The Heavensgate body count now stands at 41, and counting...
On May 6, 1997 pre-alerted media authorities (CNN & CBS) reported the discovery of one-and-a-half more canonical suicides (complete with Nikes, shrouds and spare change) in a Holiday Inn near San Diego. Wayne Cook of Las Vegas, a surving spouse of the original 39, was dead. His partner, Chuck Humphrey of Denver, was recovered in critical condition. Hapless commuter Humphrey said in his "earth exit statement" that "I'd rather gamble on missing the bus this time than staying on this planet and risk losing my soul."
On May 6, 1997 pre-alerted media authorities (CNN & CBS) reported the discovery of one-and-a-half more canonical suicides (complete with Nikes, shrouds and spare change) in a Holiday Inn near San Diego. Wayne Cook of Las Vegas, a surving spouse of the original 39, was dead. His partner, Chuck Humphrey of Denver, was recovered in critical condition.
Hapless commuter Humphrey said in his "earth exit statement" that "I'd rather gamble on missing the bus this time than staying on this planet and risk losing my soul."
In addition to the original Heavensgate 39, a 40th suicide was discovered April 1, 1997 in a remote cottage in Marysville, Calif. Asphyxiated under a purple shroud and a hanging foil model of the galaxy was Robert Leon Nichols, a former Heavensgate acolyte, rock roadie, and author of "Truckin' to Egypt with the -- gasp! -- Grateful Dead."
The recently discorporated "Higher Source" website designers may not have known much about astronomy, but they sure as hell understood marketing on the internet. In that sense, the suicidal comet seekers have fulfilled a basic tenet of American theology: they have created an economic "miracle."
Since the discovery of the webmasters� thirty-nine "containers," which by then were designing cobwebs, the Astro-Christian fundamentalists have inspired hundreds of new web pages, a flood of Usenet messages, and a traffic jam of world wide web activity which means a marketing bonanza for major media and online corporations -- and, of course, Hollywood.
On the net, the "Heaven�s Gate" suicides generated even more news-related web activity than that other abortive takeoff -- TWA Flight 800.
According to archives of the AltaVista web search engine, 70 new web pages were created with "twa 800" related keywords within the first ten days of the July 17, 1996 crash.
But as the accompanying chart shows, more than seven times that number, 480 new web pages with keyword variants of "highersource" or "heavensgate" were created in the ten days since the March 26th departure of the Hale-Bopp-o-nauts.
A HotBot search also supports the seven-to-one ratio, reporting 663 heavensgate pages to 89 twa800 pages over the same intervals.
But there�s a big difference in the online legacy of the two events: while most of the twa800 pages dealt mainly with news, condolences, and conspiracies, the heavensgate postings have a definite commercially opportunistic edge.
Most of the early pages were posted by web-design outfits offering mirrors of heavensgate files as a "public service." But many re-posters are also advertising their eagerness to design pages for the curious who stumble into their webs, which are typically overloaded with heavensgate-related keywords, the better to be found by the various search engines.
Or, visit a "paradise" on this island Earth which promises to "kill you with kindness":
One "enterprising" outfit posted this "subspace alert" on its website two days after the Heavensgate Away Team "beamed up":
But on Monday, March 31st, the notice abruptly changed:
And by the end of the day, even this exculpatory message was gone, leaving only an advertisement for a commercial site which by its own now-defunct counter had already logged thousands of hits. Although the author(s) claimed "The ONLY Purpose of This Page Was To Gather Public Opinion On This Tragic Event," the page also Gathered Customers for their name brokering service, which solicits bids as high as $20,000 for warehoused InterNic domain names such as. . . "sendmoney.com".
But corporations, hustlers and webmasters-on-the-make aren�t the only ones looking to turn an "astronomical" profit on the Hale-Boppster�s sexless syncophants.
Those pages are actually links to "Nita's Nookie Nook," a delightful sex-site which promises "TONS of the hottest smut around! Anal, Asians, Blacks, Hardcore! Interracial, Lesbians, Pussy, Whites!" -- for those who don�t know whether they�re going, or coming!
But even when Eros relieves the tedium of Thanatos, the unsuspecting web-seeker can still be deceived:
Sounds hot-hot-hot, right?
Wrong! It�s really a commercial bait-and-switch page delivering promos instead of pornos. This "hardcore" site actually belongs to "Dresser Pacific Ads," which offers no un-dressers, but merely "your own business or personal web page."
There oughta be a law! If the Supreme Court is going to "regulate pornography on the internet," then they should make damn sure our smut is delivered as promised, instead of bait-and-switch commercials for "effective and affordable ads on the internet"!
