As the 40th anniversary of the deaths in Jonestown looms, the next months will be critical for reporters, documentarians, students, and conference organizers to learn about the “alternative” views about Peoples Temple and Jonestown. The following individuals have agreed to consider requests for interviews with researchers about their experiences in Peoples 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)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vernon Gosney left Jonestown with Congressman Leo Ryan on November 18, 1978, and was seriously wounded during the shootings at the Port Kaituma airstrip. His articles on this site appear here. He may be reached through this website.
Laura (Johnston) Kohl was a member of Peoples Temple in California and in Guyana. She lived in Jonestown but was working in Georgetown on 18 November. She can be reached at email@example.com. Information about her book Jonestown Survivor appears here. Her articles on this website appear here.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.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.
Jordan Vilchez became a member of Peoples Temple as a teenager when her family joined. She was in Georgetown, Guyana on November 18, 1978, but her sisters and nephews died in Jonestown. She was on the Planning Commission and is familiar with many inner workings of the organization. Queries for interviews should be made through this site. Her 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 here. She can be reached through email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. His articles on this website appear here.
Juanell (Nell) Smart was a member of Peoples Temple for five years in Los Angeles until she left in 1976. Her mother, uncle and four children died in Jonestown. Her articles on this website appear here. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org. His writings on this site appear here. Mr. Wise is also the manager of the Jonestown Legacy website.
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. One of her first articles on the subject, “Why Did So Many Black Women Die?”, appeared in Religion Dispatches in 2013. Her novel White Nights: Black Paradise was published in November 2015. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Massimo Introvigne, CESNUR – Center for Studies on New Religions, Via Confienza 19, Torino, Italy 10121; telephone 39-011-541950; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. He is the author of Jonestown and Liberation Theology on this website.
Kristian Klippenstein is a Ph.D. student in Religious Studies at the University of Alberta. His particular area of research interest is new religious movements. He may be reached at email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Wessinger’s articles on this site appear here.
Rikke Wettendorff is the administrator of the Peoples Temple Discussion Forum and the co-editor of the jonestown report. Her articles on the site appear here. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.