Pam Cosmo Gooch

I’ve been sleeping with Jay Leno for years. Before him, it was Johnny Carson. How did it happened that my mind and late television became entwined? While our children were young and our home was small, I believe my husband and I used the tube to help establish a little extra privacy.

Later, we lived out of the country in the Caribbean for two years, and at that time, it helped to make us feel safer and more at home.

Since my husband passed away, my relationship to late night TV could be viewed as a link to him. Or maybe it’s just a bad habit. At any rate, I find myself waking up to Juiceman commercials or deliberating moral questions with “Ask Dr. Laura” in the middle of the night.

But, occasionally, “The Tonight Show” is a rerun. Rather than watch an interview with Bob Dole, Dennis Rodman or Jamie Lee Curtis for the third time, or the moribund Letterman’s Top10 List, or whatever, I’ve begun to turn my semi-comatose attention to an Internet alternative.

The Art Bell Web site. Home of talk radio weirdness with the small screen glow. I could just listen to it on the radio. But I don’t listen to the radio. “No glow, no go,” I say.

Yes, it’s for me. You can look up pictures of alien spacecraft sightings, Area 51 photos, get details of alien abductions and on and on. It’s a virtual smorgasbord of the unusual and the fringe. It is a refreshing alternative to the talking heads yammering about the Clintons or the Bushes, the forensics and cop shows, “Beastmaster,” “Profiler” or old “MASH” reruns.

You can turn on the audio stream and hear it live as you go to sleep.

Erika Harmon, a former wire editor at the Tribune, brought Art Bell to my attention with an article describing the controversial “contrail grid patterns” speculation popular at the time. People all over the country were reporting grid patterns in the sky of mysterious contrails. What did this mean? Were we being surveyed, sprayed, photographed or used in some way? Were these planes military, corporate, scientific or extra-terrestrial? And did these sightings have anything to do with increasing levels of uranium in the water, male pattern baldness, changing weather patterns or cow mutilations? If one were to look up at the Tahoe sky, sure enough, one would see the patterns. Right before your eyes. What was going on?

“You want to hear something REALLY scary?” (as Dan Aykroyd asked in “Twilight Zone, the Movie”.)

Now, the hot topic of conversation is “shadow people.” Callers are reporting that they have been startling small, dark creatures by walking in on them unexpectedly. Sometimes they make eye contact and then the creatures or entities or “things” disappear in some way. It seems they are everywhere. In shadows. You can see them out of the corner of your eye.

Don’tcha just hate that?

Many years ago, when I was moving to the West from Michigan, I saw mushroom people along the side of the road. And these dumb mushroom people were running into the highway and I had to swerve my truck around them so I wouldn’t run them over. Of course, I had been driving for a thousand miles by myself for days and was heavily into a sleep-deprivation-induced psychosis at the time.

I bet that if Art Bell had been around then, I could have met lots of other people who saw mushroom people as well.

I guess that’s how we know that we are not alone.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.