While it�s nearly impossible to estimate the total sales windfall generated by the heavensgate frenzy, it is enlightening to see how internet activity translates into dollar earnings.
Doubleclick.com, which describes itself as the web�s premiere ad agency, is one of scores specializing in the placement of "banner ads" on the front pages of major content providers, including AltaVista, US News, PBS Online and Billboard.
These "impressions," as cyber-commercials are politely called, are billed to the advertiser at rates ranging from $25 to $70 per thousand exposures, with a typical 50-50 split for web affiliates carrying the ads. The delivery system can track users� browsing habits with intelligent targeting, or "exclude users in certain regions based on country, state, area code, or zip code."
As a hypothetical example, consider highersource.org, a new site formed by witty webmasters who�ve launched an utterly tasteful "Toe-Tag Campaign" for media responsibility in heavensgate reporting. In the first sixteen hours of its existence, the site logged some 200,000 hits. Had they been commercially connected with that traffic rate, it could mean a potential gross of $5,000 to $14,000 for an ad agency, with a $2,500 to $7,000 payout to the site in one day alone. Even with lower rates, multiply that example by the total number of ad-infested sites on the web -- some logging several megahits per month -- and the mind wobbles at the amount of money to be made by spamming our short attention spans.
And then there's the inevitable ABC TV-movie, tabloids, talk shows television specials, book deals, psychic "interviews" and even a Heaven's Gate study course. There are millions to be made, and the Heavensgate money meter is already running, like a cosmic commercial "Ody-ometer."
But nothing better demonstrates the Heavensgaters' eye for marketing than the recently revealed contract they signed with the William Morris Agency in Oklahoma on April 7, 1976.
On that date, "Do and Ti," then known as "Bo and Peep" recorded a video, the only one known to feature "the two" together. Forty percent of the originally-titled "An Informal Session with Bo and Peep" goes to the heirs of Herff Applewhite and Bonnie Lu Nettles Trousdale (their "slave names"). The other sixty percent goes to William Morris and the lawyers -- leaving nothing but a five-dollar bill and three quarters to each of their puddin-headed, container-dropping, Nike-wearing, property-renouncing followers.
Then, two weeks after filming the video, on April 21, 1976, "Dough" and "Ti" added a "rider" to the contract requiring that :
The Heavensgaters' William Morris project is being handled by the firm of Weinstein & Hart -- which specializes in such dead "vehicles" as Bruce Lee, Abbot & Costello, and and Fred Astaire (who still "dances" today with vacuum cleaners and planted products in those awful anachronistic morphed commercials).
Can't you just see the business meeting when these clients want to get paid?
|BRUCE LEE:||"Show me the dough!"|
|APPLEWHITE:||"Show me the money!"|
|WM. MORRIS:||"You show me the comet!"|
|COSTELLO:||"What comet? Who the hell is 'Do'?"|
|ABBOTT:||"Do's the first one on."|
Not bad, eh? For someone so ignorant in astronomy, "Do" knows the "star system"!
"Show Me Da Comet!"
We use the term "lunatic" deliberately, and note here for the first time that the Heavensgaters have used lunar timing on more than one occasion to schedule their "exits" or suicides.
Each of the Heavensgate suicide sessions was planned to coincide with a lunar syzygy (New Moon or Full Moon):
The documented events include:
The diary of a discarded member (pardon the expression!) found accidentally by a Rancho Santa Fe groundskeeper indicated that "March 22 is the date" set for departure as early as the winter of 1996, when there would be a lunar eclipse within days of Hale-Bopp's perihelion (closest approach to the sun).
Furthermore, there is evidence that the "exit procedures" almost certainly took place during the day or hours leading up to the full moon lunar eclipse of 8:40 pm PST on March 23, 1997. This would account for the "exhaust fumes" of the "away team's" departure when their "vehicles" were discovered on the afternoon of March 26th!
According to posthumous "earth exit statements" surreptitiously posted by unidentified associates to a heavensgate.com mirror site on April 4, 1997, the lunar ritual was inexorably timed and thoroughly coordinated. The dates given for the three suicide notes are March 18 ("Srrody"), March 19 ("Glnody") and finally, March 22 ("Chkody").
It is well accepted among the gnostic sciences that lunations are useful, natural focuses for meditation and -- the new moon for "beginnings" or affirmations, and the full moon for "fulfillment" or consolidation. Even the most orthodox of religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam included) are selenological. They determine their holiest seasons by the timing of the first full moon after the first new moon after the equinoxes. But the confusion with Heavensgate is what are truly endings and beginnings. Suicide, they claimed, would be to stay with the body, while others see their actions as an abandonment of ship.
