Rest in Peace, Art Bell - The End of an Era

I write this as I'm listening to a streaming playing a classic Halloween Ghost to Ghost AM episode from 2003. The first time I heard Art Bell on the radio was in the mid-90s on WHAM in Rochester, New York. His show was the perfect show, for the perfect time, in an era where the paranormal was a little more mainstream and yet still on the fringes.

Back then, the young person that I was, my ability of suspension of disbelief was much easier than now. The topics were fascinating and Art was the perfect voice. Between The X-Files, all of the paranormal shows on TV, the '97 UFO over Phoenix, Heaven's Gate, the landing of the Mars Pathfinder, Hale-Bopp, and the beginning rise of the internet, it was a great time. Not as much in a nostalgia sense as it just being a simpler time in comparison to now. A different time when we were a different people and a somewhat different nation.

Back then, Art Bell's site was my go to. A stop for the latest paranormal, astronomy, and scientific news and similar diverse-yet-easily-blended topics. The internet too was simpler back then. I'd spend days during summer vacation listening for as long as I could to Art Bell's shows and keeping the radio on all night. Complete with the bumper music that he would play that would set the environment for the show. The next morning, i'd catch up on what I missed by visiting his website. I still even remember browsing the VR site for the Mars Pathfinder and keeping up with the news regularly way back in 1997 through his site's links.

Art Bell was a definite influence and a great figure that introduced many of us to a whole different world through his show. These days, my belief in as much of the paranormal isn't the same as it once was. But, as it was in the 90s, as the teenager that I was it was a great source that exposed me to ideas and knowledge that I would have not otherwise known about. 1997 was that year. The year that I also first heard of Michio Kaku. Art Bell was central to the outreach of knowledge to many young people and adults alike back then.

It was an era that has lost its reach now. Paranormal radio is nowhere near what it once was. A combination of repetitive voices, the quicker reach of information, and the growing loss of imaginative thought in our society all play a role. As do many other factors. As I said, Art Bell's radio show in the 90s was the perfect show for the perfect time. The cultural atmosphere was just right and the timing was perfect. There will not ever be anyone that will replace him nor those times.

The passing of Art Bell is a true end of an era and that's not just a figure of speech. It's the full truth. His loss is a massive loss for paranormal radio and paranormal 'infotainment'. As people are posting about him on Twitter and Facebook on social media and sharing their memories of listening to his show. Though he was much more than just a radio voice to millions. He felt like someone closer to a friend or a good neighbor through those airwaves.

He will be greatly missed.

Art Bell Takes His Final Ride, R.I.P.

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