Jonestown Recollections Forty Years Later

The enigma of Jim Jones remains as puzzling in August 2018, as it was 40 long years ago, on November 18, 1978 when nearly a thousand of his devoted followers were murdered by other members of his “church,” even as some voluntarily committed suicide as a test of their devotion to their Father/God/Devil/Jim Jones.

We will never ever fully know the truth about what really happened on that fateful day.

In these personal recollections, I will add to the Jonestown Family History in the following ways:

  • Draw parallels between George Orwell’s 1984 analyses of Systems that can control the minds and behavior of followers, often without their awareness, and Jones’ use of these same principles to dominate his followers.
  • Describe my personal contacts, counseling, and learning from Jonestown survivors, Richard Clark and Diane Louie, as well as from Debby Layton, her brother Larry Layton, and several others I met personally.
  • Raise my concerns about the shady role of San Francisco lawyer Charles Garry’s role in defending Jones.

My conclusion will speculate on who really was that Jim Jones, aka “The Masked Man”?

Orwell as Jones’ Preacher

I would like to briefly highlight parallels between the mind control tactics and strategies employed by Peoples Temple leader Jim Jones, and those found throughout George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984. In an earlier analysis, I argued that there were curious similarities between the procedures that Jones put into effect to dominate his followers both in San Francisco and in the jungle compound in Guyana (Zimbardo, 1983). The strong form of my argument is that Jones learned those techniques directly from reading 1984. He tested the operational utility of these imaginative, fictional techniques with him as “Party Head” and his “System” in control of the minds and lives of more than a thousand real people, whom he had transformed into “True Believers.”

In recent times, I have had extensive discussions of various aspects of the functioning of Peoples Temple and about Jones with Debby Layton, one of Jones’ inner circle who defected and led the exposé of the evils being perpetrated at Jonestown (Layton, 1998). She introduced me to Mike Cartmell, who had once been married to Jones’s adopted daughter Suzanne, and who was his heir apparent, and also to Stephan Jones, Jim Jones’ biological son who was in Georgetown playing basketball on the day of the massacre. The three of them gave me new insights and information that formed the basis of my strong argument of Jim Jones’ modeling his mind control tactics directly on those he learned from George Orwell.

I will not dwell on assumptions that Jones, a lowly minister of a small church in Indiana, acted in collusion with the CIA from the time he visited Cuba in 1960 (photographed with Fidel Castro), Brazil in 1962, Haiti, and other Latin American countries, where he studied voodoo and torture training of the military police. He also visited British Guyana in the mid-60’s. But we do know that he was linked at that time to a former policeman, Dan Mitrione, from Jones’ hometown in Richmond, Indiana. Mitrione had joined the FBI, and was alleged to be a CIA operative. Jones was expelled from Brazil for alleged CIA activities as noted in a news story.

One source (Meiers, 1989) suggests that Jones was recruited to collate the MK-ULTRA library on the comprehensive science of behavior modification. Upon returning to Indiana, he was ordained as a minister in the well-established Church of Disciples of Christ, and soon after had access to large amounts of money, enough to move his church to Ukiah, California the next year (147).

In addition, his ability to illegally transport an enormous amount of weapons, along with Social Security, welfare and aid to dependent children funds from the U.S. to Guyana must have been aided by some government intervention. That intervention continued in Guyana when the American Embassy there refused to act on behalf of the Concerned Relatives and U.S. Congressman Leo Ryan for many days, instead warning Jones of their demands, prior to allowing them access to Jonestown.

Richard Dwyer, the Deputy Chief of the Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Guyana, accompanied Ryan on his ill-fated visit to Jonestown. The NBC camera crew filmed Dwyer walking with Ryan on the airstrip, but curiously moving away just before the gunfire erupted. Remarkably, Jim Jones specifically names Dwyer during his frantic final hour suicide speech, where he can be heard yelling, “Get Dwyer out of here … I mean Dwyer.” Some hours after the last of the 900 members of Peoples Temple had died, an early morning radio broadcast from an anonymous source – allegedly in a CIA broadcast – told the world of this tragedy.

