Is Art Bell Coming Out of Retirement? The Father of Paranormal Media Teases Fans With Cryptic Message

Is the Father of Paranormal Media Coming out of Retirement? Art Bell Teases Fans With Cryptic Message

art-bell

Is Art Bell, the undisputed king of paranormal radio broadcasting, returning to the airwaves? Oh dear god, I hope so.

Like plenty of paranormal investigators in their late 20’s and early 30’s, I can trace my interest in the paranormal back to three important things: The X-Files, The Time Life Mysteries series of books, and perhaps most importantly, the first time that I stumbled onto a hazy AM radio station broadcasting Coast to Coast at two in the morning. From the first time I heard Art Bell interview a panicked Area 51 employee, or a hunter who claimed to have killed two Bigfoots, or a man with a bottomless pit in his back yard, it was over; I was hooked on the fringe and the fortean, doomed to spend my nights in search of even stranger stories wherever they might hide.

Art BellWhen Art Bell retired from Coast to Coast in 2007, I was, for lack of a more meaningful word, devastated. Though he had taken numerous “retirements” over the years for any number of personal reasons, Bell insisted that this one was for real.

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Don’t get me wrong, George Noory is a wonderful host and a great replacement, but the Coast to Coast he heads up is arguably a very different program than the one Art left behind. Hearing Rosemary Ellen Guiley ramble on about this year’s latest buzzy cryptid every two weeks is always great fun, but it does make make me long for the days when each episode of C2C was as much a piece of performance art as it was a stop on a book tour. In fact, just last year Bell took his Facebook page to declare his distaste with the current state of C2C.

“I wish my name was no longer associated with what Coast has become!” he exclaimed.

A bit harsh, maybe, but like I said, it’s a much different show now. So where does that leave fans of the good old days of Harlot the Witch and Single Seven?

Well, if the cryptic update just posted to Art’s website means what I hope it does, those of us craving classic paranormal programming might be in for a much needed dose of good news.

On July 11th, a line of red, white, and blue dashes and dots went live at artbell.com, a string of characters that was accompanied by the unmistakable beeping of morse code. The code simply translates to one line:

WANNATAKEARIDE?

atbellscode

At this point, all anyone can do is speculate as to what exactly this message means, but for the last several months Art has been hinting at a return to radio, telling fans that he was in negotiations for a new show, and while he wouldn’t be making any promises, “the wind may be about to change direction!”

Could this mean that Art Bell has been picked up for a new terrestrial radio show? A podcast, perhaps? It’s anyone’s guess, but in a time when everyone and their mother hosts an internet radio show about the fringe, the voice of a true entertainer like Bell is sorely missed. Not just because he’s a veteran wistfully remembered as the man who practically invented the genre, but because to this day, no one has been able to top him.

Do I want to take a ride? If Art Bell is driving the bus, you better believe I’m buying a ticket.

Stay tuned!


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35 Comments

  1. Frank kling

    07/12/2013 at 1:23 AM

    This is the BEST news I have gotten in a long time. My goodness have I missed Art bell- one never realizes how special something is until it’s gone.

    I will be tuned in to Art every night.

    Please keep us informed of any new developments!

    • Greg Newkirk

      07/12/2013 at 1:25 AM

      I hear ya, Frank! I wrote this whole thing while listening to clips from old episodes and reminiscing about driving around at night trying to keep the show from fuzzing out. I REALLY, REALLY hope we get a great announcement soon. Art’s been gone too long!

      • Coppertop

        07/12/2013 at 8:47 AM

        Oh man, you did that too? I would circle the neighborhood in my beat-up station wagon, driving real slow so I could figure out the best places to get reception. Had the cops called on me more than once or twice because of it, too.

        “Son, what are you doing?”

        “Just trying to listen to Art Bell, sir!”

        Ah, high school.

        • Greg Newkirk

          07/12/2013 at 9:56 AM

          I delivered newspapers in high school, so I luckily had a good excuse for being out late at night circling the neighborhood, though there were times when listening in made it a little hard to leave the car and walk up to some of the creepier houses..

  2. Mike Franklin

    07/12/2013 at 5:16 AM

    C2C has become so boring… so mainscream lately. Hope Art comes back and injects some innovation again!

