Heaven's Gate

Committed mass suicide in order to enter a spaceship and receive salvation

1974 - 1997

Marshall Applewhite (founder) in their initiation video

Heaven's Gate was a cult that committed suicide in matching outfits in 1997. It was started by Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles in the 1970s. According to them, they were the messengers described in the book of Revelation and would be transported by a giant spaceship into the next level of existence. After Bonnie died, they adopted a belief that they must also die to enter the spacecraft.

When the Hale-Bopp comet was approaching earth, a rumor was started in UFO communities that there was a giant spaceship hidden behind the comet. The Heaven's Gate community believed that this was the spaceship they were waiting for and prepared to liberate their souls from their earthly bodies so they could board the spacecraft. Over the period of three days, 39 members committed suicide, believing that it would provide salvation. It remains the largest mass suicide on U.S. soil.

Religion: New Age

Founders: Marshall Applewhite ("Do"; "Bo", "Guinea") and Bonnie Nettles ("Ti"; "Peep"; "Pig")

Founded: 1974

Ended: 1997

Location: San Diego, California

Size: 41

Also called: The Group; Human Individual Metamorphosis (HIM); Higher Source

Other info:

Documentary on Heaven's Gate and other UFO cults

Initiation tape