My first experience with Art Bell came on a trip down from Seattle to California, during that long stretch from Shasta, through the torrid middle of the state. I caught the faint and crackling signal just outside of Shasta and followed it intently, all the way to Oakland, where I was living. It was during Bell’s Sunday night program, “Dreamland” named for the semi-secret base, also known as Area 51, just down the road from Bell’s home and home studio in Parhump, Nevada.
On that particular show, Bell had on Preston Nichols and Al Bielek, two rather fascinating, if eccentric participants in the continuum of The Philadelphia Experiment and The Montauk project.
I sat riveted for literally hundreds of miles as Nichols and Bieleck not only recounted on what took place on The USS Eldridge in Philadelphia harbor, that fateful day, on October 28th, 1943, but also where two of the time travelers arrived in Montauk, Long Island, where they were supposedly being waited upon by researchers on the other end. The semi-popular, yet often ridiculous TV series, “The Time Tunnel” was based on this, as was the movie, “The Philadelphia Experiment” by John Carpenter. Bielek claims to be the love survivor of the experiment, but to make matters even more clouded and occluded, Bielek has another personality known as “Ed Cameron” who was deeply involved in Montauk.
Nichols for his part, claims to be a scientist that worked at Montauk (now shut down) and was talking about what they did at Montauk, which included everything from time travel. to space jumping (mostly to mars) to creating a race of highly trained, super assassins ala Jason Bourne, known as “The Montauk Boys” and casual commerce with alien species on frequent basis. This was my first dose of Art Bell.
Someone at Bell’s network saw the numbers spike whenever Bell touched on the paranormal, every Sunday night, so they decided to make Art the late-night-mage of all things paranormal. He ditched his more mainstream, politics driven show for a full time go at things that go bump in the night.
Unable to pick up Bell in The Bay Area, I used to dial him in from a station in Reno, or San Antonio, which made the program even slightly more exotic, picking up the waves of transmission from somewhere as out there as the programming itself.
In addition to people like Nichols and Bielek, Bell would feature the who’s who of the UFO circuit, everyone from Bob Lazar, to John Lear, to Stan Friedman, You never knew if their stories were real or some sort of fabrication or misdirection, but that was half the fun of listening to Bell. He also pitched products like smoked salmon and crank radios (now isn’t that a funny little aside?), which gave the show a feel that was more 50’s than 90’s. Indeed, the height of Bell’s popularity took place just before the internet broke through to mainstream use. Late at night, Bell was in some ways the radio equivalent of the internet for the strange and unexplained.
Along with Lazar and company, he featured David Icke for the very first time on US radio, regularly pimped out Sean David Morton, a seer/cryptographer, whose reputation has taken a beating and of course guys like Richard Hoagland and my pal, Charles Ostman. But it would be Art’s connections with remote viewers, Ed Dames and Courtney Brown, that would in some ways, signal the end of Bell’s run (more on that later).
Radio was a perfect medium for Bell, whose natal Sun in Gemini is conjunct his natal Mercury, exact, just over his mid-heaven in he tenth house. With Uranus in Leo sitting right on his MC, he had a flair for the dramatic, broadcasting his Uranian platform to the masses, but just as quickly as his star rose on the crest of Aquarian energy provided by his mid-point Uranus, stranded at the top of his chart, it would also rapidly decline. Inasmuch as he would benefit from the Sun/Merc conjunction in his 10th house, he would also be burdened by Saturn in Cancer there as well. Having Saturn in Cancer in the 10th would make an immense amount of sense in interpreting Bell’s home as his base of operations where he reached out to the world via the airwaves,nbut it would also be a problematic placement as well.
