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Monday, March 26, 2007

Knockin' on Heaven's Gate

Remember these guys?

It was ten years ago tonight that the 39 members of the "Heaven's Gate" cult were found dead - after committing mass suicide - in their house in California. That was one weird thing when it happened. In case you were a bit younger: these guys were a UFO cult that believed a flying saucer was accompanying the Hale-Bopp Comet, which was big in the skies that spring. By killing themselves - or "leaving their earthly vehicles" as they put it - the Heaven's Gate bunch thought they were going to be takign a trip into outer space. Remember when they were showing footage shot inside the place: all those bodies with bags around their heads, wearing the same outfits and all found to be carrying five dollars in quarters (for the "videogames" that were going to be onboard the UFO that was supposed to pick them up).

Just plain screwy. Made all the more freakish by that nonstop video of cult founder Marshall Applewhite (the guy with those strange eyes) that ran on the news.

If you really want a blast from the past, here's the group's original website. Which not only describes the oddity of this bunch but also is a sterling example of the art of website design in the 1990s at its height. And if you want something a little light afterward, here's one of the Heaven's Gate website parodies that popped up after the suicides.