Summary: Article on the Walton Abduction from the UFO Casebook.
The UFO phenomena is generally given little if any serious consideration by those engaged in credible scientific studies. Without a doubt many so-called UFO sightings can easily be dismissed as misidentified craft, stars, planets, or just plain hoaxes perpetrated by thrill or money seeking individuals. Many books and studies have examined the statistics, and roughly about 95% of the sightings can easily be explained away. Considering the great distances between stars, it is very easy to assume that the odds of a visit from another intelligence are extremely low. These assumptions are based upon the extent of our knowledge, and should another race visit us, they would most certainly possess a higher degree of intelligence than we do. We are trying to judge a possibility while handicapped by the limits of what we know today.
The 1993 release of the movie "Fire In The Sky" was intriguing to many who had waited for a screen presentation of Walton's book by the same name. D.B.Sweeny and James Garner offered the film veteran actors. Those familiar with the actual story were less than impressed. Those who were not privy to the actual accounts, thought it only fiction. There are some great sets, and special effects, but the story, oh, the story is not done justice. My goal during this series of articles, is to present the facts behind the movie; the real story of the abduction of Travis Walton. I ask only one thing of you the reader, make no decisions on it's validity until you have read all the facts.
I have personally examined hundreds of pictures of UFOs, read many reports and books on the subject, and I will be the first to admit that most of them are laughable, obvious hoaxes. Many television presentations of reports are highly dramatized, and do not stick to the facts of the case. There are, however, a few that just won't go away. I would like to present to you one case that has never been explained by any of our normal means. After a comprehensive study of all of the facts of this occurrence only two possible explanations remain; Either the individuals involved pulled off one of the best kept, well-organized conspiracies in UFO history, or the events are true. The case that I put before you is the Travis Walton abduction.
This baffling UFO case began on November 5th, 1975, in northeastern Arizona's Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. A logging crew of 7 men were working on a government contract, clearing forest. The men loaded into a single pickup truck leaving work for the day. As they started their journey home, they saw, not far from the road, a "luminous object, shaped like a flattened disc." All of the men agreed that Travis Walton, captivated by the sight, left the truck to get a closer look. While gazing up in awe at the object, suddenly a brilliant bluish light struck him and threw him to the ground some distance away. This event caused the other crew members to flee the scene in fear for their lives. After arguing among themselves, they decided to go back and see if they could help Travis. Returning to the scene, they found no trace of the craft, or Travis.
A personal friend of Travis', Mike Rogers, was the crew foreman, and driver of the truck. According to Rogers, as the men fled the scene, he looked back and saw a "luminous object" lift out of the forest, and disappear toward the horizon. Rogers and the other 5 workers eventually would take a lie detector test. The men passed the examination, and soon the case exploded into the national spotlight. Walton reappeared five days later, confused and scared, with fleeting memories of alien entities, and descriptions of the inside of their craft. He was also subsequently subjected to a number of polygraph examinations. The Travis Walton event would soon become the very first abduction case to be given serious consideration by credible scientists. His story would force the general public to reevaluate previously close minded opinions on the subject.
The six witnesses (Allen Dalis, Dwayne Smith, John Goulette, Kenneth Peterson, Mike Rogers, and Steve Pierce) of this controversial case, described the craft in personal, yet similar terms. Rogers' description depicts the craft as a "large, glowing object hovering in the air below the treetops about 100 feet away." Dwayne Smith described the craft as "smooth and giving off a yellowish-orange light." Additional eyewitness accounts added the following: "unbelievably smooth", "a flattened disc" with "edges clearly defined." Walton and Rogers both estimated that the craft was about 20 feet in overall diameter.
The details of the event quoted from the investigator's report are as follows: As Walton approached on foot across the clearing, the "UFO began to wobble or rock slightly", and then emitted a "bluish light from the machine", "a blue ray shot out of the bottom of that thing and hit him all over", "that ray was the brightest thing I've ever seen". This light sent Walton "backward through the air ten feet", "hurled through the air in a backwards motion, falling on the ground, on his back", "flying -- like he'd touched a live wire". "The horror was unreal."
