The link to this article is at the end of this post but I’ve included the text of that article so I could make inline comments to correct or show more light on some of what is reported because I was in touch with Cddody, who is in this article, Dale “Fred” Mackey. My comments are in brackets that start with Sawyer.
Article starts here:
Former member of UFO suicide cult buried in ABQ
By Joline Gutierrez Krueger / Journal
Published: Tuesday, January 26th, 2016 at 10:45pm
Updated: Tuesday, January 26th, 2016 at 11:07pm
Former member of UFO suicide cult buried in ABQ
[picture inserted here of Rancho Sante Fe mansion with the caption below:]
Bodies of some of the 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult are loaded into a truck outside the mansion in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., where the members committed mass suicide in March 1997. One of the members, Dale Fredrick Mackey of Albuquerque, was supposed to film the suicides but had fallen sick and was not present. (The Associated Press)
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Dale Fredrick Mackey seemed to fall off the planet.
Few had known what had become of the Albuquerque man over the past six decades until his obituary appeared in the Journal last week. He had died in Dallas at age 81, they learned, but in November, though no explanation was given as to why it had taken until last Friday for him to be returned to his hometown to be interred near his parents at Fairview Memorial Park.
The obituary listed the usual accomplishments – Mackey graduated from Albuquerque High School in 1952, the University of New Mexico in 1956 and a master’s program at the University of Southern California in 1959. He had served in the Army Reserve. He had “served the Lord Jesus.”
It also listed some not-so-typical accomplishments, including his work as a film editor and director at MGM Studios.
[picture inserted with caption]
MACKEY: Former Heaven’s Gate cult member comes home
And this: Mackey at one time had been a member of Heaven’s Gate, the UFO-worshipping cult whose 39 members, including founder Marshall Applewhite, committed suicide en masse sometime before March 26, 1997, at a Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., mansion, in a bizarre plan to leave their bodies – “vehicles,” as they called them – to board a spaceship tailing the Comet Hale-Bopp as it passed close to Earth.
[Sawyers correction – They did not worship UFO’s. First off to worship Do said meant “to work for” but even in the religious misinterpretation of worship of honoring or looking up to or respecting or bowing to, it’s misinformation to say because a UFO is an unidentified flying object, so they’d be worshipping something they don’t know what it is. To Ti and Do the groups founders/leaders and teachers a UFO was a populist abbreviation they didn’t actually approve of using in the first posters advertising meetings but since the students designed that poster and it became part of their identity nationally because of the story hitting the press in October of 1975, they used it, but Ti and Do would have said “spacecraft” and described that it was in the Bible what was, for instance, described as a “cloud of light”, which they did not worship as to them it would be like worshpping the Air Force One instead of the President who uses that transportation device.]
[Sawyers correction – They said it didn’t matter to them whether there was a spacecraft tailing the Hale-Bopp Comet. It was made clear to them that the comets arrival was their “sign” in the timing of their exit of the human vehicles they borrowed to perform their tasks through.]
I did not make that up.
Had Mackey not fallen ill and into a more earthly religion, the obituary said, he might have offed himself, too.
Which is to say, he had almost fallen off the planet.
[Sawyers comment – This almost sounds like a freudian slip in several ways though in the way they meant it, his getting ill had nothing to do with whether he would have otherwise “offed himself”. In actuality he wasn’t permitted to stay in the group. He was sent to the half way situation because he was causing trouble in the group. He got into a pushing match with Alxody once. I don’t know who pushed who, but I do know at the time that Fred was acting like he didn’t want to be in the group anymore, where Alxody if he did any pushing was losing control for the moment as Alxody did have a short fuse at times – nothing major but I can certainly imagine that Fred pushed his “buttons”, which is not an excuse if he ended up pushing Fred. Alxody also went to a half way situation at that time as I mention in a later comment. Now for the freudian slip part because one could say from a Next Level perspective that Cddody (Fred) fell ill in terms of staying on the straight and narrow (as did I and all dropouts) and as a result “fell to earth” from that path into the “kingdom in the heavens”. Had he not become ill in that way, then presumably he would have conquered his influences enough to stay the course of giving his all to the Next Level through Do, so would have been among the 38 other students that “offed themselves” the populist way of describing their exit of their vehicles.]
