tv Witness to Jonestown MSNBC December 30, 2013 8:00pm-10:01pm PST
when the plane first banked over jonestown, it looked like a quilt, and we didn't know what we were seeing until someone in the cockpit said, "those are bodies." >> die with a degree of dignity, lay down your life with dignity. don't lay down with fears and agony. >> you could actually smell the death in the airplane.
the side vent window was open. we could actually smell it. >> don't lay down with tears and agony. it's nothing to death, just stepping over into another plane. >> like strange fallen fruit rotting in the tropical sun, more than 900 americans, men, women, and children in a group called people's temple lay dead in a city they built deep in the jungle of guyana. they had come to create a utopian community called jonestown until they drank the proverbial kool-aid. >> we didn't commit suicide. committed an act of revolutionary suicide protesting the inhumane conditions of the world. >> they took cyanide-laced fruit punch from their spiritual father, reverend jim jones, and then lay down to die. or so it seemed. >> i don't think it was revolutionary suicide.
i think it was totally unnecessary. absolutely unnecessary. >> assumption is, the premise is, that everybody voluntarily drank poison that day. and that is a lie, pure and simple. >> the massacre went beyond the jonestown gate. seven miles away, on a dirt airstrip, five more people, including a u.s. congressman and three newsmen, lay dead. murdered by gunmen from the temple. >> all of a sudden i heard pop, pop, pop, pop, and they were coming at us, and they were shooting people. >> never been before, and never since, a member of congress assassinated in the line of duty. he's the first and only one. >> three decades later, the madness of those few hours, the mayhem of mass murder and suicide, still defies comprehension. >> this wasn't some group of
zombies who followed a man down to the jungles of guyana and killed themselves. >> i've met people that have said, not me, i would never have been in a situation like that. i always say to them, and it's true, you know what? they were people just like you. same position in society. looked like you. that were there. ♪ we're a happy family yes we are ♪ >> 913 people died there. you know, and for every one of them there was a story. >> when i walked out of jonestown i made a promise to those people that were being murdered there that day that i would not ever forget what happened or forget their story.
>> the program normally seen at this time will be seen in its entirety following this special report from nbc news. here is nbc news correspondent, edwin newman. >> good evening. for the last 30 hours we here at nbc news in common with other news organizations have been trying to establish what happened last night at the airstrip at a place called port kaituma. that's 150 miles northwest of georgetown in guyana on the northern coast of south america. and trying to find out why it happened. we do have a particular interest. two nbc newsmen were shot to death there. they were in guyana with representative leo ryan. democrat of california. ryan was killed. >> i don't think that anyone was expecting physical trouble at that level, guns, weaponry, that sort of thing. i think everybody was surprised. >> i really think he thought he was a member of congress.
and there's a congressional shield of protection. we wouldn't think of doing that today without taking protection or security. >> congressman leo ryan had taken a news team and a group of concerned relatives to guyana for a look inside jonestown, where jim jones and his california people's temple had relocated under a dark and growing cloud of accusations. >> a lot of constituents had young children, young adolescent children and young adults who had become involved in the people's temple. and they were concerned about them. and a number of them came to congressman ryan and said, we think something is wrong. we feel that our kids have been taken over by this man. and there were reasons to be concerned. there were allegations that there was gun running. allegations of sexual abuse. lots of questions. >> we wanted to see for
ourselves. because we had been receiving conflicting accounts of what life was like in jonestown. you know, on one hand it was being cast as heaven on earth. and the other, hell. >> what began as a congressional investigation ended as a massacre. while 5 people lay murdered on the airstrip, 20 others scattered into the bush, and made it out alive. >> somehow one of the two aircraft that were to take out congressman ryan's party managed to get off. one of those aboard was nbc field producer bob flick. this was the account he gave. >> there were many shots. every time somebody would fall down wounded, they would walk over and shoot them in the head with a shotgun. >> bob was pretty traumatized. he watched his cameraman get killed. he watched his correspondent get
killed. he watched steve sung, who he thought was mortally wounded. when the shooting started he got out. he had survivor's remorse, survivor's guilt, how come i didn't die there. >> they waved the guyanese people out of the way and were only to kill americans, which is what they tried to do, to kill all the americans. >> ten other people, all americans, were wounded -- >> in those first frenzied hours, nbc had no way of knowing that they had buried the lead to one of the biggest stories of the decade. it took 13 minutes before the report even hinted at trouble inside jonestown itself. >> there have been reports of mass suicides in jonestown after the shootings at the airstrip. >> and then it took another week before the world knew the extent of all that had happened. >> they thought they only found 400 bodies. that's what the initial report
was. that meant there were still 500 or more people unaccounted for, that nobody knew where they were. and as far as anybody knew, they were out there marauding. >> no one knows how many people escaped the mass suicide by running into the jungle. one witness said about a dozen. others believe hundreds are out there. the government plans to fly over the jungle with a plane with a loudspeaker to tell them they can come out. that they are safe now. fred francis, nbc news, jonestown, guyana. >> and it was stunning. i was stunned. there can't be. there can't be that many dead. >> and then the real numbers started to come out. 700, 800, 900 dead. >> i had reported on the air that there was some 400 dead and all of a sudden, there were 800, 900 dead. and i couldn't believe i made that kind of mistake. then the army colonel showed me where i made the mistake.
that the bodies were five deep in the ravine behind the pavilion and we couldn't possibly have counted them. i mean, it was just unbelievable. i mean, here the world was looking at this group of americans who in the middle of guyana in a country no one had ever heard of before killing a congressman and taking cyanide because a congressman of the united states had come down to see what was going on. it was just more than i think anyone could have ever imagined. >> it was ruled from the start by a very sick man. ♪ >> a sweet man on some level. an incredibly charismatic man. a man that could get inside your head in an instant and find out exactly what was most important to you and tell you how he was going to give it to you. it's a rare person that's not sucked in by that. it's also a rare person who once they realized they've been sucked in can pull themselves
out and say, no, i'm out of this. >> they found themselves on the road to hell paved with good intentions. >> i did not move to guyana to die. it doesn't make sense. why would you move 8,000 miles to commit suicide? why would you clear 1,200 acres of triple canopy rain forest to commit suicide? which means it's never been easier to get a new 2014 jetta. it gets an impressive 34 highway mpg and comes with no charge scheduled maintenance. and right now you can drive one home for practically just your signature. sign. then drive. get zero due at signing, zero down zero deposit, and zero first month's payment on any new 2014 volkswagen. hurry, this offer ends january 2nd. visit vwdealer.com today
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to was in october of '69. everything was beautiful. black and white together. the songs that we sang and the things that we did. >> you saw every walk of life, every color in the rainbow, dressed in every color in the rainbow. just dancing it up to good gospel. black gospel music. ♪ singing glory hallelujah father lifted me ♪ >> just broke down all those barriers. >> people came because they either wanted to make a dramatic change in their lives or a dramatic change in the world, make the world better. >> i'm a vietnam vet. i had a lot of anger left over from vietnam. i wanted to change the country. i wanted to be part of the solution. when i walked into peoples temple i literally felt like i was home. i had known those people forever. that's how i felt.
