Castrated cult members took own lives ‘to board spaceship for new life among stars’

WARNING DISTRESSING CONTENT: Today, March 26, marks the anniversary of the Heaven’s Gate cult mass suicide. Members believed they would ascend to a spaceship hiding behind a comet.

A chilling cult convinced 39 people to end their lives to “board an alien spaceship” for a new life among the stars.

The leader of Heaven’s Gate filled the minds of his followers with strange beliefs and, after an anonymous tip-off, police arrived at a mansion in a posh San Diego neighbourhood on this day (March 26) in 1997 to discover a horrifying scene.

Inside, they found the bodies of 39 men and women, all dressed identically.

The leader, Marshall Applewhite, had persuaded them that they could hitch a ride on a spaceship hiding behind the Hale Bop comet, which was passing Earth at the time.

He too was found dead alongside the others, all wearing badges reading “Heaven’s Gateway Club” pinned to their matching tracksuits and Nike shoes.

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One of the first officers on the scene, Detective Rick Scully, vividly recalls the tragic sight he encountered upon arrival.

Bodies were discovered in every room, covered in sheets. Detective Scully said: “It was like being in the Twilight Zone. We were wandering from room to room to room, and every room we went into we were finding bodies.”

“You’re thinking, ‘When is this going to end? How many bodies are going to be in here? How many rooms are there in this place? Because every room we went in had bodies stacked up like cordwood.”

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Applewhite began sharing his spiritual beliefs after meeting Bonnie Nettles. Together, they opened a shop and teaching center where they shared their “divine message”. They travelled the US, gathering followers in California.

Applewhite promised that those who joined his cult would journey to a UFO, where their physical bodies would be transformed. Eventually, he started believing that the body was merely a “container” for the soul, which would inhabit a new body on the UFO.

In 1985, when Nettles passed away from cancer, Applewhite was deeply saddened. He informed his followers that she had ascended to the “next level” due to her having “too much energy to remain on Earth”.

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    After Nettles’ death, Applewhite gained more control over the cult. He led them to view him as a Christ-like figure.

    Heaven’s Gate began prioritizing the suppression of sexual desires. Applewhite and seven others underwent surgeries to remove their genitals.

    Applewhite explained that “next level” beings lacked sexual organs. He also imposed a uniform dress code and hairstyle on all members, regardless of gender.

    The cult leader used mind control and manipulation to convince his followers that singer and actress Nell Carter was hiding behind the Hale-Bopp comet, signalling that he and his cult should join her on a spaceship to another world.

    On March 26, 1997, the cult sealed themselves off from the outside world, taping goodbye messages before leaving their homes.

    Applewhite’s eerie parting message was: “This is your chance. I’m here, I can take you out of here. I can lead you into that kingdom level above human”.

    “That can’t happen unless you leave the human world that you’re in and come and follow me. Time is short. Last chance.”

    UK: For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 116 123 or visit a local Samaritans branch.

    US: If you or someone you know needs support now, call or text 988 or chat

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