Discussion Group Provides Neutral Ground For Unusual Topics

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The topics are so unusual most people would most likely scoff at their slightest mention -- extraterrestrial visits; canola oil as a toxic substance; oxygen as a food supplement; an undetected planet coming between the Earth and Moon every 3,600 years.

But there are those who find the subjects interesting enough to make an effort to get together and talk every month at the Art Bell Discussion Group. They're ordinary people -- retirees and business owners, artists too.

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Patricia Thomas organized the Art Bell Discussion Group about a year ago. The talk show host covers a range of unusual topics on Bell's show, as does the magazine devoted to it, "After Dark."

About a year ago Patricia Thomas put a notice in the Roundup inviting people interested in discussing topics like these to get together and visit. Neutral ground was found at the library and now anywhere from four to 10 people gather each month and visit about "the unusual, the unexplained and things that go ‘bump' in the night."

"I hear the topics on the Art Bell (radio) show, go to the website and run off copies and we talk about them," Thomas said. "We're not subversives."

Thomas is retired from the aerospace industry in California. So is another woman who sometimes participates in the discussions. Thomas said other regulars include a man retired from the real estate industry in California and another has his own construction business in the Rim country. Sometimes a woman who is an artist is another participant.

Who is Art Bell? He's a talk radio host syndicated throughout the country. His call-in audience includes believers in UFOs, psychics and conspiracy theorists. From his one-man broadcasting center in Pahrump, Nev., Bell's all-night radio show -- Coast to Coast AM -- specializes in alleged tales of the supernatural, the paranormal and weird.

Bell was born June 17, 1945. He reportedly began his career at age 13 when he became a licensed radio technician. After the Air Force, he worked at KSBK in Okinawa. His first on-air job was at KENI in Anchorage, Alaska and later worked at XTRA in Tijuana, Mexico. Other stints included: KDWN, Las Vegas.

Bell resigned from his syndicated radio show on April 26, 2000 to attend to personal family problems -- his son had been kidnapped and raped.

He returned to the airwaves Feb. 5, 2001, but then announced his retirement less than a year later. Then, in September 2003, Bell came out of retirement to take over the weekend edition of "Coast to Coast AM."

Thomas said the show airs from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. locally and the best reception is usually from either KKOB, 770 AM, Albuquerque, N.M. or KFI, 570 AM, Los Angeles.

It's a challenge to follow the Art Bell show with the bad radio reception we have in the Rim country, she said. The stations fade out, other times Mexican music covers the broadcast.

"Other stations we can pick up, according to the weather, I think, are from Salt Lake City and Page, Utah, San Diego, CBS in San Francisco, or Omaha, Neb.," Thomas said.

The group's most recent meeting was Feb. 19; the regular meeting date is the third Thursday of the month, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., at the Payson Public Library.

"Our meetings are unstructured and topics are brought up by those present," Thomas said. "I have 18 names of those who have attended meetings. Some have come only once, while others are regulars."

Some topics she recalled from the Art Bell show: psychics; scientists; spirtualists; channeling; prophecy, such as those of Edgar Cayce and others; space issues such as Nibiru (Planet X -- the one that is supposed to come between the Earth and Moon during its 3,600 years orbit between a dead star and our sun), Area 51, alien abductions, current space program issues; weather and its relation to sun spots and escalating weather disasters; survival if the worst should happen; authors of books on such things as religion, science, health, alien contact, astronomy, etc.; reincarnation; Stonehenge, government secrecy.

Not all of these topics were discussed by the group, Thomas said. "Sometimes we get off the subject and just chat. It's very informal."

"There is so much we don't know," Thomas said. "The earth is a living thing, it's always changing. We know that from looking backward. It would be interesting to come back a thousand years from now and see what the world map looks like," she said, nodding to the National Geographic map on the wall.

At the Feb. 19 meeting, the proposed topics were: updates on the planet Nibiru; the Pole shift -- "It's been said the next big Pole shift will wipe out more than 90 percent of the population," Thomas said. Also on the suggested topic list: interesting information on a new form of matter and escalating worldwide natural disasters.

"Earthquakes are getting more frequent and more intense," Thomas said. "The weather is changing."

As she predicted, the group went off topic and started discussing the potential of hydrogen as an alternative fuel because of the continuing concerns about the availability of fossil fuels.

For more information about the group, call (928) 472-3121.

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