Ben Turney

Boing Boing
Online Photographer

August 16, 2007

Watch out for guys selling monkeys

From the PBS/American Experience documentary Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple, forty-some years before Craigslist:

June Cordell, Relative of Peoples Temple Member: "The first time I met Jim Jones was Easter 1953. My mother-in-law, Edith Cordell, had a monkey and it hung itself and she wanted to replace the monkey. So she looked in the Indianapolis Star, and in that Indianapolis Star was Jim Jones's ad that he had some monkeys to sell. So it was through that that she met Jim Jones, and came back saying that he had invited her to church this next Sunday."

Further details:

In Indianapolis, Edith Cordell wanted to replace a pet monkey and saw an ad in the paper placed by Jim Jones who was selling pets to raise money for a church. "So she went over and she bought 'em—a boy monkey and a girl monkey," her nephew Gene recalled. "Jimmy started telling her about his church." Aunt Edith joined and recruited a number of family members. Gene and his wife became disillusioned after Jones returned from seeing Father Divine and made grandiose proclamations of his own divinity. But Edith and about 20 other Cordells followed Jones to California in 1965. Twenty members of Gene Cordell's family died in Jonestown. Aunt Edith left her entire estate to Jim Jones.

Posted by Brenden at August 16, 2007 10:53 PM


Shake, this is hilarious. Hey, are you coming to Convergence?

Posted by: Elrond Hubbard at August 21, 2007 9:23 PM

Yep. I don't know exactly when I'll be there, but I'll be there...

(Are Tom and I the only ones using the Google groups page? Pat didn't even know when Convergence was being held...)

A couple of monkey-related notes: first, the program included a still photo of Jones holding a couple of monkeys. No idea whether they're the monkeys in question. I would have posted it, except for the usual rights issues.

Second, if your monkey hangs itself, that should be an indicator that not all is right in your personal universe. Whether that should also be a sign to beware of monkey-bearing gurus, well, that's an open question.

Posted by: brenden at August 25, 2007 3:09 PM
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