Crime History: 39 Members Of Heaven’s Gate Ate The Applesauce In Mass Suicide

Main photo: Marshall Applewhite [YouTube screenshot]

On March 26, 1997, a mass suicide was discovered in a wealthy suburb of San Diego, California. It would be known as the largest mass suicide in the United States.


Marshall Applewhite [YouTube]

Inside a mansion, 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate religious group were found lying dead on mattresses, arms at their sides, dressed in the same all-black clothing, Nike sneakers, short hair, and a $5 bill and three quarters in their pockets for interplanetary tolls.

Related: The Order Of The Solar Temple: Mass Murder & Fiery Suicide Of A Doomsday Cult

The eerily calm and planned ritual took place over three days. Death was brought on by a lethal mix of phenobarbital in apple sauce or pudding, paired with a drink of vodka, and followed up by suffocation with plastic bags. Some members assisted in the suicide and cleaned the home, evidenced by the plastic bags found behind the home and the last two members to die still covered by the bags.

heavens gate suicide

Heaven’s Gate victims found [YouTube]

The Heaven’s Gate group (if you dare to click, their original website can still be found here) was led by religious cult leader Marshall Applewhite (seen in this chilling initiation video). Known as “Do,” the self-proclaimed prophet believed he was a descendant of Jesus.

Applewhite convinced members that the world would be “wiped clean” by alien founders and that they must leave the “containers” that were their bodies and meet a UFO alien spacecraft trailing behind the Hale-Bopp Comet. The incident brought UFO-religious New Age movements — and dangerous cults — to the public eye.

Related: Drinking The Kool-Aid: 38 Years Of Jim Jones & The Peoples Temple Massacre In Popular Culture

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Main photo: Marshall Applewhite [YouTube screenshot]

  • bbuster

    Okay so he’s convinced of the beliefs of this cult but doesn’t follow with all of the “instructions”? Something’s obviously not right about this.

    • Sooooo juicy

      Exactly, he’s still making money off this brainwashed madness.

    • Danielle McGinley

      Actually, he was in that mansion too. He died 18 years ago.

      • Lisa Marie Green

        No. He is the one who found them and reported them. He just explained that in the video.

  • daze

    The Museum of Death in Hollywood has some bunk beds, uniforms, and various other items from this incident on display. Creepy stuff.

    • Sooooo juicy


    • Amanda

      I would LOVE to go there.

      • eric

        I remember when that happened. not too far from my home haha

      • sacrilicious ☠

        it’s a really cool place, and the couple who owns it are really nice people.

    • brenda

      You bury creepy stuff like that you do not make it a shrine. unless they left someone around to get new members humm

  • brenda

    They had a choice to go to hell together they wanted to die so they did. nothing nice about mass death. that was a powerful drug they were on . a free trip to hell.

    • Gryphoemia Tink Zetsubou

      that doesn’t make much more sense than meeting up on another planet.

  • Janah Adam

    any practice that involves leaving my ‘container’ (body) yet taking earth currency in the pockets of the clothing of the body I’m leaving behind…not to quibble, but what’s the exchange rate on $5.75 U.S. in interplanetary toll stations? — any plan THAT FLAWED — its unbelievable anyone fell for it.

    • Joe Guelph

      Many years ago an L.A.-based cult leader named Joe Jeffers got in trouble for scamming his followers. When he was hauled before a judge, Jeffers claimed that he had no need of “earthly” money, since the Lord Jehovah, who lived in the constellation of Orion, had *billions in US dollars* he could drawn on in emergencies. The judge was unimpressed by that claim.

  • April Colclough

    Super creepy I just looked at the original web page and at the bottom there’s a “our position against suicide”section.daaaammnnn

  • nanci

    I wonder if that house is haunted.