“We left town the morning that obituary ran,” said Mackey’s cousin Barbara Schafer of Albuquerque. “I picked up the paper, read it later, and, my gosh, I couldn’t believe it.” Schafer and another cousin, Ann Greenwood, are the only known Mackey relatives left.
Schafer thought he had died years ago.
So had Greenwood.
“Dale dropped out of existence,” said Greenwood, who lives in San Jose, Calif. “I assumed he must have died somewhere along the way.”
Both cousins say they had heard the cult rumors.
“I remember hearing Dale had given away all his worldly possessions,” Shafer said.
But both say nothing about their cousin suggested that he was cult material. He wasn’t on the fringe or off-the-wall, they said. Just nice, talented.
[insert of a picture of the Manzano “earthship” with the caption]
A wall made of tires filled with dirt fortified the 40-acre compound inhabited by the Heaven’s Gate cult in 1995-96. The compound was in the Manzano Mountains near the small community of Manzano, about 55 miles southeast of Albuquerque. The wall has since been dismantled, and 39 members of the cult committed suicide in March 1997 in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. (Adele T. Chavez/The Albuquerque Tribune)
Longtime Albuquerque attorney Michael Keleher agrees. Keleher, who knew Mackey as a Sigma Chi fraternity brother, recalled that Mackey was the only child of parents who ran a clothing store Downtown and that he had an interest in art.
“But we never really had a conversation about what he was going to do after we graduated,” Keleher said.
Mackey likely had numerous chances to encounter Heaven’s Gate, both in Southern California and in New Mexico, hot spots for cult recruiting in the 1970s. At its height, the cult had about 200 members.
[Sawyers addition: He was among the couple dozen that joined following the talk Ti and Do gave to a New Age meditation group at one of the group members house in North Hollywood, in early April of 1975. He later received the name “Cddody”]
Mackey may have been one of the recruiters. In the summer of 1975, Mackey had visited John “Mickey” Craig, a former UNM classmate, according to an Albuquerque Tribune article. Both men would have been about 41.
A week later, Craig disappeared, abandoning his wife, children and their Colorado dude ranch, resurfacing 22 years later as Brother Logan, one of the 39 who committed suicide in 1997.
Logan had also been among the 40 or so pale, short-haired cult members who in June 1995 settled briefly on a 40-acre compound in the Manzano Mountains, where they began erecting an earthship, a 3,700-square-foot maze of rooms and hallways constructed of fortified dirt-filled tires.
By the spring of 1996, the cult had abandoned the earthship and headed to California.
A year later, the members dressed in matching Nike shoes and black attire adorned with a Heaven’s Gate “Away Team” patch. They each carried $5.75 in their pockets. In three shifts, each drank a fatal barbiturate-and-vodka cocktail, wrapped plastic bags around their heads, covered themselves in purple shrouds and waited for the spaceship to whisk them away.
Mackey was supposed to be among them.
[Sawyers correction: There was no “supposed to be…” anything. The reason he wasn’t with them was because in 1988 when the group lived on a ranch about 20 miles north of Dallas, Texas, Do felt cddody (Fred) needed some time outside the “classroom”, what Ti and Do called their groups effort to overcome the human evolutionary condition. Do also felt three others needed that experience. They were Alxody, Sngody and Anyody. At the time Brnody, the member of the group who has osteoporosis was living in an apartment in north Dallas, because Do had previously thought she needed to be on her own so Do set her up with the apartment and the handicapp equiptment, scooter and the mechanism to load the scooter onto a car and a way for her to drive the car using hand brakes, etc. I was one who helped set her up with some of that at the time. I would estimate that apartment for Brnody was started in late 1987 or early 1988. Anyody was actually sent to live with Brnody before Alxody, Sngody and Cddody. When these three were sent there they actually were set up with another apartment nearby. All of these except for Cddody later rejoined the larger body of students. Cddody was given the option to return as well but chose not to rejoin the group. When I left the group in 1994, I moved back to New York where I had been from and I was in touch with Alxody’s vehicle’s mother Nancy who I started communicating with as she had formed a network of parents and loves ones of the group members, trying to learn of their whereabouts over the years. Nancy knew where Fred was, still actually in Dallas in that same apartment. I decided to travel out west with my new partner as she wanted to buy land somewhere out west so I said I knew a lot of people I had been in the group with that had dropped out before I did so we could visit them and have places to stay at the same time along the way. I contacted Fred and he was open to a visit so we took the trip in the spring of 1995 and one of our first stops was Dallas where we met up with Fred and had dinner. Then after the group layed down their lives I had another occasion to be in Texas, actually around 2005 or so and we visited with him in Dallas again. He was a little unhappy at that time and was thinking about moving to Albuquerque as there was a woman inviting him to live together. I got a Christmas card from him some years ago saying he had moved to Albuquerque.]
