This documentary investigates an incident in 1997, where thirty-nine members of the San Diego-based cult “Heaven’s Gate” committed mass suicide. They intended to reach an alien spacecraft which they believed to be following Comet Hale-Bopp, which was at that time brightly visible in the nighttime sky.
Heaven’s Gate was founded and led by Marshall Applewhite (1931–1997) and Bonnie Nettles (1928–1985).
Heaven’s Gate members believed that the planet Earth was about to be recycled (wiped clean, renewed, refurbished and rejuvenated), and that the only chance to survive was to leave it immediately. While the group was formally against suicide, they defined “suicide” in their own context to mean “to turn against the Next Level when it is being offered,” and believed that their “human” bodies were only vessels meant to help them on their journey. In conversation, when referring to a person or a person’s body, they routinely used the word “vehicle”.
To catch a glimpse of their recruitment videos, continue to episode 2 in this post.
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