Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Stargates and Solar Temples, Part Three: Silenced Knights

Joseph DiMambro and The Solar Temple

Most of you have a pretty good working knowledge of the Heaven's Gate cult by now if you've been following the blog over the past couple of weeks. The Gate were part of a very strange and violent period in history when cults, which had once enjoyed the patronage of the intelligence infrastructure for their utility as mind control laboratories (many of the techniques developed by cults in the 60s and 70s were applied to the "megachurch" movement in the 80s and 90s), suddenly seemed hostile and dangerous to the public at large. 

Many of the 90s and 00s' most notorious events were cult-related, from the Branch Davidians in Texas (and the subsequent bombing in Oklahoma City), to the murderous Aum Shunrikyo cult in Japan (who perpetrated a sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway) to the Fundamentalist/separatist Mormon sect run by Warren Jeffs to the risible Westboro Baptist Church psyop, a walking two-minute hate with a seemingly bottomless travel budget.

There were many more like these, giving outsiders the impression that groups that sought to separate themselves from mainstream society were a danger to themselves and to others.

One cult that many Americans may not be familiar with is the Order of the Solar Temple, a group centered in Francophone countries. They made news in the 90s with a series of ghastly "mass suicides", events that many people believe were anything but self-inflicted. 

Their beliefs were essentially Theosophical with Hermetic/Ritual trappings, with a special reverence for Sirius. Although sometimes described as a "UFO cult", their means of travel to Sirius seemed influenced by the teachings of our old friend Alice Bailey:
The International Chivalric Order Solar Tradition was a destructive, doomsday cult founded by Luc Jouret in 1984. It absorbed the Foundation Golden Way led by Joseph Di Mambro (1926-1995). While Jouret assumed much of the public leadership, Dimambro convinced members that he was a member of the 14th Century Christian Order of the Knights Templar during a previous life and that his daughter Emanuelle was "the cosmic child." 
Together, Jouret and Dimambro convinced followers that they would lead them after death to a planet which revolves around the star Sirius.
The "suicides" took place over a three year period and were committed in several different countries. The death toll was roughly twice that of the Gate. Despite reports of "formations" and the like, interpretations of ritual alignments are just that; interpretations.
The cult's mass murders began in October 1994, in Morin Heights, Quebec, with the murder of an infant believed by Di Mambro to be the incarnation of the Antichrist. The child was stabbed repeatedly with a wooden stake. A few days later in Switzerland, Di Mambro held a last supper for the 15 inner-circle members, who died by poison. 
Thirty others died by gunshot wounds or smothering; and eight died of other causes. Many wore black ceremonial robes and plastic bags over their heads, their bodies positioned in a star formation with feet in the center. The structure in which many of the bodies were found had been set on fire. In Vercors, France, 15 more cultists killed themselves in a similar fashion between December 15 and 16, 1995, and five more in Quebec in March 1997. The total number of deaths attributed to these mass deaths is 74 including children.

The alleged justifications for the alleged suicides were remarkably similar to those proffered by Heaven's Gate. The difference is that where the Gate left behind a volume of testimony, writings, videos, a website, the only alleged evidence for the Solar Temple's suicidal tendencies seems to be four notes left at one of the scenes. 

Given the fact that this group involved aristocrats and jet-setters, it seems unimaginable that a group whose rituals were so elaborate and meticulous would leave such a paltry and slapdash message to the world regarding their grand voyage to the Dog Star.
The leadership felt that the Solar Temple was being persecuted by various governments. They anticipated the imminent end of the world due to an environmental catastrophe, and felt that they were to play a major role in the collapse. They decided that some members should leave the earth prematurely and "transit" to a better world.
 Fire forms an important part of their belief. In order for them to transit to another world, they must die in a fire.
After the "suicides", stories began to circulate in the media about the possible motivations for the acts. But family and friends noted that there were few if any signs of the coming self-immolations. On the contrary, vacations were being planned, the general business of life was being looked forward to. As we see in this cult's story, the people blamed for facilitating one of the "mass suicides"-- two socialites -- hardly seem the kind to want to exit their vehicles, or commit mass murder. 