i didn't know anything about the temple. i didn't know anything about jones. i didn't know anything about the politics. i just knew that those people reflected me. they were my brothers and sisters. it was the most alive place that i had ever been in. >> i had $20 to my name, and i was hitchhiking up between ukiah and redwood valley, where the temple was, and somebody picked me up who was a member of the temple and said if you're looking for a place to stay, a place to sleep, get some food, i've got the place for you. i belong to this wonderful church. they feed the hungry. they take care of the sick. and he said, furthermore, the person who runs this thing is god. >> some people see me as the representative of the i am. a jehovah.
some people see a great deal of god in my body. they see christ in me. a hope of glory. >> he said, if you see me as your father, i'll be your father. if you see me as your brother, i'll be your brother. if you see me as your savior, i'll be your savior. he said i could go further than that. if you see me as your god, i'll be your god. you look at him, okay, okay, god. >> that's beautiful. >> i wanted to believe in something. i really wanted to believe in something. and if i found the second coming of jesus christ or god, you know, that was wonderful. it was wonderful. >> if he wants faith healing, you want mysticism, come on in. if you're an academic and you want education, you want to hear it logically, come on in. if you're a socialist, if you're a revolutionary, if you're just outside of what's considered in the middle, come on in, we can
deal with that. everybody heard their message. >> jim jones was just 25 years old when he started peoples temple in indianapolis in 1956. as a lonely only child in a small indiana town, jimmy jones took comfort in religion and became something of an evangelical prodigy, entertaining friends in his backyard barn with long winded sermons and animal funerals. his indianapolis ministry aroused controversy with its integrated socially active congregation in a city with historic ties to the ku klux klan. >> i was staying at the ymca. i saw in a recorded paper, an advertisement about the peoples temple. he called me later and said why didn't you come back to the temple. i thought, no one -- no pastor ever asked me to come to temple before or why i wasn't in church. so i went back. he offered me to sit down in the
seat where he was sitting. at the table to eat. he said, you can have my seat. >> jones and his wife practiced what they preached. they had a biological son, stephan, and adopted an african-american baby they named jim junior. it was indianapolis' first adoption of a black child by a white family. >> he had this great family of all different colors. he had a wonderful wife. i loved his kids. i was enchanted by everything he had going. >> i really don't feel comfortable being photographed. i really don't. >> in 1965 jones moved his controversial flock to redwood valley in northern california. a place he had read about in "esquire" magazine was a safe haven from nuclear war. >> many of our homes were vandalized and we had been harassed and our lives threatened by our stand on integration. that's how we come to make a decision here. we started with about 141 people. and from that, we've grown to a
thriving congregation of 2,000. >> as temple membership grew amid california's emerging counterculture, so did its socialist vision. >> it was the end of the '60s, beginning of the '70s. people were looking for meaning in their life. >> it was a time for people to be talking about revolutions. it was a time of great dreams. it was post martin luther king. we were still holding on to that. >> those people who came in in the mid-'70s on, came into a political organization, a social movement that says, yes, we have a religious base, but we also have a revolutionary idea. and we're willing to promote that idea in the sense that we're going to have communes.
we'll live a socialist environment where everybody is equal. >> my older sister carolyn joined because she saw it as a political and social movement, which would effect radical change in the country. my younger sister annie wrote to me and said that peoples temple was the only place that she saw true apostolic christianity being practiced. so she saw it as a christian organization. >> i heard jones talk, and it's like, wow, he's saying a lot of what i believe in. spiritually, politically, in every way. this is something i could do where i felt that i was part of the solution, as opposed to part of the problem. >> seniors will be respected. children will be taught. young people will take on responsibilities. >> peoples temple had become more than a church, evolving into a communal way of life that demanded nearly total commitment of time, energy and money from its members.
in many cases the temple provided food and housing, especially for seniors. >> we were taking the widows and orphans in. we were taking folk that needed a place to stay. he felt that was the responsibility of us as a community to take care of our young people as well as have places for our seniors that they wouldn't be just thrown away to die in a rest home. we should have our own rest homes where we can have people in there 24 hours a day making sure they get quality care and love. >> i visited my sisters in redwood valley in 1974. and i have to say, it was pretty amazing. there were homes for people who had been released from the mental hospital. there were homes for senior citizens. there were huge vineyards. i visited a home for mentally retarded young men. >> jim jones and peoples temple seemed too good to be true, and they were. >> he had a lot to hide.
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they called him father. creator of a beautiful hard-working community of love and devotion. devotion to god, devotion to social justice, and above all, devotion to jones himself. >> if you wanted to see the part of dad that was so attractive to people, watch him. when he reached out to a black elderly woman and just wrapped her up in his arms and gave her a kiss, that was real. >> she heard of the community and made up her mind to get here at any cost. >> imagine being that black woman, who her whole life had
been a second-class citizen. he's making her everything in the world in that moment. imagine how attractive that is. >> he talks to you like you are the only person in the world. and he made it a point to talk to everyone, get to know everybody. he knew everybody on the project by name. he just seemed sincere, caring, and loving. >> jones' magnetic power reached beyond the personal and beyond preaching. >> there in the second row. you have a bad spinal condition? >> yes. >> miracle healing was essential in his ministry, and his mystery. >> step from your wheelchair. again, just step from your wheelchair. >> i think he could heal. i think he did heal people of cancer. not everybody who was in all the videos and everything. i think a lot of that was bogus.
but i do know that there were specific times it was absolutely true. and it wasn't a setup. and it wasn't for dramatics. it actually did happen. >> now, sister, walk briskly. walk. walk briskly. walk, walk. >> very few knew that this apparently healed newcomer was actually a temple member. >> my younger sister annie wrote letters about the faith healing and she saw them clearly as miracles. and she said as much. >> willa may conley. who's willa may conley? >> we had greeters at the front door. every time one entered the service they would take your name, supposedly for the mailing list. but lo and behold, the staff workers would take that same card -- >> did you once lose a loved one, i think the name is james? >> yes, that's my brother. >> they would go by people's
houses, sometimes look in trash cans, sometimes knock on the doors if they weren't there, sometimes they'd break a window and go in. >> he was 14 years of age and someone -- he was reading something and someone asked him what he had. >> so when that person came back to church, if they decided, they would use that person as one of his healing services. >> he didn't want to give it. >> yeah, he did. >> that -- that -- that person shot him to death. >> yes, he did! yes he did! >> i do not know you. you've told me or no one else the things i've mentioned. >> no, you sure haven't. >> basically, that was part of the setup to get people into the mode that he had some kind of extra special gift that no one else had. >> i didn't know the healings were phony. i believe in spiritual healing. i'm not the only person in the world who believes in that. a lot of people believe in spiritual healing.
