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Anniversary Heaven's Gate


Staff member
Soon it will be the 17th anniversary of the Heaven's Gate mass suicide so I thought I would do a bit of history for you folks that may not recall this. Perhaps a cautionary tale.

Aftermath of Heaven's Gate: Who Is Responsible?

by Don Ecker

Since the story broke on the mass suicide of the Heaven's
Gate Cult led by leader Marshall H. Applewhite, a media feeding
frenzy has broken out across the entire world. UFO Magazine has
been besieged by media, ranging from all the national
television networks and major print publications to many news
organizations in Europe, all searching for answers. All were
asking the same basic questions: How could this happen? Who do
you think is responsible?

Friday morning, March 29, I arose very early to keep a
doctor's appointment. Turning on the radio to a local Los Angeles
A.M. station, I heard a short interview conducted with noted
skeptic James "The Amazing" Randi. Randi, always a strident
debunker concerning UFOs, was vociferously laying the blame for
the tragedy on talk show host Art Bell. Bell, a popular late
night talk show host, heads up the Monday through Friday program
"Coast to Coast with Art Bell."

If you are not familiar with Bell or his talk program you
may not make the connection on how he could bear any culpability
with this bizarre mass suicide. What could be the connection?

First, a few words about UFO Magazine. What places us
in a position to comment on what is happening in this confused
field? Begun in 1986 by Vicki Cooper Ecker and her former partner
Sherie Stark, the magazine was created when both saw a need to
report on this subject in legitimate manner, because no one else
was doing so. Over the years, UFO Magazine has garnered a
reputation for reporting on the UFO subject in a no-holds-barred
manner. Not always acquiring friends because of our
straightforward approach, we feel that this subject is much more
important in the scheme of things than most will give it credit
for. Over the years, we have done expose after expose on people
and cases that have genuinely harmed the field--exposes on the
likes of George Green and the Phoenix group and their
anti-Semitic tripe, Bo and Peep and the Heaven's Gate
cult, Milton "Bill" Cooper and his claims of secret Navy
documents on the JFK assassination and evil grey aliens, and a
particularly hardy specimen of kook once known as Mel Noel,
a.k.a. Guy Kirkwood and his claims of flying Air Force Sabre Jets
chasing UFOs, the truth about Harley Byrd and his obnoxious
claims involving Admiral Richard Byrd, and many more over the
course of our 11 years of publishing.

These stories and others separating the signal from the
noise in UFO research have been given the space they get nowhere
else. Over the years, we have broken some of the most amazing
"true" UFO cases that received little or no exposure in the
"straight" media; cases that should have made the front page of
newspapers around the world: the amazing former Soviet Mars
probes "Phobos I and II" apparently struck by a stupendous "15-
mile object;" stories like STS-48, the Discovery space shuttle
and the anomalies it encountered in orbit during the September,
1991 mission--later claimed by NASA spokesmen to be "frozen
urine" from a waste-water dump--stories that have impacted
national security like the Hudson Valley Sightings in New York
state, where tens of thousands of witnesses observed (over about
a three year period) one or more "huge" UFOs that witnesses
claimed were at least as large as a football field!

Yet reasonable media coverage of these obviously newsworthy
UFO incidents never came. For example, in the Hudson Valley case,
an object was seen hovering over the Indian Point Nuclear Power
plant, and according to former security officials, "shut down the
security system." This breach of security took place with nary an
inquiry from any media source. But now, with the tragic death of
39 misguided if not deranged people, the media floodgates have

But the signal to noise ratio looks as bad as ever.

Art Bell's radio show opened like usual on Thursday
evening, Friday morning November 14 and 15. However, something
happened that ended up impacting ufology and the general media
like nothing else in years. Bell received a call from Chuck
Shramek, a listener in Houston, Texas who works in radio and
has an interest in amateur astronomy. According to Shramek, he
had observed the Hale-Bopp comet through his 10" Schmidt-
Cassegrain telescope and imaged the comet with a CCD camera.
Pictured beside the comet was an object that Shramek could not
identify. He described it as an object resembling Saturn, hence
the nickname, "SLO or Saturn like object."

Shramek forwarded this photo to Bell's website, where it
was put up for all to view and download. Within 24 hours this
"Hale-Bopp companion" story had traveled around the world via
the Internet.

