The undying website of Heaven's Gate


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2014/09/17/the-undying-website-of-heaven.html


#2

I find my solace in the fact that I can still see the Lovely Miss Velma whenever needed (quite often) thanks to the fact that the vintage Universal World Church site is kept alive THE PAIN KILLERS

My spiritual growth is assured via the wonderful collection of documents/video at their wiki universalworldchurch.org


#3

I remember it went offline at one point in the late 90s. At that time it was backed up on another site, but at some point someone seems to have acquired the domain name and restored it…


#4

Anyone remember a parody ad about their shoes?

And to be fair to them, we don’t know that their spirits didn’t go to that comet.


#5

It’s not clear to me from the article whether it has really remained live all this time, or if an archive has been put back up at the same url.

I seem to remember it being down completely for at least some time after the event – I always heard that it was “shut down” (presumably by the government), but I guess it could have just been DoS’d for the week after the event – and as @Jim_Campbell mentions it was down some time after that as well.


#6

As time goes by, the general critical assessment of the film has done a 180 and is now pretty positive.

YES I KNOW WE’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT THE FILM… UNTIL NOW.


#8

Interesting web design:

<font size="0" color="#000000">Heaven's Gate 
Heaven's Gate Heaven's Gate Heaven's Gate Heaven's Gate Heaven's Gate 
Heaven's Gate Heaven's Gate ufo ufo ufo ufo ufo ufo ufo ufo ufo ufo ufo ufo 
space alien space alien space alien space alien space alien space alien 
space alien space alien space alien space alien space alien space alien 
extraterrestrial extraterrestrial extraterrestrial extraterrestrial 
extraterrestrial extraterrestrial extraterrestrial extraterrestrial 
extraterrestrial extraterrestrial extraterrestrial extraterrestrial 
extraterrestrial extraterrestrial misinformation misinformation 
misinformation misinformation misinformation misinformation misinformation 
misinformation misinformation misinformation misinformation misinformation 
freedom  freedom freedom freedom freedom freedom freedom freedom freedom 
freedom freedom freedom second coming second coming second coming second 
coming second coming second coming second coming second  coming second 
coming second coming angels angels angels angels angels angels angels 

Etc.


#9

It’s mid-90s SEO. Good old keyword stuffing. And now you know what Google was originally talking about when they put line in their TOS about how the page indexed must be same as the page rendered (or something like that).


#10

I think there’s something sad and lovely about a memorial to this group existing only on the internet, living on for as long as the stragglers left behind can keep it going. I would imagine the group might have left behind a fair amount of money. I wonder what it would take to set up a trust fund to ensure that this web site stays up forever?


#11

SNL did a parody ad that aired a couple weeks after the suicides:

https://screen.yahoo.com/keds-commercial-000000743.html

And to Kottke’s question, I don’t recall there being much discussion about there being a UFO-cult webdev shop in any of the newsgroups I hung out in before things hit the news. I may not remember a lot from those days, but that’s the kind of thing that might have stuck out in my mind.


#12

But surely you’ve heard of the microblog coders who are all stoners?


#13

Heaven’s Gate really DOES live forever (at least on the Interwebs) - Marshall Herff Applewhite was my next door neighbor on Colquitt St. in Houston for years in the late 70s. He was the choir director at U of St Thomas a few blocks away, but was reportedly dismissed for “inappropriate behavior” with one of the college’s male choristers, and shortly afterwards was hospitalized with a nervous breakdown/cardiac problems. He met Bonnie, his eventual platonic partner, who was a nurse there, and comforted him by (as I heard it at the time) telling him that he was attracted not specifically to boys, but to alien souls of various genders and ages trapped on Earth awaiting rescue. When he was released they started a “religious” bookstore around the corner from me that had a few token bibles and candles and statues, but was mostly used to recruit customers to their new cult. The store only lasted about six months. He would hold recruitment meetings on the Rice campus, to which I was repeatedly invited. I’d heard that people who joined the group had to sign over all assets to him. He wasn’t living a life of luxury, being in a garage apartment literally three feet away from mine, and his most noticeable traits (besides a rather strange demeanor) were his love of playing classical music day and night, and taking in cats. He had also led a group of followers to a mountaintop in Colorado to meet a getaway saucer, which obviously didn’t happen. I think it was following Kohoutek that time. He said (as so many others in his footsteps) that it was a miscalculation. I guess he learned that it’s humiliating to have the followers still alive after the pickup doesn’t come off. I heard that a bored Houston contractor’s wife later joined the group, and not only signed over her possessions to him, but left town with him in her husband’s car, headed west across Texas. Reportedly the troopers tracked them down passing through a small central Texas town (aka speed trap), and confined them while the husband came to reclaim his wife and car (or at least the car). I’m not sure where Bonnie was during this. After all this, he moved away and disappeared, at least until I heard about Heaven’s Gate on the news decades later, which was a few miles from my brother-in-law’s place in Del Mar. You have to give him points for perseverence, and that true Texas style.


#14

This doesn’t sound right to me. This website really stands out to me because I was in a psychology class at the time, and this was the first time I ever HAD to use the internet for an assignment. I remember having to use a mirror because the original had been taken down immediately after the suicides.


#15

In 1982 a made-for-TV movie starring John Forsyth and entitled “The Mysterious Two” was aired. It was about two strange UFO lecturers who might actually be alien visitors. It was supposedly based on Ti and Do, many years before the final events of the 90s. You can see the full film on YouTube:


#16

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