Steve Fortriede, Logansport Pharos-Tribune (logansport, IN) Sun. Apr 6, 1997, p.5
Cult Members Made 1976 Visit To Indiana ting Trip MUNCIE (AP) — Members of the suicidal Heaven's Gate cult attempted to find Indiana recruits more than 20 years ago. Followers of cult leader Marshall Applewhite spoke in Muncie on June 10, 1976, and the next day appeared in Fort Wayne. Those who listened then were told a UFO would pick them up and take them to the Kingdom of Heaven in a "few months," a newspaper newspaper reported. There was no indication indication any joined the cult from Indiana, or that any of the 39 members members who committed suicide came from Indiana. The archives of the Muncie Star- Press show the cult followers spoke at Ball State University during a recruiting trip. Applewhite did not appear. Four cult members also spoke at the Allen County Library in Fort Wayne the next day, describing a "human harvest" that would lead to a spiritual awakening, according to the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette. Thirty-eight Heaven's Gate cult members and Applewhite were found dead March 26 in a Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., mansion. Members left behind messages that they participated participated in the mass suicide so a UFO following the Hale-Bopp comet could take them to the "next level." Details of the 1976 speech at Ball State are scarce, but posters for the event promised the talk would "clarify "clarify the evolutionary level above humans as originally presented by "The Two' and explain UFOs." But in the days leading up to the speech, several members spoke with local newspapers about their mission. mission. Members spoke of "The Two," Applewhite and Bonnie Lu Nettles, who together led the group until Mettles died in 1985. Two followers, who identified themselves as only Roger and Glen, told the Muncie Star that -a UFO would pick them up later mat year: • Followers of "The Two" would leave earth in their physical bodies before dropping their "human fallings" during transformation in the Kingdom of Heaven. "They have a spaceship big enough for all of us," Robin, another member of the group, told the Ball State Daily News. "Hundreds" of members were said to be ready to leave earth on the UFO. During the Fort Wayne visit, the cult member's discussion was tape recorded. A woman who identified herself as Rebecca said group members members work with partners "to over- Drugs, Alcohol Found In Bodies Of Heaven's Gate Members SAN DIEGO (AP) —Blood tests released Friday show most of the 39 Heaven's Gate cult members ingested a combination of drugs and alcohol before dying. None had the AIDS virus. The tests confirmed earlier findings that the suicidal cultists ate pudding or applesauce-laced with the anti-seizure drug phenobarbital. Most of the members members also drank vodka to enhance the drug's potency. The results only suggest what killed the Heaven's Gate followers. A final cause of death will be announced next Friday, county Medical Examiner Brian Blackbourne said, The blood tests do not address the issue of suffocation, although plastic bags were found on some bodies. "Even with massive amounts of phenobarbital, you'd linger a long time," said Gordon McGuire, a pharmacy pharmacy professor at the University of California, San Diego Medical Center. "Alcohol would help, but they were clearly using the loss of oxygen as the final capper." HIV tests — done at the request of family members and to answer questions questions from the media — also came back negative. The cultists' bodies were discovered March 26 after they killed themselves in the belief they would catch a spaceship spaceship to the "Next Level," All 39 members had phenobarbital in their blood. Thirty-three had alcohol and four had the painkiller Vicodin in their blood. come the human attributes we would like to discontinue and .get rid of.:......... ,... ., "We hope it speaks to you, and that all of you will be seeking to know the minds of our fathers, and will be included in the harvest of the future," she said, concluding the tape. Library assistant director Steve Fortriede, who found the tape after seeing news accounts of the mass suicide, said he wasn't sure why the cult members came to Fort Wayne. "These people came in, and I think somebody told them about us and we did this kind of work," he said, referring to the taping of the talk, "It was very much an off-the- cuff thing." '