Shramek had told Bell that he had tried to identify this
object via his astronomy software on his computer, with no luck.
Within several days, however, this story ignited controversy
across the web. Among people jumping into the fray was Alan Hale,
one of the two discoverers of Hale-Bopp. Hale accused Shramek of
"promoting government conspiracies" and then "promoting the works
of fringe writers like Richard Hoagland and Zecharia Sitchin."
Stung by such criticism, Shramek retaliated with the remark that
the likes of Hale were "butthead astronomers."

Shortly thereafter, Dr. Courtney Brown appeared on Bell's
program along with his assistant Prudence Calabrese. Brown, the
author of a book and director of a remote viewing facility called
Farsight Institute, teaches at Emory University. Calabrese had
been billed as a "physicist." (though actually a student and
Brown's webmaster for his "Farsight Institute".) Both Brown and
Calabrese claimed to have both verbal confirmation and physical
proof of the comet's companion object, from a "top ten," highly
respected and renowned astronomer. Brown and Calabrese claimed
this astronomer had seen and documented the comet's companion.
The physical proof offered by Brown was in the form of a
photograph he sent to Bell, which Brown claimed he received from
this astronomer. Brown stipulated to Bell (and also Whitley
Strieber, who appeared on the show and also received a copy of
this photo) that the picture "must" be kept secret until this
astronomer held his own press conference, in which the whole
story was to come out. Brown stated that the conference would be
held within a week or so.

Up to this point, Bell had allowed these guests free rein in
discussing this material. Bell has never been strong on
challenging information put out by his guests. Brown, whose
"Cosmic Voyage" is concerned with his alleged
prowess at "remote viewing," claimed he and others from the
"Farsight Institute" had remotely viewed this "companion" object,
and said it was several times the size of Earth and filled with
aliens. President Clinton, according to Brown, was reluctantly
agreeing to make an official pronouncement (per Farsight's
"remotely viewed" information).

It should be noted that in the last several years, Bell has
had on his show a number of guests who, at the least, present
very questionable claims, and in some cases outright lunacy. In
1995, it had come to UFO Magazine's attention that one of the
guests Bell was about to host was one "Dr. Harley Byrd," who
claimed to be the nephew--or possibly the grandson--of famed
arctic explorer Admiral Richard Byrd. In connection with us,
video producer Russ Estes had already interviewed Harley Byrd. An
expose on Byrd was documented on Estes' video, "Quality
of the Messenger." Then Estes and I heard that Bell was about to
have Byrd on his show, knowing what a genuine lunatic Byrd was.

At that time, both Estes and I had already been to the LAPD,
the sheriffs depts. of both L.A. and San Bernardino counties, the
Postal Inspector and the FBI, because subsequent to production of
"Quality of the Messenger," Byrd "flipped out" and had gone on a
massive harassment campaign against us. And not only us. Walt
Andrus, Jim Dilettoso and a number of others were harassed by
Byrd with obscene letters, telephoned death threats, and so on.
At one time, Byrd was arrested and convicted of public indecency
(he exposed himself to some people in a park). Our concern was
that Bell had a national show, and since I was also a broadcaster
concerned with trying to keep the UFO subject as "legitimate" as
possible, a warning to Bell was in order.

When Estes called him up, Bell immediately took an
antagonistic stance. Estes offered to send Bell photocopies of
proof that Byrd was not related to Admiral Richard Byrd. Among
others interviewed, Estes had spoken to Harley's own father who
told him that Harley had been "disturbed" and under therapeutic
care for a long time. Bell wasn't interested, but then tried to
get Estes to come on the program to "confront" Byrd. When Estes
declined, Bell called my office in an attempt to get me on the
show to confront Byrd. I had no interest in that, either--after
all I had my own show to worry about.

The upshot was Byrd appeared on Bell's show and within an
hour, even Bell had more than he could deal with. He "lost" the
telephone connection and then claimed he could not re-connect
with Harley.

Later, in 1996, Major Ed Dames was the guest on Bell's
program several times. Dames is noted for being a "remote viewer"
who had been connected to the DIA's remote viewing project. Many
people have assumed that Dames was a project remote viewer, but
he was actually a "monitor," who didn't remote view himself but
assisted the remote viewers. What made Dames' a unique
talk show guest was the amount of "doom and gloom" he claimed to
have seen.

