No signs of cancer found in cult leader

  Jonathan T. Lovitt


  USA Today


  Page 02A

  (Copyright 1997)


  RANCHO SANTA FE, Calif. -- Heaven's Gate leader Marshall Applewhite had

  no signs of cancer, San Diego Chief Medical Examiner Brian Blackbourne says.


  He was disputing reports on CNN that 38 cult members killed themselves

  because Applewhite, 65, convinced them he was dying of cancer. Newsweek,

  meanwhile, reported in its April 7 issue that Applewhite told followers his body

  was ``disintegrating.''


  Applewhite ``has no gross physical evidence and no visual evidence of cancer in

  his liver or any other organs,'' Blackbourne said.


  In other developments:


  Londan insurance broker Simon Burgess said the cult members whose bodies

  were found Wednesday in a $1.6 million rented mansion here had insured

  themselves against being abducted, impregnated or killed by aliens. The policy

  was to pay out $1 million to each member's beneficiaries.


  Autopsies have been completed. Officials could start releasing the bodies as early

  as today. The coroner ruled that some died from drugs, others from asphyxiation.

  He said Applewhite and five others had been castrated.


  Arizona film producer Alex Papas said he had been working with about 15 cult

  members on a draft of Beyond Human: Return of the Next Level, a screenplay

  they gave him in 1995.