Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I think it was last year, but maybe it was the year before that I stumbled onto a documentary on Jonestown. I'd forgotten all about it.

I know crazy suicidal religious cults seem a dime a dozen these days, but Jonestown was my first experience of this particular lunacy. I remember the following days in school the whole thing was as much a source of humor as horror to us teenage boys. Just the shout of "Hey, Kool Aid" was enough to start you off laughing.

Anyway, as I watched that documentary on Jonestown I remember how surprised I was that over 900 people had died that day, November 18, 1978. I guess I thought the number was in the 150 or so range. It seemed a lot more horrific to me as an adult than it had when I was 14.

Tim Reiterman's eye-witness account is worth reading.