I’m off to Chicago for the weekend, bros. Unfortunately, due to work constraints and leaving town immediately afterward, I don’t have a lot of time to write a fun Halloween-themed entry. So… I’m kinda copping out and re-posting what I put together last year. However, since there are a lot more readers now than a year ago at this time, perhaps many of you all missed these gems. To that end, reposing is warranted. Happy Halloween, folks. Hope you don’t see too many stupid zombie Michael Jackson costumes. Okay…
One of my favorite Halloween past-times is dusting off some of my old tapes, turning out the lights, and scaring myself. In the spirit of the holiday, instead of my usual smattering of psych rock and other insane music, I wanted to share some choice insane recordings.
I discovered Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell when I was 13 (1998 by the Gregorian calendar). I walked into my grandmother’s room one night to fetch something. It was late at night, she was obviously asleep, and she usually slept with the radio playing. It was the strangest call-in show I had ever heard – instead of, you know, railing on Clinton as the majority of AM radio did at that time, the caller was talking about a poltergeist in his house and its glowing red eyes, claws, et al. As a fan of the macabre, I immediately ran to my room and tried to find the show on my stereo. This happened to be the evening that Art Bell premiered the Sounds From Hell. Though I was slowly approaching a sort of agnostic belief system at that time, it still made me want to shag-ass to the closest church.
Since then, I’ve amassed around 40 tapes of old Art Bell broadcasts, and I tend to listen to them to get “Halloween festive,” as it were. Everything from remote viewing (controlled psychic phenomena), aliens, Y2K (remember that?), bizarre conspiracies, cryptozoology, exorcisms, wholesome apocalyptic scenarios, and more – I’ve got some of the greatest hits on tape, spanning about three years. Of course, during this time, I never shared with anyone that this was something I enjoyed doing. When you’re 15, it’s important that everyone knows how cool you are. This was not a cool hobby. However, I’m sharing it with you now! Glad to get it off my chest.
The show, Coast to Coast AM (see the link under “Other Awesomeness”), still exists, but the smokey-throat, sardonic host Art Bell retired in 2007. No host will really replace Art, who broadcast his program internationally in a double-wide trailer behind his home in Pahrump, Nevada in the dead of night. A host sitting in a downtown radio studio just doesn’t transmit the same mood. Moreover, Art never screened calls. Anyone, sane or nut, got equal time on the air. This, unfortunately, is no longer the case, making Coast to Coast not nearly as entertaining as it once was.
As of right now, I don’t have a way of recording my tapes onto my computer, so I found some other folks’ recordings. Of course, Orson Wells’ War of the Worlds will always be an excellent Halloween classic for me, but Art’s creepy and paranoid program has much more nostalgia for me. Plus, that program was legitimately frightening at times, as some subject matter was right on the cusp of what was plausible. Despite all the programs dedicated to the supposed Roswell crash and gnarly things that Freemasons might’ve been responsible for, Coast to Coast AM was one of the first talk shows that dedicated lots of air time to climate change, starting in the early ’90s, as well as new scientific subjects like nanotechnology and RFID. This gave the show a more unsettling edge at times. Cyborgs and aliens, sure, but climate change – that’s more scary to me.
So the first clip… about 10 years ago, as alluded to earlier, Art Bell aired the urban legend recording “The Sounds From Hell.” It can be a really bothersome clip to those with a nervous disposition, but also morbidly fun. It’s also completely a hoax – literally speaking, not theologically, so worry not (unless, ya know, your faith tells you to). The origin of this sound is as follows: Soviet scientists in the early to mid 20th century drilled a hole nine miles deep in the heart of Siberia to study plate tectonics. When they hit a heat pocket, their drilling equipment was destroyed, followed by the sound of millions of screaming souls. As any good scientist would do, they whipped out the mics and recorded it. Part-ee.
The second clip is an infamous one. From Wikipedia: “At about 11 p.m. PST, Thursday, September 11, 1997, [Art Bell] designated one phone line for Area 51 employees who wanted to discuss the secretive base. Several callers claimed to work at Area 51, but the bizarre highlight of the night came when a seemingly distraught and terrified man claimed to be a former Area 51 employee recently discharged for “medical” reasons. He cited malevolent extraterrestrials at Area 51 (”extra-dimensional beings” who are not “what they claim to be”) and an impending disaster that the government knew would take out “major population centers.” Midway through this call, Bell’s program went off the air for about 30 minutes. After talking to network engineers, the official explanation was that the network satellite had “lost earth lock” or forgotten where the earth was. Network officials were baffled, and the cause remains a mystery.”
The third clip is a portion of a lengthy interview Art did with the Ghost Investigators Society, who record the “voices” of ghosts on blank, never-used-before audio tape. This is also known as Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP). The recording and history of EVP is immensely interesting, despite the shitty Michael Keaton movie based around EVP. Jump to around the minute mark in the recording to skip the show’s bumper music between commercial breaks.
The last one is a exorcism. It’s really fucked up.
Have a chill ‘ween.
Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell – Sounds From Hell
Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell – The Frantic Area 51 Caller
Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell – Electronic Voice Phenomenon
Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell – Russian Exorcism