  3. Kwin The Eskimo

    07/12/2013 at 5:54 AM

    I can still remember exactly where I was the first time I ever listened to Coast To Coast (Art Bell). I was hooked from the moment I heard his pitch-perfect, radio voice coupled with tales of the unknown. I was working third-shift at the time, and my job took me to some of the creepiest locations you can imagine. These were places most people would not go in daylight, let alone in the darkest hours. My only traveling companion was Art Bell. In my time zone, the program started at 1:00am. I often waited until then to have my first cup of java as my mind drifted to the Nevada desert, feeling like I was sitting down with an old friend. Art came and went a couple times over those years and I was crushed when I learned that he was walking away for good. Certainly, Noory has been an adequate successor, but C2C has turned into a shell of its former self. It is the same thing so many amateur paranormal programs are: just another book tour program. The truly original content is lacking. I long for the return of the master, the storyteller, the artisan who is Art Bell!

    • Greg Newkirk

      07/12/2013 at 9:53 AM

      I couldn’t agree more. It seems like anyone who has ever worked third shift back in the day found themselves good friends with Art. I used to deliver newspapers every single morning in rural Pennsylvania, and listening to his work on C2C was one of the saving graces of that job.

      I miss frantic calls from government installations and interviews with people like Malachi Martin. I can read about Djinn anywhere.

  4. Mausinn

    07/12/2013 at 7:21 AM

    I could die a happy man if Art came back. There is and was nothing like his show on the air. There has been a huge void since he left. Help us Art Bell, you’re our only hope.

    • Cliff Gieseke

      07/25/2013 at 8:28 PM

      I hope Art Bell comes back at least occasionally on Coast To Coast. I once talked yo him on 10 meter FM by amateur radio and told him about a very strange experience experience my son had while living in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, when I was an English language training adviser at the Indonesian Air Force academy.

  5. Not Even Wrong

    07/12/2013 at 8:03 AM

    That is great news. I think Noory is ok but it always sounds like he has a list of questions he is reading through and hasn’t really done the homework. Art always sounded like he grabbed a cup of coffee, rubbed his hands together and said alright let’s go. He may not know much about the guest but he always knew what to ask and how to ask to keep the audience entertained. I do enjoy Knapp’s shows. I think he does his homework and his journalist background comes through during his interviews. Let’s hope it is true!

    • Amberrose

      07/13/2013 at 8:51 AM

      I have to admit my ignorance on Art Bell just a smidge. When I first started to listen to C2C, George had just taken the captain’s chair and my exposure to Art was slim to none, other than I knew who he was and the respect people had for him.

      I got sick of trying to tune my vintage Nickelodeon alarm clock in the wee morning hours to try and pick C2C up on the AM bands, so I just broke down and subscribed to their website. So every morning at work, I cue up and listen to the newest show and I have to say, I am usually bored with most of the guests that have been on in the past two years and part of it just isn’t the guest, it’s George.

      So when I was looking stuff up on Dr. Brian Weiss on YouTube, I came across a clip of Brian on C2C with Art Bell. It was night and day. Art Bell actually asked engaging questions. There was a dialogue! Not just the guest rambling on and on about whatever it is they do or believe. George is a “nice guy,” but there seems to be something lacking. He’s too nice! He seems too quick to believe whatever it is the guest is talking about or everything points towards ancient astronaut theory. George recently had Robert Bauval on and at one point, Bauval actually asked George if he was still there on the other line!

      So while I know Art wouldn’t be coming back to C2C, I would tune into whatever he puts out there should he be planning on making a come back. George needs to take in the reins a little tighter on the guests or they need to start introducing another host in there. Ian Punnett is retiring so perhaps someone new will emerge in his old seat. At least Ian, George Knapp and John B. Wells usually have a more engaging conversation with whoever the guest is.

  6. Mitchell F.

    07/12/2013 at 7:14 PM

    It would be great if Art Bell returned to the airwaves. I have long quit listening to C2C. Tackling the world of the paranormal on the radio requires intelligence, creativity, and having an open mind. However, not so open of a mind that your brain falls out. That last night of listening to C2C I heard George’s brain splat on the floor numerous times. I had enough of the foolishness and took my business elsewhere. I NEVER felt that way when Art Bell was running the show! His return cannot come soon enough for me.

  7. Htos1

    07/13/2013 at 12:00 PM

    Excellent!

  8. iwilliam

    07/13/2013 at 1:06 PM

    I just had a listen to a good chunk of that witch show, and that woman was trolling / lying so bad it was terrible.

    Some of it was plausible. I’ve met / talked to people with extreme and idiotic beliefs like that. But when she started saying that she corrupted a mormon family man who was now living living with her and presently in the room where they practice the dark arts, and oh by the way, as a matter of fact my entire coven is here right now….

    … that pretty much indicated to me that she is a habitual / impulsive liar at best.

    Ugh… wish I hadn’t wasted my time on that tripe.

