In the late 1970’s a music teacher, Marshall Applewhite, and a nurse, Bonny Nettles, set out to find their purpose on earth. Together they had created Heavens Gate. Applewhite, or also known as ‘BO’, believed that the earth was going to be recycled and that it was also a garden to grow souls. Once the souls were developed it was time to exit. To most people the “exit” was suicide, but for members of the cult it was moving on to a more developed kingdom. ‘Do’ had told his members to look for a sign in the night sky. They believed that a spaceship, or UFO, would pick them up and take them to start their new lives.
If someone were to stay a member of Heavens Gate, they had to follow many strict rules. They were first cut off from all contact with family and friends. Each member was given a new name. All aspects of life were regulated, such as, what they read, what they watched on TV and even how they shaved. Applewhite and several others underwent castration in Mexico as a means of maintaining the ascetic lifestyle. There was to be no emotion and no gender. Women did not wear dresses and did nothing to bring attention to their body. They even cut their hair. Sex was also “too human” and considered bad. Their purpose in this group was to prepare for what they had called “graduation”.
In 1997 Applewhite had said that the commit, Hale Bopp, was the sign that it was time to exit and when it had become brighter in late March of 1997 the members started doing fair-well videos for their family and friends.
On March 26th, 1997, Rio Diangelo, a former Heavens Gate member, walked into the San Diego mansion and found 21 women and 18 men dead. They were in identical positions, covered with a purple sheet. They had been faced up with their “graduation outfits” on, Nike shoes, and a suitcase at the end of their bed. The...