The Incredible Story Of The "Heaven's Gate" Cult
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Posted: Saturday, April 18, 2009
by Joel Hendon
Marshall Herff Applewhite, Jr was born in Spur, Texas in 1931. He was the son of a Presbyterian preacher who planted new congregations of his denomination and then moved to another location to start another. This meant moving about every 3 years.
Marshall, Jr. early in life wanted to be a Prsbytrian preacher also, but his father and sister urged him to study and enhance his talent in music. So he did this and studied music much of his school life. In college, he majored in Music and Pre-Theology. After serving a tour in the Army at the ending of the Korean War, he was honorably discharged and became a college music teacher.
In 1972, while in a psychiatric hospital recovering from a heart attack, he met a nurse named Bonnie Nettles and a courtship ensued. His emotional disturbances continued to surface. In 1974, he was arrested in Harlingen, Texas for stealing credit cards. After Nettles told him he possessed certain astrological gifts, he decided that he was the reincarnated Jesus Christ.
As difficult as it is to get people to answer the call of Jesus Christ, I don't know how some mixed up fellow as was Applewhite was able to gain followers, but he did and at one point had as many as eighty people in his cult. Bonnie Nettles died in 1985 of cancer. After her death, He led the cult by himself. Just when is not known, but it is known that he had himself surgically made an eunuch.
Applewhite determined in his mind that the earth was destined for a complete cleansing and the only way to avoid extermination was to get to the "second level" and although there were several ways of leaving the earth and going to the next level, he became convinced that it must be done soon. Another fact which he came up with was that there was an alien spacecraft coming in the trail of the approaching Hale-Bopp comet.
There were 40 members of the cult at that time and Applewhite concluded that all must commit suicide as the comet passed the earth so the spacecraft would carry them into the next level. Plans were made and ingredients for the suicidal poison were procured. But one month before the time, one member decided he did not want to go through with it and desired to leave the commune. Applewhite agreed and told him that was part of the overall plan that he should be left to lead authorities to the bodies.
They all wore the same type clothing and determined that fifteen would commit suicide on March 24, 1997, fifeteen the next day and the last nine on the third day. This was arranged so those still alive could see that all went well, and plastic bags were fastened over the heads of those who took the potion, in case they were not completely dead. When they were found, all except two had the plastic bags tied over their heads. The last two had been left to see to the others before they also took of the poison.
This was the largest number of suicides on American soil ever recorded. There are far more details available than I have been able put into this article. To read more, just type "Heaven's Gate" into Google's search window.
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This Article has been viewed 1,347 times. (Not updated in real-time.)Top-level comments on this article: (1 total)
It always amazes me who people will follow. Interesting article. Thank you.Linda D» left by Joel Hendon 4 years 33 days ago.
Thanks for commenting Linda and I agree. Especially to the point that you can fall for such an idea and actually commit suicide for it. Some say that a person like that fellow actually has a hypnotic effect on people. It must be true.