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NEWS
March 30, 1997 | DAVID FERRELL and JESSE KATZ and NICHOLAS RICCARDI, TIMES STAFF WRITERS
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.
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NEWS
March 29, 1997 | DAVID COLKER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
First came shock, then the finger-pointing. On the Internet, where Heaven's Gate members maintained an extensive World Wide Web site and sent out large chunks of their philosophy to message groups, the reaction to the mass suicide began with sympathy and empathy. "It is terribly sad. People are searching for peace," wrote a regular on the message group known as alt.support.depression. "Who better than us know that feeling too well?" But it wasn't long before the digital fur was flying.
NEWS
March 29, 1997 | JOHN M. GLIONNA and ALAN ABRAHAMSON and TONY PERRY, TIMES STAFF WRITERS
Grieving families around the nation began Friday to plan funerals for relatives they had long ago lost to the Heaven's Gate cult, which promised disciples they could evolve into extraterrestrials by severing all links to modern society and human desires.
NEWS
March 29, 1997 | KENNETH R. WEISS and DUKE HELFAND, TIMES STAFF WRITERS
In New York, cult expert Marcia Rudin got more calls than she could possibly answer, forcing her to turn away anxious parents whose children had slipped deep into mysterious sects. In Los Angeles, Debbie Pine dashed from one television interview to another, laying out the warning signs of cult affiliation for a suddenly attentive public.
NEWS
March 28, 1997 | ANNE-MARIE O'CONNOR and GREG KRIKORIAN, TIMES STAFF WRITERS
Before it became the elegant coffin of an apocalyptic cult, the $1.6-million estate at the end of the Colina Norte cul-de-sac was simply prime Southern California property: three acres on a hilltop. Seven bedrooms, 7 1/2 baths, an elevator. Outside a pool, tennis court, even a putting green. The glossy pages of a real estate bible annointed the residence, with its sweeping ocean and canyon views, one of San Diego's dream homes.
NEWS
March 28, 1997 | JOHN M. GLIONNA, TIMES STAFF WRITER
The bodies came Thursday in industrial-strength doses, brought to the San Diego County medical examiner's office by the truckload, then carried two by two on a forklift to a waiting semi-truck-turned-cooler, its walls sweating under a warm sun.
NEWS
March 28, 1997 | LARRY GORDON and HECTOR TOBAR, TIMES STAFF WRITERS
The quiet, tragic end of 39 lives inside a palatial home in Rancho Santa Fe this week may have had its roots in a chance meeting more than 20 years ago of two disaffected people--one a nurse and the other her patient in a Texas hospital. The two were Bonnie Lu Trousdale Nettles and Marshall Herff Applewhite, who, according to experts and a videotaped history produced by the Heaven's Gate cult, has more recently been known as "Do" (pronounced Doe), the cult's charismatic leader.
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