Still more curious if there was no CIA connection, Dwyer and several members of the Embassy in Guyana later got medals and promotions for their ambiguous role in the saga of Jones and Peoples Temple.

In the federal trial of Larry Layton in San Francisco, defense lawyer Tony Tamburello, attempted to establish whether Dwyer was a CIA operative in Guyana, but Judge Robert Peckham refused to allow that line of questioning. The lawyer wanted to establish that Dwyer’s testimony for the prosecution was “tainted by bias — he wants Larry Layton convicted to take the responsibility of Jonestown off the State Department and the CIA” (San Francisco Chronicle, August 25, 1981). Finally, some press reports quoted independent investigators who alleged, “that the government failed to warn Ryan about Jonestown because the jungle camp was actually part of a CIA mind-control experiment” (San Francisco Chronicle, September 27, 1981).

Did Jim Jones read 1984? The affirmative answer is revealed in this excerpt from an electronic message sent to me by Stephan Jones (reproduced with his permission, 10 March, 2000). “Dad did read 1984, talked about it plenty to frighten us. I think he may have even attached some kind of prophetic significance to the date – nuclear holocaust or fascist takeover or something. Yup, there was a song [‘1984’] written and performed by Diane Wilkerson, our lead performer from the time she joined ‘til she died in Jonestown.”

Debby Layton was the first person to specifically inform me of Jones’ fascination with Orwell’s novel. “Jim talked about 1984 all the time. There is a film with Diane singing ‘1984′ in Jonestown and Jim is singing along with her, saying, ‘That’s right, that’s right.’ Diane wrote it in California and Jim loved it, probably edited it. He would sing, ‘Got to watch out. They are coming to get us. They are going to kill us,’ and similar phrases.” (Personal communication, San Francisco, December 6, 2000).

During that same conversation in my home, Mike Cartmell also recalled Jones’ interest in 1984, as well as his close reading of the reports of the Nuremberg trials and Goering’s defense of Hitler in his writing on “The Leadership Principle.” Of the creation of a totalitarian state and of an all-powerful dominant leader, Jones would say, “That’s exactly the point!” according to Cartmell. He recalled that Jones also read Lewis Fisher’s biography of Lenin, and a number of other books about cults. In 1967, Jones told him that he had a revelation that in an earlier life he, Jim Jones, was Lenin! That meant Cartmell would be his Trotsky, and the youth group he was heading would be named the “Red Army.”

Direct Parallels of Orwellian and Jonesian Mind Control Tactics

  1. BlackWhite distortion of language and Newspeak distortion of reality are both reflected in Jones’ big lies

Jones went further than to distort the reality of the past; he was able to distort reality, as it existed in his followers’ perceptions of the present. These hungry, fearful, exhausted, overworked, and abused people were forced to say their “gratitudes” regularly as they meditated upon Dad. Gratitudes were a litany of praise for Dad’s providing them with good food, a good home, and good work because he loved them so, despite the totally contrary evidence provided by their senses. People held captive in this jungle concentration camp that were always policed by armed guards, gave thanks to Dad for their “freedom and liberty.” In addition, members told themselves and wrote in their letters a series of big lies, such as: the food was good and abundant, when it was horrible and scarce; the weather was lovely when it was brutally hot; there were no insects, when mosquitos ferociously attacked them; they were happy, when many were extremely depressed and always frightened.

Jones, however, went a bit too far by asserting that in Jonestown there was no sickness, no illness, and no death! Not even he could control those forces, and he had to deal with that uncontrollable discontinuity when members of his flock got ill and died. Jones even played Nazi horror films, such as Night and Fog, to remind his followers that their condition could/would get worse if they did not obey him.

