Listen: Jim Jones Jones, Congressman Leo Ryan, Congressman discussed on Today in True Crime
"Today we're covering during the tragic fallout of Congressman. Leo Ryan's investigation of the Peoples Temple cult. A mass suicide of over nine hundred people call now. Let's go back to the compound in Jonestown Guyana on November Eighteenth nineteen seventy eight a little after four four in the afternoon. Jim Jones perched on his throne ruminating. The pavilion was almost empty. His vassals were busy toiling in the fields working to please him but like all great things things Jones's rule was coming to an end he'd seen the harbingers of destruction looming for years and with the latest bloody he confrontation Jones knew that the end was nigh. The most recent sign of trouble was Congressman Leo Ryan and he'd shown up the day before asking dangerous questions and probing into matters that were none of his business. He'd left Jones with no. Oh choice no choice at all but to eliminate him it was the only way to ward off enemies. He's Jones had always known the world didn't understand his greatness instead everyone wanted to destroy him from the. US government to the mainstream media to spies in his midst Congressman Ryan pretended he cared about the people here but Jones new new better Ryan was nothing but a snake and he'd paid with his life of that Jones was certain although he he hadn't yet received confirmation that Ryan was dead less than an hour earlier. Jones had sent a small team of assassins to ensure that congressman. Leo Ryan Never Left Guyana Alive. The murder would by Jones a few hours. Maybe even dare To to do what needed to be done but it was only a matter of time before the next adversary appeared and the next one after that the cycle would never end Jones's dream of a Utopian society with himself as its leader was dead. All all he could do now was ensure that he went out on his own terms. He wouldn't give his enemies the satisfaction of destroying him so he quietly quietly gave orders to his most trusted associates that they should start mixing flavor aid with the other special ingredients. It took less less than an hour before the brew was ready when the time was right. Jones rose from his throne and call his more than nine nine hundred followers including nearly three hundred children together. They crowded so close around. He couldn't even see. See everyone at the outskirts of the pavilion armed. Guards patrolled. He'd rehearsed for this before numerous times times over the past few months. He gauged his people's loyalties by telling them their drink was poisoned and then seeing who'd swallow anyway away. Those times the poison wasn't real. Those who drank had lived and Jones made careful note of who had refused used today. The armed guards would ensure that nobody defied him. Once Jones was certain that he had the crowd's attention and he began to speak saying. I've tried my best to give you a good life in spite of all that. I've tried a handful. All of our people with their lies have made our life impossible. There's no way to detach ourselves from what's happened today. In the fear and there is was palpable. A few people cried out but Jones knew they needed to hear he continued continued. My opinion is that you be kind to children and be kind to seniors and take the potion like they used to take in ancient agent Greece and step over quietly because we're not committing suicide. It's a Revolutionary Act. We can't go go back. They won't leave us alone. They're now going back to tell more lies. Which means more congressman? And there's no way by no way we can survive. As Jones finished his announcement. A few loyal assistants produced the prepared materials. He had ample flavor aid laced with cyanide and other sedatives and syringes to force feed unwilling sacrifices. Those those would be best for the children. Luckily the most loyal followers queued up with little prompting Jones nodded in approval as has the servers poured tiny paper cups of death up next. We'll explore the aftermath breath of the mass suicide at Jonestown. Now back to the story on November Eighteenth nineteen seventy eight paranoid loyd cult leader. Jim Jones ordered his nine hundred followers to kill themselves by drinking an off. Brand kool-aid beverage called flavor aid aid laced with cyanide. The mass suicide at the People's Temple was at the time the deadliest civilian tragedy outside of a natural disaster in United States history. The seeds of doom were planted in the mid nineteen fifties. That was when Jim Jones in his twenties. Founded the People's Temple occult he claimed was committed to social justice and racial and economic equality. Initially his messaging focused on peace communal living and philanthropy. The Peoples Temple was viewed as harmless even admirable Jones became a minor celebrity rubbing elbows with San Francisco Mayor George Mosconi California Governor Jerry Brown and Pulitzer Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Herb. Cain but everything started to change in nineteen seventy seven when a new West magazine expose. They claimed that children in the cult were being abused. Authorities were never able to launch a formal investigation as Jones fled the country and relocated all of his followers to Guyana South America. Although they'd found a new home Jones's followers were still United States citizens and there were plenty of rumors swirling about what crimes might be occurring in Jonestown in November of Nineteen Seventy eight congressman and Leo Ryan Prompted by complaints from the families of cult members traveled to Guyana to investigate living conditions within the People's Temple Initially Ryan saw nothing to be concerned about. He was given a tour and served a filling meal. The residents of the Peoples Temple seemed happy to serve served. Jones Ryan was almost ready to conclude that there was nothing nefarious to the cult. That is until that night November seventeenth eighteenth. When a small group of Peoples Temple members secretly contacted Ryan to reveal? They were being held prisoner. They begged Ryan to return them to the states but Jones somehow learned of their defection and he couldn't stand to be double crossed between four and five five. PM On November. Eighteenth nineteen seventy eight. Leo Ryan a small contingent of reporters and one female people's Temple less KP. We're about to board a plane back. Home assassins ambushed the tarmac killing Ryan and the escaping cult member birth. The murderers were acting on the orders of the head of the Peoples Temple. Jim Jones Jones had grown deeply Lee paranoid. He feared that agents within the government and the press were out to destroy him and congressman. Leo Ryan's investigation. Only seemed seemed to confirm his suspicions after he eliminated the congressman. He decided that he and the entire Peoples Temple would go out in a blaze of glory. Jones addressed his followers then ordered them all to drink flavor aid laced with cyanide. Those those who refused were either injected with poison or force fed the deadly concoction through droppers. Jones killed himself as as well with a self inflicted gunshot to the head when investigators reached the temples grounds. A few hours later they found men. Women and children piled up already rotting in the hot tropical sun at the time. The mass suicide at the People's Temple was one of the greatest civilian tragedies in all of United States history the deaths became iconic and raised public awareness of just how dangerous cults and they're narcissistic leaders could be the tragedy not marked not only the loss of nearly one thousand lives but also of Nations Innocence Jim Jones's dream of racial equality and Utopian communes ended in terror and murder as the people's temple self-destructed. The world was left after a bit darker a bit sadder and a bit more cynical. Thanks for listening today. Okay and true crime. I'm Vanessa Richardson to learn more about the people's Temple and Jonestown. Be sure to check out our episodes of cults that take a deeper dive today in true. Crime is a podcast original. You can find more episodes of today and true crime and all other parkas originals for free on spotify not only does spotify already. Have all of your favorite music but now spotify is making it easy for you to enjoy all of your favorite podcast originals. Like today in true crime. I'm for free from your phone. Desktop or smart speaker to stream today in true crime on spotify. Just open the APP and type today in true crime in the search bar at podcast. We're grateful for you our listeners. You allow us to do what we love. Let us know how we're doing reach out on facebook and Instagram at podcast and twitter at podcast network. We'll be back with a brand new episode tomorrow in True Crime. Today in. True crime was created. Ed by Max Cutler is a production of cutler media and is part of the podcast network it is produced by Max and Ron Cutler. Sound design by Andy Weights with production production assistance. By Ron Shapiro Hall Mahler and Freddie Beckley this episode of today's true crime was written by Angela. Jorgensen I'm Vanessa Richardson.."