>> now, where's your pain? >> i don't feel it. >> jones was determined to spread the miracle of his ministry and grow his congregation. every year and sometimes more, he and his followers boarded a fleet of temple buses and set out across the country to recruit new members. peoples temple established large new congregations in san francisco and in los angeles. a rural community of a few hundred now numbered into the thousands. >> as people started coming later on, they saw children in school, they saw heroin addicts getting off of heroin. they saw dope fiends and pimps changing their complete lifestyle around. they saw young people who were out there thugging, for lack of a better word, no longer doing
that. not only becoming members, but also becoming examples in their community, and it spread. >> as the numbers of faithful grew, jones and the temple became a potent and untouchable force in california politics. >> everybody was afraid to come out against him because they felt he had more power and more clout, and he did. park is the inside of your body. see, the special psyllium fiber in metamucil actually gels. and that gelling helps to lower some cholesterol. metamucil. 3 amazing benefits in 1 super fiber. welcome back. how is everything? there's nothing like being your own boss! and my customers are really liking your flat rate shipping. fedex one rate. really makes my life easier. maybe a promotion is in order. good news. i got a new title. and
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i'm veronica de la cruz. let's get you back to the program. jim jones' kingdom was spreading. beyond his footholds in redwood valley, san francisco and los angeles, jones negotiated the lease of nearly 4,000 acres of virgin jungle in the south american country of guyana. >> the beautiful promised land. see they made progress on the road and leveled it. >> he sent down a small advance crew from the temple to carve out a settlement they called jonestown. >> clearing it for five miles. going over the piggery now and the chicken area. also the grazing -- >> to wake up in jonestown was a breathtaking experience. it was just so overwhelmingly beautiful looking into the jungle. the sun rising, the howler monkeys calling from the jungle.
it was just beautiful. >> i fell totally in love with guyana. it's the most spectacular country. so when i got to go, i was delighted. >> it will be an egalitarian society. but there won't be this aggression that's here in the u.s. >> jonestown would be peoples temple's future. jones had these movies made to inspire the folks back home. >> every moment i could see the changes we were doing. i could see massive upgrading and rebuilding and developing. i would never have come back. >> it's beautiful. i can't -- i -- i've never been so totally happy or fulfilled in my life. i can't begin to describe it. you can sit here and talk all
day long, and no words could describe the peace, the beauty, the sense of accomplishment and responsibility and camaraderie that's here. that was from my heart. some of the most beautiful experiences i had in my life, i had in jonestown. the mission for me was, i saw -- literally, i saw my son and his children living there 50 years later. >> this is one of the many generators we purchased with our sweat and blood. this is our mill, which we are now making over $30 u.s. a day in sauces. we're doing it on handmade basis. containers going all over the place. couldn't go through the inventory. they've got kool-aid. cookies. >> jim talked about this being the promise land and how it was plentiful with fruit and everything. jim took us to build up the morale of the people who had been there for some time. so we go there. we were eating the fruit. we felt like we were in heaven. in a way.
in the states you didn't get that kind of food, necessarily. well, unbeknownst to me, they had to buy all that fruit. and i found out later there would be pictures of jim with his hand up holding, supposedly, like these are bananas. he was literally holding those bananas up there. they weren't growing on that tree. >> if jonestown was not yet a tropical paradise, jones was determined to one day make it the socialist utopia he dreamed and preached about. but for now home was san francisco. and by 1976, jones had made peoples temple a major player in local politics. >> if any movement in san francisco needed 100 bodies to show up for a demonstration, they'd just call peoples temple and the temple would send 500 people. >> peoples temple raced into the community with badly needed social services. all free.
jones had become a darling of san francisco politicians. >> you have managed to make the many persons associated with peoples temple part of a family. if you're in need of health care, you get health care. if you're in need of legal assistance of some sort, you get that. if you're in need of transportation, you get that. and that's the kind of religious thing that i'm excited about. >> in 1977, jones was honored with the annual martin luther king, jr. humanitarian award. mayor george moscone, whose narrow election was due in no small part to peoples temple support, repaid jones by appointing him to the housing commission. >> whenever jones would say the slightest thing, a short speech, a quick answer to a question, they would clap in a deafening way. just the whole meeting was stopped. i was trying to get some story of jones published. a story -- if only about his image and his kind of unusual style. it was hard to get anyone to go on the record and say, i got
questions about jones because jones was so routinely useful. and because he had so many, in a way, bills that he had accumulated. >> he had a lot to hide. he was faking the healings, you know. he had millions of dollars. secreted away in various accounts throughout the world. i mean, it's not a very pretty picture of jim jones. >> and then finally some ex-members said i hear you're trying to write about the church. i hear you have a lot of questions. here's what we think you should know. >> you better get your mouth talking. slide under the table, slide under the table. get to her. >> what he began finding out stood in stark contrast to their humanitarian image. he discovered systematic abuse unknown to the public. >> what do you suggest we do to this woman? >> there were a lot of beatings in the temple.
people who strayed from the path one way or the other or talked to an outsider or had a relationship with an outsider or something like that. >> you deserve what you're getting, sister. you deserve it all. >> or did something that was considered capitalistic. they would get beat in front of the church. >> i can remember jim laughing and his laughter, i don't know if you've heard his laughter on tape, but it's pretty scary. very sadistic. i just know that i would go to the furthest part of the church and i'd just go -- i'd just be scared to tears. my biggest thing is, i hope this never happens to me. >> you just couldn't get up and leave. people would drag you back in. there wasn't the choice of like walking out, saying this is intolerable or -- you didn't have that choice. >> i mean, i'm making a point and it better be heard. >> that was a thing he said he
needed to do in order to keep control of the group, and he said it was necessary. and he put it under the terminology of catharsis, this is what we need to do in order for discipline, to keep things straight. >> i believed that the ends justified the means. that was it. so if somebody has to get paddled 40 times on the bottom because we're going to have this great utopian society 100 years down the line, then so be it. that's what needs to be done. >> as temple defectors revealed one horror story after another to the reporter, the contrast with jones' humanitarian image defied belief. how do you know anyone is telling you the truth but if five or six people who seem logical, collected, have these important things to say? so i came to pretty much accept the sorts of things that they presented, which were totally at odds with the church's good guy image.
