I have long wanted to explore Jonestown and all of the suicide deaths by cyanide poisoning, but have been put off by the massive undertaking, the complexity and surprises that await. I have two prior projects behind me:
With John Denver’s fake death I was a rookie, and so spent tons of hours in the summer and fall of 2016 putting together all of the data. I was unsure of myself and wanted to nail it. Did I? I am not the jury, but for myself concluded, both with my own writing and research and excellent help in the comments, that the death was fake and (say with 60% possibility) that Denver, whose real name is unknown, decided to live out his life in New Zealand near his adopted daughter. When I presented it, it was a completed package, 7500 words, and comments that followed were intriguing. Not mentioned there, I suspect he and Annie are still a couple.
With Columbine I was cocky and let go with a seven part series, sure at the beginning that I knew where it would all lead. Indeed I concluded the event was a hoax, but I learned so much on the journey that I was forced to do a major rewrite to eliminate mistakes in the early work. As always, comments were useful, making it a group effort.
While vacationing in Europe, I read the Wikipedia accounts of the life of Jim Jones and Jonestown. There are leaps of logic, inconsistencies. It looks very suspicious. But I do not want to go underground, as I did with Denver, or make embarrassing public mistakes as I did with Columbine.
So I thought I would try a new approach, an experiment. Let’s crowd source this. I will put up the basic information in chronological order, maybe in five or six parts. I am not a stenographer. I will offer opinions and insight, but will rely on readers to review the material and as with John Denver, offer insight, seeing things I do not, offering expertise I do not have. Together we will piece it all together. I will try to keep it in manageable segments.
Maarten has follow-ups to his snake oil work, and Annette is going to open up a brand new entry point for us, the effects of prescribed pharmaceutical drugs, which will be a series. I will try to intersperse my Jonestown work among their pieces. I think the blog will be lively.
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