Even though Dames claims 100 percent accuracy, I and others
know he's "missed by a mile" in some of these predictions. On
March 21, 1993, Ed Dames appeared as a speaker at a conference on
anomalous trauma. During a Q&A session, Carolyn Duce-Ashe asked
him to respond to a rumor about a big UFO event that was to occur
in New Mexico sometime in August. Dames responded, "No, it will
happen between NOW and August." Dames then began telling a
bizarre tale of hibernating aliens. He claimed that remote
viewers in his company, PSITECH, had remotely viewed a "platform
coming in over our shoulders." Dames said he and his team were
amazed to see this object and another land in northern New
Mexico. According to Dames, the objects were transporting a race
of dying aliens from a planet suffering a eco-holocaust. All
planetary resources were had been wasted, and the remaining
aliens were suffering violence against one another. Suddenly,
their skies filled with UFOs, and the new aliens took the females
and hybrid children and put them into some "goop," storing them
not far from Earth. The original idea, Dames told the listening
public, was to move the ET refugees to Earth--but at the time,
Earthlings would have responded with violence. Now, Dames said,
the aliens were conditioning humans to accept their presence.
Dames compared this scenario to the television series "Alien

Dames then told the audience that President Clinton (more
remotely viewed data--this time at the White House!) per
his PSITECH team, would make a reluctant announcement to the
world. An entire article on the Dames claims ran in UFO Magazine,
Volume 8, Number 3, 1993. He now denies having said any of the

Dames' recent doom and gloom "viewings" presented on the
Art Bell show--none of which Bell ever challenged--consisted of a
planet wide eco-disaster, and this time on our planet. In 1996,
he claimed we are about to experience "micro-bursts" from the jet
stream, bursts that would run between 120 to 300 mph. Dames says
his team viewed a type of bovine AIDS virus jumping from cow
to baby milk. The most horrible remotely-viewed outcome? "Many,
many dead babies!" Bells comment? "Wow!"

Lots more bad news issued from Ed Dames. Broken atomic
reactors, ion radiation, total crop failures, the human immune
system breaking down, epidemics, pandemics, a total global eco-
disaster. Instead of asking Dames to prove this terrifying
scenario, Bell seemed to accept it all at face value, even though
there are many listeners who regard Bell's Coast to Coast program
as an information show. In a cynical vein, it could be speculated
that Bell might be pushing his own agenda with his new book on
what he calls "the Quickening," and so is sympathetic to the doom
and gloom scenario. The Quickening is concerned with what Bell
and many of his guests push on the air, doomsday scenario's and
the like.

After the Hale-Bopp "companion" object was announced, Dames
added to his doomsday prophecy by claiming that he and the remote
viewers from PSITECH had examined the Hale-Bopp comet and viewed
a "container filled with plant-killing pathogens." According to
Dames, the container has released these "pathogens" and the earth
will (in its orbit) travel through this alleged substance. The
pathogens, he predicts, will kill off most of the world's
population by killing vegetation. On Bell's program, Dames
announced that the devastation would begin in a year in Africa
and then spread around the world. Bell's
response? More oh-ing and ah-ing.

Another doomsayer who's appeared on the Bell show was
"former NASA scientist" Lee Shargel, who was heard on the show in
early December, 1996. During this program with Shargel, he
claimed to have been privy to radio communications sent from the
"alien craft following Hale-Bopp" and also had photographs his
"aliens" sent to earth. According to Shargel, the aliens were
sending greetings to earth. And oh, by the way, you all are in
the path of a lethal burst or pulse of energy that is going
to destroy the planet.

There was no checking on this fraudulent clown, either.
Shargel just appeared on ABC's "This Week" along with Brad
Steiger to talk about the suicide of the Heaven's Gate cult.
Both Sam Donaldson and George Will must have had someone do their
homework, because now Shargel doesn't claim to be from NASA. Now
he's only as a science fiction writer. On Bell's show, he spoke
about aliens he claims to have pictures of, Dolphinoids. Shargel
has been making the rounds of UFO conferences, and his outlandish
talks have managed to embarrass everyone who has heard him. On
"This Week" he claimed he just writes science fiction, but he did
meet Marshall Applewhite. On a recent segment of "Inside Edition,
claimed that Applewhite passed on to him the stewardship of the
remaining members of Heaven's Gate. (Maybe Art Bell will have a
real barn-burner on "Coast to Coast" in a month or two!)