>> as the curtain lifted, the minister morphed into a monster. >> mother, mother, mother, mother, mother, please. lay down your life with your child. it's never been easier to get a new passat awarded j.d. power's most appealing midsize car, two years in a row. and right now you can drive one home for practically just your signature. get zero due at signing, zero down zero deposit, and zero first month's payment on any new 2014 volkswagen. hurry, this offer ends january 2nd. for details, visit vwdealer.com today before you settle for another ordinary mattress, isn't it time you discovered the sleep number bed? because only the sleep number bed offers dual air technology that lets two people find the perfect balance of comfort and support for their bodies. their sleep number setting. ok, right there. and only the sleep number bed is clinically proven to relieve back pain and improve sleep quality. oh that feels really good.
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think it was all foretold. the die had been cast years earlier with macabre tests of loyalty. >> i can remember we were in a planning commission meeting, and jim goes, "you know, i really love you, i'm going to let you guys drink wine. you don't think i love you." so we were all given this wine. it was from the ranch that the grapes had turned into, i guess, wine, whatever. jim said, "has everybody drank their wine?" some people said, "i don't want any." he said, "no, everybody's going to drink that." we all drank it. he said, "okay, has ever drank their wine?" we said yes. "okay, you all have ten minutes to live." so he handed the fruit juice around. he said that was poison because we need to commit revolutionary suicide. we needed to be totally
committed to this cause, period. and you can't be part way. you can't do it part way. >> it was told over and over again that we were going to be -- everybody was going to be killed. >> suicide drills and beatings became as much a part of the temple's internal life as social service was to its public face. devotion to jones had to be total. >> one of the very powerful things in the church was that you weren't really allowed to express how you really felt. it was like, i would be there and i would look around and i would think, am i the only one that feels this is bizarre or different or weird? >> everyone knew what the truth was. they knew that certain beatings were wrong. they knew that the suicide drills were nuts. and, yet, everybody made decisions, which they wouldn't have if they hadn't been part of it.
>> with the secret revelations he gathered in the summer of 1977, reporter marshall kilduth had the makings of a full blown expose. >> here i am with a new look at the church. ex-members had rough things to say about how the church treated its finances, how they recruited members. i went back and said i got a whole new story here. here's the deal. guy said, nope, i'm not interested. jones is doing good work. he doesn't need this kind of attacking. >> the truth of the matter is that the leadership of san francisco at the time wasn't going to touch it with a ten-foot pole because jim jones had become one of them. >> he was sitting on an explosive story with nowhere to tell it, until "new west" magazine grabbed hold of it. the article would shine fierce light into the temple's darkest shadows, and jones knew it. the walls would soon come
tumbling down, and he wasn't about to wait around for the crash. >> it came out. jim basically called people saying, "pack up your stuff, you're leaving today." people went out with one day's notice they were leaving the country forever. >> we knew we weren't coming back to the u.s. ever. ♪ >> by summer's end, hundreds of members had descended on jonestown, the jungle was now home to peoples temple. >> to jim the mass exodus to guyana was about running away. but to the people in the congregation, they thought they were going to the promised land. >> jonestown in a lot of ways offered people a whole fresh beginning. many people who really blossomed in jonestown could never have done it here.
>> but what many found was a far cry from what they had been led to expect. >> it would just seem so different than what we saw in the movies. the movies were so exciting. then especially when you got to your living quarters. the living quarters was totally different. you had a few other people in the living quarters that you thought you were going to be in by yourself. >> deep in the jungle with one dirt road in, jonestown was now jim jones' solitary kingdom. a heart of darkness far from the prying eyes of press and public. with each passing day, he became increasingly paranoid, ill, and addicted. >> my mother, i remember her coming to me and saying stephan, we have to isolate your father and get him off drugs. and i was there with his mother, and we both started laughing at the same time. my grandma jones and me. then i calmed -- because i knew mom was serious. and she really was desperate.
i said, mom, you don't tell god he's got a drug problem. >> remember, we are still in a state of siege. >> he had the old megaphone type speaker system throughout jonestown just about. and as he spoke, you could hear him. >> we are under the onslaught of a direct move of a mercenary fascist effort of the united states of america. i love you very much -- >> from 6:00 in the morning until 10:00 at night, we heard him. >> i'm trying on every level to protect this community. >> it was very disturbing. it was very disturbing. the constant sound of his voice. horrible. >> it certainly contributed to the feeling of oppression. that's how i took it. it's like shut up, dude. >> i want you to not at all times try to go out into the unknown areas now. >> and it was always america is going to fall. the armageddon is coming. >> i didn't come for the beauty.
