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Saturday, August 7, 2021

Bobby Campbell on Heaven's Gate, RAW, Leary and McKenna

Logo of the Heaven's Gate cult

A new Bobby Campbell article, "Signals from the Stars,"  has Bobby offering his reflections on the Heaven's Gate mass suicide after watching the HBO special, and how the beliefs of the members of the cult somewhat resemble the contacts with higher intelligence reported by Robert Anton Wilson, Timothy Leary, Philip K. Dick and others:

Referring to RAW, Leary, Dick, etc., Bobby writes:

Worth noting that these experiences all went on to inspire very influential books and systems of thought. To whatever extent these were actually pathological breaks from reality, they have functioned in our culture as successful visionary revelations.

Though in this there is most certainly a survivor's bias at play. For every Robert Anton Wilson, who carefully navigated the destabilizing consequences of psychotomimetic experiences, and extracted useful and entertaining life lessons along the way, how many less fortunate souls maybe got less admirable results?

On March 26, 1997, the bodies of 39 members of the Heaven's Gate cult were discovered in a house just outside of San Diego, having participated in a ritual mass suicide, orchestrated as part of an extraterrestrial/metaphysical belief system, in which they hoped to board a spaceship trailing the Comet Hale–Bopp.

And it turns out the two leaders of the Heaven's Gate cult once walked out of a Robert Anton Wilson lecture in 1978 in Houston (I wonder what triggered the exit?)

Read the whole thing, interesting throughout as Tyler Cowen likes to say. 


Bobby Campbell said...

Good question about what triggered the walk out!

IIRC around that time they were actively seeking out other people that had contact experiences, whether for recruitment or just connection IDK. I can imagine quite a few reasons why RAW wouldn't have jived with their B.S. in either case.

Makes me wonder about their sincerity. To what extent did they actively believe in their story, and to what extent was it a hustle?

Rob Pugh said...

Hey Tom, the second link "Read the whole thing..." doesn't work. First one does though. Thanks for the great piece and all the work...

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

Thanks Rob and Bobby, I've fixed the second link.