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Occasionally the most tragic of events can hit the headlines. When it happens, we all wonder why. But all too often a cult can explode into violence upon itself, the result being mass suicide. Why does it happen? What social forces are involved in this will towards self-destruction? This essay is an attempt to understand. And we need to begin with a few examples. Order of the solar temple: For instance, on 22 December 1995, sixteen corpses were discovered on a plateau in the French Alps in the shape of a star. This was the second mass suicide of the Order of the Solar Temple, a cult formed by fraudster Joseph di Mambro and homeopath Luc Jouret. The first had been fourteen months earlier, involving infernos in two Swiss chalet complexes, proceeded by the suspicious deaths, by fire, of five members including a young mother and child in Canada. The Solar Temple was based on a mix of Knights Templar mythology and new age mysticism, with a distinct apocalyptic nature that would lead to a new spiritual existence. But what brought their apocalypse so soon? It is interesting that Di Mambro had a daughter called Emanuelle, known as a Cosmic Child. However, the child that died in Canada was a boy called Emmanuel. Di Mambro was known to be affronted by this boy being named after the Cosmic Child, branding him the antichrist. Whether out of revenge, or the naming being a signal for Armageddon, the suicides seem to be mixed up with the boy. Heaven's gate: Such are the mad reasons for mass suicide. The Higher Source computer cult, better known as Heaven's Gate, killed themselves over three nights in March 1997 in their ranch near San Diego. Made up of short-haired, zombie-like computer wizards, they went out for a final meal and then helped each other to take vodka and drugs aided by strangulation. They were led by elderly, white haired Marshall Appplewhite and his wife, known together as Bo and Peep. He had met her in 1975 after she nursed him through mental illness, and they had set up many cults previously. (Essay by Anthony North)
New technology that can make tanks invisible has been unveiled by the Ministry of Defence. In secret trials last week, the Army said it had made a vehicle completely disappear and predicted that an invisible tank would be ready for service by 2012. The new technology uses cameras and projectors to beam images of the surrounding landscape onto a tank. Now you see it: How the tank might look with background images beamed onto the side The result is that anyone looking in the direction of the vehicle only sees what is beyond it and not the tank itself. A soldier, who was at the trials, said: "This technology is incredible. If I hadn't been present I wouldn't have believed it. I looked across the fields and just saw grass and trees - but in reality I was staring down the barrel of a tank. How the technology works in a combat situation is very sensitive, but the MoD is believed to be testing a military jacket that works on the same principles. It is the type of innovation normally associated with James Bond, and the brains behind the latest technology is the MoD's very own "Q" - Professor Sir John Pendry, of Imperial College London. He said the only drawback was the reliability of the cameras and projectors. But he added: "The next stage is to make the tank invisible without them - which is intricate and complicated, but possible.

Submitted by Stance, Howlieman: It's furry and walks on all fours. Beyond that, about the only thing certain about the critter photographed by a hunter's camera is that some people have gotten the notion it could be a Sasquatch, or bigfoot. Others say it's just a bear with a bad skin infection. Rick Jacobs says he got the pictures from a camera with an automatic trigger that he fastened to a tree in the Allegheny National Forest, about 115 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, hoping to photograph deer. "We couldn't figure out what they were," Jacobs said of the images captured on Sept. 16. "I've been hunting for years and I've never seen anything like this." He contacted the Bigfoot Research Organization, which pursues reports of a legendary two-legged creature that some people believe lives in parts of the U.S. and Canada. "It appears to be a primate-like animal. In my opinion, it appears to be a juvenile Sasquatch," said Paul Majeta of the bigfoot group. However, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has a more conventional opinion. Agency spokesman Jerry Feaser said conservation officers routinely trap bears to be tagged and often see animals that look like the photos. "There is no question it is a bear with a severe case of mange," Feaser told The Bradford Era. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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