Our group – consisting of myself, Aaron Reuther, and Carley Denault – decided to put together a documentary on Jim Jones and the Jonestown massacre for our 2014 National History Day project because we thought it was interesting, rarely mentioned and we truly knew nothing about the topic. It would be a learning experience for all of us as well as some of the audience who view it in the future. As individuals, we each had a darker, more out-casted personality, and we wanted to do something different that could even be controversial, especially in a high school setting.
As the project progressed, though, we learned new things and Jonestown really struck all three of us hard. We wondered how so many people could possibly get caught up in such a crazy idea and be convinced by such a charismatic man to kill themselves and their children. To us, Jonestown was a slaughter created by Jim Jones, even if he did not pull the trigger. All of these people were under his spell and brainwashed by his plans.
(Nina Figley, Aaron Reuther, and Carley Denault created their documentary on Jim Jones for their National History Day project. They attend the Polk Pre-Collegiate Academy in Auburndale, Florida.)