Arthur William Bell III was an American Radio Broadcast host. He founded the radio program Coast to Coast AM which was a paranormal-themed radio program played on hundreds of radio stations across the US and in Canada.
As well as this, he created a companion show called Dreamland, and was known for being one of the original conspiracy theorists. His late-night show was dedicated to answering the mysteries of the universe.
One of the most famous questions came in 1997 when he took a phone call from a “frantic man” who claimed to be an ex-Area 51 employee. Despite this being claimed as a hoax, it has remained infamous across the United States. But who was Art Bell and what was the Frantic Man trying to tell everybody?
Art was born in North Carolina in June 1945 and was brought up in a strict Lutheran household and community. From a very early age, he was interested in radio.
By the age of 13, he had a license as an amateur radio operator. This was his true passion, and Bell held an Amateur Extra Class License. This was the top license class that could be achieved within the Federal Communications Commission. Art took the call sign W60BB.
It gave him a first-hand appreciation of how terrible war was, as he was witness to his comrades being dealt horrific injuries. Later on in life, he would refuse to recall these events and often would not speak about them at all.
Despite being at war, Art’s passion for the Radio continued to shine through as he and a group of friends operated a pirate radio station from the Amarillo Air Force Base in Texas. His commander proved to be supportive in this endeavor and it was not long until he was playing music to the base and some parts of the city.
It was later shut down because the local radio stations did not enjoy Art’s poaching of their listeners. However it seemed Art had found another calling and, upon leaving the military in 1966, Bell pursued radio opportunities.
He worked for a few different stations but soon moved to Okinawa where he served as a DJ for the only non-military English-language radio station in Japan, KSBK, for 6 years. In one of his stranger shows, Art ended up in the Guinness World Record book for staying on air without sleep for 5 nights and days, a whopping 115 hours and 15 minutes. This did not come without its detriments and Bell described even menial tasks leaving him feeling like the world around him was not real.
Over the next 20 years, Art Bell would become a familiar name on US radio stations. He began his work in the U.S. at Anchorage where he learned about stranded children in Saigon. He spoke openly about this and encouraged donations which allowed a flight to be chartered and the 120 orphans were saved and adopted by American families.
Bell’s Radio Style
Before moving to his talk radio shows, Bell was better known as a rock music DJ. His first talk show hob was a late-night program in Las Vegas which was a political call-in show. Originally it was titled West Coast AM but Art soon rebranded it to Coast to Coast and moved the broadcast station to his home in Pahrump, Nevada.
It was not long before politics took a back seat. Art Bell preferred to talk about topics like gun control and conspiracy theories. This led to his rating increase, especially at night time.
Bell discussed topics that were classed as “off-beat” like the paranormal and the occult. He had a real penchant for UFOs, protoscience, and pseudoscience. He was so popular that by June 1997, he was on over 460 radio stations with around 15 million listeners.
Fans of Art Bell’s shows claimed he was a master showman that only produced absolute entertainment. Importantly, he did not accept every guest or caller’s claims. He merely provided a platform in which they could be open about their views without facing ridicule.
This led to huge praise from those who wanted to see paranormal activity in the media without the derogatory tones that other broadcasters used. It is also perhaps why the Frantic Man rang Art Bell first.
The Frantic Man
As a rule of thumb, Art Bell would never screen his calls. He would accept them no matter what. This was the case when in September 1997, the phone rang.
When Art answered the phone, a panicked and frantic man claimed that he was let go from Area 51. He was unable to divulge his location and that he was in a hurry. He was terrified that the government was triangulating his location as they spoke. Bell urged him to reveal whatever he could.
The listeners to Art’s show across 400 radio stations listened with bated breath. The man claimed that humanity had made contact with aliens through the US Space Program and that they were extra-dimensional beings.
It was through this contact that the aliens infiltrated the military. They were going to cause disasters and the government was on board. Apparently, they wanted to wipe out the major population centers so that the rest of the people would be easier to control.
All of a sudden, the call cut off. Art was shocked. This was the first time it had ever happened in all of his years of broadcasting. It raised suspicions. No one could pinpoint the problem.
The story went quiet for almost a year until the same man phoned back to say it was all a hoax. However, many believe that the callers’ tones and mannerisms were different. Little else is known about it but it does make people think. It may have been a government cover-up or just a hoax.
Top Image: Was Art Bell’s call from the “frantic man” a hoax, or are aliens secretly infiltrating the US Govt? Source: OneClic / Adobe Stock.
By Kurt Readman