Amidst all this noise, no one is calling for accountability.
So these messengers of deception keep having their say in front
of thousands, maybe millions. On February 19, 1997, Ed Dames
appeared before the Los Angeles chapter of MUFON. During a Q&A
period following his talk, I decided to confront Dames about his
alleged remote viewing prowess ("100 percent total accuracy!").

If he and his viewers could miss the mark on an mass alien
landing in New Mexico in 1993, then how about micro bursts from
the jet stream, dead babies, or more recently, container in outer
space harboring a planet killing pathogen? I decided that someone
had to be accountable. This was a full month and a week prior
to the news breaking about the Heavens Gate suicide, and the
resultant HUGE black eye that legitimate UFO research has been
subjected to. Dames handled it very neatly. He claimed he NEVER
WOULD HAPPEN. Well, you could say an incident happened the very
last time you poured corn flakes into your cereal bowl, not to
mention a mass alien landing in New Mexico!

To double check our information, I contacted Carolyn
Duce-Ashe, who had written the original story for UFO Magazine in
1993. She verified that she and Debby Stark, both affiliated with
MUFON at the time, were given an "exclusive per Dames," and this
was the information he told them. Another researcher with MUFON,
Rebecca D. Minshall, was told this information in a private
meeting with Dames and ten others. In two-part article by Antonio
Huneeus appearing in FATE Magazine in 1993, Dames was quoted
discussing his information about "pregnant aliens and hybrid
children at two sites in New Mexico." Now he denies it. The
question must be, why? Perhaps, like many others in the UFO
field, Dames and Bell are counting on the fact that most people
have very short memories.

It appears that now, Bell and others associated with this
story are trying very hard to distance themselves from it. In a
recent CNN broadcast of "Larry King Live," horror novelist and
abductee Whitley Strieber told King how he and Bell "exposed the
hoax" of the Hale Bopp companion object. In retrospect, with
debunkers like James "The Amusing" Randi looking to score points
by pointing the finger at people like Bell, in an attempt to lay
the blame for Heaven's Gate at his feet, Bell, Strieber and
others have taken some heat for the Heaven's Gate mass suicide.
Anyone familiar with Bell and this story knows that Bell
shoulders no blame for what these 39 addled believers did, but he
should shoulder blame for being irresponsible with the
information heard on his show--for not treating such sensational
material with a more critical eye. If Art Bell's show is simply
entertainment, like, say, the "X Files", then he should say so.
If he promotes his show as "informational," then when frauds like
Shargel and Dames appear, Bell he should pin them to the wall
when they claim a planet killing spore is on the way in to
destroy vegetation on earth, or that a lethal burst of energy is
winding its way here.

Did Bell expose the Courtney Brown hoaxed photo? Well,
maybe--and then again, maybe not. What did happen?

After Brown and Calabrese appeared on the "Coast to Coast"
show, the mystery astronomer never did show up. Follow me closely
now: After a month or more of audience excitement building, Bell
was under a lot of fire to produce this mystery photo. Brown
appeared on the show again, with no more new info, and Bell
finally tired of all the calls about this "press
conference of the century." So he laid it out to Brown, saying
that if he didn't get some confirmation, he was going to put the
photo up on the website.

In mid-January Bell did just that--and within 24 hours, it
was a proven hoax! Here is where it gets very interesting (
remember some of this is guesswork.) Dr. Olivera Hainaut from
the University of Hawaii appeared on Bell's show on
January 16, 1997, stating the photo in question was taken by Dr.
David Tholen on the university's 2.4 meter telescope. It appeared
that someone had doctored that photo, gave it to Brown who
then passed it to Bell and Strieber. Brown finally admitted that
his mystery astronomer had stopped communicating with him two
weeks after Brown appeared on the Bell show talking
about Hale-Bopp. Now it is known that Brown and Dames are not
getting along (mega not), and Dames claims he is moving PSITECH
to a "mystery" island. Dames is a big astronomy buff, loves
astronomers, and travels to Hawaii all the time, according to
former associates like David Morehouse. Some of the former
military remote viewers who have looked at this information went.
. . "HMMMmmmmmm!!" The bottom line is no one will ever know.
Brown--regardless of what it did to his reputation and that of
the Farsight Institute) refused to name names as to whomever set
him up. And Bell "exposed it"--after he was exposed for once
again being gullible and accepting all this at face value.

