High Strangeness: Challenged to a UFO Duel!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Challenged to a UFO Duel!

Hello, readers!

I'm just coming off one of the craziest, busiest weeks -- no, make that months -- of my life and as things finally calm down I have a little time and energy to devote to my favorite blog. My return has been prompted by two incidents that occurred yesterday, both of which got me re-focused like a laser on solving this UFO problem once and for all.

First, I had the good fortune to appear on last night's (September 9, 2015) edition of http://podcastufo.com/ hosted by Martin Willis. Martin is a great host and apparently he lets his guests ramble all they want, because I feel as though I talked pretty much without interruption for two hours. What can I say? It's a gift.

The second occurrence yesterday came as a total shock, completely out of the blue... I have been challenged to a duel! A UFO duel!! A real UFO duel, with sabers and blunderbusses and lots of blood! And for some reason I'm happy about it -- no, not just happy, but ecstatic!

This is what UFOlogy leads to...
Why a duel, you ask? What could bring about such a dramatic development in the otherwise staid and harmonious world of UFOlogy?? Well, I'll tell you... A few months ago I gave a talk at the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference, and it went over well enough that the organizer of the Conference, Tea Krulos, invited me to come back and talk at next year's event. Of course I said yes! I had a great time and am happy to support a home-grown event that raises awareness of paranormal issues.

It just so happens that another Wisconsin UFO writer gave a talk that day, a mere month after he had been onstage in Mexico City presenting a picture of a mummified young human boy that had been billed as an alien corpse recovered from the alleged Roswell saucer crash event of 1947. It was an interesting talk, to say the least; how do you defend your participation in what many consider the absolute low point of UFOlogy?

So, yesterday I got an email from Tea about next year's Conference, and here's what he had to say:
Hi Mark,
Well, I got an unexpected e-mail. Let me preface this by saying after the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference, Mike Huberty (of See You on the Other Side podcast) and I were hanging out and discussing how we would have liked to see a debate between you and Don Schmitt. I forgot the idea after that.
A couple months ago I e-mailed Don, telling him I was open to ideas on his participation in next year's para con. He was busy, and just got back to me a couple days ago. I was surprised to find that his idea for next year's con was that he would like to have an onstage debate with you on the subject of Roswell!
I love the idea. I not only think it's exciting from a publicity angle, but it could be a thought provoking experience for people to learn more than one angle on the subject and ufology in general. In fact, I think a debate on different subjects will become an annual tradition for the con.
I told Don I would ask to see if you are interested. I would find a debate format that would be acceptable to both of you and would get a crew (possibly UWM or Marquette's Debate Team) involved to make sure the debate is run efficiently.
As for dates, I've looked at a few different venues this summer and there are a couple more I'd like to check out before signing a deal. Once that happens, I'll have a definite date, though I'm shooting for either the second or third weekend of October 2016.
Ok, please let me know your thoughts on this! Thanks!
Would I be interested in debating Don Schmitt about Roswell?? Are you effing kidding? It's a dream come true! It's like Christmas in September! It's like winning Powerball and Mega Millions on the same day!

Apparently one of us has besmirched the other, but I'm not sure who. I don't feel particularly besmirched myself, so he must think that I have besmirched him. That would make sense, as just about everyone was besmirching the people who got up on that stage in Mexico City.

Do I want to debate Don Schmitt? Not only do I want to debate him, I want it live-blogged, satellite-beamed and televised around the globe!! You know how Fathom Events shows live events in huge movie theaters? I want that on every flipping IMAX screen in the world!

So, okay, it's not sabers and blunderbusses, and there probably won't be much blood. But it will be exciting, and stimulating, and fun. And, for the record, I haven't actually agreed to do it yet; I have merely expressed my interest. I told Tea that I would need to have a better idea of the format and scope of the debate before committing, but assuming we can work out all the particulars, it's a pretty sure thing I'll be on that stage. (As you may recall, this is precisely the suggestion I made to Jan Harzan, the Intergalactic Director of MUFON, when I suggested he remove Jaime Maussan from the speakers roster at this month's MUFON Symposium... He said it couldn't be done so I said that going forward it might be a good idea to have someone onstage to counter the silly claims of the Mexico City team whenever they're invited to speak at a UFO event).

But what exactly would the two of us debate? Don can't prove that anything happened at Roswell and I can't prove anything didn't happen, so if that's what the debate is about it would end in a stalemate and it would be, frankly, pretty boring. If it's a debate on who knows more about the Roswell case, then Schmitty wins hands down and I concede here and now. I don't know 1/1,000th of the names, dates and places of the Roswell saga that he knows. So, we'll have to address a certain substantive element or elements of the Roswell narrative that can actually be debated in some meaningful way, and at this point I'm not certain what those might be.

But I bet you anything that Don has some ideas...


Tom said...

I have a few topics for you to bring up to Schmitt -

-He lied about his education - claimed to have a masters degree.
-He lied about his employment - claimed to be a medical illustrator. -He actually worked for the Postal Service.
-He lied about his Roswell research.
-He claimed an assistant's research as his own.
-He claimed his former partner Kevin Randle is a government agent.
-Randle finally dumped Schmitt when he discovered Schmitt's real occupation and was made aware of Schmitt's plagiaristic research. -Schmitt found a new partner, Thomas Carey, and together they helped perpetuate the greatest hoax in the history of ufology - The Roswell Slides.
-Schmitt turned ufology and Roswell into an international joke.


