Photo of the Day

Attending class in Jonestown

Attending class in Jonestown

Escape from Jonestown

15-year-old Tommy Bogue was sent to a promising new church settlement in Guyana?run by a charismatic leader named Jim Jones

Few can share the stories of Jonestown, but Thom Bogue can. He is a survivor who became a small business owner and a Dixon city council member. ?When life is in its down moments, it can never go down as far as it has it has ever been for me,? said Thom.

Thom?s family were loyal disciples of Rev. Jim Jones, and Thom he was living in Jonestown.

But, after three years his family was ready to leave. And when a congressman and his aides showed up, they saw a way out.

?At that point I was scared. We were all scared when we were actually leaving because it was too easy. It was too easy,? said Thom.

When they got on a private plane, gunmen showed up and started shooting.

?It?s obvious. It?s either close the airplane door or die,? he said.

Thom and his sister were both shot and ran into the jungle where they hid for three days and two nights until locals helped them to safety and reunited them with their parents. That?s when they learned that more than 900 people in Jonestown had committed suicide by drinking cyanide-laced Kool-Aid. It was all orchestrated by the man who believed he was God.

?If you find yourself in that situation run and don?t ever look back,? said Thom.

The journey up the coast was choppy, the boat too far out to get a good look at the shore. While the other passengers spread out in sleeping bags over the deck, 15-year-old Tommy Bogue gripped the railing, determined not to miss a beat of this adventure.

This was his first sea journey. His first trip outside the United States. His first sighting of jungle. Guyana: the very name was exotic. He?d never heard of it before his church established a mission there. As the shore blurred by, vague and mysterious, he imagined the creatures that roamed beyond it. Many of the world?s largest animals lived there: the giant anteater, the giant sea otter, the giant armadillo, the 20-foot green anaconda. He?d read and re-read the Guyana entry in the?Encyclopedia Britannica?until he could spout off trivia to anyone who paid attention to what the skinny, mop-haired teen had to say. Now, as the trawler chopped through dark waves, he ticked off this book knowledge to himself. He knew a few things about the strangeness surrounding him, and those few things comforted him.

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Photo Of The Day

Photo: Gabriel Bumbea. The ageing picture is a heartrending trace of Doina Bumbea, a 28-year-old Romanian who was ensnared by North Korea's regime in 1978 and who never saw her family again.

Photo: Gabriel Bumbea.
The ageing picture is a heartrending trace of Doina Bumbea, a 28-year-old Romanian who was ensnared by North Korea’s regime in 1978 and who never saw her family again.

As unlikely as it may seem, there are those who have fled to North Korea, and even more shocking is that some of them were actually?American. Since the Korean War, there have been 6 American soldiers who willingly crossed the DMZ and pledged their allegiance to North Korea. There are even others who chose to remain in North Korea after internments in POW camps. However, one of the most famous of these defectors is James Joseph Dresnok. A private in the Army, Dresnok ran across the minefield between North and South Korea in broad daylight in 1962, where North Korean soldiers quickly grabbed him. He has been a regular in propaganda films, almost always portraying villainous American characters. He still lives there with his third wife and his four children, and claims he doesn?t regret his decision at all. How much of that is true or false is impossible to say.

In 1978, promising young Romanian artist Doina Bumbea agreed to take a job in the Far East. It was the start of a nightmare. On arriving in Asia, Bumbea was kidnapped and smuggled into North Korea. There she was introduced to her real mission: to become the loving wife of American defector James Dresnok, now a PR tool for the regime. Together, they started a Western family in the heart of the most dangerous state on Earth. Her children remain trapped there to this day.

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