One can hear his lies escalating during the tape of the last hour in Jonestown as Jones says, “I have never lied to you;” as he entreats the people to take the cyanide poison – which he refers to as “medicine”; as he says, “it will not hurt, there is nothing to fear”; as hundreds of children are heard, crying, screaming, convulsing, and then dying in silence.

While the Ministry of Truth rewrote history in 1984, Jones was able to get his god-fearing, religious followers to tear up and discard their beloved Bibles, after he exposed the lies and errors he claimed to have found in them.

In passing, I like Jones’ mimicking of Orwell’s imaginative titles for the various departments in the Party, such as the Ministry of Truth in charge of distorting truth. Jones created a Department of Diversion, headed by Terri Buford, whose purpose was to carry out sensitive work in the government, which involved gathering personally embarrassing data on selected politicians that could be used to persuade them to cooperate with the goals and needs of Peoples Temple – or be exposed.

  1. Big Brother is watching you: Big Daddy is infiltrating your every thought.

The concept of working “24/7″ would seem to be a recent concept initiated in Silicon Valley to describe around the clock, daily work and services, but it was predated by Jim Jones’ day and night broadcasts of sermons, speeches, and fiery attacks on the government, defectors, and other enemies. In place of the Telescreen surveillance in 1984, Jones reached into the minds of his followers by blasting them with these endless messages that blared from loudspeakers in the central pavilion and that could be heard for great distances. Sometimes live, sometimes taped, his oratorical presence always filled the airways and thus the “mind ways” while his followers worked, eat, andslept.

  1. Spy network: Jones’ informer system.

Jones rewarded those faithful informers who ratted out other members who complained about the hard work, awful rations, and enforced separation of spouses. Jones then severely punished all such dissidents publicly. He even announced that he would send around comrades who would pretend to be dissenters to lure others into agreeing to complain or worse, to defect, and then mete out violent punishments due to these traitors. His spy system was started much earlier in the United States by having members of his security force find out as much as possible about various members by breaking into their homes, checking their garbage, tapping their phones, or worse, rewarding family members who informed on each other.

  1. Both the Party and Jones enforced food deprivation: A means to weaken the strength to resist or rebel.

The diet in Jonestown was almost protein free, consisted of small portions, was poor tasting. It was heavy on rice-like gruel, never meat or fish, with few fruits and vegetables. Jones chided those who might complain that it was better to be slim and lean than to be fat asses, and that they were rejecting capitalistic values in making such sacrifices.

What is amazing, sad, and horrific is that people in Jonestown were often near starvation while Jones was regularly sending millions of dollars to secret bank accounts in Switzerland, Panama, and elsewhere with his couriers, including Debby Layton (Layton, 1998) and a few other trusted female aides. A small fraction of these funds could have easily fed the entire congregation well daily, but was intentionally denied to them.

  1. Sex crimes: Jones separated married couples into different barracks and they could be intimate only with his permission, at prescribed times.

Jones openly accused specific men of taking homosexual improprieties with him, and then had them publicly ridiculed and punished. In addition, Jones accused woman of forcing him to favor them with his sexual gifts, when of course, he was the coercive agent. Sex was a powerful motive for Jones, who often seemed obsessed with his own sexual desires. Part of his image was that of a superman of extraordinary sexual appetites and enduring performances. But he also realized the powerful bonds that human sexuality could create among his followers, and so such Sexcrimes had to be controlled, limited, and dominated by his authority.

  1. Self-incrimination: Writing one’s self up, self-catharsis, and personal punishments.

These tactics were a central part of both Orwell’s and Jones’ mind control systems. All members had to engage in self-analysis, to prepare statements of their errors, weaknesses, fears, and wrongdoings, so that they could purge themselves of these negative thoughts and achieve an uplifting catharsis. Instead, these reports became part of each member’s permanent file, and were used against them in public meetings, when errant individuals were “called on the floor” to be ridiculed, humiliated, tormented, or physically tortured. Even the most loyal follower became his or her worst enemy in these ways.