No matter who is ultimately held responsible--the dead
cultists themselves, celebrity figures, ufologists or the like--
the fact remains that the spoken word is extremely powerful.
Media have a duty to their audience to treat sensational
information in a responsible manner, questioning that which can
be questioned and refusing to showcase known hoaxers and
hucksters. Art Bell is heard by millions of people monthly, and
if he is not willing to question the pap that some guests pour
out on his program, then let him take some of the responsibility
for the actions of misguided and perhaps brainwashed morons that
would commit suicide because they thought an "alien spaceship"
was hiding behind the Hale-Bopp comet. Anything less than such an
admission once again exposes him and others to the bottom line,
that he's just selling fright and sensation as fact--and hurting
all of us in the process.


As I was putting this article "to bed," preparing to be
proofread prior to placing it on the web, I received a telephone
call from my very good friend and former co-host of" UFOs
Tonite!", Dwight Schultz. He asked me if I had listened to Art
Bell's program the night of April 9-10, 1997. I told Dwight I
hadn't caught that show." Dwight was aware that over the last
several days I had been on the phone with the section directors for
the local MUFON chapter, and the Inland Empire MUFON chapter, Don
Waldrop and Cinde Costello respectively. I called because both
MUFON chapters had listed feature speakers for local meetings, and
both chapters had scheduled Guy Kirkwood, a "former Air Force F-86
Sabre Jet pilot," who in 1954 had been part of a "secret U.S. Air
Force squadron tasked with chasing UFOs and photographing them."

Kirkwood claims he had been stationed at an Air Force base in
of Utah back in the mid-1950s. Dwight informed me that while on
Bell's show April 9-10, he was claiming that he had been asked by
Dr. Steven Greer, director of CSETI (Center for the Study of
Extraterrestrial Intelligence), to participate in Greer and CSETI's
attempt to get Congress to hold hearings on the reality of the UFO
phenomenon. Greer had been telling the UFO research community that
he had a number of former military personnel ready, willing, and
able to testify to Congress on the reality of UFOs, providing they
had Congressional immunity. The problem with this particular
"witness," Kirkwood, was that he was "pulling out" because he had
received a "threat"--that if he testified, he would "be burned
out," just like another Bell guest, "David John Oats." This man
called Oats, who had appeared on the Bell show in the past, was
involved with "reverse speech," and had worked in the UFO research

Kirkwood claims to have daytime photos from when he was a
"commercial airline pilot" and from his Air Force photo recon days
that "clearly show" discs about 35 feet in diameter. Once again,
Bell blew it. Kirkwood is a complete and total fraud.

In 1992, UFO Magazine, in Vol. 7, No. 3, I wrote a detailed
and in-depth expose on Guy Kirkwood. I detailed his other aliases
"Mel Noel," and "Noall Bryce Cornwell." On UFO Magazine's website;
www.ufomagazine.com you can read the complete expose we did
on Kirkwood and of course other frauds in the field. Kirkwood was
NEVER in the military, never an airline pilot. He was, in effect,
a very small-time con artist having fun with the research
community. He made it (with photo) into Timothy Good's book ABOVE
TOP SECRET: The Worldwide UFO Coverup, and in the '60s was a
featured speaker at UFO conferences all over the United States.

So why are we so outraged, and why should Bell be ashamed?
Bell claims he just puts the guests out there and leaves it up to
the audience to make up their minds. Well, in this case, Whitley
Strieber was once again on the air with Bell, and Bell went on and
on about "the terrible abuses of a secret government" that would
threaten to burn out an ex-Air Force pilot like Kirkwood who just
came on to expose the truth! It is a good thing that Kirkwood did
pull out. Can one imagine the embarrassment Greer and Bell would
suffer if Kirkwood were to be exposed in front of Congress? As a
matter of fact, at one point the Air Force contemplated filing
felony charges on Kirkwood for passing himself off as an Air Force

We at UFO Magazine consider this phenomenon to be potentially
one of the most important subjects to ever confront humanity.
Clowns like Kirkwood simply muddy the waters and turn all
of us into objects of derision. Art Bell could make an important
and significant impact for truth in this field, but it appears he
is more concerned with selling his new book than searching for the
truth. If that is the case, fine--after all this is America. But to
repeat myself, Bell should describe his show as simply
entertainment and not information. If he will not do any research
on his guests beforehand and not challenge them on sensational and
ludicrous claims, then Bell has no beef when he is charged with
culpability in acts such as those of Heaven's Gate.

