RADIO INTERVIEW — TAPE #719, SIDE #1
Q: Mark Russell Bell
J: Joe, Talk One Network operator
A: Alex Merklinger, radio show host of “Mysteries of the Mind”
V: various recorded announcements/excerpts
I read with interest the summary of your case study which we receivedfrom you on this past Monday.. Although I haven’t had time to review thelinked information, I am sure we would enjoy having you as a guestinterview, as would our listeners.
Have you explored our website, www.mysteriesofthemind.com, which tells abit about Alex and me (I’m Alex’s wife and also produce the show)? Thereyou will find a list of previous guests which will shed some light on“where we’re coming from”.
Alex broadcasts from 8:00 pm – 11:00pm MT, brings on his guests afterthe first half hour. Next week we have Wed., Thurs., Friday open. Wouldone of those days work for you? We can exchange further details when wesettle on a date.
May the angels keep you tucked safely under their wings.
Ardeth Merklinger, ProducerMysteries of the Mind
Thanks for your response. Yes, I did visit the website upon learningabout your radio show. Wednesday would be best for me. My telephonenumber is . . . here in Southern California. I look forward tohearing from you.
Mark Russell Bell
J: Hi. I’m looking for Mark Russell Bell.
Q: This is Mark.
J: Hi, Mark. This is Joe at Talk One Networks with “Mysteries of the Mind.”
J: Well if you’re all ready to go, I’m going to go ahead and get you ready here.
J: Alright I’m going to put you on hold here and I need you to tell me if you’re hearing all the audio okay. It’s just commercials right now.
J: So just let me know if you’re hearing it okay. (BEEP / commercial is heard)
Q: I can hear it. It’s not loud but I can hear it. (commercial stops)
J: Okay, was everything coming through okay there?
Q: Yeah. It’s not loud but I can hear it.
J: Okay. Well let’s see — we’ve got about two more minutes left —
J: — before we’re going to bring you on to the show.
J: Okay, here you go. (BEEP / commercials continue: Hot Cuisine Newsletter, Smoke Away, and Memory Foam)
A: And welcome back everybody at twenty-seven minutes before the top of the hour. You are listening to the most exciting show on radio, “Mysteries of the Mind.” The reason it’s so interesting is because of our guests. Not me. I have nothing to do with it. All I do — I have that melodious voice that people go to sleep by — but we have with us tonight a very interesting young man I might add. Mark Russell Bell has such a varied background but he’s into something which is why obviously we’re having him on “Mysteries of the Mind” show — but Mark Russell Bell has written actually two books. One book is called Testament and the second book is called New Testament which we’re going to find out why he chose those names because you’re going to be quite amazed. But Mark Russell Bell worked in Hollywood at a — as I understand it, Mark, you were a P.R. writer for a lot of the top movies. Is that right?
Q: Yes, I worked predominantly for Paramount Pictures.
A: Ahh. Okay. Alright. And that’s quite a change, isn’t it? From working in an industry — well maybe it’s not. It’s an industry where you create dreams and you create miracles, as you said, and now you not only investigate paranormal activities but you also have had extensive experiences, as I understand it, of your own with paranormal activities. And in you book — and you have, which I want to get into as we go on tonight — you have a message for everybody that was given you. And I think that’s very important. Especially in light of all of the things happening around the world today. So, with that in mind, can you tell us a little bit about, let’s say, your first book Testament? How it came about, why the name, and some of the things that are covered in it because the one story — I have heard that story before — and it’s absolutely fascinating about the people in Oklahoma.
Q: Did you see that television special that they were interviewed on? It —
A: I sure did.
Q: It was “Ghosts, Mediums, Psychics: Put To The Test” and I understand the footage was replayed the following summer on “20/20.”
A: I did not see it on “20/20” but I did see the special show on it and that — I mean it’s quite amazing. I mean how can you deny that something is happening (“WHEN”) when you can actually see things going on around you?
