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Peoples Temple Collection; Box 7, Virtual item 12, Q051 Part 1- White Night in Jonestown (March 20, 1978, continued from Q 833)

 Digital Record
Identifier: ms-0183_08.51 Part 1


  • Digitized: 03/20/1978


Summary Note

In connection with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) investigation into the assassination of U.S. Congressman LEO J. RYAN at Port Kaituma, Guyana, South America, on November 18, 1978, a tape recording was obtained. This tape recording was located in Jonestown, Guyana, South America, and was turned over to U.S. Officials in Guyana and subsequently transported to the United States. On June 26, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B60-5. This tape was found to contain the following: The entire tape has a background recording. With Side A it sounds like a recording recorded at a faster speed and the last half of Side B sounds like a very faint recording at the same speed. This is a night meeting concerning security at the location. JONES is attempting to identify two members who have violated rules. One stating she may not come back from town and a male attempting to send a message without censor by security group. He threatened a slow agonizing death if they didn’t confess and, after a sound like a gunshot, stated the device fired only one shot. He also stated it did not fire the first time but he willed it to fire on the second try and it would blow a hold the size of a bathtub in a person and with other devices they could defend themselves. The two people were identified and critized [sic] extensively, particularly Reverend MOORE (phonetic), responsible for the attempted message. BEN BEARD (phonetic), white male, was also questioned. JONES also stated the group threatened mass suicide several times to obtain their wishes with the government. He also stated Michigan State University was a CIA front group, the U.S. government was attempting to alter genes to produce non-thinking workers, etc. The tape begins in the midst of a discussion about rooting out a traitor or an enemy, either within or outside the Jonestown community. Most of the tape, though, is a long session with an elderly member, Rev. Edward Moore, on the floor over letters and communications he tried to smuggle out to his daughter. He tries several responses – a calm and rational explanation for his action, an acknowledgment that he wasn't thinking, an attempt to say he couldn't remember why he had approached one member to get a letter out, an attempt to ask questions of clarification, several apologies – and every time, he is attacked, sometimes by Jones, principally by Jack Beam acting in the role of Jones, as he leads the community criticism of him. With the silent acquiescence of Jones, people pile on him, rehashing seemingly innocent incidents from months before. Moore doesn't break down, except to offer apologies, but neither is he defiant. Full summary of the recording available at Alternative Considerations of Jonestown website, along with the tape transcript.

Rights Statement Note

The copyright interests in these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections is such that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine.  Requests for permission to publish must be submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. When granted, permission is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish. Materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.

Physical Description Note

Original audio cassette tape recording digitized and made available as .mp3 audio file.

Publisher Note

Publisher: The Jonestown Institute

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

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