A checklist for cult-ly responsibility
In March of 1997, 38 members of a group of web developers, called Heaven’s Gate, participated in a mass suicide that coincided with the appearance of the Hale-Bopp comet. Believing that their souls would hitch a ride to heaven on a spaceship that traveled with the comet, the Gaters hatched an elaborate and ascetic plan that only became somewhat evident when their bodies were found in a rented mansion in the San Diego, California area.
While the ritual destroyed most first-hand evidence of what truly happened at the ritual suicide, we at disbeliefnet have created a dramatized memo that will attempt to shed some light on the Gaters’ beliefs and process:
Memo to Heaven’s gate Suicide Candidates:
Hale-Bopp is on its way, and soon we’ll be headed off this doomed and decadent planet. But before we go, let’s make sure we have dotted our “I”s and crossed our “T”s. Remember, spaceships don’t pick up hitchhikers who can’t follow through on years worth of planning.
You’ve been issued the standard suicide kit: a bunk bed, a purple cloth, a plastic bag for your head, citrus juice for cleansing, vodka, phenolbarbitol and a roll of quarters to pay the interspace toll. Don’t forget to bring all of these with you – we won’t issue replacements, and you can’t ascend without them.
Don’t forget to wear your uniform to the mansion – there will be no time for a costume change. If you haven’t already purchased your black shirts, sweatpants and Nike sneakers, you can get them at a discount through www.Cults-R-Us.com. Enter coupon code: heaven’s gate away team. I hate to bring this up, but rumors have been circulating that some of our Suicide Class of 1997 faked their castrations. Prior to your suicide, we will be inspecting your goods for proof of your commitment.
Special note to Rio: we understand your decision to stray from the group and serve a separate purpose. Please document everything you see, but for God’s sake, don’t let the images get out to the media. Do you know what that would do to the property values in Rancho Santa Fe?
Want to follow the rabbit trail? Start here