Heaven's Gate was a cult founded in the 1970's by Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles. Applewhite and Nettles believed that they were the two witness mentioned in the Book of Revelation 11:3. They began preaching that the Earth would soon be 'recycled' or 'wiped clean', and that the only way to survive was to leave planet Earth with them.Followers had to give up all worldly and human needs and possessions in order to achieve 'the next evolutionary level of existence'.

In 1985 Nettles died of natural causes and in 1997 Applewhite convinced his thirty-eight followers that the comet Hale-Bopp was actually a flying saucer and that they must commit suicide so that their souls may board the spacecraft and take them away from earth. The mass suicide achieved major media attention.

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