Q: Well actually I had denied many of my own experiences for a long time before the experience itself revealed Themselves to me, so to speak.
Q: In my case, I was born an identical twin on August 8, 1956 in L.A. — actually in Culver City a few blocks away from MGM Studios so I was a Leo born close to the Leo the Lion logo over at MGM.
A: (small laugh)
Q: And my parents soon divorced after we were born. And I had a few strange experiences. I think the predominant one happened when I was five or six. And I awoke one morning and I — there was a disembodied voice just repeating my name. And so, at the time, it was very puzzling. I had gone all through the rooms of the apartment trying to determine which of my friends was calling my name and it never was solved. And so I think that’s one of the events that really made me interested in the unexplained. There were a few other —
A: . . . when, Mark? When did this experience occur?
Q: This happened in — around 1962. I was very young. It’s hard to sort of remember the exact date but I had an experience after that where — in — I think it was the first or second grade (“AND”) following a vaccine I passed out about a half hour later and I had awoke with a very strange thought. I awoke with the thought, “The aliens have come back.” And, at that time, of course, in our culture it wasn’t really as predominant as you see today in terms of aliens and UFOs. So there was also a seance and I was a very sensitive child — my parents’ painful divorce. I escaped into movies and TV and books and comics like many others. I did have — I developed something of a panic disorder where — and I’m not quite sure how this all came about. I did witness a friend being run over by a car when I was very young.
Q: But — so, like, for example, I once saw my friend Joel on the playground at Hale Elementary School hit his head and he started spurting blood. And that would cause me to faint. I would basically faint when — I would actually be — I was really more worried about passing out than I was about seeing the blood itself. (“I THINK”) I think it was some sort of panic disorder. And — of course, this (be)came key later on because I had — while I was working at Paramount Pictures —
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: I HAD MEANT TO SAY THAT IN RESEARCHING THE BELL WITCH I’D DISCOVERED THAT ONE OF THE BELL FAMILY, BETSY, HAD EXPERIENCED FAINTING SPELLS THAT WERE ATTRIBUTED TO THE HAUNTING ENTITY.)
Q: — and I might add from what your introduction was that it was a highly corporate world and, of course, the world I’m in now is the opposite, dealing with spirituality.
Q: And so, anyway, in my spare time I had written a book researching talking poltergeists throughout history—if that gives you any idea of what my interests were—where I basically had looked at the key cases of poltergeists where there was that voice phenomena. Of course, the best known case is the Bell Witch case in the early 19th Century. Are you familiar with that case?
A: Yes, I am.
Q: And — (“SO”)
A: You might want to explain it, Mark, for our listening audience, though.
Q: It’s basically the best documented poltergeist case of all time. (“BECA”) But there’s so much material, it’s very difficult for people to comprehend. For example, one of the famous things that happened was — and this is all — this has all been documented. The best book on the subject was written back in 1894 by a gentleman named M.V. Ingram and it was called The Bell Witch: A Mysterious Spirit. [2021 UPDATE: I SHOULD HAVE SAID AN AUTHENTICATED HISTORY OF THE BELL WITCH; THE OTHER BOOK CAME LATER.] There have been other books since then but that really was the most fully documented account. And some of the things I think that — I think were left out of the other later books because they were a little bit more baffling or they just seemed too way out. For example, the spirits becoming drunk (“AT”) at a still. And so I think really this 1894 work is one of the best ones to really begin — and then there are other ones where various descendants have come forward and said that they also had experiences where the Entity revealed to them certain historical truths. (“BUT”) One of the famous circumstances that I saw repeated in Oklahoma and then later in my own life was a case where they were asking the Entity—and they called it “The Bell Witch” or Kate. (“AND”) There was a woman in the community named Kate and some people thought it might be somehow relating to her but, of course, back in that era, after the Salem witch trials, there was this, you know, ‘the witch’ metaphor was very predominant.