Whereas the Gate was filled with socially-awkward nerds, the Solar Temple seemed more an elite sex cult with esoteric trappings. These people enjoyed their lives.

This scenario may seem consistent with the different ways in which the victims in Switzerland and in Canada died, and with the results of the investigations, which seem to indicate that the murders in Morin Heights and Cheiry were carried out by two members of the Temple, Joel Egger and Dominique Bellaton (a manicurist turned socialite), who later joined the other leaders in the suicidal act in Les Granges-sur-Salvan.  
In Morin Heights two Swiss members, Colette and Gerry Genoud, may have committed suicide, while Antonio and Nicky Dutoit were savagely murdered with their three-month-old son Emmanuel.  
Make note of this detail here, since it will pop up in one of the allegorical retellings of the Solar Temple's story. 
According to the Quebec police report of November 1994, the Dutoits were also included in the traitors' list because they had named their son Emmanuel. ..By calling their son Emmanuel the Dutoits had usurped the unique position of Emmanuelle Di Mambro, the "cosmic child," and had in fact transformed their baby son into the Antichrist.  

And again, the very short trail of evidence for "suicide" here, four notes which seem to be hastily written, since they contradict each other.
On the other hand, there seems to be a contradiction between the first three documents and the fourth one. From the first three documents it seems that the tragedy was prearranged, as part of the Grand Lodge of Sirius's "Plan," and as a preparation for the end of the world, which is at any rate impending for all humanity. The fourth document--on a more "political" note-presents the suicide as an act of protest against persecution by the government of Quebec, which the document accuses of "mass murder."
Family members were furious with the authorities for what they saw as a lax and intentionally sloppy investigation (see this documentary on the Satellite, which is skeptical in regards to the official story. There are other videos on YouTube which are even more skeptical to the point of outright accusation). But even within the confines of the investigation, the forensic evidence doesn't support the mass suicide theory at all.
While it at first appeared to be a mass suicide, the bodies at Chiery told a slightly different tale. Autopsy reports showed that two of the victims died of suffocation while another twenty-one were administered sleeping pills before being shot to death. According to a Time Magazine article of 1994, some of the victims had as many as eight bullet wounds in the head. 
Another ten victims were found with plastic bags over their heads. There was also evidence that several of the victims had shown signs of struggle, which indicates that the deaths were far from a willing suicide pact.
The late, great Philip Coppens investigated the Temple's story and found that the suicide explanation was greatly lacking, and is still a major source of contention in France. Coppens traced the deaths to elements within the European fringe right:
One of the experts in the story of the Solar Temple is the French journalist Maurice Fusier. In one of his books on the subject, Secret d’Etat? (“State Secret?”), he explains where his lines of enquiry have taken him. For example, it has become clear that police and investigators purposefully neglected clues that showed that unknown persons aided if not executed the “collective suicides.”
The theory of collective suicides has also been heavily contested by Alain Vuarnet, René and Muguette Rostan, Willy and Giséla Schleimer, who are relatives of the victims, and Dr Alain Leclerc, their lawyer.
So we've discussed the Gate's presence in pop culture, what about this more esoteric and troubling story?

On further reflection, I believe Chris Carter based "The Church of the Red Museum" on The Order of the Solar Temple and not on Heaven's Gate, even if Marshall Applewhite was so inspired by that episode. 

The fact that the group was led by a doctor, the ritualism, the emphasis on health and vegetarianism and the walk-in motif (which leads us back to Sirius, via Ruth Montgomery's influential work) all point to the Solar Temple, who would have been in the news at the time Carter was working on "Red Museum". He wouldn't be done with the Solar Temple, though. Not by a long shot.

It seems to be yet another of these strange thought contagions that float around Hollywood, hiding in plain sight.