P.S. One last note. After speaking with representatives of both Los
Angeles MUFON and the Inland Empire MUFON, I was told they were
still going to have Guy Kirkwood speak, in spite of the fact that
they are now aware that Kirkwood is a total and complete fraud.
Remember, MUFON bills itself as a scientific and investigative
body, yet armed with the facts that this man is NOT who he says he
is, they are going to present him anyway.

And people within this field wonder why no one takes us
seriously. Science? Nope, P.T. Barnum.

Don Ecker

Charlie Prime

Paranormal Adept
Both sides bare responsibility. Media producers bare some responsibility for the actions their customers take. Information consumers bare responsibility for sorting crap information from good information before acting upon it.


David Wilcox genuinely hurt people with his "Society is crashing!" campaign a couple of years ago.

Some of my Jehovah's Witness friends sold all their stuff and prepared for the End about 20 years ago because their local Pastor told them Yeshua's return was eminent. ( I got a Gibson Les Paul for an awesome price.)

I worked with a 63 year-old maintenance man who cashed-out his 401k and gave it to the Republic of Texas organization because he knew they were about to seize the capital in Austin. I last saw him at age 73 working as a clerk in a convenience store, standing on his feet all day. It was pitiful.

Burnt State

Paranormal Adept
This was an exceptional article that exposes all that is wrong in the field of Ufology, its ability to attract outright hoaxers and con-artists, not to mention the gross negligence of supposedly scientific UFO organizations who are willing to legitimize liars. With regards to suicide cults on one hand, or the inability to create a proper critical response or media investigation without the curtain of laughter falling, you can see that there is an imperative to do better. To not do so is to suffer the fates of fools, which ufology has been cluttered with since its inception.

So here's the big question: where do we draw the line? After all, one person's critical voice is named spoilsport debunker by others. When a radio show or blog space says they are providing real critical information as opposed to entertainment, who really is to be trusted? As Don Ecker points out this is a field addicted to short term memory and loaded with enough kool-aid to host orgy after orgy of true-believers. I wonder if it's even possible to create a paranormal/Ufological communications medium that isn't in some way or other about entertainment. After all, any ultra-critical space would most likely be so skeptically dry its only audience might more closely resemble csicop members than the UFO curious.

These issues IMHO are what lies at the bleeding heart of ufology. If you get too critical then often those who don't know their ufological history will cry foul and demand that the Kirkwoods be trotted out, or that Bell, Leir, Greer and Strieber should get to say whatever they like without consequence. Truly, what needs to happen is a return to the middle path of the Zeitetic seeker who chooses not to believe, but to critically search and search - ironically, the original path of csicop before it went rabid and sewed up the curtain of laughter.

Currently there really is no clearing house for the UFO curious to go to seek out any real truth in this field, or know who is the con-artist and who is legitimate. The closest, sanest thing I've found so far is this forum, as there are enough keepers of memory and paranormally disenchanted voices here to help me sort out the signal from the noise. And the signal is weak, from what I can tell. The history is colorful indeed, but most of what is considered legitimate UFO events is still just pretty speculative. I'm not sure what more can be said about the field, at least not until those very critical voices and Zeitetic seekers collect, band together and make a new stand. I would imagine an audience for such an approach would be very small indeed.

Portioning out irresponsibility in this field is a net that once cast would pull in so many fish as to possibly sink the entire boat.


FeralNormal master
Very well done concise analysis, if only you could wrap it up in 140 characters and tweet it.
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Paranormal Adept
I'm still at a loss at how delusional some people can become..I'm pretty sure everyone on here has been through tough times once and maybe/quite possibly multiple times in their lifes, but just what makes someone 'snap' like that ? Guess people deal with distress one way or another, but coming to that point..? (I still don't particularly like Ed Dames, just to add)
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Charlie Prime

Paranormal Adept
In Applewhite's case I suspect his psychosis was the result of growing up homosexual and Christian.

I have friends who are gay and Southern Baptist at the same time. Theirs is a difficult path. I don't envy them.


Paranormal Adept
Not so much Applewhite himself , but the people that followed him (I guess it's pretty well established he was..f'ing insane). Guess they were searching for something to 'hold them through' whatever hard times they were having/facing at that time. Community, in some sort of way, always seems alluring to those not getting enough love from their parents, or a lack of friends later on, etc...but at some point, your bs detector and survival instict 'should' kick in. Too bad it didn't in this case...


