Did Jim Jones have tattoos?

No. The last line of Jim Jones’ physical description in his autopsy report states “No tattoos or scars are identified.”

The real question is, what is the source of the rumor that Jones had tattoos? It has been around almost before the last body was removed from Jonestown, first noted in Hold Hands and Die!, an instant paperback by John Maguire and cited in John Judge’s The Black Hole of Guyana. At this point, it falls into the realm of common knowledge – it’s true, even if we don’t know the source, and even if we don’t have a means to refute – as shown in some online discussions on the subject:

Jim Jones’ own suicide also leaves some unanswered questions. His body didn’t reveal his tattoos in the photographs. His fingerprints were checked twice. His dental records were not checked. Jones was known to use doubles.

Another strange thing about Jonestown was Jim Jones’ corpse. The Peoples Temple leader was known to have tattoos all over his chest. Yet the photos of his corpse found after his supposed suicide shows a chest free of tattoos. … I recall watching something on TV many years ago on this. They said to the effect that Jim had a twin brother.

The body identified as Jim Jones did not have Jones’ chest tattoos…it is reported that the corpse did not have Jones’ distinctive chest tattoos.

Ironically, the dead may not have included Jim Jones himself. The body alleged to be his didn’t show his tattoos in the photographs. Fingerprints had to be checked twice, and his dental records were never looked at. He was known to use doubles.

 

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