AN INTERVIEW WITH THE HEAVEN'S GATE WEBMASTER: MEET TELAH, 61
Inside an idyllic 9,200-sq.-ft., seven-bedroom, hilltop mansion in one of the most affluent neighborhoods of the coastal city of San Diego, Calif., laid the bodies of 39 members of the religious group Heaven’s Gate.
Clad in all-black uniforms complete with patches identifying them as the “Heaven’s Gate Away Team” and their now-iconic black-and-white Nike sneakers, the mass suicide was a grand, orchestrated event. The members believed a spaceship was following Comet Hale-Bopp—and that this would be the vehicle that would chaperone their souls for an intergalactic journey to a physical and spiritual “level of existence above human.”
Using a judiciously planned brew of apple sauce and the sedative phenobarbital, the members chased it with vodka, followed by placing plastic bags over their heads and suffocating to death.
Fifteen members took their lives on March 24, 1997. Fifteen others on March 25, and the final nine on March 26. Group leader Marshall Applewhite was the third to last member to commit suicide. The remaining two members, both women, were the sole people discovered without plastic bags over their heads.
On March 26, 1997, San Diego police uncovered the bodies—and that’s when the tale of Heaven’s Gate really took off. The world began to learn about the teachings of Applewhite (AKA Do, a former convict with an interest in mysticism) and Bonnie Nettles (AKA Ti, a former nurse who passed away from liver cancer in 1985).
While it’s easy to believe that heavensgate.com is a relic of a site abandoned years ago, the hosting bills are paid annually and the domain name is still registered under a Mark King under the TELAH Foundation based in Phoenix, Ariz.
TELAH stands for “The Evolutionary Level Above Human,” a term used for beings who had managed to travel “beyond human.”
Upvoted reached out—and whoever it is manning the account agreed to an email interview. Below are their answers.
Hi! Who am I speaking with? What’s your name and age?
Are you a man or woman?
We are both.
Is Heaven’s Gate still based in San Diego, Calif.?
No. The Group visited many cities. It really wasn’t based just in San Diego. Most of our time was spent in Texas, if you were to ask where we were a majority of time.
When did you join Heaven’s Gate and how did you discover its existence?
We joined right after attending a meeting in Waldport, Oregon in 1975.
Why did you decide to join?
Ti and Do were clearly not of this planet.
What is your “role” within Heaven’s Gate? (If there are roles!)
No real roles. In the mid-’90s, we served as their communication center, which we still do today.
Why do you believe you were left behind?
It wasn’t a belief. We were asked to fill the position of maintaining the website, emails and the physical, and intellectual properties. It was very clear and we were honored to do it.
How many of you were left behind?
Eight. Four are left.
Where are your directives coming from? Were they left behind for you by leadership prior to their journey?
From the Next Level. They left very specific instructions.
How did the Next Level leave you instructions?
There is too much information even to begin to explain. It came before and after they departed via email, phone and packages we received the next day.
What’s the next step for you? For Heaven’s Gate?
We are to take care of this task. We don’t know when we will rejoin them, but from the time they left and we leave, it is only an eye blink to the Next Level. There hasn’t been a HG Group since 1997.
Are you actively recruiting more members?
No Group, so no members. Hasn’t been since 1997.
Why do you choose to keep the Heaven’s Gate website up and running?
The information must be available to mankind, in preparation for their return. We don’t know when that will be but those who are interested will find the information.
I found the statement against suicide on the website fascinating. Why did Heaven’s Gate decide to put this statement out there
Suicide is futile. The human condition is to be born, live a life, die and reincarnate again. Committing suicide is a waste of time. You just have to repeat the lesson steps again. There is no heaven or hell, only an endless cycle of reincarnation. Only those 38 individuals were allowed to break that cycle and enter the Next Level. They were the first of this planet to actually do that. Only the Next Level can give that permission.
What one thing do you want the public to know about Heaven’s Gate?
The simple belief is that there is a real, physical level above the humans one here on earth. It is not a spiritual existence. It is real individuals, in real bodies, in real crafts taking care of the issues of their planet.
The Next Level, as it is called, created this planet and all the life on it. The Next Level are the care takers of not only this planet but all the systems of the universe. From that, all the other beliefs follow.
They periodically come down to this planet to check in on this civilizations development. The last time they took a very close-up observation, in human form, was from about 1972 to 1997. The time before that was 2000 years ago.
At those times they talk to those interested about the opportunity of the Next Level and how a very select few can enter into it only after a long period of transition and instruction.