i came to save you from jails, torture. a nuclear war which your skin will roll off your back. edge of the bush. soy come running in to this and i see somebody on the edge of the bush and i have a rifle. i'm running for cover. i'm thinking somebody's go ing to fire on us. >> we'd walk around sometime with a .45 in his hand because
he said the mysterious is in the bush. even though i heard saw anything. >> just because he was paranoid didn't mean people weren't after him and it drove the whole community in to the arms of his menace. >> i finally came to the conclusion if i die. i don't want to live like this. your eyes are amazing. look after them with centrum silver. multivitamins with lutein and vitamins a, c, and e to support healthy eyes and packed with key nutrients to support your heart and brain, too. centrum silver. for the most amazing parts of you. [ grunts softly ] [ ding ] i sense you've overpacked your stomach. try pepto to-go. it's pepto-bismol that fits in your pocket. relief
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believe. i mean if people out there don't believe me. that's their problem. okay. it's easy for someone to stay out there and say if it was my child, i would have never left. i'm a mother and i would have never left my child. it took me four years to gather the courage to leave. the key was this -- jim told us if we ever left that we would be killed. i had a woman put a gun in my face and told me she would personally take care of me and i said i'm willing to make this decision for myself. i'm not willing to make it for my son. when i left it was a hard trying time. i would say it took me maybe six years -- excuse me six months to recollect where i was at who i was and what i had done. as soon as i snapped out of that and got my senses together i
said to myself, hey, i'm get ing johnstone out of there. no matter what i have to do. >> i said jim is going to have to kill me to stop me from trying to get my son back. >> reporter: the custody battle reached all the way to guyana. jim jones claimed the boy was rightfully his. 5,000 miles from california, he wasn't about to give him up ever. >> my decision is that i will personally see that john does not suffer or be made a pawn to go back. that he be deprogram ed and his mind be taken by you for the evil means and whatever chemicals. they are not going to use him as a pawn. >> reporter: conflicting documents raised questions as to who really feared little johnstone. his birth certificate listed the
father as tim stone. grace's former his baend a top jones lieutenant before he too defected from the temple. another document indicated that jim jones was the father. >> i'm thoold tim jones signed a paper that said he is not the father of your son. >> right. >> how can that be? >> everybody signed those kind of papers. i have here affidavits i have friends that have left the church three years ago that have signed all kinds of different papers. we were forced to sign this. >> they would have you to sign documents, right pieces of notebook paper, typing paper and they would write it out, i threatened to kill president nixon and they want you to sign it don't date it. just sign it. >> like my attorney. when i told him all the papers i
signed and the blank papers i signed he couldn't believe it. he screamed at me how can you do something to stupid. i said you would be in a room with 120 peers around you and that everyone is going to sign a piece of paper and you are not going to sign it. would you do that that you would know i you would not leave that room beaten and/or dead. >> i'd like to kill stone. i'll go do it now. >> grace and tim stone topped the temple's enemy list. >> tie a rope around grace's titty and let her drown. he is 6 years old and that imaginative. >> she wouldn't like that. >> reporter: the stones joined a group called themselves concerned relatives. before long it's relatives would go to guyana to reclaim
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it was the day jim jones would later say he died. his 47th birthday, may 13, 1978. >> i was out in the pineapple fields at this time working with a group. i heard this loud sound and it said, alert! alert! alert! alert! alert! went out over the loud speakers and folks are just heading for this pavilion. >> a defection was about to shake jonestown to its core. deborah leyton blakey, 25-year-old member of the temple's innermost circle, had escaped from guyana and she was going public.
>> took me six weeks to plan it. i told nobody. not even the embassy until the day i was going to leave because you can't trust anybody at that point. >> he said she's going to spread lies and next thing you know the fbi, cia and all of them will be in here on us and oh my god, they will treat us worse than the jews in the concentration camp. >> jim had a pathological obsession with anybody being taken away from his fold. it made him completely crazy. so when debbie defected she brought jim to a new place of complete and total paranoia. >> blaky had sworn an 11-page affidavit testifying to temple abuses and took it to the press. >> she was alleging very serious things about conditions in
jonestown about guns in jonestown and mass suicide rehearsals. that was taking the story to another level. >> everyone stood in a line went up and drank this red -- this red -- it taib tasted like -- what's the drink little children drink but you have to put a lot of sugar in it first. >> kool-aid. >> kool-aid without sugar. it had a horrible taste initially and you think maybe there is something in there. people would get the drink and get on the other side. >> you are telling me this man took 1100 people and gath erred them together. >> he does every day. >> and he said drink this poison. >> yep. >> and they drank it? >> that's right.
>> you drank it? >> yeah. >> that story was with what kind of got a lot of the families of the members really alarmed. they were concerned about this kind of borderline mad stuff that really got people concerned back here. >> we wanted to see for ourselves because we had been hearing accounts of what life was like in jonestown. >> california congressman leo ryan was one of those following the story with an intense personal interest. >> he he was a larger than life character he had spent time in
prison to see the conditions firsthand. >> he had this unquenchable desire to seek truth out. and if someone said everything's okay, it was reason for him to say everything isn't okay. >> so he -- he pulled a group together, he met with a bunch of people including reporters at various newspapers including myself and he sort of said, i'm going to go down to jonestown and i'm going to see firsthand what it's like in there. >> i was the nbc correspondent responsible for latin america. and about a week before they went down, ten days before they went down, i was called by the foreign editor in new york and said, "we're going to send you to jonestown with congressman leo ryan." i had just come back from a lot of fighting in nicaragua and i said, "well, i'll pass." >> in place of fred francis, nbc sends correspondent don harris, cameraman bob brown, producer bob flick and sound man steve sung to san francisco to cover
the story. >> we were at the san francisco airport in a room and it was don harris, bob brown -- you will never meet up with another man like jim jones. i'm telling you the truth. and you know, you -- i'm just saying -- >> are you ready for us to roll? we're going to go ahead and roll. i'm asking her. are you aware we're rolling? >> no. i just want to tell you right now. i'm telling you, you say there's a lot of this and you can't believe that. i'm telling you, you have never met up with a man like jim jones. in the middle of the interview, i said. i want you to know, there's a possibility you could get killed down there. the next thing i know is the cameras were shut down and they said we don't want to talk about that. and i said, okay, whatever. you know. >> five days later, congressman ryan heads off to guyana, with the nbc crew, his assistant
jackie speier, print reporters tim ryderman and charles krause, photographer greg robinson and more than a dozen concerned relatives. >> here comes this man into our community. we face them coming in secretly, some of them coming in, that we know of, on a commercial plane. it will be easy to handle. >> the only interest the united states government had in jonestown is americans were being held against their will. which is why i don't understand why jones adopted the only strategy that would bring the united states government to our doorstep. >> they say we are communists. we are degenerates. we are against christ. if we have to kill some of them or provoke them to kill each other, we will do that. they come here with that full knowledge. >> i remember thinking, this is dangerous.
i was in the process of purchasing a condominium in arlington at the time and i made the purchase contingent on my surviving the trip. because i didn't want my parents to be saddled with the responsibility if i didn't live. >> i've had no direct response from the peoples temple of any kind so far. none. zero. none. >> it was made very clear to us that we weren't guaranteed an invitation to come and visit jonestown. that the embassy couldn't guarantee us that opportunity. so we were, you know, we were taking a chance by making the trip. >> i haven't seen my brothers and sisters in four years. they can tell me right to my face they are happy. >> the situation was increasingly tense. it was a long way to go not to get into jonestown.
