They were right, in a way: They were not really of this Earth.
All the things that bond a person to the world - family, friends, jobs - were abandoned, cut away, excised. They tried to overcome their urges, their natural human desires. They used castration as a technique to subdue what the cult called “human-mammalian behavior.” They struggled to overcome such mundane personal failings as procrastination, untidiness and the use of too much toothpaste.
The UFO cult known as “Heaven’s Gate” did not really live anywhere on the planet, at least no place in particular. Its members had been on the move for more than two decades. At their final celebratory meal last weekend, eating 39 identical turkey pot pies, a waiter asked where they were from. “From the car,” one said.
The death mansion wasn’t really a home. It was just another in a series of sterile rented houses. They could promise the owners, truthfully, that despite their great numbers they would leave no mark, no sign that anyone had lived there. In the silent video of the corpses lying on bunk beds there is no sign of decorations on the walls and few personal effects.
The arrival of Comet Hale-Bopp was the signal that their odyssey would go in a new direction. They hated their world. They had nowhere to go but up.