The Messed Up Truth About Cult Leaders Bo And Peep

Heaven's Gate was a cult that posed as a religious group. The cult believed in UFOs and alien beings but they also have teachings borrowed from the Christian religion. The cult was formed in the early '70s by Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles when the two discovered that they shared the common belief that they were the two persons mentioned in the Book of Revelation who would pave a way to heaven, per All That's Interesting.

As they formed Heaven's Gate, the duo started calling themselves by different names — Him and Her, Do and Ti, and Bo and Peep. They worked on recruiting members for the cult by distributing posters and doing presentations in different parts of the United States. In 1975, a successful presentation in Oregon and California resulted in followers when they talked about a spaceship descending to pick up their followers and bring them to salvation. Slowly, the group gained more and more followers who resided in different camps in Southern California.

The death of Bonnie Nettles

Bonnie Nettles, or Peep as the cult called her, was the mystic of Heaven's Gate and was the one who interpreted signs for the followers. In the early 1980s, Bonnie was diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo surgery just a few years later. Despite having cancer, Bonnie was positive that she will get through it and ascend to the Next Level with Marshall when the spaceship comes (via The Cinemaholic). However, just five years after her diagnosis, Bonnie Nettles' cancer spread throughout her body and she died in 1985.

The death of Bonnie Nettles had a huge impact on Heaven's Gate's philosophy. If their beliefs were true, then why did Bonnie die before the spaceship came to pick them up? Applewhite explained it by focusing on the cult's teaching that human bodies are only temporary vehicles that can be discarded before going to the Next Level. He explained to followers that it was his duty to guide them to the Next Level so they could all meet up with Bonnie, as reported by All That's Interesting.

A tragic end to Heaven's Gate

On March 26, 1997, the police found an eerie and tragic scene at the Heaven's Gate camp located in Rancho Santa Fe in San Diego, California. A mass suicide had occurred and there were 39 people found deceased. All of them were Heaven's Gate members who were dressed alike in Nike sneakers and black tracksuits with purple cloths over their bodies, according to All Things Interesting. The mass suicide allegedly happened in batches, with the first batch consuming barbiturates and placing bags over their heads to suffocate. The next batch then covered the dead bodies with the purple cloths and did the same thing.

Marshall Applewhite killed himself as well and had two other members prepare his body. Those two were the last ones to take their own lives. An ex-Heaven's Gate member, who left weeks before the mass suicide, revealed the reason for the tragic incident. It turned out that Applewhite told his followers that the spaceship they had been waiting for will be arriving behind the Hale-Bopp comet, which passed on April 1 (via History). In preparation for the next level, they had to leave their temporary vehicles to board the spaceship to be saved.

Although the Heaven's Gate cult ended in 1997 with the mass suicide, there are still reports of some members existing to this day who were tasked to take care of the cult's website, which surprisingly, is still online.