Top off your Kool-Aid cups and strap up your black Nikes folks because this week’s guest covers a litany of topics. From the conspiratorial to the capricious, Gordon Rupe is an author that loves it all. With a growing collection of penned works that all stem from personal interests, Gordon dives into the unusual head first, posing ideas that may sit outside the mainstream school of thought. In his latest work The Wrong Tombstone, Gordon ventures down the rabbit trail that the story of John Wilkes Booth may not be the story that we are told. Did Lincoln’s assassin die in that infamous barn standoff, or is it possible that he escaped and lived out the rest of his days in Texas and Oklahoma under a pseudonym? Was he the rogue confederacy sympathizer that we are led to believe or was he part of a larger conspiracy set up to remove Lincoln from office?
While many are all too familiar with the trope of “drinking the Kool-Aid”, a large number of people do not know the origins behind this meme. Enter one Jim Jones; the incredibly charismatic leader of The People’s Temple and most notably known for leading more than 900 people to their deaths via self-ingesting cyanide. Originally from rural Indiana, Jones was always seen as an “odd” child who was unnervingly fascinated with religion and death. In the early 1950s Jones began touring from church to church as a self-ordained minister, gathering people’s interest with a seemingly positive message of tolerance and brotherly love. During an era of tension and unrest, it is easy to see why people eagerly began to follow. Early on, Jones held random jobs to earn money for his church (He even was a door to door monkey salesman. Yes, you read that right; door to door monkey sales) but as his congregation quickly grew, so did his financial backing. This eventually led to the mass migration of The People’s Temple to the South American nation of Guyana where a promise of a perfect utopian society was soon to welcome the members. Quickly gaining scrutiny for increasingly stranger practices and messages, members of the group attempted to leave and sadly met their demise at the hands of the cult’s armed guards. Possibly in an attempt to eliminate any opportunity for imprisonment or prosecution, Jones convinced his followers that they were soon to meet their similar fate by the hand of “tyrannical government.” This prompted the November 19 1978 mass murder/suicide that is now so commonly known. Now how does this fall into the conspiracy umbrella? Many question the ease of Jones’ movement from country to country and the acquisition of both large parcels of land and sums of money. Additionally, many of Jones’ characteristics and noted personality traits mirror many of those that are related to victims of the MK Ultra program ran by the CIA. Was Jones a MK Ultra experiment gone awry or was he simply a narcissist that got in too deep and needed a quick way out?
1997: Tiger Woods has exploded onto the golf scene, Kate Winslet promised to never let go, and The Spice Girls had everyone wanting to be a “Wannabe”. While most of us easily remember spicing up our lives while being kings of the world, one event seems to slip out of memory; one that lit up the night’s sky and fooled a group into believing that a heavenly transport was not far behind. On March 26, 1997 officials in San Diego made the gruesome discovery of 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult that had taken their own lives. Arranged neatly in their bunks, the uniformly dressed members took a cocktail of phenobarbital, apple sauce, and vodka whilst affixing plastic bags around their heads. This was done so that the members’ souls would be able to escape their Earthly confines and would be able to board the UFO that was hidden within the tail of the Hale-Bopp comet that passed closely by Earth that year. Strangely enough, their website is still functioning to this day.
While some of the jokes boarder on the macabre, this is a great episode and Gordon’s passion for the topics that he writes about really comes through. Make sure to order his digital books on Amazon (they are only a couple of bucks a piece and worth the read) and give him a follow on Twitter @GordonRupe. Also make sure to leave a comment and a rating for The Malliard Report!