  1. Orwell’s analysis of the Party mentality and the psychology of War applies to Jonestown, all too well: This was most evident in the final days and in Jonestown’s Last

Orwell writes: “The social atmosphere is that of a besieged city… it does not matter that war is actually happening. All that is needed is that a state of war should exist” (158), and when capture was inevitable, “[t]he proper thing was to kill yourself before they get you”(86).

Jones had his group practice suicide drills in “White Night” exercises that were realistic preludes to the final performance that he orchestrated, just as Orwell had depicted, with the threat of the U.S. military on its way to take away and harm the children and elders. “Revolutionary suicide” was preferable to being massacred at the hands of this ruthless enemy, he said, comparing the actions of Peoples Temple members with that of the besieged Jews at the battle of Masada.

It is not clear how many of the 912 dead willingly committed suicide by drinking cyanide, and how many were murdered with poison injections, but the important thing to remember is that the killers were the friends and family members of those who were killed. Here Jim Jones imitates Heinrich Himmler’s SS oath: “ I swear to thee, Adolf Hitler, loyalty and bravery. I vow to thee and to the superiors whom thou shall appoint, obedience until death.” So total blind obedience to unjust authority ruled that fateful day in November 1978, as it had for so many decades earlier in Nazi Germany, and later in the psychological experiments of Stanley Milgram in the mid 1960’s.

  1. Orwell’s Torture Room 101 is mirrored in Jonestown torture chambers: the Blue-Eyed Monster, Bigfoot, and the Box.

Orwell’s leading protagonist, Winston Smith, finally has his resistance broken when he is dumped into Room 101 to face his worst fear of having rats running over his body, since he had confessed earlier to that phobia.

Jones replicated that situation exactly, by initially forcing members to write out their fears in detail. He could then force to face their worst fears head on when they disobeyed orders, were late for a meeting, or fell asleep during his endless harangues.

It is well to point up one way in which Jones was able to create such True Believers, when Orwell’s 1984 system, or even Soviet Communism in Eastern Europe, could not. Jones had the ability to make a uniquely personal connection with each member of his church. Many Peoples Temple members told me that, when listening to his sermons, each felt as if Jones were talking to them personally. “Jones had the personal touch down,” Mike Cartmell told me. “He was like a priest, a personal counselor, coming to see each person who was important to him in some way, and spoke to them personally about what is troubling them, what are they afraid of. Jones could make everyone feel as if he or she was the guest of the day. He made each one feel special in some way. He gave you your five minutes, and in return, you gave him your life.”

And so, despite the public torment they often received, members retained the sense that down deep, in his private heart, “Dad Loves Me,” and I am responsible for being a bad person who needs to change his evil ways to deserve Dad’slove.

Let is consider Jones’ Kiddie torture chambers.

In her memoir, Six Years with God: Life Inside Reverend Jim Jones’s Peoples Temple (1979), Jeanne Mills described her young daughter’s torment when faced with the “Blue-eyed Monster,” where she and other children were punished. “They took me into this dark room and the monsters were all over the room. They said, ‘I am the Blue-Eyed Monster and I’m going to get you.’ Then the monster grabbed my shirt and tore it open.”(55). Mills figured that the children were being given electric shocks, because she had heard that “Jim was using the Blue-Eyed Monster as ‘behavior modification’ for the small children.” (56)

Mills’ account is a valuable resource into the creation of Peoples Temple and of Jones’ destructive forces. In a presentation as a guest lecturer in my Stanford class on The Psychology of Mind Control in 1979, Mills concluded that by defecting from Jones’ church and exposing his immoral, illegal and evil tactics, her life could still be at risk, even after the Jonestown tragedy. She was later murdered in her own home in Berkeley California – with no culprit ever found!