And here we turn to Pastor Paul Kerr of the Mill Valley Fellowship in suburban Dallas. It was Kerr who had placed the obituary in the Journal and brought Mackey’s cremains home.
Kerr knew Mackey as Fred.
“He was very friendly, outgoing, helpful as a great volunteer,” he said. “He helped edit videos for the church. Then he got sick and I and my wife ended up being the only persons who would go see him.”
Mackey, he said, was supposed to film the suicidal end of the cult but fell ill beforehand.
[Sawyers comment: I guess it’s possible Do and Crew contacted Fred before they exited their human vehicles, what people called suicide, (not knowing better because how their actions did not resemble anyone else’s choice to die that are always because of depression or anger, vengence or other mental distresses, that these 39 showed no evidence of. But what Kerr may be referring to is how Fred, being the film major, while with the group in 1975 was given a video camera by, perhaps Hayden Hewes or Brad Steiger with the agreement that he would film their pickup by a spacecraft as at that time Ti and Do thought that would be the way they would leave earth, with their human flesh bodies. We carried that camera around for years. I know because I was always involved with packing the trucks and remember the camera being in a closet, reserved for that occasion should it happen that way. Ti and Do didn’t actually ever claim to know exactly how that exit would happen. But I suspect a mix up of understanding in this statement from Kerr because the group exit was 1997 and I visited with Fred Mackey in 1995 and he was not ill that I could tell and then I visited with him after the group left and he wasn’t ill then either. I was aware that he was editing video for that church group that I believe he said was on Forest lane, in Dallas. I knew of that church as we actually while in the group had a house off of Forest lane.]
“He was really sick, critically ill,” Kerr said. “He told me a minister came to pray for him, and he literally got out of his bed and walked out of that hospital. He turned his back on the cult, turned his life to the Lord and never looked back.”
[Sawyers note: In 2005 or so when I said I visited with Fred for the second time since 1995, we did talk about Ti and Do. He was curious about a number of individuals who had also dropped out that I was still in touch with. By then Dick Joslyn known in the group as Dncody (Dance) had died related to HIV, who I had also visited with in 1995 in Sodona, Arizona where he was living then. He was a good friend of Fred’s and both joined with Ti and Do in 1975 from that N. Hollywood meeting. Dick left the group for the last time, I believe in 1989. Anyway, during my meeting with Fred in 2005 it was clear to me he no longer believed Ti and Do were from the Kingdom of God, Kingdom of Heaven, what they called the Evolutionary Level Above Human. I believe he told me at that time that he thought Do had changed from what he and Ti had intially thought – that Do got off track, which was one of the opinions that came initially from Professor Robert Balch of the University of Montana in Missoula, MT who became the go to, for academics on Heaven’s Gate. (Do actually sent me to help Rob at his office in Missoula to provide answers to his questions for a book he was adding a chapter for, that was about the group. This was in 1994). So yes he did turn his back on the cult and I knew became a little religious with that church group but the way this was worded made it look related to his walking out of the hospital. Anyway, had by 2005 become an active believers in Ti and Do again, not that I ever really lost belief. I actually flunked out of their program and I did express some of that to Fred in 2005. It didn’t matter to me what he did or didn’t believe. I wasn’t recruting. There was no new group and still isn’t.]
A few people showed up at the graveside service in Albuquerque last Friday, among them Schafer’s daughter, Lisa Chavez, as a favor to her vacationing mother; and Keleher. Whatever they might have hoped to learn about the long-lost Mackey, why he had fallen away so far so long so strangely, stayed unknown.
“That cult was a curious thing,” Keleher said. “Kind of weird.”
UpFront is a daily front-page news and opinion column. Comment directly to Joline at 823-3603, email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @jolinegkg. Go to ABQjournal.com/letters/new to submit a letter to the editor.
Link to same article: