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Deborah Simpson
 Interviews: John Zeller and Deborah Simpson
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About Fifteen years ago the largest mass suicide on American soil was conducted by the Heaven's Gate cult in Rancho Santa Fe, California. While most were hearing, or watching the news coming out of California, not many heard there were other, connected, suicides which happened in cities around the country. This week Derek has a chat with Deborah Simpson, the sister of one of the Heavens Gate group, Jimmy, who was living in Atlanta, GA at the time. In his farewell letter he wrote, "It's past time for me to go", soon after he took his own life to join his Heaven's Gate brother in the 'next level'. This week Derek sits with Deb Simpson, author of the new book, "Closing The Gate", a deeply personal book about her brother, and the story about how he got involved with such a destructive, and manipulative group. A rare look into some of the inner workings and the effects that such groups can have on the families which they end up effecting.
Show Notes

– Date – May 22, 2012
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Skepticism, Past and Future

– The full story of Arthur Conan Doyle vs. J.B. Rhine can be heard in Skepticality #156.
– “The Strange Case of Wilhelm Reich” was published in The New Republic, May 26, 1947.
Doubtful News covers skeptical news stories, and is often a better place to link than the original story.
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Unnatural Virtue

– “The Seven Sins of Memory: How the Mind Forgets and Remembers
– The story about “Mr. Thompson” is in Oliver W. Sacks, “The man who mistook his wife for a hat and other clinical tales“.
– “Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior“. Mlodoninow will point you to several studies exposing confabulation as a common trait among so-called normal people.
– Daniel Kahneman, Paul Slovic, and Amos Tversky. eds. 1982. “Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases“. Cambridge University Press.
– “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman
– The studies on choice blindness with faces were done by Lars Hall et al. at Lunds University in Sweden.
The Skeptic’s Dictionary
Unnatural Acts: Critical Thinking, Skepticism, and Science Exposed!

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The Odds Must Be Crazy

The Odds Must Be Crazy
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Deborah Simpson

– The 1997 Heaven’s Gate mass suicide was the largest even conducted on American soil.
– Her new book “Closing The Gate” is about Heaven’s Gate and her brother, Jimmy.
Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles were the ‘figureheads’ of the group at the time.
– There were additional, related, suicides at the same time as the main Heaven’s Gate California event.
– Always be aware of warning signs if you see them in friends or loved ones.
– Remaining members still maintain the Heaven’s Gate website and distribute information.

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