    I really hope the single seven episode is better.

    Anyone want to recommend any shows to an (almost) Art Bell virgin that DON’T really suck? I’m all ears…

  9. Pingback: Is the Father of Paranormal Media Coming out of Retirement? Art Bell Teases Fans With Cryptic Message | This and That

  10. RadioJim

    07/14/2013 at 12:35 PM

    You missed the word spacing in the Morse message. It reads “wanna take a ride?”

  11. etherize

    07/14/2013 at 7:30 PM

    I sure HOPE he’s coming back!!!!!

  12. rainesalatte

    07/14/2013 at 8:10 PM

    A piece of me died when Art left the show. I had discovered the show during long sleepless nights recovering from back to back kidney surgery. His unique voice was one of the few things that could lull me to sleep with all those tubes and IV’s stuck in me. Of course, that was during the shows that didn’t scare the hell out of me, lol. When I finally got out of the hospital his show keep me going when the pain meds weren’t cutting it. I was so sad when he lost Ramona, so happy when he found love again, and devastated when he moved to the Philippines with the sketchy signal and random power outages. I agree with everyone that says the show has totally gone downhill. Noory is ok, but there is no substitute for Art, he is an original. I am sick to death with all the mainstream topics, if I wanted to hear that, I’d turn on CNN. Coast to Coast AM is where the insomniacs, 3rd shift lackeys, and weirdos go for their fringe fix. If Art does return, it will be the best thing to happen to the show since its inception!

  13. Mark

    07/15/2013 at 7:45 AM

    I’m excited at this possibility although I will say that after the Y2K debacle, it seemed as though Art’s wind was taken out of his sails a bit. That being said, I’m sad that Ian Punnett is now off the air. I really enjoyed how he engaged his guests and didn’t take any crap from them. He will be missed.

  14. Charlesinthecolony

    07/15/2013 at 9:57 AM

    TO: ART BELL,

    I subscribe to C2C but I’m tired of the book sellers and health remedies. Come back Art! I will subscribe today.

  15. Intheblood

    07/15/2013 at 3:15 PM

    Like most of you I loved the old C to C show and Art was the man. HOWEVER, doesn’t anyone remember in the 90s, when Art left the program for a short while, citing some phony excuse, and when he returned he explained that his son’s life had been in danger, but wouldn’t elaborate? After that, Art was subdued and wouldn’t entertain calls that were politically charged. It was obvious Art was being controlled by some higher power.
    But the coup de grace, for me, was after 9/11. Art had that government shill from Mechanics Illustrated on his show to push the government story. Art was totally with him, and refused to take calls from anyone with an opposing view to the BS government story. He would hang up on anyone expressing an opposite view, and actually called anyone who could recognize the conspiracy for what it was, a “wing nut”.
    That did it for me. After still listening to the new watered down version of Art Bell, and trying to overlook his increasingly condescending, arrogant, and evasive manner, having Art backing up a lying government shill proved to me that Art had sold out to the side he used to expose.
    There was a time I wouldn’t have missed a C to C show, but I rarely listen now. They are so vanilla and George sounds like he isn’t even listening to the guests: “.. and, George, I swear what came out of that building was not of this earth! It hada a … ” (George interrupts) ” Well, it sure is, Tom. We’ll be right back after these messages.”
    I’ll never listen to Art again. I’m not going to give that “wing nut” an audience.

  16. Seamus

    07/15/2013 at 5:03 PM

    God, I hope Art makes a return to radio! I go back and listen to a few of the old shows now and then and they really take me back. I started listening to Coast back in 1996/1997 at the behest of my older brother, who was an OTR trucker at the time. It was like nothing I had ever heard, and to this day there has been nothing better.

    Not to bag on George Noory, but his performance as host has really deteriorated over the past several years. He always seems like he is not really listening to what his guests are saying, merely listening for when they stop talking so he can jump in with an “I think so, too” and ask the next question.

    My favorite host of the current crop is George Knapp, followed closely by John B. Wells. They offer interesting topics, engage their guests and are well prepared.

  17. EmmSeven20

    07/16/2013 at 8:58 PM

    I so hope this is true, only so Oscar the demon will start calling in again! That dude (or whatever it is he claimed to be) would always elicit chills in me. Even now when I go back to the archived shows that featured Oscar’s surprise visits, I feel like I’m being marked for death just by listening. His voice was so freaking creepy and unnatural. Even if the whole thing was put on by Art himself, it was still downright terrifying.

