I try to keep DOL (semi) light hearted with sports, music, pop culture, and failures of my personal life. Whether or not it is actually funny remains to be seen, but that is the goal. That being said this topic isn't really funny at all, but has infatuated me for like 2 years and as a history guy I think people need to know the story.
November 18th is the anniversary of the Jonestown Massacre in Guyana. 38 years ago today on November, 18th 1978 over 900 members of the Peoples Temple Cult died in Jonestown, Guyana after drinking a cyanide-laced Kool-Aid type (not actually Kool-Aid). In the years since people still have the same question: "Why?" As history guy and even bigger conspiracy guy I've always been intrigued by weird events in history like this. People our parents age and older most likely know this story very well but I've noticed people my age and younger usually have no idea.
I don't want to go too in-depth in this but essentially this guy Jim Jones started a church in Indiana called "The Peoples Temple" in the 50's that accepted everybody, which in that time period was basically unheard of. You had whites and blacks worshipping together. Absolutely groundbreaking at the time, especially in Indiana. Jones preached a hybrid of Christianity and socialism.
After a few years he went out west to San Francisco because of criticism for his stances on integration and religion. Although a lot of the hate was because of his pro-integration views. People also felt like something was up with Jones and his message, they would ultimately be correct. In San Fran the Peoples Temple became heavily involved in the political scene. After a few more years in California, the Temple felt unwelcome again and moved to Guyana in South America to escape criticism and investigation from the authorities to create their own "Utopia". However Jonestown would be anything but that. People had almost no ties to the outside world and despite what they may have said, were not allowed to leave. After a little over a year with many people worried about their family members in Guyana because of the cult like writing on the wall, congressmen Leo Ryan and his team went down to visit Guyana to see what Jonestown was all about.
The first night in Jonestown there was a party like atmosphere as the congressman and his team felt welcomed and even at times praised Jones and what he had built. Then during the night a member of the Peoples Temple slipped the congressman a note saying that he wanted to leave, and that people were being held against their will. It was later found out that the whole party had been planned to make it seem like things were a lot better than they appeared at Jonestown.
Jim Jones found out and snapped. The next day when the congressman and his team tried to leave they were met by bullets on the airstrip. Jones was terrified that the media would find out what was going on in Guyana. Leo Ryan was shot dead along with 4 others.
Then back in Jonestown, Jim Jones told his followers they were going to come together in a "Revolutionary Suicide" where they would all poison themselves with a cyanide-laced Kool-Aid like drink. It was actually not Kool-Aid but a knockoff called "flavor-aid" however when the news broke in the U.S. they kept calling it Kool-Aid which led to the creation of the figure of speech "Drinking the Kool-Aid" (whose definition you can read here taken straight from my friends at wikipedia) "is a figure of speech commonly used in the United States of America that refers to any person or group who knowingly goes along with a doomed or dangerous idea because of peer pressure. The phrase oftentimes carries a negative connotation when applied to an individual or group. It can also be used ironically or humorously to refer to accepting an idea or changing a preference due to popularity, peer pressure, or persuasion. Educational leaders commonly use this phrase when attempting to describe the "buy-in" of new initiatives"
Over 900 people died in the Massacre at Jonestown. Some took the Kool-Aid willingly while many did not. What actually happened that day and leading up to it has been heavily debated for decades. Of the 900+ people nearly 1/3 were children. It's a horrible sometimes , forgotten moment in American history that also gave us a figure of speech that I bet many people use without actually knowing where it comes from. Well now thanks to DOL, you do.
That was wayyyyyy too heavy for DOL but I saw a documentary on this last summer and became obsessed with it for like 2 months. I did a ton of research because I was so infatuated with the topic. Why did all these people leave the U.S.? How could they not tell that Jones was batshit crazy? Idk but I'm gonna have to write about 50 happy, funny blogs to cleanse the pallet after this one.
Oh if you are interested in the topic here is one of the very informative documentaries on the topic.
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