Video: 1978 report on the suspected shooters

msnbc.com
updated 10/15/2008 6:04:52 PM ET 2008-10-15T22:04:52

“Drink the Kool-Aid” has long been a part of the vernacular, used in both a positive and negative sense when we talk about following a mission or philosophy; that is, “buying the program” or “swallowing the party line.” But its origin lies in the 1978 tragedy at Jonestown, where over 900 members of Peoples Temple took poisoned fruit punch at the behest of their leader, Jim Jones.

For those connected personally to this horror, the ubiquitous “Kool-Aid” metaphor, often used frivolously, recalls an unending nightmare. One little known footnote: the fruit drink actually used at Jonestown on that day was a British product, Fla-Vor-Aid. In Guyana, it was cheaper than Kool-Aid.

-Stephen Stept, writer and producer, “Witness to Jonestown”

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