An infamous conspiracy bit from the Art Bell late night talk show. Previous the the passing of Hale-Bopp, Art Bell received the following e-mail, supposedly from a Priest who previously worked at the Vatican:

Dear Mr. Bell,

I have listened to your program off and on for around two years now, whenever I get "down-time". I have some disturbing information and I fell that your program would be the perfect vehicle with which to distribute what I have. I have been under the employ of the Vatican for over five years. I have done what could best be described as counter-intelligence work, for the church. I am a man of God and please believe me when I tell you that the information I have is genuine, and very serious.

Without going into too much detail about my former employers, I will briefly tell you that I have had a Top Level security clearance in the Vatican for quite some time. Most of the work I have done regrettably falls into the realm of "black-ops", and I will not go into detail about that now.

Around six months ago, I was working at a data terminal in a highly restricted area following a case that I had just completed, when I stumbled onto something that nearly made my heart stop. Please pay attention here, this is where it gets strange.

I uncovered a heavily encrypted sub-system that was suprisingly well hidden. I found that it was only accessible through the terminal I was at, and one other terminal.(I must point out that the area I was in was not an area that I routinely used.) After two minute of trying to getinto the system, the whole lab shut itself down and I was booted off the terminal. Not wanting to raise any eyebrows, I decided to leave and come back later that night. The strange thing was, when I came back, there were ARMED guards standing sentry outside of the lab. I must say that it is not unusual to see guards roaming the Vatican, but it is very unusual for them to stand sentry at a lab, much less while armed.

Over the next month, I managed to slip in unnoticed only once. And after I had found what I came for, I understood the security.

It took me a good deal of time to break into the system, and when I did, I wished I hadn't. When I entered the system, I came across a file titled "WORMWOOD?". (Yes, with a question mark.) Thinking it to be a text file, I brought up the file with the intent of copying so I could read it later. What happened next was truly remarkable. The file sort of "deteriorated" into a series of command lines that lasted approximately two minutes. Once it was done running, there it was. I had found a direct link-up to the Hubble space telescope. Not only that, but it was pointed directly at the comet Hale-Bopp. The program was running some kind of analysis. Taking directional notes, projecting path of travel, etc.

After realizing what I had discovered, I started searching and came across an e-mail data trail that led directly to the office of the Pope himself. What was discussed, I cannot know.

Over the next two weeks, I began to uncover evidence that the Vatican is very aware of the existence of the companion, and is VERY worried about it. I began to copy files and pictures that were present at the terminal, when I found a report from the United Nations to the Vatican, as well as a report from NASA regarding their concerns.

It is very obvious to me that a great many people and entities know of the companion and are doing their best to keep quiet. VERY quiet. As the next part of my story illustrates.

I had found another file that I wanted to look at, but it was independently encrypted. At the time that I discovered it, I had already been online at the terminal for some time, so I decided to copy the file encrypted, and decode it at my leisure. As I was leaving the lab, I was approached by two of the Pope's top aides and was asked to meet them later in the evening. I didn't feel comfortable about the situation, so I agreed and told them that I needed to shower, and would join them later. I haven't been back to the Vatican since.

I found out about a week later through some old friends and contacts that a contract had bee placed on my life. Two days later my mother and father were killed in a car crash in France. Three days after that, my brother and sister were killed when their single engine plane went down on the East coast of the U.S. I've been on the run for a very long time now, and am still trying to decode the file that I have in my possession. Approximately ten copies have been distributed to friends in the field in the event that I should diappear. I do not fear for my life, as I am very adept at not being found, however I believe that the world needs to know of the information that I have.

I would be willing to share all that I have with you Mr. Bell. But you need to understand that your life could be in danger if you were to go public with what I give you. I appologize fpr being so vague, but I feel it neccessary at this point in time.

If you would like the information, say so over the air when you get this letter. If I am not listening, someone will get the information to me, as there is no safe way for you to contact me at this point in time. I await your response.

PRIEST

I am more inclined to believe that this entire thing is a hoax, though the PRIEST did send a second letter to Art Bell several months afterwards, explaining his disappearance and a couple of updates on how he was being hunted across the U.S.

Ever since these two letters, there have been no other communications from the PRIEST reported by Art Bell.

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