  18. olaf

    07/16/2013 at 9:04 PM

    I too, miss the “glory days” of C2C, though I have to admit that I think J.B. Wells is the best of the current hosts. Glad I’m able to hear him on C2C. If Art were to return to C2C, it would be the greatest thing to happen to radio since the inception of C2C!

  19. Lissa

    07/18/2013 at 9:25 AM

    Art in his heyday was like no other. I started listening near the tailend of it – 1998 – at the age of 11. Devastated by each retirement since then and then joyously celebrating each short-lived return, I’m cautiously optimisitic this time.

    A podcast would be interesting, but part of the lure of the show was the spontaneity of the open airwaves. Open lines and callers on most radio shows are terribly boring (including the current incarnation of C2C), but with Art, he was so good it was always entertaining and a wild ride indeed.

  20. zeedokk

    07/18/2013 at 10:33 PM

    I remember how exciting and surprising those old Art Bell shows could be, as well.
    I especially miss the classic weird stories like “Mel’s Hole”. Replacing Art with George Noory
    was such a let down. Noory just can’t cut it! He shows hardly any interest in conducting a serious
    interview, basically just phoning it in. Many of his shows seem to be nothing but infomercials for
    quack remedies. Knapp is great, Welles is good, and Ian will be missed. They’re the only hosts I
    can listen to without being bored to sleep. Art Bell returning would be great, indeed!!

  21. JD

    07/20/2013 at 8:32 PM

    I first heard Art Bell’s show in the mid nineties and was immediately hooked. I was going through a rough time and working second shift in those days. I would get home at night just in time to catch the show. It was a wonderful escape from all the crap I was dealing with in my personal life. Things are great these days, but I really miss Art. He’s like a long lost friend. What great memories!

  22. JillV

    07/22/2013 at 10:31 AM

    they’ll never take me so keep me updated

  23. Russ

    07/23/2013 at 6:12 AM

    I can only imagine what insane libertarian crap he’d be spouting now. That conspiratard should just stay home with his mail-order child bride and never return to the airwaves.

    • Greg Newkirk

      07/23/2013 at 6:15 AM

      Ouch. I think the thing about Art is that you should never take him too seriously.. and he knows it. There’s a bit of a wink and a smile when it comes to what Art does, and looking at it from much more than a “what if” perspective is either going to make you really gullible or, in your case, really angry.

  24. dee

    08/04/2013 at 5:09 PM

    art has announced he is coming back on sirius xm radio. it will be called dark matter, and comes on after c2c goes off in the mornings for three hours. art is the master but has been gone along time and he is now over 70 so he will not be the same art bell . he has changed as we all do as the days and years go by. allso he cannot be to mad at george or crc, he owns the show and is ranking in alot of money each year. dark matter is the show originally done by george noory and was not picked up for tv. yes they are all in their for the money. and dont forget the other partner of the gang whitney streiber he is a big part of it all. god bless c2c , george, art , whitney and all the other hosts for keeping it all alive for so many of us. all giant thanks art. the air date is september 27. and yes art is the master. art i am your great fan i started listening the second week art started on the air as a d.j. back in the 80s.

  25. Turin

    08/10/2013 at 10:37 PM

    Holy Fuck!

  26. Frank kling

    08/16/2013 at 9:38 AM

    Dear Mr, Newkirk: Any updates to Art Bell coming out of retirement? Thank you.

  27. Betsy Balega

    09/07/2013 at 3:11 PM

    I miss Art too. He never screened callers. He is definitely one of a kind. I read that he is due to debut on Sirius September 16th. I don’t have a satellite radio but for Uncle Art I’ll buy one. Welcome back Art Bell.

  28. Betsy Balega

    09/07/2013 at 3:41 PM

    PS: Does anyone remember when Art wasn’t paying attention, during a break he was using Crazy Glue, smoking a cigarette and oops! glued his lips shut. The show ended early. And, a classic Art faux pas, taking a cigarette break, during a show break. Art’s home was under construction. He forgot that the front yard was dug up. He stepped outside to take a smoke, and fell into a deep hole! Not Mel’s Hole, but deep enough that he hobbled in and signed off to recuperate. OMG so many memories. Art is now 68, not 70 and still has his faculties. His son was molested. That is when he took the first break from the show. He came back on, wouldn’t say why he took the break. In time, one night he said, that he has been mad enough to commit murder. And that is the night he revealed his young son’s sexual molestation. It went to court. I remember the show winding up Thanksgiving morning, must’ve been around 1998 or so, and at 2 am pst Ramona had the Thanksgiving turkey all ready and they were celebrating after the show. Can’t wait. Wonder if Ross his announcer will return. That would be awesome!

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