mass suicide

23 years ago, Heaven’s Gate couldn’t wait

Dateline Rancho Santa Fe. March 26, 1997. A 911 call came into the San Diego Sheriff’s Communications Center. It was treated as a prank call at first. From what turned out to be a nearby payphone, the caller said something so preposterous that dispatchers took their time in relaying the information to central command. “This is regarding a mass suicide. I can give you the address,” the…


Heaven’s Gate and other ‘cult’ architecture

Religions have inspired some of the great architecture of human history. Reims Cathedral. The Blue Mosque. Angkor Wat. But what about those faiths that aren’t exactly major? Or are controversial? Or aren’t religions at all? Since many fringe religious groups tend not to mesh well with society, they often take to the country. In the process, they sometimes employ innovative planning strategies, as is the…