March 27, 1997 |
Mystery shrouded the deaths, but there were also telling signs. The dozens of young men were dressed in black slacks, lying on their backs throughout the hillside mansion, neither trauma nor blood nor struggle in evidence. Whether the 39 people found in a Rancho Santa Fe house died in an orchestrated suicide or fell prey to mass murder wasn't clear late Wednesday. But the victims, said by the homeowner's attorney to belong to an extreme religious group calling itself the W.W.
March 30, 1997 |
Befitting the space alien he claimed to be, Marshall Applewhite never really succeeded here on Earth, never made the desired inroads in human society. His message was aimed at the fringe, but it seemed a bit too far out for most, almost a caricature of wacky California thought. A redeemer descended from the "Next Level," he was locked in decades of spiritual war with rival space aliens.
April 12, 1997 |
With 38 of the 39 bodies claimed by relatives, the county medical examiner made official Friday what investigators had suspected from the beginning: Members of the Heaven's Gate cult died from the effects of alcohol, phenobarbital and asphyxiation. In his final report on the mass suicide, Dr. Brian Blackbourne also listed coronary arteriosclerosis as a possible contributory cause in the suicide of cult leader Marshall Herff Applewhite.
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.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 1, 1997
The name was just too close for at least one woman, apparently jittery over last week's mass suicide by the Heaven's Gate cult in Rancho Santa Fe. When a flier showed up on the windshield of her car while she was shopping at a Ralphs market in Burbank, she called the police. "Heaven's Gates and Hell's Flames," it proclaimed.
August 12, 1989
As an elected official, particularly one who serves on no private boards of directors nor as a paid consultant to any firm, I read The Times' articles (Aug. 6) on Mayor Bradley with more than passing interest. But I should point out that The Times' list of city-provided benefits, which included the use of a rent-free municipal mansion in Hancock Park, omitted the "possessory" tax paid directly by the mayor.