On this day in 1978, the world of the Jonestown commune of the People’s Temple in Guyana came to tragic end. Stories of abuse at the compound by the San Francisco-based People’s Temple led to a fact-finding visit by Congressman Leo Ryan. Ryan’s visit triggered some to defect from the group and seek return with Ryan. This led to a airstrip gunfight that killed Ryan and others and injured his staffer Jackie Speier who now holds Ryan’s seat in Congress.
Temple leader Jim Jones then instructed the compound members to drink a mixture of Flavor Aid poisoned with valium, chlorad hydrate, cyanide and Phenerga – killing 918 including Jones.