40 Years After Jonestown

The Ochelli Effect 12-5-2018 Laura Johnston-Kohl

Laura Johnston-Kohl survived the events of November 11, 1978, in Jonestown and is the author of Jonestown Survivor: An Insiders Look.


When I was six years old the tragic events in Jonestown occurred. I grew up believing that a “Mass-suicide” demanded by a maniacal “religious nut” named Jim Jones caused his “Brain-washed” followers to take their own lives in the most grotesque display of cult obedience in modern history. This not only horrified me but also resulted in a belief that every Christian I encountered in my young life was a mindless victim merely waiting for a charismatic megalomaniac to step to their pulpits, gather sheep, and lead them to slaughter. As I matured and studied the nuances of the events of November 18, 1978, I discovered my prejudice to be unfounded. The Results were indeed horrendous and terrible, but the entire story would never have me casting such judgments had I known better as a child and young man.

Historians will surely record the Jonestown massacre in a kinder way that was related to me. As perspective ages and we educate ourselves the most meaningful truth will emerge. As my understanding has evolved, clarity on the facts and the wisdom to know the difference between the lessons learned and as yet unlearned have increased exponentially. My conversations with a fascinating witness to history truly reshaped my thoughts on the matter.

I hope my interviews with Laura Johnston-Kohl, member of The People’s Temple in the 1970s and witness to history will contribute to your greater knowledge and education as time moves forward. There is always more to the stories you think you know.

Thank you, Mrs. Kohl, for allowing myself and the listeners into this portion of your traumatic memories.

-Chuck Ochelli-

“It’s better to live for a cause than to die for it”

-Jim Jones Jr.-

40 Years After Jonestown

Laura Johnston-Kohl Online:
Online resource:
Link to recording (Q 042) (November 18, 1978)

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40 Years After Jonestown – The Ochelli Effect 12-5-2018 Laura Johnston-Kohl