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remote airstrip at ft. kaituma. >> i'm congressman ryan. and you are? >> corporal rudder. >> corporal rudder. how are you, corporal? nice to meet you. we are here from the united states government to inquire into the health and welfare of the american citizens who are here. that is our only intention. >> before i give permission to go in there, i would have to get instruction from my chief inspector. >> jones' instructions were not to let the congressman in. there was a loose meeting of me and eight or nine other people. it wasn't like we were some -- it was very informal. it just happened to be who was there. marcy was there and some others and said, why should we not let them in? they are expecting to be turned away. and we have nothing to hide. the congressman was allowed to come in. that was against jones' orders. jones wasn't even up -- he wasn't even around at this time.
he was too drugged out in his cottage. he didn't show up until like 8:00 that night. >> the wrangling finally ends. the congressman, the press and a number of relatives are going in. >> and it was a jungle and this dump truck that we were on was carrying us through the jungle and then all of a sudden you saw a sign that said, you know, jonestown. and you look to the left and there were crops growing. and i thought to myself, wow, this is something. out of a jungle they have carved a very viable community in which to live. >> there were people there, black, white, men, women, children. >> it looked a little bit like summer camp i went to when i was
a kid. >> you walked through the facilities and had to be impressed. they had log cabins that people were living in and a medical clinic and a child care center. in a short period of time they had made a viable home for themselves. >> jonestown looked really good. most of the work that had been done in the last couple of months had been done on aesthetics and trying to beautify it. and actually, it was. it was very pretty. >> are you happy here? >> i should say i am. i never been any happier in my life. >> you want to stay? >> definitely. >> it was very well organized. >> what do you think? >> i like it here. i don't want to go back for nothing in the world. >> i had people who had been assigned to me, and they stayed by my side and made sure that i went where they wanted me to go and talked only with those people they wanted me to talk with.
♪ >> i remember jones sitting in a chair at the end of a table and all of us started asking questions and it became very clear very quickly that jim jones was unstable. >> he was sweating profusely. i don't know if he was on drugs or whether he was sick. but he was already, i think, on the verge. >> on the other hand, the people seemed to be well clothed, well fed, didn't seem to be particularly unhappy. there was no evidence that they were being held there against their will. >> a few conversations i have had with some of the folks here this evening, whatever the comments are, there are some people here that believe this is the best thing that ever happened to them in their whole lives.
[ applause ] >> the fact that this ovation would go on as long as it did, you know, when things happen and you get kind of uncomfortable, it doesn't feel right. i mean, that's how i felt. and to think even the kind of, the chuckle, the laughter that congressman ryan showed was -- there was a nervousness to it. and we didn't know then that there were people that wanted to leave. but we did know it wasn't adding up. >> let me say thank you on behalf of my staff, on behalf of the press and relatives that are in here now, for hosting us here this evening. we really appreciate it. >> then jon harris was smoking a cigarette and walking around the perimeter of the pavilion and two members of the peoples temple independently slipped him
notes basically saying i want to get out of here. that was confirmation. our greatest fears had been realized and then we knew that people were being held there against their will. >> so all of a sudden we were aware that the next day the facade was going to begin to crumble because some of the people from the peoples temple in jonestown were going to try to leave with the congressman. ughs ] [ male announcer ] so he can't let a cold keep him up tonight. vicks nyquil. powerful nighttime 6 symptom cold and flu relief. ♪ ♪ [ bell dings ] [ coughs ] hi. yo. cold? nasty cold. dayquil severe. nyquil severe. thanks, dude. [ female announcer ] walgreens. get in. get out. feel better. select dayquil severe and nyquil severe two for $14 at walgreens.
it appears to be going well. on his first night in jonestown california congressman leo ryan is enjoying what looks to be a healthy, happy place. >> we came there knowing that we were going to see a show. the question was, was anyone going to be brave enough to come forward? were we going to be able to see any cracks? >> and then the cracks come when two temple members separately pass notes to nbc's don harris pleading to get out. >> then we knew the people were being held there against their will. so we kept that confidential overnight. and it was nerve-racking. i don't know that i slept a wink.
>> the atmosphere was very different when we got back the next morning because now we all had hard proof that jonestown was more like a concentration camp than a kind of summer camp and that made a huge difference in the atmosphere and the tone of the questions and of the situation. >> i'm going to need an oral affidavit from you. >> the next morning, i asked to speak to each of them and then got oral affidavits from them of their desire to leave and escorted them to their cabins to get their belongings. >> i didn't know anybody that thought that the correct policy was to make people stay there. what i was hoping was let people leave that want to leave. great. more room for us and less hassles. >> jones was licking his lips nervously. he was sucking his cheeks in and
out. he was at one point asking for some medication. >> there is only one thing to be explored and that's this question of -- >> a lot to be explored. >> for us, the thing of fear. this is a good example. last night, someone came and passed me this note. >> well, that's who we are talking about. he wants to leave his son here. jonestown is such a bad place, why does he want to leave his son here? he is the one i'm talking about. this is the man who wants to leave his son here. >> does it concern you, though, that this man, for whatever reason, one of the people in your group -- >> people play games, friend. they lie. they lie. what can i do about liars? are you people going -- leave us. i just beg you. please leave us. we won't bother anybody. if anybody wants to get out of
here, get out of here. we have no problem getting out of here. they come and go all the time. i don't know what kind of game -- people like -- people like publicity. some people do. i don't. some people like publicity. if it is so damn bad, why is he leaving his son here? can you give me a good reason for that? i'd take my son. i'd take my son with me. >> it was very humiliating to jim jones to have to say on camera that people wanted to leave. and moments after that interview something had happened there that was eerie and unexpected. >> it was about 2:00 in the afternoon. congressman ryan and the media were literally on the truck and leaving jonestown, seven people or eight people out of all his population. it seemed like, wow, cool, we're going to get through this.
this is going to be okay. it looks like we're not going to be disintegrated. and i'm talking about from the outside. the sky turned black. this wind came up. and it just went -- it almost became night. just torrential rain. it felt like evil itself flew into jonestown. that's what it felt like. it was a physical feeling. everything changed. >> then all hell broke loose. then more and more people wanted to leave. so the tension grew. the sense of indignation by jim jones, why are you leaving me was sort of his rant. and i think at that point, he knew that it was over. the charade was over. >> not that i don't think what
you are doing here is wonderful because i do. but i want to go home. >> just know we have a place for you. >> okay. >> always a place. there's always a place for you. >> i know. i know there's always a place for me. >> i have no problem -- even some that have lied, they've come back. i think i pretty well proved. >> so originally it was seven people that were leaving. by the time that rainstorm was over, it was up to 16 or 17 people that were leaving. >> jim jones walked away and was standing by himself and i went over to him and i said, how do you feel right now, now that people say they want to leave? and he said, we are being destroyed from within. >> then there was anguished
visions that i still have in my mind where one parent wanted to leave and was pulling the child one way -- >> get back here! you bring him back! don't you take my kids! >> the other parent wanted to stay. was pulling the arm of a child in the other direction. there were custody battles breaking out in front of us. it was very explosive, very emotionally charged. every time i escorted another member of peoples temple who wanted to leave to their cabin, there were gunmen standing around. and you know, you didn't know whether or not they were going to take a shot or not. >> and the numbers kept on growing, the number of people that were leaving. families, literally families were being ripped apart. >> so many more people wanted to
leave that we didn't have enough planes. so it was agreed to that i would escort the first airlift out and congressman ryan would stay back with probably another 40 or 50 people that wanted to leave. >> all of a sudden, those of us in the truck, heard some screaming from the pavilion. and i remember jumping down from the truck, as did a number of the other journalists. running towards the pavilion to see what was happening. then we see congressman ryan and his -- and a couple of other people coming towards us from the pavilion. his shirt had blood all over it. he said, don't worry. i'm all right. let's just get back in the truck and let's go.