Amongst many of Bell’s strange encounters during his run, which really lasted from roughly 1995 to 2001, was the story of his son being sexually molested by a high school principal and contracting HIV as a result. The details around this, were always foggy and never really clear as to what happened. Then, not long ago, his wife Ramona, a woman whom he referred to over and over again with loving devotion passed away and then, without skipping a beat, Bell quickly remarried, produced a daughter and was moving back and forth from Nevada and Manila, to do his show. By this time due to his inconsistencies, Bell had been supplanted by George Noory, whose style was much more laid back and conversational than the quick witted, quick tempered and often condescending Bell. But perhaps Bell’s biggest and most tragic moment came when the comet, Hale-Bopp first appeared in the skies.
Bell had taken to remote viewing, a skill of psychic awareness that was developed by the Army under the name, “Operation Grille-Flame.” It was headed by two researchers from Stanford, named, Russell Targ and Hal Puthoff. The two of them employed noted psychic and artist, Ingo Swann to teach fairly perceptible Army employees how to use certain protocols in order to view classified subject matter the world over (mostly Russian stuff). Out of this program came private practitioners who had studied with one of the army trained psychics.
One such practitioner was Courtney Brown, a teach at Emery College. Bell had Brown on consistently during Hale-Bopp’s pass over our skies. Using his RV skills, Brown viewed a companion to the comet, which he claimed had intelligence and could be other life forms. While Brown was postulating on the occupants of Hale-Bopp, a group of semi-castrati in San Diego, listened intently to Bell and Brown’s radio prophecies. That group of course was “The Heaven’s Gate” cult, which saw Hale-Bopp as the mother ship, ready to take them home, especially based on Marshall Applewhite’s twisted interpretation of events to come.
Once they drank the kool aid and beamed up, it became known that Bell’s show and Brown’s info had influenced the group to go beyond where no man had gone before. Immediately, Bell brought on his other favorite, remote viewer, Col. Ed dames, known as “Doctor Doom” and eviscerated Brown. They brought up fake photos from Hawaii that proved that there was a companion and that they used them to trick Brown and fool him.
Courtney Brown was ruined.
This was the first major mis-step in Bell’s rapidly rising career, which even featured a best selling book at the time, The Quickening..
It wasn’t long after that incident that people began to turn on Bell. Deep researchers were looking into Bell’s military past and possible Masonic connections. There were whispers that Bell was merely a gate keeper, an agent provactaeur, who would offer up outlandish info, some of which might actually be true and then discredit it, if not outright, then by simply engaging his callers in a condescending fashion.
Ultimately, “Coast-to-Coast” became a ghetto for tin-hat-wearing, conspiracy freakish viewpoints and a vehicle to marginalize valid and important information that did need to get out. Want to discredit something? Give it to Bell. It’s here where his Gemini Sun/Mercury takes on the role of duality, and the prospect of being double agent comes under scrutiny..
Looking at the rest of his chart, it’s easy to see why Bell became successful and a public figure. Jupiter in his first house helped his expansive personality could fill the airwaves and not get lost in them. Moon in Virgo in the first house could help him intuit the public’s perception of him and them as well, but could also cast shadows upon his own identity, as we’ve seen throughout his career. With Neptune, also in the first house, there is a level of idealism, mysticism and that of a dreamer also manifesting through the personality, but again, on the flip side, the projection of illusion draped over the individual by others.
Deception. Bell’s Pluto in the 11th house speaks to a trans-personal affiliation with The Aquarian age and one that is darker, dealing in shadows, the often macabre illusions encountered in dreamland. No doubt, Bell’s psychic imprint was huge during a time when The X-Files and Chris Carter’s star was also flying high. Mars and Venus in Bell’s eighth house particularly Mars can be problematic, especially as it relates to power, secret relationships and hidden enemies.
Synchronistic? Coincidental? People have been telling me that I should be on radio over the last few days and ironically my chart actualy resembles Bell’s somewhat.
If there’s someone out there that wants to offer me a cool million to be a gatekeeper, save it for Alex Jones and Jason Bermas. However, if someone wants to employ my rich baritone and effluvia of arcane knowledge and useless trivia for a radio show, just shoot me an email