Star Trek: Deep Space (the) Nine also seemed to reference the Solar Temple in the episode "Covenant". In it, arch-villain Gul Dukat created a cult around the Pah-Wraiths, the evil discarnate aliens who inhabit the fire caves of Bajor and are the enemies of the Nine Prophets, the wormhole-dwelling aliens who the Bajorans worship as gods. Dukat then convinces his cult that they must exit their vehicles to join the Pah-Wraiths. Inevitably, it turns out he wasn't intending to join them in this but was merely going to murder his cult.
Dukat prays alone in his quarters and asks for guidance. Later, at a sudden prayer meeting, Dukat then makes a great announcement: the pah-wraiths have asked everyone to shed their corporeal existences. To accomplish this, he says that everyone, including him, will commit suicide.
The writers claimed they were inspired by the Heaven's Gate suicides but given the details of the story, it seems more likely they were processing the Solar Temple in this story and perhaps letting us know they don't buy the "suicide" story either.

Connecting us yet again to the Nine, Stargate SG-1 also worked a similar story in the episode "Seth." In this episode the Egyptian villain is tracked through history by the suicide cults he left in his wake. Interesting clues abound: Canada is referenced when the cult is said to be located "north of Seattle." The cult wears similar garments to the ritual gowns worn by the Solar Temple. There's an investigation by ATF having to do with the cult's weapons. The leader uses women sexually in rituals as did Luc Jouret. 

Unfortunately, McGyver isn't punched repeatedly in the face, which I wait to see in every episode of Stargate.

The X-Files would return to the Solar Temple motif in the fifth season with "Patient X"/"The Red and the Black," when assemblies of abductees are immolated by rebel aliens. As with the Solar Temple there are a number of these mass murders in different geographical locations. The overlap between the Gate and the Temple is referenced in the dialogue:
SCULLY: Your mother called us about the incident in Virginia. She said that she knew some of the dead.
SPENDER: Of course she did. They were in the same ridiculous cult that she used to be.
MULDER: There you have it.
SCULLY: She was in a cult?
SPENDER: A UFO cult believed they were going to be carried to immortality in some kind of flying motherwheel.

As late as the ninth season (and beginning in the ninth episode), the Temple would appear in The X-Files, this time as a UFO cult led by a Josepho (read: Joseph DiMambro) who like Jouret and DiMambro believed in a cosmic child who would lead the world into a new age (in this case the child was Scully's baby). As in the Solar Temple drama, there's an attempt made on the child's life, and just before the cult's deaths (by immolation) a curious detail. From Erik Davis' 1994 article on the Temple.
A circle of corpses arrayed in a wheel around a triangular altar, heads aimed outwards like rockets ready to launch.
In the episode, we see that very same arrangement just before the spaceship they are standing on launches away. 

And then a curiously late example: "Shooting Stars", an episode of CSI. We start off investigating what appears to be a Heaven's Gate situation, though in this case the cult is unlike the Gate or the Temple; it's just a bunch of scruffy slackers living in some kind old fallout shelter. 

Gil Grissom is on the case, just to throw in one more bizarre Hollywood fixation. (Bonus 9 factoid: the Grissom character announced he was leaving the CSI unit on the ninth episode of the ninth season, which also saw the introduction of Laurence Fishburne's character)

As it turns out the cult was led by a "Joseph Diamond," a conman whose name lets us know which cult is actually being referenced here (this cult also was big on sex, another hint it's not the Gate).

We later find out that Diamond didn't really intend for the cult to commit suicide (on the night of the Orionids, no less) but he was simply planning to dose them with sleeping pills and make off with their parents' money. When one "Abby Spencer" (misnamed Abby Sinclair at a CSI fansite, strangely enough) realizes the deception, she kills DiMambro Diamond and poisons the cult for real.

"Abby Spencer" is interesting enough for our purposes. Someone did their homework; their Templar homework, specifically.
Bisham Abbey is a manor house iBuckinghamshire, England, parts owhich are the remains of Ternplar PreceptoryAfter the suppression of the Templars, Edward II gave the manor to his 'favourite', Hugh dSpencer.
Yes, that's the same Spencer as Diana Spencer, who met her own end the same year as Heaven's Gate and the Solar Temple. 

Jeff Buckley also died in 1997 and just to make this totally insane, "Shooting Stars" features a track I wrote about during the Siren series.

UPDATE: Reader Syd points us to a 1995 Dave Emory broadcast in which he too doubts the deaths were suicides.