>> what happened? >> i stood up and was -- had been talking with the two attorneys for the temple and suddenly the knife was around my neck and i was in danger. and i pushed the hand away, fell back against him, others grabbed him and pulled him off me. that's where we are. >> who grabbed him? >> everybody did. >> suddenly the situation had kind of come to a point where everyone understood that almost anything could happen. my whole world dissolved in that moment because all of a sudden i had been playing peace and love and i woke up and the leader was a murderer.
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here's what is happening. a young girl who fell in to a well was pulled to safety by firefighters. the 7-year-old was rescued an hour after her fall on monday afternoon. officials say she was breathing and conscious as she was transported to an area hospital. swine flu is making a comeback this flu season. high levels of the h 1 n 1 strain are reported in the southeastern states. they say it is most dangerous to pregnant women and young children. i'm veronica de la cruz. back to the program.
now, back to our special. having just escaped a knife attack, congressman leo ryan gathers his group and leaves jonestown with 15 defectors from peoples temple. two planes are waiting to take them from this remote airstrip back to georgetown. >> i actually thought we had dodged a bullet. i thought we got out of there. we exposed the peoples temple for what it was, we've saved some people's lives and we got out just in the nick of time. >> all of a sudden this tractor-trailer appeared at the end of the runway. the tractor-trailer started moving down the runway toward the planes and i heard pop, pop, pop, pop. they were coming at us.
and they were shooting people. >> i didn't even realize they were gunshots at first. the smart people dove into the bush. congressman ryan ran under the plane and i ran under the plane, followed suit. i hid behind one wheel. >> one of the bullets suddenly hit my side. it was amazing impact. and i thought i was going to die. i mean, they were still -- it was -- i just thought, okay, this is it. >> the gunfire continued. then there was silence. then there were some deliberate shots. >> someone shot the congressman point blank to make sure he was dead.
then went around and i think shot don harris to make sure that he was dead. and as i recall, one more bullet was fired in that -- in those moments. >> i was lying there with my head down trying to pretend that i was dead. and i was shot down the whole right-hand side of my body. >> i saw that the photographer with me, greg robinson, congressman ryan, bob brown, don harris of nbc and patricia parks who is one of the defectors were all dead.
>> i thought, oh, my god. this is it. i'm 28 years old. i'm not going to live to be in my 80s. i'm not going to have the opportunity to get married and have children. it's over. and my then 86-year-old grandmother sort of flashed in my mind. i thought, i'm not going to have her live through my funeral if i can avoid it. so i dragged my body to the plane. >> jackie was literally hanging on to the side of the plane. her body was covered in blood. and i remember trying to help her get into the plane, but then it became clear that that plane had been disabled, the engine had been shot. >> then i was pulled out of there and placed on the side of the airstrip. so i was on that airstrip for 22
hours without medical attention and kind of got through the night by drinking guyanese rum. >> when they called the meeting on that last day after the congressman left, we had meetings all the time. it was hardly a stretch to go up there. my wife gloria said, "i should probably go get diapers and a bottle, it's probably going to be a long meeting." >> a handful of our people, with their lives, have made our life impossible. there is no way to detach ourselves from what's happened today. we are sitting here waiting on a powder keg. >> the pavilion is completely filled and is surrounded by armed guards. there's nobody else walking around. >> a congressman was nearly killed here. but you can't steal people's children. you can't take off with people's
children without expecting a violent reaction. if we can't live in peace, let us die in peace. >> my heart is up in my throat, oh, my god. they're talking about dying. >> we are not committing suicide. it's a revolutionary act. we can't go back and there's no way we can survive. >> inside i was trying to find out, is he really going to do this. a part of me said he is going to kill everybody including me. and another pat of me said, this is not happening. this makes no sense. you don't do this.rt of me said, this is not happening. this makes no sense. you don't do this. it doesn't make any sense. >> anybody who has any dissenting opinion, please speak. yes, christine. >> i think what i feel, and i think we all have a right to our own destiny as individuals. >> right. >> and i think i have a right to choose mine and everybody else has a right to choose theirs. >> that's what plenty people said today with their lives. >> i think i still have a right to my own opinion. >> i'm not taking it from you.
i'm not taking it from you. >> christine, you are only standing here because he was here in the first place. i don't know what you're talking about having an individual life. your life has been extended to the day that you're standing there because of him. >> the congressman has been murdered. >> it's all over. >> it's all over, all over. >> the congressman is dead. patty parks is dead. please get us some medication. it's simple. no convulsions with it, just simple. please get it. before it's too late. the gdf will be here. i tell you, get moving, get moving, get moving. if these people land they'll torture our children, they'll torture our people. they'll torture our seniors. we can't have this. >> jones had this habit of always taking things to the edge. for years he had been like this. he took things to the edge and then would step back. >> please, can we hasten with that medication. we have to move. >> we have to move and the people that are standing there
in the aisle, everybody get behind the table and back this way, okay? there's nothing to worry about. everybody keep calm and try to keep your children calm. >> i'm trying to find a way out to save my wife and son and to get out of here. when i got up to the back of the stage and looked to the right, gloria was holding my son, tears streaming down her face. she looked trapped. she had no choice. that was the look in her face. agony was on her face. a woman named sharon cobb, the pediatric nurse practitioner, there was a syringe in malcolm's mouth. >> mother, mother, mother, mother, please, mother, please, please, please, put down your life with your child. >> malcolm was already dead. gloria was dying. i held her in my arms. i kept on sobbing, i love you so
much. i love you so much. i love you so much. as if the force of my love could somehow make things better for her and she knew how sorry i was that she was in that situation and she, i felt her spirit leaving her body in my arms. and that point in time the world was just black. it was just dark. there was nothing. seven miles away on the jungle airstrip it takes another 20 hours before rescue and recovery come to the dead, wounded and stranded from the attack on congressman ryan's mission. >> when they did airlift us out around 1:00 in the afternoon, 2:00, there was a u.s. medevac plane waiting for us.
