Heaven's Gate Site Lives Forever

Heaven's Gate Site Lives ForeverRemember back in March 1997 when Marshall Applewhite and his Heaven's Gate cult committed mass suicide in order to leave Earth for a space craft that was trailing the comet Hale-Bopp? Well, they had a website at http://www.heavensgate.com/ to explain to the rest of us why they had to off themselves.

hbhgtd

Someone's been keeping that site online, because it remains in tact as it was that day in 1997. Here's their press release issued March 22, 1997. I like the catchy title: "HEAVEN'S GATE® "Away Team" Returns to Level Above Human in Distant Space".

I'm a web guy, meaning I do digital marketing and create and maintain quite a bit of web infrastructure. In fact, I started doing this shortly after the Heaven's Gate site was last updated, so it's easy to spot the difference between sites then and now.

No Google Analytics or Other Tracking Scripts
Viewing the source, it's strange to see HTML without some sort of analytics scripting for measuring visitors. Sure, the site's server will still have log files that can be parsed, but what site in 2012 doesn't have a Google Analytics script embedded, or StatCounter, or whatever. Tracking codes are everywhere.

<meta name="keywords" content="EVERYTHING">
Back in 1997, this is how site gamed the popular search engines of the time. We're talking Yahoo!, Excite, AltaVista, Lycos and the like. Heaven's Gate loaded up on keywords, including the terms "Jesus" and "God" six times each.

No CSS
Today, the majority of a site's mark-up happens in the CSS. CSS is how colours are changed, font sizes and styles manipulated and basically all decoration is handled. In 1997, everything was done in the HTML. The body tag, for example, looks like this: <body bgcolor="#000000" background="img/tile.jpg" text="#33ffcc" link="#cc99ff" vlink="#66cccc" alink="#ff0066">

.htm Files
Blame Microsoft for this one. Today you don't see many .htm files, but in 1997 that's what Microsoft created instead of .html. Perhaps Heaven's Gate used FrontPage or another Microsoft editor.

Hidden On-Page Keywords
In 1997, search engines weren't as sophisticated, so you could game them but putting keywords on your site that were the same colour as your background. To the visitor they were invisible, but to the search engines of the time, they were indexed as normal HTML text. Heaven's Gate has a bunch of these keywords in the footer of their home page, but you'll have to select the text to see them.

Check this out!

<font size="0" color="#000000">Heaven's Gate Heaven's Gate Heaven's Gate Heaven's Gate Heaven's Gate Heaven's Gate Heaven's Gate Heaven's Gate ufo ufo ufo ufo ufo ufo ufo ufo ufo ufo ufo ufo space alien space alien space alien space alien space alien space alien space alien space alien space alien space alien space alien space alien extraterrestrial extraterrestrial extraterrestrial extraterrestrial extraterrestrial extraterrestrial extraterrestrial extraterrestrial extraterrestrial extraterrestrial extraterrestrial extraterrestrial extraterrestrial extraterrestrial misinformation misinformation misinformation misinformation misinformation misinformation misinformation misinformation misinformation misinformation misinformation misinformation freedom freedom freedom freedom freedom freedom freedom freedom freedom freedom freedom freedom second coming second coming second coming second coming second coming second coming second coming second coming second coming second coming angels angels angels angels angels angels angels angels angels angels end end times times end times end times end times end times end times end times end times end times end times </font size>