Mills describes other torture chambers in Peoples Temple. “Debbie [Layton] told us about ‘Bigfoot,’ a punishment that had replaced the ‘Blue-Eyed Monster.’ It’s a deep well about forty-five minutes’ walk away from the camp,’ she said sadly.  ‘Counselors have to sit in there, and when the child is disciplined they throw the child down the well. The kids would cry hysterically as soon as Jim would tell them they’d have to go visit Bigfoot. We’d hear them scream all the way there, and all the time they had to be down in the well, and by the time they got back they were begging for mercy. It was really awful. Some young people were forced to eat hot peppers or even have hot peppers put up their rectums as disciplines.”(60)

Obedience training, Newspeak, Crimestop, Doublethink, Reality Control, Emotional Control, sexual control, surveillance, hard work on starvation diets – the staples of the Orwellian Mind Controller’s repertoire – were adapted and put into effective operation by Jim Jones in his attempt to demonstrate total behavior modification beyond anything that MK-ULTRA had ever achieved. Jones succeeded in his perverted mind control “experiment” by creating a mass mentality of the Manchurian Candidate that killed the Enemy on demand… only here the Enemy was one’s children, one’s parents, one’s mate, one’s friends, and even one’s self!

I believe that Orwell would not have been pleased to see his warning about the dangers of a totalitarian state acted out by a latter day disciple in the jungles of Guyana, and then subsequently reenacted by destructive cult leaders in many other countries, as in Japan, Canada, Switzerland, the United States, and Uganda, all extracting the ultimate sacrifice for the cause of domination of free will, of individuality, of critical thought, and the spirit of independence.

We have seen the enemy of Orwell and the enemy of Jones, and ‘That Enemy is US.” We will go down as they did, if we do not learn from the lessons of the past to oppose tyranny at its first signs, and to be vigilant in cutting through political rhetoric and semantic distortions by all those with any power to control communication media and educational systems. Despots and dictators, whether demonic or benevolent, demean human nature and defile the human connection.

In defying Big Brother, we assert our community with all those who value freedom over security, who would die for liberty rather than live a life of mindless obedience to unjust authority. Instead, we will choose to aim high collectively in becoming “Everyday Heroes in Training,” whose mission is to stand up, speak out, and taking wise and effective action to oppose evil and to nurture goodness.

Description of my personal contacts, counseling, and learning from several Jonestown survivors.

I’ve been fortunate to have had a number of very personal contacts with Jonestown survivors, Richard Clark and Diane Louie, as well as Debby Layton and her brother Larry Layton, and several others.

Let’s focus first on one of the few real Heroes of Jonestown. Richard Clark was a rather ordinary African-American man, uneducated, working in a tailor shop in Los Angeles before deciding to join Peoples Temple and voyage to Guyana.  Richard entertained fantasies of his new life in Utopia, having heard inviting tape recordings and seen photos sent from people who were in the jungle compound. Little did he know that the recordings and photos were all lies that were dictated by Jones.

On the long and dangerous final boat trip into the Jonestown compound, Richard was imagining being greeted exuberantly by fellow members who would invite him to share in the abundance of tropical fruits and meats and more. Instead, he was met with grim-faced, sad-looking people, who immediately told him not to ask for any special food beyond what would be given to him, which was a kind of tasteless porridge. Then he was forced to listen to long tirades by Jones over loudspeakers everywhere, proclaiming how lucky and fortunate they were to live in this Socialist Paradise that he had created, as if it were a new version of the Garden of Eden.

Richard was having none of those blatant lies. He discovered that a job nobody wanted was working in the piggery on the outskirts of the main compound, because it smelled so terrible. He accepted the bad odor and mess of the pigsty over forced labor in the fields and constant bombardment by Jones’ tirades.

Richard had connected with Diane Louie, who also immediately grasped the nightmare everyone in Jonestown was living but not ever openly discussing. Together they began planning an escape when the time was ripe. Every day, Richard explored paths out of the jungle to try to find a highway to freedom. But when and how would their escape plan materialize?

The original plan was to leave the evening of November 17th, but on that day, Richard postponed its implementation until the following morning. It would be easier to get out then, he reasoned, because there would be so many distractions with Congressman Ryan’s presence. He got word to his group that they would pretend to go on a picnic.

