by William Henry

Taken from the prologue of the forthcoming book

The Keeper's of Heaven's Gate: The Millennial Madness

from EarthPulse Website




Author's Note

Readers may find parts of this book difficult to believe.


This is, however, the true details of the religious beliefs of an extraordinary group of people. The 'illuminations' drawn from their beliefs have been selected from the statements, documents and interviews by cult members. Since the beginning of time, people have sought to answer the questions raised in this book.


It is dedicated to all who have ever asked these questions, and written in hopes that all who pursue these questions in the future will do so with the healthy understanding that perhaps we are not meant to answer all of life's questions.


The key of life may be to enjoy it to its maximum while we are here.




"It is often the fanatics, and not always the delicate spirits, that are found grasping the right thread of the solutions required by the future."
Ernest Renan, History of the People of Israel

Rancho Santa Fe, California, March 26, 1997. The day the Heaven's Gate cult, believing they alone had the answers to life's ultimate question, ceremoniously slipped their mortal coil and escaped into the 'beyond.'

Their story left the human family stunned, dominating the human conversation on the Easter weekend that followed. It touched the eternal spirit in all of us, simultaneously evoking fear, loathing and compassion.


We all know we will die. It is this knowing that compels us to comprehend this situation, to find a 'Web page' of truth in this traitorous and cowardly act. What force, this book seeks to answer, could cause a misfit soul to want to pull and whirl itself away from Earth, especially to a waiting space ship?

Despite the fact that their propaganda, offered in highly sophisticated web pages, suggests they wanted to be free of Earth life, the actions of the Heaven's Gate cult had a totally opposite effect. Instead of freedom, the manner of their death created a silver cord which is now gripped by the imaginations of millions of people around the world. In their carelessness, they will never be free of Earth life.


Instead of being worshipped as heroes, they are immortalized as villains in the museum of human consciousness.

This book (The Keeper's of Heaven's Gate - The Millennial Madness
) deals with the peculiar belief systems possessed by the Heaven's Gate cult and other notorious cults of the 90's. In these beliefs is found the "force" or "unifying agent" which drove them to extinction. As an investigator of similar beliefs, I too built a worldview using many of the sticks and stones the Heaven's Gate cult used to build their temple. It's okay to believe in UFO's, reincarnation, and life on other planets.


The striking difference is the unifying agent holding these beliefs together. Unfortunately, in the case of the Heaven's Gate cult the Biblical adage 'and slime they had for mortar' applies.


This 'slime' separates them from all the other seekers of the world who chose a more permanent bonding agent to unify their beliefs and ground them to the Earth.

"The well-adjusted," writes Eric Hoffer, "make poor prophets. On the other hand, those who are at war with the present have an eye for the seeds of change and the potentialities of small beginnings."

The Heaven's Gate cult believed themselves to be visionaries not just at war with the present, but with all of Earth life in general. Early on they developed the radical idea that for them to achieve peace it was mandatory that they leave Earth.

"The radical," Hoffer wrote, "has a passionate faith in the infinite perfectibility of human nature. He believes that by changing man's environment and by perfecting a technique of soul forming, a society can be wrought that is wholly new and unprecedented."

Jefferson, Washington and Franklin were radicals. Ghandi in India was a radical. Martin Luther King was a radical. They sought to revive the human spirit through the resurrection of an ancient belief in a golden age, believing in this act we could create a utopia.

The Heaven's Gate cult also believed themselves to be radicals. They revived ancient beliefs, too, particularly in space beings who planted the human soul on this Earth. They preached a return to these ancient beings and their beliefs.


The difference is for Heaven's Gate death is utopia and they believed this utopia was elsewhere other than the Earth. They passionately pursued this ideal to its ultimate fulfillment.



The Heaven's Gate cult lived at the top of the material pyramid of human civilization. They had 'arrived'. In Rancho Santa Fe, spacious estates with their rolling and wooded lawns huddle together to form an island in a region that is otherwise a pancake of desert.


It's one of the world's richest communities, a private garden in a world becoming increasingly a maze of concrete and steel: an ideal place for the wealthy to retire to the Sun and to either contemplate or forget about the rest of the world.

Despite their accomplishments as talented web page designers, the misfits of Heaven's Gate never believed they had 'arrived' on Earth. They didn't even consider themselves earthlings. No accomplishment, no matter how stellar, would satisfy the titanic needs of their souls.


For them, salvation could only come in the form of total separation from the prison of Earth. To stay here, their propaganda professed, was suicide.

For this reason, the garden at Rancho Santa Fe became the perfect place for a mass suicide.


Monday morning, March 24,1997, rose like any other in the palatial home the Heaven's Gate cult called "our temple." That day, instead of creating web-pages for their clients, the men and women who lived here dressed themselves in matching clothing, packed themselves into their bunk beds and awaited further instructions.


In their pockets they carried cash, perhaps an echo of the ancient Egyptian belief that the dead had to pay the ferry men, the keepers of the gates to heaven.

During long years of training they had prepared themselves for what was to come. By this procedure, all 39 members of the cult would converge upon a space ship following the comet Hale-Bopp, their true home. Hale-Bopp was the "marker" the Heaven's Gate soldiers had been waiting for. It represented the culmination of their mission and the dawning of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.

