Jim Jones

900 deaths

Jim Jones, the son of a Klansman, considered himself the reincarnation of both Jesus and Lenin. He was also endowed with a huge penis which he used repeatedly in the name of Christ. 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 went on a fact-finding mission investigating alleged human rights abuses at Jonestown. After only a day at the jungle compound, a member tried to stab Ryan. The injury was minor, but Ryan decided to leave with his party and 18 temple members who wanted to to return to the United States. Other members of the cult followed the group to the airstrip and opened fire, killing Ryan, three journalists, and one of the departing members. Eleven others were injured.

Hours later, the good reverend ordered his followers to drink from a tub of grape-flavored Fla-Vor-Aid laced with potassium cyanide and tranquilizers. All 900+ 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.

Within a few months of the mass deaths, other People's Temple members who had survived also committed suicide, with one mother slitting the throats of her three children. A year later, ex-People's Temple members Jeanne and Al Mills and their daughter Linda, who had been speaking out about their cult experience, were shot to death in their Berkeley, CA home. They had become among the most vocal People's Temple critics and feared for their safety.

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 Jimmy 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."

Every year, on November 18, a memorial is held at Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland, California, where 260 People's Temple children are buried. Due to the lack of dental records, the children were never able to be identified and thus were buried together there. On the 20th anniversary of the mass suicide, Liz Aguirre, president of Ultraseal International, hand-delivered a $5,000 check to finance a Vietnam memorial-type 20-foot wall to be erected in the cemetary. The black, granite panels of the memorial will have the names and ages of the victims inscribed as well as a dedication written by poet Maya Angelou.

Witch Killers in Congo (800) Since June 15, 2001, over 800 suspected witches were hacked to death in villages in rebel-held northeastern Congo. "Villagers were saying that some people had bewitched others, and they started lynching them. By the time we discovered this, 60 people had already been killed by early last week. About 200 people lost their lives," Brig. Henry Tumukunde said.

Ugandan troops -- who had been in northeastern Congo since 1998 in support of a rebellion against the Congolese government but had been evacuated earlier in the year -- were sent back to the area to stop the killings. The killings began in Aru, 50 miles south of Sudan on the Ugandan border, but have quickly spread throughout northeastern Congo. Diseases and other troubles endemic to the region were being blamed on witchcraft which in turn led to the rampaging violence.