Who the hell is Art Bell?

Okay, I’ve heard mention of this guy on some crank sites-who exactly is Art Bell? Yes, DDG, I GOOGLED, but all I could find was his official sites-mostly it seems he’s a radio host with an interest in the paranormal.

Is he known to be a crank? Or anti-crank?

:confused: :confused: :confused:


Well, my dad listens to his show in the truck all the time and comes home full of stories about how the things he thinks he sees from the corners of his eyes are really “shadow people,” some kind of demons. Stupid stuff like that. Art Bell’s a late-night AM radio host whose show centers around “true tales of the paranormal,” as far as I can gather. He has a web site, but damned if I remember the URL. The website is full of pictures of “UFOs” and “ghosts” that are supposedly true.

Basically Art Bell’s full of the kind of paranormal crap that is easily debunked but the debunking is never listened to.

Art Bell’s show isn’t carried in Austin any more, as far as I know, but it used to be. It was like the Jim Rome Show, except that, instead of talking about sports, people phoned in to offer opinions on UFOs, the occult, and sinister conspiracy theories.

Bell himself espoused some weird theories, but his listeners were far stranger than he was. He almost never hung up on a caller. Anyone who called in with an outlandish theory (“I happen to know that John F. Kennedy was killed by the Knights of Columbus…”) got to babble on and on.

A few years ago, he did a guest appearance, as himself, on that TV show “Millennium.” Lance Henriksen went on Bell’s radio show, hoping to smoke out someone he was trying to catch.

possibly not a crank - just a self publicist who knows an audience- see for some unofficial links


tough one there, racinchikki. :wink:
I listen to him maybe once a week (I work nights). Basically, he goes both ways. Sometimes the show has completely legitimate scientists, etc. on there talking about exotic topics: Chaos theory, astrophysics, quantum mechanics, the psychiatry of mass murderers, etc.

Sometimes it’s scientists on the edge: ghostbusters, cold fusion

Sometimes it’s completely out there: Mothman, UFOs, conspiricy theories, “shadow people,” black helicopters

My favorite is whe he has no guest and throws it open to the callers. He 'll say “If you are a time traveller, or a person from another dimension, please call now.” And the lines light up. My favorite show was one where he talked to several dozen Antichrists in one night.

Basically, he takes everyone at their word and at face value. What he really thinks is not always clear. Sometimes, with the last group, he lets it slip a little bit and you can “see” him smirking.

He’s a sane man who recognizes that much of his audience is mentally ill, and acts accordingly.

Favorite Art Bell moment:

Caller: I have not been told my destiny yet. I am either the second coming of Christ, or the Antichrist. The Father has not yet revealed to me whether I will save the world, or lead it into eternal damnation.


Art: I can see how you’d want a decision on that.

So, it seems like he’s just a guy with a dry sense of humor, and is kind of secretly laughing at all this?

I’ve heard him a few times over the years on late night drives. I get the impression that he’s a professional troll. He plays along, secretly smirking at the callers and guests, sometimes deliberately fanning the flames of paranoia and the paranormal.

Crank, pure and simple. He is the one who gave us the “Comet companion” for Hale-Bopp (remember the nice poeple who kiled themsleves with poison applesauce?) and insisted it was real even after it had been soundly debunked.

Art Bell also was pushing the Y2K nonsense long and hard. He urged folks to invest in gold and talked of doomsday scenarios ad nauseum. He conveniently had to leave the air for personal reasons when the heat about his errors would have been the hottest.

Art Bell has given Richard Hoagland of the “Face on Mars” nonsense a regular platform from which to bleat more and more nonsens about old Navy stores and the FreeMasons. Any callers to the show who show skepticism are conveniently dropped.

Bell pushed the “reverse speech” nonsense declaring it to be a new science. He backed away when the guy who was promoting it started acting like a cult leader, burnt down his own house and ran back to Australia.

Bell has given Ed Dames, who sells an obscenely priced set of tapes on “Remote Viewing”, as contatnt platform. Even in the pro-paranormal crowd Dames is considered a scumbag. Dames once was a guest on Bell’s show when he was drunk and raving. His publicist tried to say he had remote viewed the devil as a cover.

There’s also his whole “quickening” line. He’s another one of those folks who equates our better coverage of weather events as an increase in dramatic weather events. He wrote bad books with little evidence and sold ‘specially signed copies’ that a had a stamp of his signature pasted on the inside cover.

His defenders say he is just telling ghost stories and that it is all in fun, in fact a closer analysis shows that this is not the case and Bell has fallen for these schemes agian and again without a single conern for the consequences of his actions.

Art cannot tolerate free speech. He tried destroy the newsgroup alt.fan.art-bell when it got to critical of him. He then tried several heavily moderated email lists that flopped. Now he has a web message board that has the same amount of censorship that amounts to “don’t suggest anything Bell or his guests say is wrong”.

In short, crank.

I don’t think so. I think of him as the anti-Cecil – he believes in pretty much everything until it is proven false. Clearly he knows that many of his callers are just plain nuts, but just as clearly he believes that some of the paranormal and pseudoscientific stuff is not only true but of extreme importance.

He has also been an innovator in talk radio – I remember him posting pictures on his internet site for listeners to view back in 1996, when most of the world still didn’t know what the internet was.

Consider Art to be the P.T. Barnum of our day. Some of this stuff he believes, and some of it he no doubt doesn’t believe, but airs it any way. His show used to be a lot better before he got so big, because then he wasn’t hyping the same tired series of guests on over and over again. (Ed Dames the man who said we’d all be dead in '98, but we’re still here.)

Mr. Miskatonic, Art did have a personal crisis (though that didn’t stop him from milking the whole thing for all it ws worth). His kid had been molested by an HIV + man. Then, of course, Art went on his lawsuit craze where he sued anyone who mentioned anything about what happened to his kid. (He even sued a religious broadcaster not too far from where I live.)

Probably the best time to listen to his show is on and around New Year’s. He has callers give their predictions for the coming year, and he reads the previous years predictions and rates them for accuracy. (Of course, Art sometimes guesses wrong on how accurate they were.)

Um. GQ isn’t the place for opining on whether Bell is a crank or just along for the ride or whatever.

It seems the original GQ has been answered. Is there anything else on the table?

That was his excuse the second time he quit. I was referring to the first quittening.

We’re gonna be in GD before we know it…