My Jonestown Experience: The Lure of Cults with Laura Johnston Kohl

Tonight we welcome author and Jonestown survivor Laura Johnston Kohl to the show. When 914 members of Peoples Temple and four visiting Americans died in Guyana, South America on November 18, 1978, Laura Johnston Kohl survived.  She was one of 87 who lived through the trauma. 

After participating with the Black Panthers, and attending Woodstock, Laura moved into Peoples Temple in California in 1970, and was an active and enthusiastic member until the day it ended.  She moved to Guyana in March 1977.  She frequently traveled between Georgetown and Jonestown, a 24-hour boat ride, but moved into Jonestown in October 1978.  Laura’s survival was a fluke.

It took twenty years for Laura to rebuild her life and have the determination to research this tragedy.  The first ten years were spent in Synanon.  Then, she reunited with many of the other survivors to put the pieces together and to get some understanding.  After ten years she wrote her autobiography.

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