Q: So on one occasion there were two ministers who were attending the dinner at the Bell household. And this was in Tennessee not far from Nashville. And the Entity was able to recreate one of the minister’s sermons word for word. (“IT WAS”) They said it was exactly like the voice of the minister. And so one of the visitors said well — they made a joke like well then (“YOU KNOW”) because the Entity has gone to this one and not to hear the other one. But then the Entity said well no I also was there for the other sermon and then they heard that sermon recreated verbatim in the voice of that minister.
A: Oh gee . . .
Q: Yeah. Right. Exactly.
A: I used to live not far from there and I think that’s probably when I first came across it. I used to live outside of a town called Paris, Tennessee, which was up near the Kentucky border but directly up from Nashville.
Q: Well one of the things when I was doing my book (“AN”) — let me just tell you about — really quick I’ll just give you a rundown of the most famous poltergeist cases where there was this talking Voice. There was the Drummer of Tedworth case (“ON”) also known as the John Mumpesson case from 1661 and there were some of the same things that happened (“IN”) in the Bell Witch case. In that case, for example, a voice was heard saying “A WITCH A WITCH A WITCH” over and over again on two occasions. And they also say that the Spirit imitated “the Sawyers” with not much more detail than that. Another early famous case (“YEAH”) was here in America. In 1679 there was a Massachusetts William Morse case where the haunting Entity would say things — at least this is what’s been documented. “REVENGE. SWEET IS REVENGE.” And “ALAS ME KNOCK NO MORE” after somebody called upon God.
A: Oh. Interesting.
Q: And then in the late 17th Century there was an Italian case in a town called Pavia. And in this case there was a rather lovesick poltergeist who would make food on tables appear and disappear, bricks around a bed, all kinds of bizarre things. And at one point even her clothes were removed by a wind on St. Michaelmas Day. There’ve also been talking poltergeist cases in 18th Century Iceland and Scotland with this talking phenomena. Also, have you heard of The Haunting of Cashen’s Gap, the ‘Gef’ talking mongoose case?
A: No, I have not.
Q: Well Harry Price and R.S. Lambert documented this back in 1936. And they only saw the Entity as a mongoose on a couple occasions. And, again, you had this voice and pennies were being thrown. (“THERE WERE”) It was hard to really put together and, of course, the all-knowing Entity wouldn’t always perform when people like Harry Price were there. But at one point Mrs. Irving said, “You know, Gef, you are no animal!” And the mongoose replied, “OF COURSE I AM NOT. I AM THE HOLY GHOST.” So there was — (“IN A” “U”) there were all these different clues and it was really up to an individual to determine exactly what was going on. Another of the most famous cases involved Mary Jobson and this 1839 case was documented in 1841 by a doctor. His name was W. Reid Clanny. And I actually got a copy of the manuscript from Harvard University Library and the Spirit called Themselves—for some reason there’s always this insistence upon calling Them a plurality such as “We”—”ALPHA AND OMEGA,” “THE BEGINNING AND THE ENDING,” “THE LORD THEY”—not ‘thy’ but they T — H — E — Y— "GOD,” and “THE SON OF GOD.”
[2021 UPDATE: THIS IS ONE OF SEVERAL INTERVIEWS WHEN I INCORRECTLY QUOTED "THEY GOD." ACTUALLY THE TEXT OF THE BOOK ABOUT MARY JOBSON READS "THY GOD." MY PRONOUNCEMENT OF "THEY GOD" IS DUE TO FINDING THE WORDS IN MY COMPUTER FILE ALTERED FROM 'THY' TO 'THEY' ON AT LEAST ONE OCCASION.]
