In October, paranormal radio
host Art Bell mysteriously left the air citing "a threatening, terrible
event" that had threatened the safety of his family. Not surprisingly,
the internet was abuzz with wild UFOnut theories. Some on Usenet
claimed to have intimate knowledge of aliens who had contacted Art Bell
before their invasion; there were rumors of Men in Black appearing to Art
and forcing him to shut down his operation in the face of his family being
injured or killed; people claimed that Art was the victim of a government
conspiracy to silence dissenters.
Unfortunately, the UFOnuts
were all wrong, and the truth of the matter has turned out to be far less
strange and far more terrible at the same time. The
Washington Post pretty much summed it up:
On Friday, Art Bell IV--the
radio host's 18-year-old son--filed a federal lawsuit against a Nevada
school district and a former substitute teacher who is serving a life sentence
on sex and drug counts, one of which involved a 1997 sexual assault on
the younger Bell. The suit was reported in Friday's Las Vegas Review-Journal.
In April 1998, former
teacher Brian Lepley was convicted on several counts of supplying minors
with drugs and engaging in sexual relations with them. Moreover, it was
charged that Lepley--who carries the AIDS virus--did not inform his partners
of his condition or wear a condom.
While we hate to utilize
this horrible incident for our own purposes, it is an excellent example
of the larger problem with UFOnut speculation. The more nutty among
them immediately leapt to the conclusion that it had something to do with
paranormality and aliens. This is indicative of a larger problem;
that UFOnuts tend to always leap to the paranormal conclusion.