In the mid 1960s, a congregation watched Jim Jones raise his arms and say to a wheelchair bound woman, “Get out of that wheelchair”.
She had been paralysed for eight years, and suddenly her legs began to move. Within moments she stood, entirely unassisted.
Jones commanded that the women walk towards him, and as she put one foot in front of the other, the church cheered and applauded, believing they had witnessed a miracle healing.
A few weeks later, a different congregation would witness the same healing.
Putting one foot in front of the other isn’t so profound, when you were never paralysed to begin with.
The woman was Jim Jones’ secretary, and her performance was used to entice onlookers to join The Peoples Temple, a church which began in Indiana in the late 1950s.
Today, it is not known as a church. It’s known as a cult.
Casefile, one of Australia’s leading true crime podcasts, released a three part series on Jonestown earlier this month.
Listen: I’ve mentioned Casefile more than once on Mamamia Out Loud, and this week I recommended the three part Jonestown series. (Post continues…)
The team, comprised of seven, including the host who remains anonymous, presents an enthralling and meticulously researched story about America’s most lethal cult.
It begins with the rise of Jones, and charts the growth of his church throughout the 60s and 70s.
In the Autumn of 1973, Jones decided to move The Peoples Temple to a ‘utopia’ in Guyana, South America. Hundreds of members built a town from the ground up, with kitchens, shops and accommodation, that would one day house almost 1000 people.
Part three of the series reveals their tragic fate, which resulted in the largest loss of American civilian life in modern history, with the exception of September 11. In total, 909 people died; 304 of them were minors.
You can listen on your podcast app, under ‘Casefile True Crime’.
You can listen to this week’s episode of Mamamia Out Loud, the podcast with what women are talking about, here.