Infamous Heaven’s Gate Suicide Cult had Numerous Colorado Ties
If you were around in the late '90s, you probably recognize the name, 'Heaven's Gate,' or at the very least, the creepy, unsettling face of Marshall Applewhite above.
When the story of this cult and the mass suicide that put it in the spotlight made national news, viewers were shocked to find out the story that led up to the tragic event.
However, even if you were around when this shocking news broke, you may not know that the cult had numerous ties to Colorado, including multiple, supposedly brainwashed members that ended up taking part in the mass suicide, that were from here.
Colorado Ties to Heaven's Gate Cult
To make a long story short, 'Heaven's Gate' was known as a UFO cult that began in the 1970s by Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles that ended on March 26th, 1997 after police discovered the bodies of 39 members near San Diego that had participated in a mass suicide. While the cult was never based in Colorado, numerous members, including Applewhite himself, were.
The leader and co-founder of the group, Marshall Applewhite graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder back in 1969 where he earned a master's degree in music.
Shortly thereafter, he met Bonnie Nettles and the genesis of the cult began at Bonny Reservoir, where the pair lived for a period of time together.
The mass suicide saw 39 members of the cult tragically take their own lives, including John Craig, a former politician who left his wife and family behind to join the group back in 1975.
It was also around this time that Jacqueline Leonard of Littleton left her family to join the group, as well as Lucy Eva Pesho of Pueblo.
Finally, in 1993, Ladonna Brugato of Englewood joined the ranks of the 39 members that would take their own lives just a few short years later in an attempt to free themselves of their earthly 'vehicles.'
While 'Heaven's Gate' may be a thing of the past, cults are certainly still around and some even operate and recruit members in Colorado to this very day.