Q: But one of the little facets that really amazed me was in the Bell Witch case Jesse Bell’s wife the Spirit would nickname ‘Pots.’ And it was sort of a seemingly innocuous little nickname but then when I was reading about Gef I noticed that at one point it said in the book that the mongoose usually called Mr. Irving ‘Jim’ or ‘Pots.’ So, again, there was that same nickname. And I thought well these two cases — they couldn’t possibly have known about one another just in terms of geography and time. It would’ve been very difficult. I mean if Harry Price had known about the Bell Witch you could bet that he would’ve docu(mented) — written more about it than what I know him to have done. So that was one of the first things I asked when I called up the McWethys out living in contemporary Oklahoma. I said, ‘Have you ever heard the nickname ‘Pots’ used?’ — thinking that that would be an interesting facet. But then I was even more amazed by what she told me. She said, ‘No, we really haven’t heard very many nicknames but did you know (“THAT”) we also have Bell ancestry?’ And so they (“HA[D]”) — she had remarried but her daughters were still named Bell — (“SUCH AS” “LIKE”) Brenda Bell. And one of her daughter(s) — her daughter Twyla had married too but her (Twyla’s) daughter — her firstborn daughter was also named Bell. So (or “SO”) it was li(ke) — it struck me as being like a multi-generational poltergeist case. I’d worked on “The Godfather, Part III” and I thought, “Well this is like a dynasty of poltergeists.”
Q: So —
A: Now was there any relationship between you and them?
Q: No. Well, see, my real name is not Mark Russell Bell. My real name is Mark Gordon Russell. And I’ll tell you how I got my pseudonym later. It was something that happened after my experience in Oklahoma. It was, basically, channeled to me by a very unlikely source.
A: Did you know that when Ardeth, my wife, first wrote you back, she — she’s very, very psychic — and she wrote you back and asked you to be on the show. And she sent it to Mark Russell. And I looked at it and I said, “Oh, you used the wrong last name.” And she said, “Oh, I didn’t reali(ze) — I thought his name was Russell.” So somewhere she must’ve picked that up.
Q: Well they have become sort of interchangeable where I’m concerned. Because, of course — (“MY”) like my Email is markrussellbell at Earthlink, for example. (“SO I”) And I — because I use pretty much the Internet for my book publicity and promotions.
Q: But, yeah, I (“I”) read a little bit (“OF”) of your — of your website and she does seem like somebody who’s very spiritually aware. (“I”) I — just to respond to my news release so quickly said a lot to me. So, in any case — we’ll get to that later but, anyway, so I made arrangements to go and interview the family. I, basically, was going to go for a long weekend. I think I allowed five days but I only actually (“DID”) did interviews for three days. And just ba(sically) — I experienced an unbelievable amount of different events when I was there. And, of course, in the past I had experienced some events but had always just put them out of my mind because I didn’t know what to do with them. But here there was just so much going on. And, then for example, Brenda Bell, one of the daughters said, ‘I’ve been hearing (“SOME” “SOME”) someone call my name out in back.” And it didn’t real(ly) — I didn’t even understa(nd) — at the time it just went in one ear and went out the other. But when I was transcribing that tape later on, it made me remember my own experience when I was five. And since I’ve been doing other interviews with people in this field, I’ve heard that several times — that same experience where somebody would hear (“THEIR”) their name being called. There’s even some (accounts) — like especially during (“IN”) some of the ’30s and ’40s in terms of the spirits. That’s been happening a lot.
A: Well was this the first time that they realized that the poltergeist was speaking? When you were there or . . . before then?
Q: Well actually this — (“I[T]”) the Entity is quite remarkable because it was said to have discussions with hundreds if not thousands of different people visiting the house there.
A: My gosh.
Q: And (“NOW”) — and also different voices were recreated. Different people. Different spirits. And they (the family) would have different names for the different people. For example, there was a — (“I”) I, myself, heard at one point a deep groan like — (I imitate the sound). Sort of like Lurch in “The Addams Family” in the back seat when Twyla was showing me around. And at the time she thought it was ‘Rachel.’ And then when I discussed it later on with Maxine, Maxine thought it was what they called ‘Leader.’ And (“SO”) they had different voices and they would have different personalities. And they would learn different information from these different spirits. They also had aliens now talking about secret blueprints in the courthouse in Ada [I should have said Coalgate] and (“E”) so not only spirits were manifesting but so were aliens. In fact, the family themselves thought that there were more alien facets to the case than ghost facets. (“SO”) When I got there, it was in August of 1995. It was after the special had been taped. At (or “AT”) — (segue music is heard in background) well I’ll tell you more after the break.
