Heaven’s Gate and Confirmation Bias: The Telescope Was Broken Because It Didn’t Show the UFO Trailing the Comet

Apparently in the months preceding their mass suicide, the Heaven’s Gate cultists bought and then returned a telescope because it wasn’t showing them what they wanted to see,

Two months before they killed themselves, the Heaven’s Gate cultists bought a $3,600 computerized telescope to study the flying saucer they believed was shadowing the Hale-Bopp comet.

A week later they were asking for their money back. The refrigerator-size telescope wasn’t showing them the UFO, they complained.

They “were very frustrated. They said: ‘Well, gosh, we found the comet, but we can’t see anything following it,”’ said Mike Fowler at Oceanside Photo and Telescope.

Cult leader Marshall Applewhite and a disciple named John Craig paid $3,645 with Craig’s credit card for the LX200 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope Jan. 30.

. . .

They came back for a refund Feb. 7, said store manager Penny Hauck. “They said, ‘Well, you know, we didn’t see the spaceship, so, of course, this instrument is not going to suit our needs.’ I just kind of said, ‘Well, OK,”’ she said.

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