Queensland cult's doomsday date

Australian Broadcasting Corp., September 9, 1999

Compere: It's the 9th of the 9th, 1999 and soon the world will know if a Queensland-based religious cult will commit a Jonestown-style mass suicide. Police are taking the threat seriously, as Melanie Christiansen reports.

Melanie Christiansen: Will the members of the religious cult, the Magnificat Meal Movement die today in a prophesied fire? Cult leader, Debra Geileskey, says no.

Debra Geileskey: You know, we're Catholics and we consider that we should have a burning flame of love in our hearts, but as far as anything about the 9th of the 9th I've never said anything about it.

Melanie Christiansen: But the doomsday claim has drawn international attention. The media has set up camp outside the cult's headquarters in the small town of Helidon, west of Brisbane. Mrs Geileskey has doubled her security and extra police have been sent to the town just in case.

Police spokesman, Brian Swift:

Brian Swift: The police will be working out of the Helidon Police Station, which is not far from the Magnificat Meal sect headquarters. We have no rights to be actually in their premises and no need at this stage. But if there's any offences committed or any perception of the fear for safety of any person, well, police will react if necessary.

Melanie Christiansen: Mrs Geileskey says even some of her overseas followers were confronted with the claim as they arrived in Australia this week.

Debra Geileskey: Quite a lot of our people came through customs, arriving in Australia, and were asked at customs, by customs inspectors, do you know about the plan to burn that place on the 9th of the 9th? And they were disgusted with it, of course they'd heard all the nonsense but they were quite disgusted to have government authorities asking them about it. But anyway they soon put their fears at rest.

Melanie Christiansen: But if it's all rubbish then who's to blame? The cult leader is pointing the finger at the man who recently denounced her as a fraud - the same man who's fighting her for control of the company which owns the cult's headquarters - her own estranged husband, Gordon.

Debra Geileskey: My husband, who has gone off to live with his girlfriend around the corner, made the story up. And maybe it's his wishful thinking, but his wishful thinking will not occur.

Compere: Maybe she'll make him eat his words. Cult leader, Debra Geileskey.

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