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On this episode of History of the 90s we continue our look back at the rise of doomsday cults in the years leading up to the new millennium.

In March 1997, Heaven’s Gate made headlines around the world when 39 members died by suicide and today it remains one of the most recognizable and notorious cults of the 20th century. 

The group was formed in the 1970’s by Marshall Herf Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles who combined their belief in extra-terrestrials with Christian theology.  They traveled around the country, collecting a loyal following of like-minded people. 

By the 1990’s they settled in California and began to prepare for the end times.  When the Hale-Bopp comet was discovered Applewhite told his followers that a spaceship was traveling behind the comet and would pick them up and take them to the Next Level.  But the only way followers could join the spaceship was by committing suicide. 


Twitter: @1990shistory

Facebook: @1990shistory

Instagram: @that90spodcast



Alan R. Warren, author of “Doomsday Cults: The Devil’s Hostages”

Facebook: @radiocub

A note on sources:

The description of Officer Robert Brunk’s discovery of the crime scene was included in an article by Gary Warth in the San Diego Union-Tribune on March 26, 2007.

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