Paranormally Disenchanted
... but just what makes someone 'snap' like that ?

An itch that can't be reached?

Applewhite probably saw the Hale-Bopp business as a convenient and appropriate ending to his long cult leader career. With his significant other dead, I think he grew tired of living and being a sociopath, saw no reason not take his brain-washed flock along with him. What a horror. Foolish people trying to transcend their humanity when they should have been celebrating it.

Burnt State

Paranormal Adept
I'm still at a loss at how delusional some people can become..I'm pretty sure everyone on here has been through tough times once and maybe/quite possibly multiple times in their lifes, but just what makes someone 'snap' like that ?

For cults to work you need a charismatic individual in need of adoration, who is part con-artist and part delusional, & a bunch of desperate people willing to part with their cash and their lives in exchange for a promised afterworld. Now I know that under that formula there's a lot of things that qualify as cults. The Order of the Solar Temple and Heaven's Gate were both very bloody events that to varying degrees used UFO's to sell their afterworld.

Their cult members were desperate for more value, for transcendence, for a way to end personal despair and tragedy - at least so says some of the Heaven's Gate suicides. When group think comes into play, believe it or not, some people lose so much of their identities in the cult, that they will even kill their own children as part of the movement towards transcendence, as seen in the case of the multiple OST suicide/murder events in the late 90's.

The cult ultimately erases and rewrites the identity. Free will dissolves.


Paranormal Adept
Of course, but I doubt most were addicts in the first place... Why go there in the first place ?I doubt most were mentally ill, some of these assholes left their respective families to beamed up by a chemical concoction in their soft drinks..somehow that makes me really sad.. *needed that edit*
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Paranormal Adept
i knew a fella for about 10yrs on and off, and each time i met him he would go on about his safe place, for when the boats stopped coming, he was sure in his head that one day we would end up with no food on the shop shelves, first time you hear it, ya think 'nutter', he would be the type to get hooked into a cult, looks normal, works for a living etc.

Burnt State

Paranormal Adept
drugs must be involved.
Actually, drugs only ever make their appearance at the end. These people have been conditioned to live cheaply, so it's an ascetic life - no drugs, no alcohol and cheap food so that the leaders can live high on the hog. In most cults, such as OST, drugs were administered prior to the group's ritual killings and suicides at the end. When you let yourself get injected & willingly put a plastic bag over your head while you're lying in a pentacle, you tend not to stir too much when someone just put a bullet into the head of your child or spouse lying beside you in the circle. Serious drugs were used to sustain those scenes.
Of course, but I doubt most where addicts in the first place... Why go there in the first place ?I doubt most were mentally ill, some of these assholes left their respective families to beamed up by a chemical concoction in their soft drinks..somehow makes me really sad..
I agree with the tragedy features. But then the Heaven's Gate people all disavowed their families and all earthy ties years prior to their suicide, so they were immune to such feelings. If depression is a mental illness, then many of these people were mentally ill, or simply suffered from really low self-esteem. What utterly floors me are cases like Jim Jones and OST where they dragged their entire families into death.


Paranormal Adept
Humanity depresses me.We could have so much fun (not even joking) helping humanity evolve...(please not in the Kurzweil way, I fear the 'singularity', I think putting our minds to rest and 'lets just machines do it', would end in us becoming Dust in Wind..I'm all for new tech, but I also love 'Bladerunner' and the first 'Terminator'


Paranormal Adept
Nope, maybe you do. :) People I call friends since grade school(and before) certainly aren't my 'wrong' friends, they are my brothers. Glad I'm the only one sharing an interest into the paranormal though... ;)...

Burnt State

Paranormal Adept
I think you're both right, minus assumptions about who we hang with.

Humanity used to depress me a lot but what can I do about the misery of others, I asked myself? One way of thinking that altered that depression was the following: it's not enough to be good; you have to be good for something. So now I invest my time locally in my family, my clients and my colleagues. Where I can, I try to help. Living in the real world garden, forest and community as a positive person promoting 'being good' and erasing hate has removed almost all of my depression.

Less anxiety means less sadness about the terrible things people do to each other, the planet and themselves. I know, I know - big talk, but when I greet people I usually call them brother or sister as a personal reminder to keep me on track. It's pretty easy to fall off that horse.