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Jonestown Massacre

Jones had time and time again warned his flock that the day would come when the American CIA would invade the sanctuary they had fashioned far from their homeland. Several times a month, the residents of Jonestown would respond to their leader's call to practice a form of ritual mass suicide he promised would result in their reincarnation. He also said that when they returned, they would rule the world. His devout followers obeyed outrageous dictates as if they were in a hypnotic trance.

Sometimes, when Jones' followers partook of the fruity-tasting brew meant to take their lives, they would sleep for a while, but did not die. A sedative had been used during the "rehearsals" in place of the cyanide that Jones had standing by for the real show. Saturday, November 18, 1978 was not another dress rehearsal. Instead, it represented the final act of Jones' bizarre play. In fact, it was the sole performance, played out by many unwilling, but mostly cooperative members of this huge cast.

The play was destined to open and close this night, the lives of the actors ended by the ingestion of a deadly poison instead of the sedative used during dress rehearsals. The play was to be remembered though; painfully remembered by those who knew and loved the cast and would miss them; curiously remembered by those who became intrigued, puzzled and shocked when they heard news of the event; and hauntingly remembered by those who cleaned up the theater after the final act. I was one of the latter.



Praise for The Ghosts of November

Rebecca Moore, Professor of Religion, University of North Dakota, Author of five books on the Peoples Temple & Jonestown, Family member of two sisters and a nephew who perished in Jonestown : "I would actually like to use your Chapter 7 in a class on Death & Dying that I teach... your chapter would be helpful in humanizing the people who do that sort of task (recovering remains)... There's a lot of drama, adventure, pathos, humor and humanity in the story you tell."

Robert Sterling, Editor of THE KONFORMIST and author of "The Jonestown Genocide" : "This book is a vital document to be read by all who are interested in the horror and mystery hidden within the jungle of Guyana. An eyewitness account of events as they were viewed by a participant in the clean-up operation, THE GHOSTS OF NOVEMBER is a long overdue journal on the Jonestown mass deaths. The rotting stench from Guyana hasn't gone away after 20 years: this book is as timely as ever."


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