Surviving Heaven's Gate cultists keep the site alive

It's been 17 years since the mass suicide of the Web-designing saucer cult, and two of its surviving members have kept the whole thing up and running, refreshing it from 3.5" floppies as one ISP after another went bust.

Gizmodo's profile of Mark and Sarah King, the "guardians of Heaven's Gate's legacy," is a fascinating look at two people who ended up on the periphery of the cult because they weren't willing to comply with its most extreme dictates, and ended up serving as Heaven's Gate's ambassadors to default reality, before, during and after the mass suicide.

Even though the Kings—who married after leaving the group—were no longer direct members of Heaven's Gate, they still played crucial roles. Under the guise of the TELAH Foundation (a name they still go by, and an acronym for the ever-aspired-to "The Evolutionary Level Above Human"), Mark and Sarah supposedly acted as a "communication and clearing house" for the group's various public appearances and interactions, which became increasingly more prominent towards the end of their time on Earth. In 1993, for instance, they placed a full-page ad in USA Today costing upwards of $30,000.

The Online Legacy of a Suicide Cult and the Webmasters Who Stayed Behind [Ashley Feinberg/Gizmodo]

(via Kottke)