Ty Burr and Noah Robischon
April 18, 1997 AT 04:00 AM EDT

It may be the one Web address that even the unwired know. But anyone with a browser and a ghoulish bent who’s tried to check out http://www.heavensgate.com since the mass suicide in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., has likely come up empty-handed. Did the website follow the cult into the ether behind comet Hale-Bopp?

It’s still there, actually — just clogged with rubberneckers. Valley Internet, one of the providers hired to host the cult’s online mishmash of tracts and warnings, wasn’t even aware what the site contained until a week after the deaths, when the server almost ”maxed out,” says a VI rep.

The Heaven’s Gaters, however, had a twin site at http://www.spacestar.com/heavensgatetoo.com, through the provider Spacestar, and outlets such as The Baltimore Sun (http://www.sunspot.net/news/special/heavensgatesite/) and Time Warner’s Pathfinder (pathfinder.com/news/heavensgate/) have since created mirror sites. That ”Do” and company now have their mass audience was apparently part of the plan: As the suicides were beginning, a cult member repeatedly called Spacestar to ensure that its account was paid up for the next four months.

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