March 31, 1997 |
"Beam Us Up," read the banner headline in the Mirror. "They guzzled vodka, applesauce and lethal pills, then went gladly to their doom," said the London tabloid. Do the dead of Heaven's Gate deserve a better requiem? Or, in a world ever more hardened to unspeakable outrage, none at all? And was the mass suicide that left 39 dead in Rancho Santa Fe just California fruitcake, or did it contain the germ of something more sinister and universal?
March 28, 1997 |
It was deja vu: Too many bodies, life snuffed out, arranged neatly in restful repose, showing no obvious signs of violence. In one case, the dead were shielded from the sun by the red-tiled roof of a million-dollar mansion in a wealthy Southern California enclave. In the other, they lay bloated around a tin-roofed pavilion in the jungle of a deeply impoverished South American country.
March 30, 1997 |
San Diego County medical examiners Saturday worked through their grim backlog of 39 autopsies, using forklifts to haul bodies two at a time into a refrigerated tractor-trailer as camera crews recorded the macabre scene. As the row of corpses grew and grew, the son of Heaven's Gate cult leader Marshall Applewhite apologized to the families who had lost loved ones to the mass suicide.
March 29, 1997 |
The Milwaukee apartments where Jeffrey Dahmer killed and ate his victims had to be demolished--and the lot is still vacant. There is a new house, even new topsoil, on the site of the Benedict Canyon villa where Charles Manson led a murderous rampage. Nicole Brown Simpson's murder site was assessed recently at far less than its purchase price. The Menendez home sold at a reported $1.2-million loss.
March 30, 1997
1931: Marshall Herff Applewhite is born to a traveling Presbyterian minister and his wife, who raise a family full of religion and music. Late 1960s: Applewhite lands professorship at St. Thomas University in Houston. He teaches music and sings in the Houston opera, but his emotive nature chafes against the school's formal traditions. Applewhite was reportedly homosexual--despite his wife and two children--and too sexually outgoing for the east Texas community.
March 31, 1997 |
The 39 Heaven's Gate cult members who committed suicide last week had insured themselves against being abducted, impregnated or killed by aliens, an insurance agent who specializes in unusual policies said Sunday. The cult bought a policy Oct. 10 that would pay out $1 million to each member's beneficiaries, said Simon Burgess, managing director of Goodfellow Rebecca Ingrams Pearson, an insurance brokerage.
May 14, 2006 |
In Southern California, "reasonably priced" real estate is a relative term. In San Diego County's Rancho Santa Fe, perennially on lists of the nation's wealthiest communities, Whispering Palms is such an oasis. What's it about Rancho Santa Fe -- "the Ranch" to locals -- is a tree-shaded area of trophy estates, horse properties and bridle paths. No cookie-cutter mansions here.
March 27, 1997 |
It was planned as a place of light and graceful ease, but for at least 39 members of an obscure, computer-oriented group called W.W. Higher Source, this gated community in the rolling hills of northern San Diego County somehow became the site of a cybernetic dark night of the soul. "It was rented out to some monks or lamas," Carol Kappan said of the house on Rancho Santa Fe's Colina Norte, where the apparent mass suicide occurred. "I never saw them.
December 3, 1998
Michael Lawson Bagnall, a top financial executive for Walt Disney Productions who helped arrange financing for Disney World, has died at age 67. Bagnall died of a suspected brain aneurysm on Thanksgiving while walking with his family in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. Hired by Roy Disney in 1962 as assistant treasurer for the company, Bagnall rose to become executive vice president for finance. When Bagnall's retirement was announced in 1985, Disney head Michael D.
October 19, 1998
George W. Leisz, 75, a former president of Aerojet-General. During his presidency of Aerojet in 1988, the company had 8,000 employees and exceeded $1 billion in sales. He retired in 1989 but continued to be active in the industry as a managing partner of Carlisle Enterprises LLC, a firm based in La Jolla. He leaves his wife of 52 years, Jacquelin, two brothers, two sisters, three children and nine grandchildren. Memorial services will be held today at 2 p.m.