  1. Excellent stuff and some very dark waters being tread. I wonder how Raeliens might fit into this? I feel there is something there along the Solar Temple sex cult line - although I don't believe they did the self-exit thing. There is also their claim of having human cloning ability, which they later (somewhat) retracted...Right out of high school my punk friends and I sat in on two of the Raelein's local meetings. The meeting was led by two guys with pony tails and very out of fashion turtlenecks. After about an hour of their intros to what they believe a friend asked what they do for fun. The one guy looked at the other and said "Oh, we like fun. We like giving each other pleasure." And they laughed knowingly. (not that there is anything wrong with it) but yeah, another 90s cult group doing...stuff.

    1. The Raelians are like the jokers in the pack. I can't get a hold on them- you know they're pulling your leg but what's the angle? Just the lulz? It's hard to say.

    2. Oh absolutely. They were weird for sure. I look at them not so much as jokers, but like the Fool Tarot card. It's almost like their creation was to mindlessly promoted some "tech", say human cloning, to get a read on whether it would be accepted in conspiratorial circles as something dark circles were already doing. That's going out on a conspiratorial limb but seems in line with the general line of argumentation found in Vallee's Revelations. "we have this ufo phenomena cross-culturally, however there is a lot of hogwash around it so we can only know something strange in terms of human consciousness/communication and some form of 'transportation' is going on." On this ventured conspiratorial limb we could then guess the always present "they" said: "look, let's a/b test this human cloning stuff with an already gullible subset of the population and see the pushback or acceptance and make notes." it would make a perfectly viable social experiment in this sense. that's about all i could see in it. or maybe it was just some jokers having fun!

  2. This may be an air ball but I’ve been puzzled by the wave of vicious horror films coming out of France in the last decade plus (part of the phenomenon known as New French Extremity)- Maybe the Solar Temple affected the French film industry the way The Gate infected Hollywood- But with the French, trying to define the aesthetics of bat-shit crazy has taken them down a very dark, Earthbound path- Martyrs is the most extreme of the bunch and cult oriented- Not related to UFO’s but then France never had a space program of any real significance that I’m aware of so that element wouldn’t necessarily resonate with L'imagination populaire-

    1. The culture of death is everywhere these days. The culture of death, defeat and surrender. Those movies are just a symptom.

    2. Here's the debunking on the Grace Kelly thing- this is ancient, in Internet terms. Again, why is the Scotsman running that story? It speaks to a darker agenda.

    3. I watched Martyrs last week. Sync? It started out as a decent copy of the recent Korean trend in psychological horror, then turned into torture porn with painful (yes, a pun) delusions of artsy philosophy, the usual cover for the schadenfreude set.

      Its as if this new bunch of wannabe auteurs want to one-up the Grand Guignol, but did no homework on that theater's bawdy and raucous clientele or its frequent habit of breaking down the fourth wall to challenge and interact with its audience.

      The picture I found online of the director showed him sullen and grumpy, as if he'd grown tired of having to one again defend his glorious vision from the criticism of lesser minds.

  3. Princess Grace and the Solar Temple connection

    Thanks for all the great work on HG and ST. I have been obsessed with HG since the beginning when I found out I went to school with one of them - YIKES!

    1. This is a notorious and long-debunked hoax- it shows you how terrible and useless the news media is that they would still run this in 2010. The Scotsman should be put out of business. The Order of the Solar Temple didn't even exist until 1984, two years after Kelly's death. Kelly may have been involved with a similarly named but much nastier cult which had ties to the deep state.

