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The Heaven's Gate Investigation

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Why Author Hayden Hewes was Almost Convinced

Written by: Sean Casteel
Published 1997
Used with Permission

Oklahoma City-based UFO researcher Hayden Hewes first met Marshall Herf Applewhite and Bonnie Lu Nettles in 1974, a full fourteen months before they first made news after holding a public meeting in the seaside community of Waldport, Oregon. Hewes subsequently co-authored a book with fellow UFO researcher Brad Stieger called UFO Missionaries Extraordinary (Pocket Books, 1976) that told much of the early history of the cult that was eventually to call itself Heaven's Gate.

We spoke to Hewes by phone a couple of weeks after the suicides took place, and he told us about three different occasions on which the messages spoken to him by cult leader Marshall Applewhite had a decidedly eerie ring of truth.

Applewhite and Nettles had been staying in a cabin near Oklahoma City in the summer of 1974, preparing the message they would later take to the world. Before they left town, Applewhite paid a final visit to Hewes' office.

"One of the things that made me wonder if they were telling the truth," Hewes said, "is that when he left my office, I shook Bo's hand, said goodbye, turned around and walked three or four feet. I turned back around, and the man was gone. He had no way to go either way. I could not understand, and still don't, how he disappeared the way he did. In playing our interviews back, he said quite clearly that they have the power to change their vibratory rate, which can make them disappear at will, Now, that didn't prove to me that he was an alien, but it made it a little extraordinary.

Applewhite also gave Hewes another item to puzzle over.

"He told me if I ever wanted to contact him,"" Hewes said, "to 'pray towards' him with a secret code. I did not do that until 14 months later when, after hearing about the Waldport meeting, I directed a message to him. The next morning I received a call from one of the followers saying, 'You have asked, and they [Applewhite and Nettles] asked me to get ahold of you and let you know they will be back to answer your questions.' Now, I just fell over. It was a telepathic communication from across the United States where they responded the next day And, again, that's not proof, but by the same token it made me sit and wonder."


But there was a third incident that most convinced Hewes that something very much out of the ordinary was going on.

"The whole time I was with him," Hewes said, "he was so familiar to me. I couldn't put my finger on it. Why did I know this man, and where did I know him from? Well, it wasn't for some time that I happened to have picture of him on my desk. At the same time, we had a copy of a  book Brad and I published back in 1970 entitled The Aliens. It was illustrated by Hal Crawford and it dealt with the three most commonly reported UFO occupants. It was published by The International UFO Bureau Press, and the following year, 'The National Enquirer` ran part of the text in an interview with an illustration of the second-most commonly reported occupant.

"Well, now when you put the two together," Hewes continued, "the picture of Herf Applewhite and the illustration of the UFO alien four years previous, it's an exact overlay. So, here I've got a man standing in front of me saying,  'I'm an alien to to the earth,' and it matches

what our research showed four years prior."

So what does Hewes himself make of all this? After more than two decades, he continues to ask questions.

"Is that three coincidences?" he asked. "Is that synchronicity? I don't know. It was very unusual. And one f the things that kept the story open as far as we were concerned was, 'Hey, maybe there's something to what they're saying.' But I know Brad and I didn't envision it would take 20-some years to get an end to the story that we had started in 1974."

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Brad Steiger, Bonnie Nettles, Marshall Applewhite, and Hayden Hewes

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Brad Steiger visits with Bonnie Nettles and Marshall Applewhite at the International UFO Bureau

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