Speakers Bureau

Media Inquiries, please click here.

The following individuals have agreed to consider requests for interviews with researchers about their experiences in Peoples Temple. We also include a listing of scholars and other resources who have conducted their own research into the Temple.

Please note: To improve your chances to secure interviews with the people on this page, the managers of this website urge you to research the ones you wish to speak with, by reviewing the articles on their home pages where they are noted in their listing. We also suggest that you visit the Personal Reflections page for additional contacts and articles.

Jonestown survivors (Temple members in Guyana in 1978)

Mike Carter lived in Jonestown from September 1977 until November 18th, 1978 at which time he was 20 years old. His articles on this website appear here. He may be reached at mjcarter49@yahoo.com.

John Cobb, who was born into Peoples Temple and was a member his whole life, was with the basketball team in Georgetown on November 18. Nine members of his family died that day. He can be reached at johncob@msn.com.

Deborah Layton joined Peoples Temple at age 18. As a trusted aide to Jim Jones, she became embroiled in the upper-level workings of the Peoples Temple. Four weeks after her escape from Guyana, Deborah’s affidavit became front-page news across the country. Her memoir, Seductive Poison has been required reading at major universities. She can be reached through her website.

Herbert Newell was on the Temple boat, the Cudjoe, on November 18, 1978, but more than a half dozen relatives died in Jonestown. He can be reached at herbertnewell58@yahoo.com. His articles on this website appear here.

Eugene Smith joined Peoples Temple in 1973 and lived in the Temple’s San Francisco commune before leaving for Jonestown in fall 1977. He was in Georgetown on November 18 clearing items from customs. Numerous members of his family – including his mother, wife, and infant son – died in Jonestown. He can be reached at eugene.e.smith@gmail.com. His articles on this website appear here.

Mike Touchette was among the original pioneers who built Jonestown. He and his wife were in Georgetown on November 18, but several family members died in Jonestown: MichTouc@aol.com. His articles on this website appear here.

Leslie Wagner-Wilson (Fortier/Cathey) was a child of Peoples Temple living in Redwood Valley from age 13. She lived in Jonestown until escaping with her three year old son and several others the morning of November 18th. Her husband, mother, sister, brother, niece and nephew died in Jonestown. She is the author of Slavery of Faith and can be reached at leslie.wagnerwilson@yahoo.com. Her articles on this website appear here.

Other Temple members

Kathryn Barbour, a survivor, joined Peoples Temple in 1970 with her companion, Richard Tropp. She was living in the San Francisco Temple on November 18, 1978. That night, she determined to continue working for the principles the Temple had personified, and resolved to broaden her focus to society at large, as a citizen of the world. Her writings on this website appear here. She may be reached at barbourkr@gmail.com.

Don Beck, a member of Peoples Temple living in Redwood Valley in November 1978, was part of group making original trip to Guyana, and for summers of 1974 and 1976 as Jonestown was being built. His email address is donbeck@cox.net. His articles on this website appear here.

Mike Cartmell’s family joined Peoples Temple in Indianapolis in 1959, and he was a member for 17 years until he left in February 1977. His mother, step-father, sister and adopted brother died in Jonestown. He may be reached at Beemermcart@aol.com. His articles on this website appear here.

Laurie Efrein Kahalas, a long-time Temple member and author of Snake Dance, created the website www. jonestown. com which now appears on this site. She can be reached through dan_laurie44@comcast.net. Her articles and reports of her investigations appear here.

Hue Fortson, Jr. was the Associate Pastor of Peoples Temple in Los Angeles at the time of the deaths in Guyana. His wife and son died in Jonestown. He may be reached at afather88@charter.net. His articles on this website appear here.

Vera (Ingram) Washington was a member of Peoples Temple for several years but left in 1973 because of conflicts she had with the leadership of the group: reginav8@yahoo.com. Her writings on this website appear here.

Yulanda Williams was a member of Peoples Temple from 1968, when she was in middle school, until spring 1978. She lived in the Lamaha Gardens house in Georgetown with her husband and one-year-old daughter during her three months in Guyana. She can be reached at yogrl56@yahoo.com.

David Parker Wise was a Pastor of the Los Angeles branch of Peoples Temple, and is writing the book Jonestown Legacy. His email address is hopetek@gmail.com. His writings on this site appear here. Mr. Wise also managed the Jonestown Legacy website.

Scholars

Dr. Wendy M. Edmonds is an Assistant Professor in the College of Business at Bowie State University, the oldest Historically Black College and University in Maryland. As the first researcher to conduct focus group studies with survivors of the 1978 Jonestown Massacre that occurred in Guyana, it was that life changing event which fueled her interest in “toxic followership” and the various perspectives of leader-follower relationships. Dr. Edmonds is the author of inTOXICating FOLLOWERSHIP, scheduled for release in March 2021. She can be reached at www.drwendymedmonds.com.

John R. Hall author of Gone from the Promised Land, is at the Department of Sociology at University of California – Davis. His e-mail is jrhall@ucdavis.edu. His writings on this website appear here.

Katherine Hill is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Her writings on this website appear here. She can be reached at hilltass@gmail.com.

Dr. Sikivu Hutchinson is an educator, author, and filmmaker who has written extensively on Jonestown and Peoples Temple, focusing primarily on the perspectives of black women within the organization. Her writings on this website appear here. Her novel White Nights: Black Paradise was published in November 2015. She can be reached at shutch2396@aol.com.

Massimo Introvigne, CESNUR – Center for Studies on New Religions, Via Confienza 19, Torino, Italy 10121; telephone 39-011-541950; e-mail maxintrovigne@gmail.com. He is the author of Jonestown and Liberation Theology on this website.

Preston Jones provides content for the website “Military Response to Jonestown.” His long-standing interest in Peoples Temple/Jonestown and the Vietnam War converged in interviews with Clarence Cooper, who flew medivac helicopters in Vietnam and participated in the military response to the Jonestown tragedy. Preston has often taught about Jonestown and is especially drawn to the personal, non-sensationalistic stories of people who knew Peoples Temple at first hand.  His work has been featured twice on C-Span. He can be reached at pjones@jbu.edu.

Kristian Klippenstein completed a Ph.D. in Religious Studies at the University of Alberta in 2020. His area of academic interest is new religious movements, and his dissertation research explored language choice and rhetoric in new religious texts. He may be reached at k.d.klippenstein@gmail.com. (No press queries, please.)

Dr. Mary McCormick Maaga is a United Methodist pastor and the author of Hearing the Voices of Jonestown. Her current article in the jonestown report is Lessons from Jonestown 1978 for America 2018. She can be reached at mjzmaaga@yahoo.com.

Rebecca Moore is Professor Emerita of the Department of Religious Studies at San Diego State University, and the co-manager of this site. She may be reached at remoore@sdsu.edu. Her writings on this website appear here.

Heather Shearer is a professor of rhetoric and writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She can be reached at hshearer@ucsc.edu. Her writings on this website appear here.

Catherine Wessinger, Department of Religious Studies, Loyola University, 6363 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118; telephone 504/865-3182; e-mail wessing@loyno.edu. Dr. Wessinger’s articles on this site appear here.

Rikke Wettendorff is the former administrator of the Peoples Temple Discussion Forum. Her articles on the site appear here. She can be reached at rikke@wettendorff.net.

Philip Zimbardo has written and lectured extensively on the power of charismatic leaders and the creation of obedient followers. His articles on the site appear here. He can be reached at drzimbardo@gmail.com.

Originally posted on March 22nd, 2017.

Last modified on February 9th, 2021.
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