Next week is the tenth anniversary of the Heaven's Gate suicide near San Diego, where 39 people in the UFO cult killed themselves. They were hoping to hitch a ride on an alien spacecraft that leaders Marshall Applewhite ("Bo" aka "Do") and Bonnie Nettles ("Peep" aka "Ti") told them was stealthily flying behind Comet Hale-Bopp. In the San Diego Union-Tribune, the authorities who first responded to a 911 call and walked in on a nightmare. From the San Diego Union-Tribune:
“As we entered the house, we started seeing bodies that were covered up..." said sheriff's deputy Robert Brunk. "Every room that you went into, we found more. Some were in bunk beds.Link
“They were all in their running suits with their 'Heaven's Gate Away Team' patch on the sleeve. There was a computer flashing 'Red Alert,' sort of like 'Star Trek.' There was still a load of laundry in the machine. It was surreal.”
Purple shrouds covered all but two bodies. Brunk remembers lifting the shroud off only one person, among the youngest. He also remembers shaking a foot of every body to check for rigor mortis. All were wearing black Nike running shoes with the white swoosh on the side.
“The Nike symbol triggers my memory more than any one thing,” said Brunk, a 17-year veteran. “I remember their shoes, all 39 pairs.”