door enclosing the driver, an open inset is typical for tractors.  Tractors are open vehicles as much as a car is a closed vehicle:  With a car, you open the door, the driver steps in, you shut the door.  With a tractor, you just step into the open space.

As is clear from A., the driver’s inset in the real Jonestown tractor was a wide open space bracketed by metal cut vertically down just ahead of it, as well as metal cut vertically down just behind it (see A — metal, space, metal).  The metal ahead of the open space is horizontal as would be, let‘s say, the front engine of a car (see B).  Moving then towards the back of the vehicle,  the only other horizontal contour is the back fender, with a long swath of metal extending from the inside back fender down to the floorboard vertically (see C.)

The front of the driver’s inset is also marked by metal cut off at right angles and going straight down vertically (see D.)

If you lack the structure of solid/open/solid (see A.); with to boot, contours that rule out that structure even being possible (as shall be shown), then you are simply not looking at the same vehicle  You can’t be.

After examining what the driver’s inset looked like in the real Jonestown vehicle, we move on to how the vehicle used in the attack was different [8].



            Real Jonestown tractor (picture 3):  OPEN compared to:

            Vehicle used in the attack (picture 5):  CLOSED (CAMOUFLAGE)

Now that we’ve delineated the structure of the Massey Ferguson 178, the real Jonestown tractor, let’s examine by contrast, the vehicle used in the attack.

Well, but isn’t that blurry, bleeding, pixilated?  Oh, it’s a little blurry, expectable for older film.  It’s not the clarity of modern HD, but with NO bleeding and NO pixilation.

To the contrary (panel 4, 1-5):  The textures are smooth, continuous, unbroken; to boot, with even coloration.  There is no reason visually, photographically, to mark any area of that expanse as broken.  Thus we are looking at solid metal straight across the very area (namely the driver’s inset) that should have been open!!

Nor is “even coloration” just a fine point.  Some areas of the real Jonestown tractor were clearly red, others clearly grey, marking variously the engine, the hull, the fender, the metal swath down and the like.  On the attack vehicle, by contrast, it is the red hull, the outer metal covering the engine of the vehicle (much like the hood of a car, let’s say) that is extended with no breaks in coloration, contour or form all across the side of the vehicle up to the back fender.  There are no breaks, no distortions, no variances, no broken lines; it is consistent.

This is markedly different, opposite from panel 2, A-D.  These vehicles are different.



First note that the vehicle used in the attack was filmed in direct sunlight, broadside, at rest.  There is some blur, yes; it is also at a moderate distance.  But the sun was still like a direct flashlight beam.  No shade, no shadows, no breaks in lighting.  Just bright direct sunlight = what you see is what was there!

We already noted the difference between the wide open driver’s inset on the real Jonestown tractor and the sealed-off metal siding with the “tractor” used in the attack.  But lest the reader just think that the sealed-off area was like a “curtain“ with the same vehicle underneath, note two inexplicable structural anomalies that preclude even that much:


1.  A knob-like or handle-like protrusion with a shadow and/or recessed area under it (panel 4).  This was not an open space.  It was not a seat either — note solid metal blanketing the area above it with a smooth continuous play of light and no open space anywhere.  Also note knob or handle bulging out catching the sunlight; with recessed area below, all with smooth even texture.

Also note that the knob or handle appears directly in front of the back wheel.  Compare this to picture 3 which features a long vertical swath of metal down to the floorboard with open space in front of it.  This knob/handle was insertion of a physical structure in lieu of the vertical swath of metal preceded by open space.

Also note that in picture 5, the back fender is in no way blocked from view; obviously, the knob/handle on the vehicle used in the attack seals off that area completely.

The knob/handle is an anomaly.  It doesn’t match the real Jonestown tractor at all.  It dictates a different metal body.  These differences are structural, not cosmetic.

It also suggests a different function for this vehicle:  A concealed driver cannot be seen, but he also cannot see the terrain around him; i.e., no one ever drove this “tractor” to plow corn.

2.  An odd, irregular, scissors-shaped metal construction where the flat open floorboard should be (panel 5). Note an oblong of metal generating two extended “scissor points” moving  along the bottom edge of the vehicle:  one hand of the “scissors” slanted up, the other hand slanted down.

In fact, the downward slanted point is in the place of an open metal square directly under the horizontal floorboard in the real Jonestown tractor.

This is not a floorboard of any “tractor.”  It is also clearly not a step-in; it’s the outline of an outer body with some unseen inner body; no driver can step onto a slant.

We don’t know how the driver entered this vehicle.  Either a door opened or he hopped over the top.  We do know, however, that it was not a step-in, like a “real” tractor, thus the intent was that the driver be concealed.


6-7)  HOW WAS THIS VEHICLE STEERED? (panel 6 and panel 7)



We don’t know how this vehicle was steered!  We have already seen that there was no driver’s inset, so there was no driver sticking up into the air with his hands on an elevated, visible (black) steering wheel as we can spot in pictures 1,2 and 3 (as illustrated.)



Now combine no visible elevated steering wheel with no driver’s inset.  Yet the vehicle had to be driven and steered somehow!  Namely, it had to somehow be steered from inside an enclosed, not open vehicle; and with the driver concealed.

Also note that (if the reader is reviewing this prior to “Eyewitness Identifications?:  The FBI Report Versus the On-Site NBC Film Footage”), many departing defectors had seen Stanley Gieg, a young white, fair-skinned blond man in the driver’s seat of the real Jonestown trailer parked at the edge of the airstrip.  No surprise.  As we can ourselves see in picture 4, he was sticking right up into the air!

They saw him; they recognized him on sight.  That’s why at least five eyewitnesses wrongly claimed that Gieg was driving the attack vehicle when the film footage instead reveals dark-skinned black man as the only person up front (see “Eyewitness Identifications?:  The FBI Report Versus the On-Site NBC Film Footage” panel 9)

Now, if the driver of the assassins’ vehicle had his head sticking up, no one would have recognized him; indeed he would have been pinned as a stranger!  Then there’s go “Peoples Temple did it.”

In other words, “If you have nothing to hide, why are you in hiding?”  Conversely, if you need to hide to be neither recognized nor pinned as “a stranger,” you need a differently-constructed “tractor.“  Because a real tractor will not even have a door and hood (as with a car) to conceal your physical person.

            Which brings us to “How was this vehicle steered?”  And we still cannot state that with certainty.  But we do have a clue:



Note the exhaust pipe on the front right side of the real Jonestown tractor, pictures 1-4.  (Picture 1 is a generic Massey Ferguson 178 tractor, only difference black exhaust pipe instead of white.  Picture 3 same exhaust pipe.  Picture 4 is same tractor right on the airstrip just minutes prior to the attack with an exhaust pipe blurry but still clearly visible as to shape.)

The exhaust pipe on all these pictures was straight up.  There’s a bulge part of the way up, but that bulge is around the circumference of the pipe, not protruding forwards.

Now onto picture 5, the vehicle used in the attack:  There are no interfering objects in the background, just vegetation.  Moreover, there is no explanation for the protrusion forwards half-way up the exhaust pipe, nor the cap-like top.  We just see that it is different.

Best speculation?  It may have been a periscope used for steering.  Construction and technology?  Unknown.  The vehicle’s means of propulsion?  Engine design?  Unknown.  But given that even the outer metal casing is different, it is a good bet that we do not know what the inside of this vehicle looked like either.


Originally posted on July 25th, 2013.

Last modified on August 21st, 2014.
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