High Strangeness: The Great Roswell Debate is ON!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Great Roswell Debate is ON!

I did not see a single UFO in Antarctica.

No UFOs, no remnants of Operation Highjump or Hitler's secret UFO base, nothing. Which is not to say that Antarctica was a disappointment. It was an amazing, uplifting, mind-blowing experience, and even two weeks after returning home I'm still soaking it all in...

The purpose of the trip was getting my 90 year-old dad to Antarctica, his 7th continent. That was my dad's entire bucket list, right there, and now he's done it! And he was nice enough to take me and 4 of my siblings with him, making it the family adventure of a lifetime.

What was best about the trip? Penguins! Seals! Sea lions! Whales! Family time! Icebergs! Abandoned whaling stations! Cruising around inside the caldera of an extinct volcano! Calving glaciers! Tooling around the Antarctic Ocean in Zodiacs!
Me in Antarctica. Not a single UFO to be seen.

There were so many stupendous, spectacular natural wonders on display that at least once a day I found myself asking "How is that even possible??"

To be honest, I didn't even look for UFOs. There was already too much natural beauty to see...

Once I got home, I had little time to readjust. Just before leaving on the trip I had accepted a position teaching screenwriting at DePaul University in Chicago, and although I intended to do prep-work for the class while on the trip, of course I didn't. So that left me with a little less than a week to get a class up and running. Fun.

(I am now two classes into the term, and so far, so good! My students are pretty damn sharp.)

Within days of arriving home, my agents concluded the final negotiations for the book contract with HarperCollins, and I am now officially in business. My manuscript is due August 1st, so I have a LOT of work to do...

In the middle of all this, I had a good talk with Txx Kxxxxxx, the organizer of the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference, to be held next October in Brewtown. Txx wanted to share his ideas on how to conduct the "Roswell debate" to which I've been challenged by Roswell entrepreneur Mr. Donald Schmitt, and I welcomed the opportunity.

You see, it hadn't been clear to me at all what we would actually be debating... Nurse X? The Frank  Kaufman papers? The Ramey memo? The Roswell alien autopsy video? The Roswell slides? So many aspects to the story, so many so-called "smoking guns," but what exactly would we be debating? Did the alleged Roswell saucer crash really happen? Well, Don and I could go around in circles arguing about that for days, and in the end nothing would be proven or accomplished. How do you limit it to a real discussion about real things?

I was happy to discover that Txx had the same concerns, and he had a few ideas on how to structure the debate so that it's substantive and meaningful. His suggestions make a lot of sense to me. He proposes one or more of the following:
  • What happened at Roswell. Is there proof?
  • Is it time for UFOlogy to move on from Roswell?
  • What happened with the Roswell slides?
  • Roswell research techniques: good or bad?
  • Lessons learned, and finding a way forward.
Sharp readers will immediately recognize that a few of these topics will not make Mr. S. happy. But then, he's the one who challenged me to the debate, so... tough luck.

Txx was agreeable to me suggesting some additional possible topics, which I intend to do. I have a few suggestions in mind, but I winder whether you, my readers, have any thoughts on the topic. I bet you do!


Paul Kimball said...

A "debate" that didn't deconstruct in length the slides story would be a waste of time. That one single episode pretty much encapsulates Roswell "research." It also happens to completely destroy Schmitt's credibility. Of course, that had been done long ago. Perhaps there should be a question about whether or not the honesty of "researchers" in relating their own personal background should have a bearing on whether or not they can be trusted...

Loved the photos from Antarctica. I hope to go myself someday.


Mark UFO'Connell said...

Paul, I think you're spot on. Since the slides sparked this whole debate, and brought Roswell back into the headlines, why not focus on that fiasco?

Anonymous said...

Mark, you have noticed that any more talk of those slides has died down. I guess they made whatever money they could before the fiasco. Frankly I cringe when the subject of Roswell comes up. It is almost 70 years ago and most everyone has died who were inbolved. I do know that as long as someone can squeeze a dollar out of this subject, Roswell can never die.

Mark UFO'Connell said...

How long will they keep squeezing? Well, the Roswell Dream Team's most recent book was called "Children of Roswell." What's next? "Great-Grandchildren of Roswell"?

purrlgurrl said...
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purrlgurrl said...

Me? I wouldn't show up for any UFO/paranormal event that had the word "Roswell" in the title. Roswell has already proven to be a dead end and my interest level in it is now at less than zero.

If I had to suggest a point to debate it would be, "Has Roswell killed Ufology?" I think the answer is yes, but for some it might be debatable.

On a much more positive note, so happy for you that Antarctica was such a wonderful experience. Saw your photos on FB. Wow! My skin has a little greenish tinge to it today.

Anonymous said...

What was that Moody Blues album? 'To Our Childrens, Childrens, Children (Of Roswell.)

Erickson said...

I think the only thing left to debate about Roswell is whether a Nazi UFO crashed there after hitting a Mogul balloon on its way from Antarctica while carrying the fuhrer to a secret meeting to negotiate an armistice after the disastrous defeat of Admiral Byrd's forces in Operation Highjump, only to have the crash be disguised as something alien in order to cover up the Nazi connection.

Apart from that, any debate about Roswell itself will be like when Scott Ramsey debated Kevin Randle about Aztec - the person who has studied the alleged event will have more material. This is why focusing on Antarctica would be good. At the very least your trip gives you some great pictures.

Erickson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erickson said...

Still, any event with Mr Schmitt should of course talk about the Slides. I am not sure that Roswell killed ufology - there are many contenders for that honor. But perhaps the Slides were like a gigantic wake.

Or is Roswell like the Golden Apple that Eris dropped at the feast? After chasing it for so long, is the debate and discord the only thing left?

Terry the Censor said...

A G&T made with iceberg chips -- nice.

They make any ice wine down there?

Terry the Censor said...

Debates are kind of worthless for establishing knowledge. It's just opinion versus opinion, with no testing of the evidence. But ufology is show business, not science, so we have to make compromises.

With that in mind, I would like to see something more like a trial. The claimant's advocate would present exhibits, examine witnesses or experts, whatever. The other side (perhaps Paul could think of a useful name) would then test the evidence, so to speak, through cross-examination. After a break, we switch sides. The doubters present their own evidence (not necessarily an alternate explanation; it could just be things that cast doubt on the claim). The claimant crosses. It would be nice to have a judge presiding to rule on matters of admissability and whatnot. But I can't imagine a conference audience voting as a jury. Perhaps the judge could give a summing up of the quality of the evidence.

This unwieldy suggestion could be pared down for events like the Schmitt/O'Connell faceoff. One claimant advocate has a time limit (say 60-90 minutes) to run through the evidence. After a short break, the advocate is subject to cross-examination for an equal length of time. Hilarity ensues!

(I'd love to get Kathleen Marden in the dock.)

Mark UFO'Connell said...

Oh yes, hilarity would ensue. Guaranteed, or your money back!