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Heaven's Gate (cult)

Heaven's Gate was the name of a cult led by Marshall Applewhite, whose end, coinciding with the appearance of the Hale-Bopp comet, created a sensation in the United States in 1997. Applewhite convinced 39 followers to commit suicide so that their souls could take a ride on a spaceship that they thought was hiding behind the comet.

In preparation for their suicide, male members of the cult underwent castration, and drank citrus juices to cleanse their body of impurities. In the wake of the cult's suicide, some attributed the cult's ability to attract new members on the growth of the Internet. The thirty-nine bodies of the cult members were found on March 26, 1997. A video of the bodies, covered neatly with purple blankets and wearing brand new Nike sneakers, was shown repeatedly during the media coverage following the suicides.

See also: Cult suicide

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