Episode 234: On March 26, 1997, police found the bodies of 39 members of a religious UFO cult known as Heaven’s Gate in an 830 square-metre (9,000 square foot) home in Rancho Santa Fe, California, a San Diego suburb. All, including the group’s leader, Marshall Applewhite Jr., had died in a ritualistic act of mass suicide. The headline on the cult’s website, which remains online today, stated, “Hale-Bopp brings closure to Heaven’s Gate.” Over the following weeks, as investigators probed what happened in the home, the story of the Heaven’s Gate cult emerged, each detail weirder than the next.
I wrote about this story in my first book, Murder Madness and Mayhem. I have always wanted to cover this on Dark Poutine. I have expanded on what I wrote, especially toward the end of the story, I get into more detail about the victims. The medium of a podcast also allows for other content, including audio clips from individuals involved in the case and other details I was otherwise unable to convey in the book involving Canadian connections which includes one of the victims, Erika Ernst, 40, who was from Calgary, Alberta. That’s right, this is not an away game.
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