The Higher Source computer cult, better known as Heaven’s Gate, killed themselves over three nights in March 1997 in their ranch near San Diego. Made up of short-haired, zombie-like computer wizards, they went out for a final meal and then helped each other to take vodka and drugs aided by strangulation.
They were led by elderly, white haired Marshall Appplewhite and his wife, known together as Bo and Peep. He had met her in 1975 after she nursed him through mental illness, and they had set up many cults previously.
However, they did not see themselves as dying over those nights. Rather, they were simply shedding their bodies to go to a flying saucer that was hidden in the tail of the Hale-Bopp comet, thus surviving the coming end of civilisation.
(c) Anthony North, Feb 2007