Moments later two members of the Heaven's Gate cult entered the bedrooms of their "brothers and sisters," as they called each other. This exercise was not a drill. With the comet above them it's all for real now. Each cup holds a combination of phenobarbital and alcohol.


Phenobarbital is a barbiturate drug that doctors have long prescribed for its sedative and antiseizure properties. In minutes, it kills painlessly by producing drowsiness, coma and collapse of the circulatory system.

As they sipped their "elixers of life," cult members incontrovertibly believed members of the Kingdom of Heaven were aboard a craft trailing Hale-Bopp awaiting their return. On the computer monitors which filled the house, images of the alien-human hybrids, or Extraterrestrial Biological Entities, who inhabited this ship watched over them.

With one sip the most intimate and thoughtful act any human can make was done. From here, the automatic death mechanism within turned the key and released the soul inhabiting these bodies.


Whether or not they made it past the keepers to heaven's gate is not for us to decide.



Millennial Madness

Tolerantly hosting misfits is a way of life in California, they breath life into its image as a cutting edge region of the world.


It's entertainment and computers that are at California's political, economic and cultural heart, however - bringing shared experiences and new frontiers to the world.


Together, misfits and computers, along with a self-proclaimed messiah who indoctrinates with a video camera, have placed California, and by extension the entertainment and computer industries, on the furthest fringes of a new shared experience: millennial madness.

March 26,1997 marked the end of age. From this point forward until well after the year 2,000 the entire world will be wrapped in the clutches of the change of millennium. This millennial madness is what makes Heaven's Gate's story not just another California, or technology-gone-mad story, however.


This madness moves from California to a mountain retreat in Switzerland, to the vineyards of France, to Quebec, Canada to Tokyo, Japan.

It was in Quebec, in the days just before the Heaven's Gate suicide, that several more of the Order of the Solar Temple's membership evacuated this Earth in an altar of flame.


Since 1994, 74 Solar Temple members have died in mass suicides. Members believed they were reincarnated Knights Templar, a secretive medieval holy order founded by nine French knights after they excavated the site of Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem.

Like the members of Heaven's Gate, disciples of the Order of the Solar Temple believed death is an illusion and "real" life begins once we escape Earth life. Heaven's Gate members believed their death would lead to salvation aboard a UFO trailing Hale-Bopp.


Solar Temple members believed in an afterlife on Sirius, the brightest star in our solar system, which as we will see, was the key image in the millennial beliefs of the Christ figure.

There is no known link between the Heaven's Gate and Solar Temple suicides. In fact, there are glaring differences. The suicides in Canada and Europe were fiery, ritualistic affairs and the victims were men, women and children. What links the groups is not the manner of their deaths.


It is their religious beliefs. Both groups claim access to an advanced, even ancient, cosmology which involves belief in everything from UFO's, extraterrestrials, soul transplantation, soul harvesting and reincarnation to stargates.


In the case of Heaven's Gate they claimed answers to such perennial questions as who are we? How did we get here? What are we doing here? And, how do we leave?

We shall examine their beliefs, point by point, revealing the historical, mythological basis for their conclusions. An awareness of the historical continuity of these beliefs imparts a sense of sense itself in the senseless acts of suicide.


The fact that Heaven's Gate was founded by a former psychiatric patient has led many observers to dismiss the cult as just another band of lunatics. This deprecating attitude denies their humanity.


By portraying the cult members as somehow deformed their story fails to inform us.


Our intent is to show what they believed in hopes that it will prevent another disaster of this kind from ever happening again.



The Aum Supreme Cult

At the opposite end of the Pacific a man who once claimed to be that beast awaits trial in Japan.


Shoko Asahara, a bearded and blind charlatan, believed himself to be the reincarnated Hindu god of death, Shiva. This is the Hindu version of Satan.

Like Heaven's Gate, Asahara's Aum Supreme Cult was a wired, high-tech affair run by the brightest of the bright - engineers, geneticists, pharmacologists - recruited from the best Japanese and American universities.


They ran a billion-dollar empire built on bucks from their sale of LSD and other drugs which they manufactured. These same labs worked day and night refining enough chemical and biological weapons to kill millions.

At the height of his power, Asahara was negotiating with the former Soviet Union to acquire nuclear warheads to unleash Armageddon. Of course, only he and his cult members would survive this total annihilation of the human race.


And, of course, once the misfits (the rest of us) were exterminated the Aum Supreme Cult would rebuild the human race and colonize the galaxy.


Other members were sent to Zaire to collect the insanely deadly Ebola virus. As a first step, on March 20, 1995, his disciples poured the deadly nerve gas sarin into the Tokyo subway system, killing 12 people and injuring 6,000 more.

All of these cults have something in common: a belief in the Judeo-Christian idea of Armageddon: the end of the world. All of the Heaven's Gate members are presumed dead.


The Order of the Solar Temple has members in Britain, the United States and Australia. The Aum Supreme Cult has disbanded, and many of its members are in jail.


Still, questions remain:

what did these people believe that would push them to suicide...?