  4. Thanks for the clarification on the Kelly story, however, now you have peaked my curiosity about her connections to the other cult with deep state connections!!
    The member of HG that I knew was
    You have her photo is the one you have for Part Two: Galaxy Gate (in the orange jacket) and the 5th photo in the same article with the plaid shirt on left.
    She was a year younger than me but her brother was in my class and she dated a guy in my class and was at the senior prom in ‘69. She was definitely NOT fitting the profile of someone who would become involved with a cult. Pretty, popular, cheerleader, good grades, friendly to everyone as was her brother. I did not know them extremely well, but they were known by everyone (if you know what I mean). Not a member of the intellectuals/seekers/hippies in the class – those looking for something else. She was very much an establishment type.
    The most interesting and weird thing to me was that I worked on the yearbook staff my senior year and I actually took the photo that printed in the NY Times article. However, this was a cropped photo of her as the original was of the entire cheerleader squad at a football game. Why this cropped photo from the yearbook 1969 was used rather than any other photo of her (and I’m sure there were many), is beyond me and always gave me the creeps.
    This area of Long Island was big spooksville during the Cold War (not sure anymore); similar to Falls Church, VA

  5. Fascinating story, Cassandra! Thank you for the deep background. All I can say is that there is something fundamentally wrong with the world and when you realize it it becomes a dilemma as how to deal with that. Most people are content to anesthetize themselves, others seek escape- literal escape.

  6. as always...what a great read this has been. I cant wait for the next one. Lately, you have been rocking the classic "Secret Sun vibe" in your writing style. I cant explain it, but it's what drew me here in the first place since early 2010. Thanks again CLK, keep up the fantastic work.

    1. Ha- rocking that classic Secret Sun vibe is always at the top of my list. Cheers.

  7. Your posts elucidate for me how important fiction is in recovering various aspects of repressed and secret history. In some cases artists consciously encode things in their works, and in other cases the art seems to spontaneously manifest these aspects. To an untrained eye this can often seem like evidence of some monolithic conspiracy, when in fact it is often just high-weirdness being weird - which is no less spooky, mind you. Plus, your work is further proof that sci-fi is a rich vein of eoseterica and knowledge, and that The X Files lies pretty close to the heart - if not dead-centre - of pop culture synchromysticism. It'll be interesting to see what Carter does with the planned X Files reboot if goes ahead. The encoded 'fuck you' to certain parties that constituted the second movie was ballsy and full of depth. Lets hope similar bravery and symbolism can be incorporated into this potential reboot. This series is stellar, Chris, and up there with your Secret Trek posts in terms of truly original work and fascinating connections. All the best,

    1. We'll see Raj. Unfortunately he doesn't have nearly the same juice that he did then and fandom today is a mess of autodestructing identity cults. Bravery got only a gauntlet of abuse. I think Fox will probably be more circumspect this time around. It's a whole different world.

    2. Yeah, I kinda figured as much myself. But here's hoping!

  8. I've heard before that Adnan Khasoggi can be connected to every conspiracy theory... Here's his link to Heaven's Gate.

    1. Well, that's probably the connection via the FEB disinfo psyop. What I'm thinking...

  9. And to take it one degree further, Khashoggi was married to the mother of Dodi Fayed, Diana's lover who was killed in the car wreck with her

    1. I'm sorry, I had that wrong. Khashoggi's sister was Dodi Fayed's mother.

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  11. A personal anecdote for the record, in case it may be useful to someone:

    In regards to the Solar Temple, in 1987 I worked for a stockbroking firm in Sydney Australia that had a partnership arrangement with the largest Montreal stockbroker. Amongst other possibly lucrative business activities they were investigating was the setting up of "swaps" arrangements involving Australian treasuries.

    To this end the Montreal firm sent out a man who was an expert in this quite technical area, highly qualified and at that time a senior employee of the Province of Quebec, managing a large (billion dollar?) sinking fund for the Provincial finance ministry. I think the intention was that if the venture went ahead he would come to work for the stockbroking firm in Montreal.

    He was to be in Sydney for a few days as I recall, maybe a week, and I was given the task of helping him with anything he may need in the office, accommodation and also of driving him to the capital, Canberra, to meet with Australian Treasury officials.

    He seemed to take a shine to me though generally keeping to himself in the office, not socialising even with the firm's principals. He had a very strict diet, vegetarian, and told me that at home in Quebec "they" only ate food they had grown themselves. I was (have always been) a vegetarian myself, so didn't think that odd, but his fastidiousness about the details of his diet was curious to me. Over a couple of days I shared some meals with him after work, as he otherwise would have spent the entire time on his own.