Mark UFO'Connell said...

Excellent! Now, could you please moderate the debate?

Tom said...

Moderator? Ha! That would be a riot! But, I'd probably end up pulling Schmitt's wig off his head when he asserts that the mummy child is an alien. Nonetheless - I can give you some efficacious debating tips - I do have some experience in this area -

- Think like a real person, not like a debater.

Don't freak out when they hit on an unfamiliar topic or argument. Just key in on obvious responses. Just think to yourself “how would I respond to this if my friend said it to me?”.

- Look and sound right, no matter what you’re saying.

Fake it until you make it. Confidence is key. Seeming like you’re certain you’re winning the debate is a good way to capitalize on that.

- Debating your way will work better than debating the "right" way.

You’ll always do better when you keep the debate in your wheelhouse. You gotta do you.

- When the discussion, or your brain, is going off the rails, hard stop and reboot.

Never give up. Instead, stop, and take a minute to figure out what new direction you can take.

- Know where the debate is headed before it starts.

Ask yourself before the debate even begins, “how am I most likely to win the debate? How is my opponent most likely to win the debate?” Your goal should always be to place yourself in your opponent's shoes, and then cover the flow accordingly.

- You’re always telling the audience a story. Make it one they want to believe in.

The winner is usually whoever told the most salient, believable story. Don’t forget to tie everything together into one neat little package, and never underestimate the power of a good story.

- Research Research Research.

This will help you develop a strong foundation of background knowledge in the topic, as well as give you opportunities to stumble upon unique, creative arguments.

- Winning is important, but it isn’t everything.

Above all else, never sacrifice your integrity. You have to be able to live with yourself at the end of the day.

Good luck. You will do great.

Anonymous said...

A debate with Schmitt seems to be a waste of precious time. What truly do you think will happen except a big pissing contest?

Erickson said...

While I can see that a debate would be an interesting prospect in theory, i have listened to people debate the Aztec crash with Scott Ramsey and it was somewhat disappointing. Immersing yourself in a particular theory has its advantages and debating what cannot be proven is not much of a debate. In the end it seems a bit akin to debating Michael Horn about Billy Meier. Given the problems with Schmitt identified above, he is one of those who is on my "do not attend" list for any event that sees fit to invite him. I heard everything I need to hear from him during the slides fiasco. Anything else just gives credibility to a person who needs to step back and step down for a very long while.

William J. Grabowski said...

Hello, Mark:
Looks like I'll be on the air with Martin (or Michael) on September 23rd. I would love to see your debate with DS, and just might be able to show up, seeing as the tentative date is so far in the future. Great website you have here! All best!

Anonymous said...

Here's who really ought to debate Schmitt over Roswell: Kevin Randle.

Imagine the fireworks...

Mark UFO'Connell said...

Maybe I could get Kevin Randle to coach me!

Unknown said...

It certainly wouldn't hurt to research Kevin's blog. I don't know how you feel about Kevin but he does seem to call a spade a spade and is willing to admit when he was duped. In researching Roswell it's almost certain to trip on a few "truth mines" as I call them. Quite a few outright liars involved. That would include your prospective opponent.

Mark UFO'Connell said...

KR would definitely be worth contacting. Fortunately, I also have Hynek's writings, and CUFOS records, and tons of material from the interviews I've done over the past couple years, not to mention my own bizarre experiences with Mr. Schmitt.

Hynek's Ghost said...

"I was surprised to find that his [Schmitt's] idea for next year's con was that he would like to have an onstage debate with you on the subject of Roswell!"

Well, since the above is Tea Krulos' paraphrase of what he was allegedly told by Schmitt, I have to wonder what Schmitt actually wrote in email to Krulos about such a prospective debate. Do you know?

And, if Schmitt is serious, will he try to rule out for any such debate the aspect of the Roswell incident that involves Schmitt's role in the slides fiasco? If so, then that's a real non-starter. Nothing should be "off the table."

But, I suspect this debate will never happen. There was supposed to be a June press conference of "experts" Schmitt promoted a few months ago of those that supposedly still support the slides as being of an alien body, and that never happened.

Also, since you've noted yourself that you're really not that familiar with the myriad of byzantine details regarding the "Roswell incident," do you really think you'd be knowledgeable enough to effectively be able to pick apart Schmitt's statements and arguments in any such proposed debate?

Unless you really did your homework in advance, and immersed yourself in the Roswell mythos (which for various reasons I don't see as probable), Schmitt would likely overwhelm you with details, and that due to your relative lack of knowledge about the voluminous anecdotal Roswell stories that have come out over the past 35 years, it would seem you might appear unprepared and that Schmitt had a legit case, to some audience members that is, even though he's an incredibly biased "investigator" and long-term serial liar.

The phrase, "Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience" would seem to apply here.

Either that, or the cliched "Never wrestle with a pig. You'll both get dirty, and the pig enjoys it."

Caveat emptor, Mark.