Polygrapher Cy Gilson relates from his documents the following: Testimony from Allen Dalis: "During the pretest interview, Mr. Dalis related the following events that occurred on that day. Mr. Dalis said they had finished work for the day and were heading home. It was almost dark. He saw a glow coming from among the trees ahead of them. As they came to a clearing, he saw the object he called a UFO. Mr. Rogers was slowing the truck down to stop as Travis Walton exited the truck and began to advance towards the UFO in a brisk walk... Mr. Dalis described the UFO as being a yellowish white in color. He said the light emitting from it was not bright but a glow that gave off light all around itself. Mr. Dalis saw Walton reach the UFO, stop and look up at it. He said it looked as if Walton was standing there, slightly bent over, with his hands in his pockets. Mr. Dalis said the UFO began to wobble or rock slightly and he began to become afraid. He put his head down towards his knees. As he did so, a bright light flashed that lit up the area, even the inside of the truck. He immediately looked towards the UFO. He saw a silhouette of Walton. Mr. Walton had his arms up in the air... Mr. Dalis turned towards Mr. Rogers who was in the driver's seat and yelled for him to 'get the hell out of here'..."
Sworn testimony concerning Mike Rogers states that: "...he was on the opposite side of the truck from the UFO. He had to bend over slightly to view it in its entirety through the truck windows. He described the UFO to be glowing a yellowish tan color. He could not say if the light emanated from within the UFO, or was a lighting system outside, that lit up the UFO. He did say he could see the shadows of the trees on the ground, around the UFO. He said it was round and about 20 feet in diameter. He said the UFO was about 75 to 100 feet from the truck... As Mr. Rogers started to move the truck a brilliant flash of light lit up the entire area, even inside the truck. It was described as a prolonged strobe flash. He did not see a beam of light emit from the UFO and hit Walton. As the flash occurred, Mr.Rogers turned around in his seat to look at the UFO again and saw Mr.Walton being hurled through the air in a backwards motion, falling on the ground, on his back. At this time, Mr. Dalis and someone else yelled to get the hell out of here..."
According to the story, upon returning to the scene, the crewmen searched briefly through the woods, calling Walton's name. They then proceeded down to the main road and, after some debate, decided to call the police and ask for assistance. They were first met by a Deputy Ellison and subsequently by Sheriff Marlin Gillespie, who would later describe the crewmen as apparently sincerely distressed. The officers and crewmen went back up the hill and searched again with flashlights, eventually calling off the search and making plans for a more thorough manhunt beginning early the next morning. The next several days were marked by unsuccessful searches for the missing Walton, including some use of helicopters and dogs. Temperatures dropped below zero the first two nights of the search, dimming hope that he was alive. Meanwhile, law enforcement officials were looking for alternate explanations of the event, including the possibility that Walton had been murdered.
Law enforcement, looking for a more believable explanation, began a thorough investigation of the facts. All five remaining members of the crew were questioned over and over again. Family members and friends were also interrogated. One fact that colored this questioning was that all of the men were unlearned, everyday working people noted to be a little "rough around the edges."
The common belief at the time was that Dalis and Walton had fought, and that Dalis had either accidentally or purposely killed Walton, and hid his body. The problem with this theory was that if a murder had taken place, why would the other 4 crewmen risk the fires of justice to cover for Dalis. A second theory put forth at the onset was that possibly all of the crewmen had been involved in some kind of brawl or argument, and accidentally killed Travis, hiding his body somewhere in the vast forest. If this was true, why concoct a story involving a UFO abduction? being one of the most unbelievable stories one could put forth. Another scenario offered by some was that since the crew was behind on their government contract, they were looking for an excuse to get out of it. Again, why this most bizarre story?
In their initial reports, the 6 crewmen had indicated a willingness to undergo any kind of lie detection test to establish their truthfulness. After the second day of searching, law enforcement officials brought in Cy Gilson, a polygraph examiner from the Department of Public Safety (associated with the state police), to test all five. Four of the witnesses passed this polygraph examination, while for the fifth, Allen Dalis, the test was ruled inconclusive (unable to assign a reading). While the successful tests fueled media interest in the case, the inconclusive result for Dalis put some heat on him personally. While some of the crew members, such as Rogers and Walton, had been friends long before the forest service brush-clearing contract, others were only acquaintances, and in the case of Allen Dalis, he and Walton were said to have had some personal animosities.