<font size="0" color="#000000">Key Words: (for search engines) 144,000, Abductees, Agnostic, Alien, Allah, Alternative, Angels, Antichrist, Apocalypse, Armageddon, Ascension, Atheist, Awakening, Away Team, Beyond Human, Blasphemy, Boddhisattva, Book of Revelation, Buddha, Channeling, Children of God, Christ, Christ's Teachings, Consciousness, Contactees, Corruption, Creation, Death, Discarnate, Discarnates, Disciple, Disciples, Disinformation, Dying, Ecumenical, End of the Age, End of the World, Eternal Life, Eunuch, Evolution, Evolutionary, Extraterrestrial, Freedom, Fulfilling Prophecy, Genderless, Glorified Body, God, God's Children, God's Chosen, God's Heaven, God's Laws, God's Son, Guru, Harvest Time, He's Back, Heaven, Heaven's Gate, Heavenly Kingdom, Higher Consciousness, His Church, Human Metamorphosis, Human Spirit, Implant, Incarnation, Interfaith, Jesus, Jesus' Return, Jesus' Teaching, Kingdom of God, Kingdom of Heaven, Krishna Consciousness, Lamb of God, Last Days, Level Above Human, Life After Death, Luciferian, Luciferians, Meditation, Members of the Next Level, Messiah, Metamorphosis, Metaphysical, Millennium, Misinformation, Mothership, Mystic, Next Level, Non Perishable, Non Temporal, Older Member, Our Lords Return, Out of Body Experience, Overcomers, Overcoming, Past Lives, Prophecy, Prophecy Fulfillment, Rapture, Reactive Mind, Recycling the Planet, Reincarnation, Religion, Resurrection, Revelations, Saved, Second Coming, Soul, Space Alien, Spacecraft, Spirit, Spirit Filled, Spirit Guide, Spiritual, Spiritual Awakening, Star People, Super Natural, Telepathy, The Remnant, The Two, Theosophy, Ti and Do, Truth, Two Witnesses, UFO, Virginity, Walk-ins, Yahweh, Yeshua, Yoda, Yoga,</font size>

No Favicon in that Tiny Head
The <head> part of Heaven's Gate's HTML is quite small compared to today's sites. There's no DOCTYPE declaration or encoding. And throw in the fact there's no Favicon or CSS or JavaScripts and you have a very tiny head.

But my favourite part of the preserved Heaven's Gate website is their page about suicide. It seems they were against it.


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Comments (24 - click here to join in!)

Jamie

The "G" looks like it's been ripped off from the Green Bay Packers logo.

June 26, 2012 @ 12:14 PM

Ryan G

What's interesting though is that so-called mainstream religions are simply less clownish versions of this heaven's gate silliness.

In my opinion, that is.

June 26, 2012 @ 2:56 PM

Mississauga Phil

@ Ryan G - I'd have to respectfully disagree. I have seen religion be a great source of strength for people.

My grandmother died absolutely 100% convinced that she'd be seeing my Grandpa and Uncle soon, she was truly at peace when she passed.

The problem comes when people abuse the faith of others to their own ends (Osama Bin Laden and Father Badtouch...I'm looking at you).

June 26, 2012 @ 3:15 PM

Ryan G

@Miss. Phil

I never said religion doesn't help (some) people for the reason you mention. In fact that's the main reason why I generally avoid sharing my atheist views amongst people who call themselves religious (unless they push me..then it's gloves off).

June 26, 2012 @ 3:24 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Ryan G and @Mississauga Phil

Religions and cults are similar in that they're pure fiction and invented to make a complex and frightening world simpler and less scary. Marshall Applewhite convinced his flock to ingest cyanide to hop on a space ship. Catholicism has convinced folks God's son rose from the dead, died for their sins and wants you to worship him by drinking his blood and eating his flesh. It's all cut from the same cloth, but like Phil said, this fiction can bring joy and peace to people, especially in their twilight years.

What Marshall Applewhite believed and what religions believe are equally ridiculous, but that's not to say people can't harvest positivity from the latter. Personally, I'll pass on both.

June 26, 2012 @ 3:32 PM

Ryan G

@ Toronto Mike

Hear Hear!

June 26, 2012 @ 3:35 PM

Pat

Greatest.
Work.
Ever.

June 26, 2012 @ 3:51 PM

Jason Patterson

Looks like Geocities or Angelfire.

@Ryan G I agree

@Missisauga Phil - her faith, rather than religious dogma, is what really carried her though there. In my opinion. Faith is a beautiful thing. Religion is not.

June 26, 2012 @ 7:25 PM

Rick C in Oakville

Wasn't there a movie of the same name never released, or am I hallucinating after 2 or 3 Guinness?

June 26, 2012 @ 11:01 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Rick C in Oakville

Eventually released, but a big bomb: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heaven's_Gate_(film)

June 26, 2012 @ 11:03 PM

Sammi

Why is it 'fiction', Mike? How do you know more than anyone else?

June 27, 2012 @ 4:58 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Sammi

Is Santa Claus fiction? I mean, is the absence of proof insufficient to say something doesn't exist?

Because if you think god may exist, you also have to admit Santa Claus may exist. God is just Santa Claus for adults.