There were nine people who left Jonestown: Richard Clark, Diane Louie, Leslie Wagner-Wilson and her three-year-son Jakari, and Julius and Sandra Evans with their three daughters. Because Leslie Wagner-Wilson was married to Joe Wilson – one of Jim Jones’ most trusted lieutenants in Jonestown – she had to be voted in by the rest of the group. The group met two additional men – Johnny Franklin and Robert Paul – later on in the jungle, to bring the total count in the group to 11 Jonestown residents who escaped to safety. (Leslie Wagner-Wilson provided the answer for me. More information about her experiences in Jonestown can be found at her website.)

After Richard and Diane came to San Francisco, I offered them guidance and counsel, found an apartment for them, and arranged for them to be paid guest speakers in my Stanford course on the psychology of mind control.

My second hero is the central whistleblower, Debbie Layton, who exposed the truths about Peoples Temple and Jones’ treacheries, as well as all of his illegal activities, to government officials in Washington, D.C., and to all of the many Concerned Relatives who had not been able to communicate with their Temple family members.

Debby joined her mother as a teen when Peoples Temple moved to Ukiah, California. There, Jones immediately seduced her. She and another woman soon became trusted insiders, both of whom regularly transported huge sums of Temple money to international banks in Switzerland and in the Bahamas. She was not able to tell her plans of defection with her ill mother for fear of being discovered and then tortured and constrained forever. Debby has documented the story of “life and death in the Peoples Temple” in her fascinating book, Seductive Poison (1998).

When Jones realized the “treachery” of Debby’s escape – even though her sick mother remained there – he immediately summoned her brother, Larry to come to Jonestown as “ransom.” Everyone in Peoples Temple viewed Larry as a weakling and as Jones’ pawn.

On the morning Rep. Ryan planned to depart along with the film crew and more than a dozen defectors, Larry’s wife told him that he was to become a Jonestown hero by assuring that no traitors and enemies left the Port Kaituma airstrip alive. However, when the congressional entourage arrived at the airstrip, he realized there were two planes, thereby halving his chances at success. Moreover, he was assigned to the smaller plane in which five members of the Parks family had already boarded. Moments later, as the sound of gunfire erupted on the airstrip, Larry drew his revolver and began to fire wildly. He wounded two defectors before being overpowered by a third and held until his arrest. When the shooting was over, there were five dead on the airstrip tarmac – Ryan, three reporters, and a Temple defector – and nine wounded

Larry was subsequently arrested and charged with attempted murder. I visited him in jail, gave advice and counsel, and offered expert testimony regarding the degree to which his felonious action was in large past a product of his extended period of being under the influence of extreme mind control.

Charles Garry’s involvement

Charles Garry was a well-known San Francisco criminal lawyer who defended minority clients and socialist causes. He also served as Jones’ lawyer for a couple of years. The likely attraction for Jones to Garry was Garry’s association with the Black Panthers. Shortly after visiting Jonestown in 1977, lawyer Charles Garry told a press conference in San Francisco, “I went to Jonestown. I have been in Paradise” (November 10, 1977).

Why was Garry in Jonestown that fatal week? The common understanding is that Garry was furious when he learned that Mark Lane had also been hired as Jones’ attorney – Garry considered Lane a dilettante – and wanted to call Jones over a phone patch from SF to Jonestown to tender his resignation. Garry’s paralegal, Pat Richartz, told her boss he owed Jones a face-to-face meeting if he in fact was going to leave, and Garry agreed to go down. It just so happened, then, that the flight that Garry took down, not only had Ryan and the Concerned Relatives on it, but also his nemesis, Mark Lane.

When Ryan left Jonestown with the members of the media and numerous defectors, Garry and Lane remained behind in Jonestown to work out more defections. Indeed, it is the contention of Jonestown historian Fielding McGehee that Jones confused Charles Garry with Richard Dwyer in the infamous death tape, and when he shouts, “Get Dwyer out of here?… I said, Dwyer,” he is actually referring to Garry.

