The grandfather of all the mass-media conspiracy stories and paranormal nonsense has died — Art Bell has become a ghost and floated up in the sky to be with the aliens. Some of us will recall Coast to Coast AM from the 1990s, when Art presided over a collection of the freakiest dingleberries on Earth, gullibly broadcasting every improbable story any yahoo with a phone wanted to call in.
One could literally trace every woo claim, urban myth, and conspiracy theory of the 21st century to its appearance on Coast to Coast AM. The notion that comet Hale Bopp was being shadowed by a UFO (which inspired the Heaven’s Gate cult suicides in 1997) was given no small amount of credibility on the show, as was Remote viewing, EVP, Mel’s Hole, and End Times predictions too numerous to count. Bell created an art form out of giving the craziest of the crazy their individual 15 minutes of fame. According to The Washington Post in its February 23, 1997 edition, Bell was at the time America’s highest-rated late-night radio talk show host, broadcast on 328 stations. In 1999, Bell co-authored The Coming Global Superstorm, upon which the movie The Day After Tomorrow was based.
He was last century’s less mean-spirited Alex Jones. Now dead.