June 27, 2012 @ 8:25 AM

Mississauga Phil

@ Jason Patterson - Couldn't have said it better myself.

June 27, 2012 @ 8:30 AM

Mississauga phil

@ Mike - The difference is that I KNOW Santa doesn't exist...I put the toys in the stocking for my son.

I'm not the most die-hard Chirstian in the world. I disagree with much of what the church does, but can you say with 100% certainty that there is no God. Can you explain the entire world around you?

"there's more to heaven and earth than is dreamt of in your philosophy Horatio"

June 27, 2012 @ 9:11 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

But the burden of proof can't be on one to say something does not exist. I could apply that to many things.

For example, other religions. Perhaps the Hindus have it right, or the Muslims, or Buddhists...

June 27, 2012 @ 9:15 AM

Mississauga Phil

@ Mike - Perhaps they do. Personally, I think that God, Yaweah, Allah, etc are all different names for the same being. To the Hindus, this deity is represented in many forms, and to the best of my knowledge, Buddhists don't belive in a deity so mucha s a state of mind (my apologies if I am incorrect on this).

So my answer to that would be to each their own, I sncerly doubt any of the Religons have got it entirely right.

I could be completey wrong, and we are all worm food when we die. In that case, I have all the more respect for those without faith, you are good people beacuse you should be, not for any reward in the next life. All I will say is that there is energy within us, and science says that engery can not be destroyed, only transfered....that is science, not faith.

June 27, 2012 @ 9:25 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Mississauga Phil

To paraphrase Penn, if you were to erase everyone's memories and start from scratch, religions would end up totally different than the way they are today.

But science... that would end up exactly the same.

Religion = fiction, science = fact.

But one thing I've learned is you can't argue with believers, because they believe without evidence or logic, so you can't argue with that.

June 27, 2012 @ 10:45 AM

Mississauga Phil

@ Mike - You're probably right. The funny thing is I idnetify myself as closer to Agnostic(open to the idea of a God) then an actual "believer". I just know many people who get a lot of strength from their faith, and I find that
"non-believerss" are alost as militant in their belief that they are right as "believers" are. (this is not a shot at you or Rick C who are respectful for the most part).

But comparing a beleif in God to believing in Santa Claus is pretty low, and quite frankly insulting. The mainstream "Sanata Claus" (fat man in a red suit) was invented by Coke in the early half of the 1900's.

June 27, 2012 @ 10:54 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Mississauga Phil

My point with the Santa Claus comparison is that both were invented by humans. Both are taught to kids who pretty much believe everything you tell them. Then at some point, we tell kids that Santa Claus was bullshit but religion isn't.

But both are inventions of our imagination.

June 27, 2012 @ 10:58 AM

Mississauga Phil

@ Mike - It's pretty egotistical of you to state that God is a figment of our imagination as a fact. How do you know this? How is it that hundreds of millions of people (probably billions if you count all believers who have ever existed)are wrong and you are right.

Again, I'm not saying that I KNOW they are right, or even that I'm 100% convinced they are. I'm just asking how you KNOW they are wrong.....

I'm not asking you to prove a negative (that's almost impossible) I'm just asking you why you are stating an opionon as fact.

June 27, 2012 @ 11:11 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Mississauga Phil

Firstly, it was religion I was calling out... religion is bullshit, and I strongly believe that. I don't want any part of religion.

Is there a god? I don't believe so, but I suppose you're right.... I can't know this. The logic and facts at my disposal lead me to believe this, but it's not an absolute.

June 27, 2012 @ 11:14 AM

Mississauga Phil

@ Mike - the distinction is noted. Can't disagree that organized religion is dated and certain parts are absolutly bullshit.

See people - this is how you have an intelligent debate without resorting to personal attacks or name calling.

June 27, 2012 @ 11:18 AM

519 Rob

I'd like to commend Miss. Phil for his point of...
"this is how you have an intelligent debate without resorting to personal attacks or name calling."
Too many times you come on here (and many many MANY other blogs) and people start attacking each other because they believe something different.
Now this is a healthy debate.
Gotta love it!

June 27, 2012 @ 12:09 PM

Jason Patterson

@Toronto Mike "Facts" are just Santa Claus for adults.

Anything is possible.

June 28, 2012 @ 7:02 AM

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