The Chicago man, who isn't sure the Hell on Earth stunt was real, will share details on his show today.
By ROBERT FARLEY
Published October 6, 2003
ST. PETERSBURG - A Chicago man says he has exclusive video of the much-hyped Hell on Earth performance Saturday night, including "crazy" footage that purports to show a sickly-looking man commiting suicide through "some sort of asphyxiation."
But Shane Bugbee isn't necessarily buying that it's real.
Hell on Earth front man Billy Tourtelot vowed earlier in the week to defy a hastily passed city ordinance by broadcasting over the Internet the live suicide of a terminally ill fan in conjunction with his band's performance Saturday night.
But the Web host shut down the site before show time.
"The site was getting entirely too many hits and couldn't keep up with it," said Shawn Hughes, a technical supporter worker for Candid Hosting in Tampa.
The site was getting more than 800 hits per second, he said, and was slowing connection to 36 other Web sites that share the same equipment. "Eight hundred hits a second, that's incredible," Hughes said. "It's scary. It's a sick society that wants to look at that stuff."
Tourtelot told the Associated Press that the concert, held at an undisclosed location in St. Petersburg, went on as planned.
As for the suicide, which he had said would be held at a separate undisclosed location in St. Petersburg, "I don't know if that was done tonight," Tourtelot said.
Emergency dispatchers in St. Petersburg and Pinellas County said they had no calls about a suicide Saturday night through Sunday afternoon. The Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner's Office also reported no suicides.
Tourtelot could not be reached Sunday for comment.
Bugbee, 34, said he has been interviewing Tourtelot during the past three days and plans to share what he has learned during his two-hour Internet radio program at noon today on www.radiofreesatan.com
Bugbee said he has two videos, one of the band's performance and another of "something that looks crazy" and appears to show a man commiting suicide.
"But I don't know if I believe it," Bugbee said. "I want some more information.
"Until I see police taking a body out of a home, it could be Billy's girlfriend, for all I know."
Bugbee said he did not want to share all he knows before his radio show.
"I'm holding an exclusive," Bugbee said, adding that he has been offered $10,000 by the National Enquirer for an interview. "It is interesting, to say the least, the whole underground journey."
Bugbee said he met Tourtelot while in St. Petersburg researching a book on Michael Diana, who was jailed for publishing cartoons that were judged obscene. Bugbee also interviewed Tourtelot when he reviewed some of his CDs several years ago.
Bugbee said he's not sure whether all this is a hoax, but he doesn't have a problem if it is.
"I was leery of Billy up front," he said, "and I'm even more guarded now."
In his numerous interviews with Tourtelot over three days, Bugbee said, it appeared that Tourtelot was sincere in his desire to promote his right-to-die views.
"He (Tourtelot) believes in freedom of choice and that other people shouldn't control your destiny," said Jan Bernius, a friend who works at the Phat Shack in Ybor City. "Billy does not fake things. What you see is what you get."
Bugbee said he plans to make videos available to the public soon.