A: Good, Mark Russell Bell. Thank you very much. You do know, everybody, he will be right back after. Fascinating story. We’ll be right back with Mark Russell Bell. I am Alex Merklinger. This is “Mysteries of the Mind” on the Millennium Radio Network so please stay with us. We have an exciting night tonight. (commercials: Hot Cuisine Newsletter, Allcom Hands Free Unit, Phazer; followed by theme music) And we’re back everybody at five minutes before the top of the hour. I’m Alex Merklinger. You’re listening to “Mysteries of the Mind.” And our guest tonight is Mark Russell Bell. Fascinating young man — Mark. And I do say that in all sincerity . . . because you’re just a kid. Let’s go on with the story because I don’t think that — at least I don’t remember hearing stories where poltergeists actually talked before. And I’m sure that it has probably, as you said, been around for a long, long time. But I was just not aware of it.
Q: Well, actually, as I had discussed with you, I did list (“THE”) probably the best-known cases that I’ve been able to research. So if anyone wants to Email me I’ll be glad to point them in any other direction but it’s all in my book. I should say, by the way, that the books are free on the Internet at the testament.org website.
Q: So (“ME”) people (“COULD”) can read all about there. What I thought I might do is play an excerpt of my Oklahoma interview for you really quick because when I listened to the tapes later there was what they call ‘electronic voice phenomena’ or EVP/spirit messages on the tapes. So —
A: Now do you know the work, Mark, of a man — oh, this is going back quite a while ago to the Raudive — R — A — U — D — I — V — E —
Q: Raudive (pronounced ra-div-uh). Yes, uh-huh.
A: — oh, is that how you — okay. Raudive.
Q: Yes. Konstantin Raudive.
A: Right. He was the — actually the first one using a tape recorder where spirits would actually leave messages on tape.
Q: Actually there were a few even before him. But he certainly was the first one to really make it prominent. I mean they even named EVP “Raudive Voices” after him. He wrote a book called The Inaudible Made Audible. (“BUT”) [PUBLISHED IN ENGLISH AS BREAKTHROUGH] Before him, for example, there was a famous medium named Gladys Osborne Leonard. And there was a Reverend Drayton Thomas who recorded EVP in his research with her. (“AN”) Some of this I’ve been finding out. There’s a lot of information on the Internet if you do a search. (“IT’S”) It’s just amazing how much is out there right now. There was also a psychic named Attitla — and I don’t know if I’m pronouncing his name right — von Szaley — S — Z — A — L — E — Y, and — who worked with Raymond Bayless, a psychologist — and they used a reel-to-reel recorder and microphone. And they got — received results. That was in the ’50s.
A: . . . Okay. Very interesting.
Q: Yeah. So (“THO”) — and then, of course, Friedrich Jurgenson was another one who really had some early results back in 1963. I also like to list John — (“TH”) the late John C. Lilly as one of the early pioneers of the medium because he worked with voi(ce) — a tape loop and got remarkable results. (music)
A: Yeah. And, Mark Russell Bell, we are going to take our top of the news break. Everybody — we will be right back. You don’t want to miss it because we’re actually going to hear some of the voices or sounds that Mark Russell Bell was telling us. I’m Alex Merklinger. This is “Mysteries of the Mind” so please stay with us. (commercial begins: Chef Jon Paul’s Hot Cuisine Newsletter.)
J: Okay, Mark?
J: We’re going to have until about five minutes after the hour, which is about five and a half minutes from now. You’re going to listen to “Air Force Radio News” at that time.
Q: Okay, great.
J: And then you’ll be back on.
J: Alright. Here you go. (BEEP / commercial continues)
V: You’re tuned to Talk One.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THE NEWS PORTION OF THE BROADCAST WAS NOT AUDIBLE FOR ME.)