High Strangeness: For Whom the Bell Tolls

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Here I was, all set to write more about Don Schmitt's bizarre presentation last weekend at the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference, and now I find all the wind has been taken out my sails by the intrepid Jose Antonio Caravaca. And I am grateful for that.

What Mr. Caravaca has done today makes any and all talk about the "Roswell Slides" and their proponents on the "Roswell Dream Team" completely irrelevant. He has unearthed a second slide of the very same mummified boy visible in the original "Roswell Slides," complete with a similar placard identifying the remains as the mummy of a two-year-old child recovered from the Pueblan cliff-dwellings at Montezuma's Castle National Monument in Arizona. You should go take a look here; the new image is a sight worth seeing.

(NOTE: According to Rick Reynolds at UFO Conjecture(s), the new photo was actually discovered by Jorge Peredo. I will seek to clarify this and issue corrections if and when necessary)

It's over. The "smoking gun" of Roswell has become instead the final nail in the coffin. 
Ask not for whom the bell tolls, Roswell...

This might explain Schmitt's strangely cautious yet unsurprisingly belligerent talk five short days ago in Milwaukee. Perhaps he had gotten wind of Caravaca's discovery and was attempting to position himself on relatively safe ground. But, of course, that is speculation, and speculation is what gets us all into trouble in UFO world, isn't it?

Ok, I've reconsidered. I will tell you a little about Schmitt's talk after all, because there are things we can learn from it. The talk was filled with whoppers big and small -- that he was "special investigator to Dr. J. Allen Hynek" and that Carl Sagan said on his death bed that "Roswell is still the most important UFO case" and that he wanted Schmitt to use that information -- but you expect that. Beyond that, though, there was an undercurrent to his talk that my wife and I both found extremely disturbing.

Maybe it was the way he branded anyone who doesn't support his specific trademarked version of the Roswell story as a "skeptic."

Maybe it was the way he suggested to the audience that those very same "skeptics" are their enemies.

Maybe it was the way he strung together unconnected thoughts and tried to make them sound like facts: e.g., listing all the many ways the government has been known to lie to us and then using that as "proof" that they are lying to us about Roswell, too.

Maybe it was the way he blatantly mischaracterized the actions of the Roswell Slides Research Group, of which Mr. Caravaca is a member.

Maybe it was the way he angrily announced all of his upcoming Roswell-related projects -- A new book! A new movie! A new archaeological dig! -- as if that somehow proved beyond a doubt that the Roswell story is real.

Maybe it was the way he displayed zero tolerance for the views of any other UFO researcher, or any other critical thinker at all, UFOlogist or not.

Or maybe it was what my wife noticed... She works in academia, so she pays close attention to how scholars, experts and authorities express and pass on knowledge. There are good ways and there are bad ways, and the way Schmitt expressed and passed on knowledge last Saturday night was very bad and very upsetting to her. It was bad because he only pretends to pass on knowledge. "He's in this incredibly privileged position from which he could move the conversation forward, but he doesn't move it forward," she said, "He moves it backwards, and he does it for his own benefit."

I couldn't have put it better myself, not in a million years.

As we were leaving the Conference, she came up with another gem that I really have to share with you. I commented on how relatively drama-free Schmitt's speech was, all things considered, and she said, "Yeah, all the drama was in his hair."

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