Heaven's Gate Was Founded In 1974
Before we dive into the mass suicide that shocked the world, we need to briefly talk about the history of Heaven's Gate, specifically its two founders, Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles. Applewhite and Nettles, who went by the names Do and Ti, respectively, started Heaven's Gate in 1974 and recruited their first members the following year when they convinced 20 people to leave their families and lives behind to move Colorado after telling them an alien spaceship would take them to heaven. According to History.com, the group began to lose members in years following after no such spacecraft arrived, and was all but gone when Nettles passed away in 1985.
By the 1990s, however, Marshall Applewhite rekindled the flames of Heaven's Gate with the upcoming passing of the Hale-Bopp comet and began recruiting members with the promise of a pass to the afterlife.