What the little girl had been describing was a darkened room filled with adults armed with cattle prods (which explained the blue electric light). They zapped the child with the cattle prods, then the impact of the electric current would lock the child's teeth together as they were propelled across the room to be hit yet again.
This, of course, all took place in California, years before Jonestown, where it evolved into a new torture: "Big Foot," a horrendous series of well-dunkings for the children.
Those "practicing Christians." It's just hard to believe how Temple apologists like Kohl can perpetuate this charade. But she and her ilk do. And people are beginning to be taken in by this twisted revisionism.
A few years ago, I made a visit to the Redwood Valley church where the crime spree really took off, a place where Rev. Jim Jones first planted his "flock" in California in 1965. I had been brought there by one of the original members of Ukiah's Concerned Citizens group, which had tried so desperately to get help in stopping this growing, menacing cult.
No one listened to them, as we now know. And according to our forthright mainstream media, all was well right up to 1977.
Today it's the home of an Assembly of God congregation. I didn't get a chance to talk with its pastor. I would have asked him how he felt about preaching in a building that once contained a demon. I looked over the place, the front and back, for a long, long time, trying to imagine the place when my father first went there to interview Jim Jones in 1972 and discover his gun-toting enforcers.
Off to the left side of the church today stands a cross and statues of a smiling Jesus holding a lamb, reaching out to child. I thought of all the children abused and tortured so savagely by Temple members here once. Perhaps this monument was a good way to cleanse that awful karma.
It's a poignant sight. The tragedy is how often, still today, religious charlatans are able to put on that smile and deceive a willing public as Jones did. Cults like Scientology thrive because they, like the Peoples Temple, can produce a good enough performance to trap a person in a web, as the spider does a fly.
Across from the church building stood a single modest house. Yes, that was where the monster once lived and drew up his plans for destruction. Someone else lives there now but something caught my eye in the flower garden in the front of that house.
It was one of the roses. Still with green leaves, it had wilted. The more I looked at it, the more I saw what looked like, well, something grotesque. With horns. I had to photograph it because it gave me an eerie feeling. Made me wonder even futher about karma, maybe a type that remains, manifesting in all manner of shapes and matter.
Then again, it was probably just a simple wilted blossom, viewed by someone in a melodramatic funk. Still, that thing in front of Jim Jones's house gave me an uneasy sensation I won't forget.
The sensation, however, which I get each and every time November is one of sadness. Frustration. A longing for what could have been, if just only enough people in those high places--a clergyman who suddenly found his conscience or an editor his courage or a politician his morality--acted to stop Jim Jones from his hellish mission.