Who can say whether they would be welcomed into some "mother ship" -- or thrown in the brig, for desertion?
While your reporter may share some of their cosmic aspirations and social criticisms (and Hubble telescope art!) -- here's where we differ with Heavensgate:
Unlike Heavensgate, we believe "Star Trek" is an inadequate, phallocentric, anthro-supremacist metaphor for the infinite communicative complexity of this universe. As detailed in our "Biomorphic Cosmology," we believe that one is potentially, at any moment, at "the next level" of consciousness, and that we are already on a journey through space -- on a ship called Earth. And what's more ironic is that in discarding their earthly "vehicles" for a ride on the "spacecraft" Hale-Bopp, they would have found themselves stranded on a dead "container" part of a deceased planet which itself discorporated some three million years ago, during a sequence of planetary explosions which, according to former USNO scientist Thomas Van Flandern [see links below], resulted in the asteroid belt and comets such as Hale-Bopp.
And what's more ironic is that in discarding their earthly "vehicles" for a ride on the "spacecraft" Hale-Bopp, they would have found themselves stranded on a dead "container" part of a deceased planet which itself discorporated some three million years ago, during a sequence of planetary explosions which, according to former USNO scientist Thomas Van Flandern [see links below], resulted in the asteroid belt and comets such as Hale-Bopp.From the frying pan into the fire!
And, of course, the Heavensgaters could not have been well served by the fictitious Saturn-like-object "UFO comet companion" scam propogated by Courtney Brown, Art Bell and Whitley Streiber late last year [see links below]. As the author wrote in a predictive satirical condemnation in late 1996:
Art Bell, Courtney Brown and Chuck Shramek claim FBI is covering up CIA shoot-down of Russian Mars 96 satellite enroute to Elvis face at Cydonia from underground UN black helicopter base in Australia to prevent discovery of Martian colony hiding behind comet Hale-Bopp in brown-dwarf UFO four times larger than Earth on collision course with Area 51 in Roswell, NM on masonic 33rd anniversary of JFK assassination!!!
But even though the dear departed were inadequately educated in cosmology ("This telescope's no good -- I can't see the UFO") and ultimately suffered a certain counter-Christian hubris in their insistence on acheiving that "Level Above Human," there are some fascinating elements in their anti-authoritarian theses, and in parts of their theology.
Yet for all this, the cobwebmasters are nevertheless inextricably caught in the web of commerce. The commercialism now associated with the Heavensgate 39 --uh, 41-- has eclipsed much of the useful news, commentary and reflection in their wake... just as the shadow of Earth fell over the Moon the night they began pouring their poisoned puddings.
Meanwhile, somewhere between Heaven's gate and Hale-Bopp, there is no doubt consternation and amusement over the fact that the only quantifiable "eternal life" achieved by Heavensgate is on the internet, where they are known primarily as "profits."
For the World so loved 'Do'
That he gave his only begotten lives
That whosoever believeth in "dough"
Should not perish, but have eternal economic life
Not in the Womb of the Mothership, but only on the Web -- D'Oh!!
First known appearance (4/4/97) of posthumous Heavensgate "Earth Exit Statements" ( Click here for a local copy)
|Comet Hale-Bopp co-discoverer Alan Hale comments on Heaven's Gate||http://halebopp.com/zhalestatement.htm/|
|NASA/JPL Comet Hale-Bopp website||http://galileo.ivv.nasa.gov/comet/|
|Tom Van Flandern's website on the "Exploding Planet Hypothesis"||http://www.metaresearch.org/mrb/cydonia/|
|Background on "remote viewing" scam-artist Courtney Brown's Hale-Bopp UFO "companion"||http://halebopp.com/slo1.htm/|
|Background on "Bo" & "Peep" activities from the 1970s to "Do" & "Ti" in the 1990s, compiled by UFO Magazine||http://www.ufomagazine.com/html/special/special2_1.html|
|Satirical site created by professional webmasters; sponsors of "Toe-Tag Campaign" for media responsibility||http://www.highersource.org/|
|A.Mendoza's "Beam Me Up Scotty Cult" page. Heavensgate newstrail and commentary||http://www.mayhem.net/Crime/heavensgate.html|
|Harlan Ellison's science fiction analysis of Heaven's Gate||http://www.menagerie.net/ellison/text/ellicult.htm/|
|"Impropaganda" site with controversial Heavensgate / Cathar Christian comparison|
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