Heaven's Gate Cult Representatives Give Rare Interview

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In 1997, thirty-nine members of Heaven's Gate, the UFO religious cult, were found after they'd committed mass suicide in an attempt to reach the extraterrestrial spacecraft they believed to be trailing Comet Hale-Bopp. The group was founded in San Diego in the 1970s by "alien agents" Marshall Applewhite (Do) and Bonnie Nettles (Ti), who met in a psychiatric hospital where the former was a patient and the latter a nurse. They sometimes referred to themselves as "The UFO Two" while visiting with spiritual groups, and eventually found like-minded followers who believed they would be transported to a spaceship upon death, before being restored to life. Do and Ti believed that Earth was going to be "recycled" and this was their chance to survive.

According to Do and Ti, "to be eligible for membership in the Next Level, humans would have to shed every attachment to the planet," which meant giving up human-like characteristics, "human relationship, habits, drugs, sex or even thoughts of it."

This was Do's final message before he and his followers killed themselves in their 9,200-square-foot mansion by ingesting phenobarbital mixed in with applesauce, and washed down with vodka, before placing plastic bags over their heads.

It turns out there are still surviving members out there, as Troy James Weaver recently learned after contacting the email address listed on their still operational website. Weaver conducted an interview over email with two unnamed members of Heaven's Gate living in Arizona. They told him "we still have the same understanding as we did when we joined," which they describe here:

The simple understanding is that there is a real, physical level above the human one here on earth. It is not a spiritual existence. It is real individuals, in real bodies, in real crafts taking care of the issues of their planet. The Next Level, as it is called, created this planet and all the life on it. The Next Level are the care takers of not only this planet but all the systems of the universe. From that, all the other understandings follow. They periodically come down to this planet to check in on this civilizations development. The last time they took a very close up observation, in human form, was from about 1972 to 1997. The time before that was 2000 years ago. At those times they talk to those interested about the opportunity of the Next Level and how a very select few can enter into it only after a long period of transition and instruction.

They were quick to add, however, that while they still believe, "the Group ended in 1997" and "there is no organization or members." However, they are still in touch with other former members, including a man named Rio, who discovered the bodies and now lives in L.A. As for the Arizona couple, they were "designated to maintain and care for" the website, send informational materials out to those who request it, and sell books... until they rejoin with the rest of the group in another life.

You can read the full interview here.