Heaven's Gate was a cult led by Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles who claimed that when the Hale Bopp (1997) comet came to pass, extraterrestrial forces would come. Heaven's Gate members believed that the planet Earth was about to be recycled (wiped clean, renewed, refurbished and rejuvenated), and that the only chance to survive was to leave it immediately.
On March 26, 1997 in a San Diego mansion, police discovered the bodies of 39 members of the Heaven's Gate cult, all of whom had died by apparent suicide. The suicide was accomplished by ingestion of phenobarbital mixed with vodka, along with plastic bags secured around their heads to induce asphyxiation.
They were found lying neatly in their own bunk beds, with their faces and torsos covered by a square, purple cloth. Each member carried a five dollar bill and three quarters in their pockets. All 39 were dressed in identical black shirts and sweat pants, brand new black-and-white Nike athletic shoes, and armband patches reading "Heaven's Gate Away Team." The suicides were conducted in shifts, and the remaining members of the group cleaned up after each prior group's death. Due to the history of the mansion, the owner gave the property back to the bank and the house was eventually bulldozed.