The 919 Gang, a daily online newsletter mainly for former and current Union-Tribune employees, reports today (July 2) that Heaven's Gate, the group that entered into a mass suicide in Rancho Santa Fe in 1997, has a website, heavensgate.com. It's true. The site is still there, as of this morning.
The 919 Gang posted a 2015 redditblog.com story indicating there were then four remaining members.
A Union-Tribune story of earlier this year indicated there were some former members but the group itself does not exist. A married couple in Phoenix, former members, keep up the website, according to the U-T and redditblog.com. The site says you can find out more by writing TELAH Services, 4757 E. Greenway Rd. Suite 103-178, Phoenix 85032.
In March of 1997, in a Rancho Santa Fe mansion, police found the bodies of 39 members of the group that took their own lives over three days. They had taken barbiturates, swallowed vodka, placed plastic bags over their heads, and suffocated to death, believing that they would be transported by a spaceship following Comet Hale-Bopp to a "level of existence above human."
The group's leader was Marshall Applewhite, a former convict and resident of a mental institution. He was one of the last to take his life.
The prose on the website is somewhat inscrutable. Consider: "Whether Hale-Bopp has a 'companion' or not is irrelevant from our perspective. However, its arrival is joyously very significant to us at 'Heaven's Gate.' Our joy is that our older Member in the Evolutionary Level Above Human (the 'Kingdom of Heaven') has made it clear to us that Hale-Bopp's approach is the 'marker' we've been waiting for -- the time for the arrival of the spacecraft from the Level Above Human to take us home to 'Their World' -- in the literal Heavens."
On the topic of suicide: "The true meaning of 'suicide' is to turn against the Next Level when it is being offered," says the website. Redditblog.com interviewed one of the two Phoenix website keepers. The answer: "Suicide is futile."