The curious online afterlife of a 20th century suicide cult

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On May 8, 2014, I sent an email to the inbox of the Heaven’s Gate ‘cult’, the bulk of whose members took their own lives on March 26, 1997. It was short and to the point: How many emails a day do you get from people who found out that you still reply? Just over four hours later, I received my first communication from the couple who maintain the group’s website, preserved just as it was on that spring day in 1997. Their message was equally concise: A couple of dozen a day. That brevity is representative of all the…

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