They read the Bible, especially, Revelation Chapter 11 in the New Testament , a section about two witnesses that would prophecy. But then, in late March , 39 members including Applewhite wearing black track suits and sneakers, ate apple sauce laced with barbiturates and washed it down with vodka.
They then put bags over their heads, purple shrouds over their bodies, and laid down to leave their earthly vehicles behind. Instead, police found their bodies on March 26th, and the images of the white and black Nikes poking out from under a purple cloth would be burned into the eyes of a generation. The cult borrowed a lot of imagery from science fiction Applewhite and Nettles were huge fans of Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind , and they brought some sci-fi to the group — resulting in theories like that Mary had been taken aboard a spaceship and impregnated with Jesus.
They made headlines early on In September , the group visited the small town of Waldport, Oregon, to give a lecture about how U.
At first the town thought it was a joke, but soon, 20 people — or about one in 30 residents of the town — packed up, told their loved ones goodbye, and drove off. They had gone to a meeting of about people in Grand Junction, Colorado, who believed they would be visited by alien beings. The rendezvous never happened, but the congregation did escape with their lives.
‘I survived a suicide cult’: Heaven’s Gate survivors break their silence
According to the Times, none of these Oregon residents were among those found in Members were devotees of the Master Cleanse. Aside from abandoning your family and turning over all your money, cult members were asked to cleanse their bodies of the impure influence of things like fast food and impure sexual thoughts.
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That often involved things like the Master Cleanse, invented in the s by Stanley Burroughs and republished in in his book The Master Cleanser. They told L. The group acknowledged that death might be necessary if they were to be picked up by the alien spacecraft, but appears to have held out hope that they could do so without dying. The suicides took place over the course of three days.
The members killed themselves starting Sunday using a combination of phenobarbital, alcohol and hydrocodone, probably consumed with apple sauce or pudding. The members then put plastic bags over their heads and suffocated to death, after which they were covered in shrouds. Settling in the San Diego area in , they supported themselves by creating sites on the World Wide Web for Internet users and established their own Web site to offer readers a gate to heaven hence the name by which they would become known.
Early in a rumour circulated among the New Age community that an artificial object, or spaceship, was following the recently discovered Comet Hale-Bopp , which would approach close to the Earth around the time of the spring equinox.
Prior to the event, the members of the group made a video explaining their individual reasons for their chosen path. Heaven's Gate.
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Gordon Melton. But it also had strains of the familiar. It borrowed from other religions, as Applewhite claimed to be able to save his followers from Lucifer. It was a combination that provoked laughter and ridicule more often than it converted — but somehow, it did convert.
And in the end, nobody was laughing. Not when 39 cult members turned up dead, victims of a mass suicide that stunned the nation with its deliberate imagery and heartbreaking motive.
Heaven’s Gate 20 Years Later: 10 Things You Didn’t Know – Rolling Stone
Applewhite was born in in Texas. In the early s, he was a music professor in Houston — until he was allegedly fired for having a relationship with one of his male students. He met Bonnie Nettles, a year-old married nurse, in in the hospital where she worked.
Applewhite himself would tell a different story, saying he was visiting a friend in the hospital when he met Nettles and felt an instant spiritual connection. The pair began to discuss their beliefs. Nettles had an abiding interest in astrology, while Applewhite leaned toward gnostic and mystic texts.
Their studies in scripture convinced them that they were the two witnesses described in the Christian Book of Revelation — the two tormented prophets who were killed for their gift, then resurrected by God and brought to heaven moments before an earthquake destroyed the town. They called themselves Bo and Peep, and later Do and Ti.
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