Who was Thomas Nichols? ‘Star Trek’ star’s brother Nichelle Nichols was part of Heaven’s Gate suicide cult

Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura in ‘Star Trek,’ died at the age of 89 on July 31, 2022. Her death was confirmed on Instagram by the actress’ son, Kyle Johnson, who mentioned that she had died of natural causes. But did you know that the actress’ brother, Thomas Nichols, was one of the space cult followers who died in the horror of the California mass suicide in 1997?


Nichelle rose to fame when she traveled to the 1966 space adventure series “Star Trek” as Lt. Nyota Uhura, the ship’s communications officer. The role set many benchmarks. It was one of the first major roles for a black woman in an American television series. It was one of the first depictions of a black woman in a military-style command role in any format. However, his brother was a member of the Heaven’s Gate cult, the first well-known American cult of the internet age, as described by RollingStone.



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Who was Thomas Nichols?

Thomas was a member of the Heaven’s Gate cult. A member for 20 years, he frequently identified himself as Nichelle’s brother in promotional material released by the cult. The group believed that God was an advanced alien traveling in the spacecraft on the trail of Comet Hale-Bopp and that he planned to “recycle” Earth soon. The group committed suicide so they could reach “The evolutionary level above man”, according to the RollingStone report.


Thomas died on March 26, 1997, when an anonymous caller directed police to a mansion outside San Diego where authorities soon discovered the world’s largest mass suicide. He was one of 39 victims found at the scene.

According to ABC, the anonymous caller was Rio DiAngelo, a surviving member who left the band after three years and was meant to stay and tell the world the band’s story. Rio first spoke to Diane Sawyer of ABC News in 1997. He said: “I was always looking for answers, looking for purpose in my life. I loved these people. . … that meant everything to me.”


Heaven’s Gate Worship

The cult was started in the early 1970s by Marshall Herff Applewhite and Bonnie Lou Nettles. Marshall was the son of a Presbyterian preacher and became a stage actor and singer. He struggled with his sexuality and had a complicated relationship with his father, according to reports.


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