Cult’s suicide plans doomed

The authorities on the Spanish island of Tenerife say they have foiled an attempt by members of a religious sect to commit mass suicide.

Officials said police arrested a German psychologist, Heide Fittkau-Garthe, just hours before she planned to lead her followers in a mass suicide on top of the Teide volcano.

The British, German and Spanish cult members people involved believed the world would end on Thursday evening.

They told police a space ship would have come to carry away their bodies for re-birth in a new world.

Those involved are thought to be former members of the Order of the Solar Temple – the cult responsible for mass suicides in Canada, France and Switzerland over the last three years.

Four German children, aged between six and 12, were among the possible victims.

When Spanish police raided the Tenerife home of the group’s leader, they found drums containing an unknown substance.

Some cult members had traveled to the island specifically from Germany over the last few weeks.

They had said their farewells to their families claiming they would meet again “in the other world.”

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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday January 9, 1998.
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