The Heaven?s Gate religious cult - 39 members of which committed ritual suicide last week - used the Internet to raise money through a Denver-based Web site design company as well as to evangelise its message to non-believers.
The bodies of 39 identically dressed men and women were found in a mansion outside of San Diego, California last Thursday. They were part of a religious cult known as Heaven?s Gate whose members believe that they arrived on Earth in an alien spaceship which follows the Hale-Bopp comet.
The mansion is reported to have been rented to a Denver-based Web site company The Higher Source, which was run by Heaven?s Gate members. Police investigating the mass suicide said that a variety of computer equipment was found inside the building which cult members referred to as their temple.
The Higher Source - which makes no mention of its connection with the cult on its own Web page - lists British Motors, a California-based supplier of parts for British cars - and the San Diego Polo Club among its customers.
The Web page describes the design company?s mission statement as being ?to make your transition into the world of cyberspace a very easy and fascinating experience?.
The cult members - many of whom appear to have had hi-tech backgrounds - also operated a Heaven?s Gate home page which was used to spread their message and attract new followers.
The site describes the cult?s belief that its members arrived on Earth in two groups - one in the 1940s and one in the early 1990s - in what it describes as ?staged spacecraft crashes?. ?Many of our discarded bodies (genderless, not belonging to the human species) were retrieved by human authorities (government and military.'
The home page also contains references to the forthcoming mass suicide which it says has been triggered by last week?s appearance of the Hale-Bopp comet. ?Our 22 years of classroom here on Earth is finally coming to conclusion - graduation from human evolutionary level.?
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