Jim Jones, the son of a Klansman, considered himself the reincarnation of both Jesus and Lenin. Jim had visions of an impending nuclear holocaust in which only the towns of Ukiah, California and Belo Horizonte, Brazil would survive. With that in mind, he relocated his first People's Temple to Ukiah to await the Armageddon.
Tired of waiting for the third world war, he moved his church to San Francisco where he received numerous humanitarian awards and became the Chairman of the city's Housing Authority. It was there that he first practiced a ritual called "White Nights" in which he prepared his followers for an act of revolutionary suicide to protest racism and fascism.
By 1977, as things started getting weirder, he was forced to move his church to Guyana, South America. There, in the isolation of the jungle, Jimmy created his dream community, Jonestown, and lost his mind. Jim's nirvana rapidly deteriorated into a nightmare which he knew of only one way to end.
On November 18, 1978, Congressman Leo Ryan from San Francisco spent one day at the jungle pavilion investigating alleged human rights abuses. When Ryan, his party and 18 temple members who wanted to leave, prepared to return to the United States, they were ambushed on the airstrip. Ryan, three newsmen and a Temple defector were killed. Eleven others were injured.
Hours later, the good reverend ordered his followers to drink from a tub of grape-flavored Kool Aid laced with cyanide and tranquilizers. All 908 did. Children died first; babies were killed by poison squirted into their mouths with a syringe. Then the adults. Most were poisoned, some forcibly. Some were shot by security guards. As the ritual suicide progressed, it is unclear whether Jim put a bullet through his brain, or someone did it for him.
When the bodies came back home, many could not be identified. Several cemeteries refused to take them until the Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland stepped forward in 1979 and accepted 409 bodies. The remaining victims had been cremated or buried in family cemeteries.
Jonestown itself has all but vanished, stripped by villagers and consumed by a fire in the early 1980s. Some believe that Jones was linked to the CIA and that the Jonestown massacre was in fact a mind control experiment. If it was, it was a total success. Years later, serial killer Henry Lee Lucas confessed that he did indeed personally delivered the cyanide to his "good friend, Jim Jones."