    After one of these meals, in the early evening when some shops were still open in the central business district, we passed a shop selling antiquities. Replicas mostly, but quality items, official Louvre reproductions and such. As we passed, this man was excited to see in the window display a particular statuette of a woman of Pharaonic Egypt. He went into the shop while I waited at the entrance and spoke at length with the proprietor, an elderly Egyptian man, I can't be sure now if they spoke in Arabic, but I suspect they did because I only remember what he told me of their conversation, though I should have been able to hear it. If it was in English I would think I would remember their words. But I noted that the Egyptian man was very interested to talk with my companion, I later thought because he had the opportunity to talk with someone that was as interested as he was in his favourite subject. My companion bought the statuette and as we resumed our walk around the quiet streets he told me, as a confidence, that this statuette was an image of his wife. That his current wife was the person represented by the carven image and that they had been married previously at that time. I knew enough about Egyptian dynastic history to know that the details he mentioned were not just rubbish, that he knew what he was taking about, (as I believe the shop proprietor did also) but the woman was not some famous individual like Nefertiti, apparently some minor noble whose image has survived to modern times.

    Okay, I thought. Generally I have an open mind, but am always skeptical until there is actual proof or my own direct knowledge of something.

    I had always been a buyer and collector of books, especially old ones, first editions and in areas of knowledge of interest to me. At that time I had a small book published I think about 1890 by the Theosophical Society in London on the subject of Lemuria and Mu. It was a nice little book with photographic plates of maps inside the pocket of the front cover showing the ancient geography of the planet, etc. As I thought our visitor might be interested in it I made a gift of it to him and was surprised at just how interested he was and also the effusiveness of his gratitude.


  12. My feeling about his reaction was not just the importance to him of the subject of the book, but that I had given it to him. That particular book. I also felt that our "accidental" discovery of his wife's image as he claimed, was, he felt, not random.

    So, on a subsequent day I hired a sedan to drive him to the Treasury offices in Canberra. I remember it was a fierce day once we were away from the coast, the land seemed to bleached by the harsh glare and a heat shimmer lay over the road. As I drove he began to tell me a story about the "group" of people he was associated with in Quebec. I have a vague idea he mentioned Switzerland, but cannot be sure now if I haven't added that myself. He was doling out details of this group, how it functioned, its history, but in a patchy indirect kind of way. Perhaps he was reading my reaction to each titbit he offered? At some point I must have had enough clues as I recall I said to him "Are you saying that your group is connected to the Knights of the Temple of Solomon". I knew the standard history of the Templars and that they had been extirpated as heretics and devil-worshippers by the Church and Philip of France and their vast wealth confiscated. I knew that most likely the accusations were a pretext for the theft and to neutralise their power and that confessions of Jacques de Molay and others were obtained under hideous torture. My companion was very impressed that I had deduced this from the limited information he had given me. He then told me more openly some details about his groups, that they were connected to the Templars by an unbroken line of succession after they went underground to escape their persecutors, that they were very much active still, etc.

    Okay, I thought.

    I had the distinct feeling he was anxious to know how far my interest went. All in all it was a very strange day for me.

    I don't recall any other incident from the time of his visit, but most likely we said that we would keep in touch. I had his card and it could have been expected, I guess, that I would visit Quebec at some point soonish on the firm's business. However this was just before the stockmarket crash of that year and before long I no longer worked for that company. There was never any further communication between this man and me that I can remember. Possibly he telephoned me once or twice?

    His name was Robert Falardeau and I don't recall now how I discovered that he had been shot in the head at the Montreal Temple. His wife also died at that time I believe. I do recall the media around the "mass suicides" of a cult in both Canada and Europe, but I did not connect M. Falardeau with that news until many years later.

  13. So writing the foregoing prompted me to Google "Robert Falardeau Temple". Old news reports are added to newspapers online material all the time, I think.

    I learned that M. Falardeau died in Switzerland not Quebec. He had gone there it was reported, because of some financial issues in the Temple. One article also says he had become the Grand Master! His wife did not die and is quoted as saying she did not believe he would commit suicide.