As the murders and suicides began, the two lawyers were escorted to the East House, from which the men later made their escape. Lane’s version of these events are contained in a 49-page diary which he kept and which was released in 2017 under the Freedom of Information Act.

Conclusion: Who was that “Masked Man” Jim Jones?

As I mentioned at the outset of this article, Jim Jones remains an amazing enigma in many ways. He became the Devil incarnate, creating incredibly evil destructive scenarios, but was still deeply loved by many of his followers as their Father, as their God on earth. His sermons at Peoples Temple in San Francisco became legendary, attracting many famous locals and even notable visitors, such as Rosalynn Carter, President Jimmy Carter’s wife. Mayor George Moscone admired his talents for organizing large teams for various public events, such as appearing at the dedication of an anti-suicide initiative at the Golden Gate Bridge, and advocating a pro-life way of thinking: it’s a rather amazing paradox, considering that Jones later orchestrated one of the largest mass suicides in history. Another opportunity for Jones to be a do-gooder came when Moscone appointed him as head of the city’s housing commission. Many insiders believed that could have been the start of Jones’ rise in the local political scene.

However, investigative reporters soon uncovered much information about Jones’ ugly side. Defectors were reporting his abuses, illegal activities, and plans to move his tribe to a safe zone beyond any interference from American justice.

Nevertheless, Jones had his defenders. Famous local columnist Herb Caen wrote in his daily column that, “after long investigation, District Attorney Joe Fretias has no plans whatever to prosecute him. So why does Rev. Jim Jones continue to live in Guyana?” (November 18, 1977). Earlier, on August 15, 1977, Newsweek carried a full-page article about the bizarre practices of Jones and his strange church. But curiously, Herb Caen cooled the public fires by noting that, “whereas Peoples Temple is 80% black, 90% of those making the wild charges are white” (August 18, 1977, italics added for emphasis).

And so the confusion and obscuration of why Jones suddenly departed from cosmopolitan San Francisco to lead his large flock to live in a jungle in Guyana remained a public mystery.

The final unsolved mystery is who was the person, the murderer, the avenger, who shot Jim Jones in his head at close range? Was Jones the last individual to die as part of his mass suicide/ murder drill on that fateful night, or did his killer then commit suicide, or perhaps did the killer escape into the jungle, forever an unknown figure?

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Zimbardo, P. G. (1970). “The human choice: Individuation, reason, and order versus deindividuation, impulse, and chaos.” In W. J. Arnold & D. Levine (Eds.), 1969 Nebraska Symposium on Motivation (Vol. 27, pp. 237-307). Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.

Zimbardo, P. G. (1973). “A field experiment in auto shaping.” In C. Ward (Ed.), Vandalism(pp. 85-990). London: The Architectural Press.

Zimbardo, P. G., Haney, C., Banks, W. C., & Jaffe. (1973, April 8). “The mind is a form a formidable jailer: A Pirandellian prison.” New York Times Magazine, pp. 36 ff.

Zimbardo, P. G. (1983). “Mind control: Political fiction and psychological reality.” In P. Stansky (Ed.), On Nineteen Eighty-Four(pp. 197-221). Stanford, CA: The Portable Stanford.

Zimbardo, P. G., & Leippe, M. (1991). The psychology of attitude change and social influence. N.Y.: McGraw-Hill.

Zimbardo, P. G., Maslach, C., & Haney, C. (2000). “Reflections on the Stanford Prison Experiment: Genesis, transformations, consequences.” In T. Blass (Ed.), Obedience to authority: Current perspectives on the Milgram paradigm (pp. 193-237). Mahwah, New Jersey: Erlbaum.

Zimbardo, P. G. (2007).  The Lucifer Effect. Understanding how good people turn evil. New York: Random House.

(Dr. Philip G. Zimbardo is a professor emeritus of Psychology at Stanford University. His previous articles in the jonestown report are here. Also see his website: He may be reached at