when they took me and lifted me into that plane, i felt like i had just been wrapped in the american flag. i was very close to death. and they saved me. >> of the five people killed on the airstrip, patricia parks is the only defecting temple member. the rest of her family had escaped into the bush. >> do you still have your family? did everybody make it out okay? >> no. they shot my mom's brains out. she's the only one in the family that didn't make it. >> you didn't see that? >> i didn't see her get shot, but i saw her brains in the plane and i saw her laying out on the ground.
i used to scrub the floor on my knees. [ daughter ] i've mastered the art of foot cleaning. oh, boy. oh, boy. oh boy. [ carmel ] that drives me nuts. it gives me anxiety just thinking about how crazy they get. [ doorbell rings ] [ daughter ] oh, wow. [ carmel ] swiffer wetjet. you guys should try this. it's so easy. oh my. [ gasps ] i just washed this floor. if i didn't see it i wouldn't believe it. [ carmel ] it did my heart good to see you cleaning. [ regina ] yeah, your generation has all the good stuff. [ daughter ] oh yeah.
while all hell is breaking loose at jonestown, all is quiet at peoples temple's georgetown headquarters where 70 odd members live and work. >> the night before, we had heard, we got that relieving news that, oh, everything is good. they made it through. so we took a night off and went to see a movie. it was "tora, tora, tora." >> we were watching a movie and an usher came down as the japanese pilots are strafing pearl harbor. >> the message was, we've been ordered to get revenge. of course, right away, i knew things had gone very badly. >> the folks in georgetown have no idea how very badly it has gone. both in jonestown and back at the house where staff member sharon amos has received jones' suicide order. she gathers her children in the
upstairs bathroom and slits their throats and hers. >> when we came back, the guyanese defense force was there. they said, everybody come up into the living room. we went and sat in the living room upstairs, about 50 of us in a circle, and they brought out body bags. sharon had killed herself and her three kids while we had been gone. so -- >> on that night when it all went down, before i laid my head down, i just said, you know, to as many people as i could, don't do anything stupid. if you are feeling like hurting yourself, talk to someone. and as i drifted off in this maddening coma, i looked at blood dripping from the ceiling because we were below where sharon and her children had died. >> good evening. in one of the strangest cases of mass suicide and murder ever recorded the government of
guyana said the bodies of 383 men, women and children have been found at jonestown. >> and so the body count begins. changing every day. >> nobody knew for sure what had happened. nobody knew how many people had died and my mother seemed to think that my sisters were alive. and, in fact, my younger sister annie led a group of children to safety in venezuela. she was in total denial. i knew my sisters were dead from the get-go because they were true believers, they were absolutely committed. there was no way they were going to abandon the cause. >> the way we finally found out, at least i found out, someone called us from the stateside and read the list to us of the folks -- of the people who had died. i saw my mother's name written on a piece of paper as this person on the phone wrote down the names they were told. my mother, my brothers, my sisters, my girlfriend, my
friends. my world. my community. watched them written down on a piece of paper. >> the first radio broadcast was only 300 people died. so we tried to make a list of who we thought had survived, who might have survived. it might be the kids or the seniors. we tried to come up with a list hoping that it was wrong and it was misinformation. so we worked on that and as the reports came in more and more they said, no, everybody is dead in jonestown. >> i saw it on tv. the first thing i did was throw up. i was horrified. i was sick. i was very happy jim was dead.
i didn't have one qualm about that but as the body counts came in and it was more and more of my friends were found dead. i just cried and grieved and cried and grieved for months. avo: the volkswagen "sign then drive" sales event is back. which means it's never been easier to get a new 2014 jetta. it gets an impressive 34 highway mpg and comes with no charge scheduled maintenance. and right now you can drive one home for practically just your signature. sign. then drive. get zero due at signing, zero down zero deposit, and zero first month's payment on any new 2014 volkswagen. hurry, this offer ends january 2nd. visit vwdealer.com today "stubborn love" by the lumineers did you get my email? i did. so what did you think of the house? did you see the school ratings? oh, you're right.
hey babe, i got to go. bye daddy! have a good day at school, ok? ...but what about when my parents visit? ok. i just love this one... and it's next to a park. i love it. i love it too. here's our new house... daddy! you're not just looking for a house. you're looking for a place for your life to happen. ♪ ♪ ♪ i know they say you can't go home again ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ i just had to come back one last time ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ you leave home, you move on ♪ [ squeals ] ♪ and you do the best you can ♪ ♪ i got lost in this old world ♪ ♪ and forgot who i am ♪
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forced at gun point to drink it. suicide? murder? blind allegiance? all true. but none by itself sufficient to explain it. >> it was such a horrific thing to see, to see those little babies, to see those people stacked up like cordwood. today, 30 years later, when people ask me what is the biggest story you ever covered, i tell them it was jonestown. it was the most traumatic thing i ever saw, i ever experienced. in 30 years with nbc news, i have seen an awful lot of carnage, an awful lot of death but nothing that even approaches that. >> cult is a four-letter word. it's not informative. it's judgmental. and i think that as soon as we call any religious group a cult we have dismissed it. we don't have to take them seriously. we don't have to examine or investigate what they believe.
we already know everything we need to know about that group. the fact is, it's a real human being that died, as opposed to this dehumanized mass of rotting flesh. >> the people in guyana were the best people you would ever meet. they were the most dedicated. they were not people who were bought out by fancy cars. they were not people who wanted the fanciest trappings in the world around them. really we were people who wanted to work and do whatever it took. >> the truth is, you know, your average joe american could get caught up in something of a closed community if his or her needs were right and the opportunity presented itself. particularly for anyone who is disenfranchised.
>> it's like, okay, what do i do to remove some of that guilt or some of the filth that is collected by dealing with this for decades? you help people. you become involved in your community. you become involved in your city. you try to be an asset to society rather than a deficit. you do the same things that you were taught before, set the example. and that's all you can do. ♪ ♪ ♪
>> 911. >> is this a hoax or is this really -- >> no, it's true. and if you see anything, stay indoors. >> remain indoors. don't try to approach them. >> on the 18th of october, 2011, one american town became engulfed in a bizarre and tragic event. >> i'm in desperate need here of some help. these things are completely crazy. half domesticated, half wild. >> stay inside. >> this is the story of what happened that night in zainsville, ohio, when one man's obsession with exotic and