If Walton had been involved somehow in a conspiracy to deceive authorities, he certainly left his closest family members out of the loop. At approximately 1:30 A.M. on the morning of Nov.6th, crew members Coplan and Rogers went to notify Walton's mother, Mary Kellett, of her son's disappearance. Mrs. Kellett's calm response upon being awakened and told her youngest son had been kidnapped by a UFO was "Well, that's the way these things happen," and then she proceeded to described two instances when she and/or her oldest son, Duane, had also seen UFOs. Later that morning (approximately 3:00 A.M.) when Mrs. Kellett told Walton's sister, Mrs. Grant Neff, that "a flying saucer got him [Travis]," Mrs. Neff surprised Coplan with how calmly she too took the news. The rest of that day was taken up by an extensive search of the area where Walton allegedly disappeared. Curiously absent from the site was any physical evidence of anything happening, in spite of the "explosive" force of the blue-green beam. No blood, no shreds of clothing, no evidence of the blast effects was found by any of the nearly fifty searchers involved.
For as many UFO proponents there are, there are that many and more debunkers. The authorities tried to keep the scene of the incident for serious forensic examination, but the mass influx of people, not only local, but world-wide, made this an impossibility. The crewmen's stories were treated with mixed opinion. Some marveled to hear what they had seen, and some called them "pranksters" and "liars." Some even went as far as to suggest that the whole account was nothing more than a joke gone bad, and that Travis was hiding somewhere and would suddenly reappear on cue. At this stage of the investigation there was one question on the minds of all involved, whether friend or foe; Where was Travis Walton?
The last thing that Walton remembered about the incident in the woods was the feeling of going backwards, and then nothing. Nothing that is, until he awoke in pain, frozen in pain, with an overwhelming thirst. Slowly making out the image of some kind of light, he comes to the realization that he is lying on a table of some kind. Still very weak, Walton realizes "Oh, My God, the hospital, they brought me to the hospital." Sweating from the moist humid air, he finds that he is uncomfortable because he is still in his work gear, and his jacket is pushed up under his arms. "I wonder why the nurse didn't at least take my jacket off?" Feeling a strange looking device curved around his body, he tries to focus his vision on the blurry figures of the doctors and nurses who certainly had come to his aid. His vision clearing, he suddenly sees who is there; to his shock he is staring into the face of a .. horrible creature!
There were three of them, gazing right back at him with luminous brown pupils the size of quarters. Travis attempts to push one of them away with what little strength he has at the time. Strangely the creature shoots backward with ease. "It felt spongy and soft," he would later relate. Bringing himself to his feet, Travis readied himself for a fight, like a caged animal. Looking for something to defend himself with, he grabs an unfamiliar looking tube and tries to scare his captors with it. Screaming to the three entities, "Keep back, damn you!" they stopped in their tracks. The beings were a little under 5 ft. in height, with a basic humanoid appearance. They were thin, puny, covered with marshmallow looking skin. Their small hands were delicate and without nails. Totally bald, their heads were disproportionately large for their little bodies.
The only facial features that didn't appear underdeveloped were those incredible eyes! Those glistening orbs had brown irises twice the size of those of a normal human's eye, nearly an inch in diameter! The iris was so large that even parts of the pupils were hidden by the lids, giving the eyes a certain catlike appearance. There was very little of the white part of the eye showing. They had no lashes and no eyebrows. Their little mouths never moved. Travis was ready for the fight of his life. Suddenly, inexplicably, the aliens left the room through an open door. "I have to get out of here," he thought.
Looking through a curved hallway opening from the room, he saw no one in sight. Frantically searching as he moved, he passed a doorway, and then thought; "Should I go back, did I miss a chance to escape?" Cautiously approaching the room, he looked in and saw a circular room with a domed roof, three rectangular doorways were shut. The room was empty except for one chair facing away from him. Could someone be sitting in the chair, out of his view? He circled the room, watching the chair, never wanting to see one of those hideous creatures again. Finally convinced that the chair was unoccupied, he began to move toward it. A strange thing began to happen! The closer to the center of the room he got, the darker the room became. Small points of light began to appear on, or through, the wall of the room!
Experimenting with strange looking controls on the chair, he felt afraid that he might draw attention to himself, so the got up, and left the chair. As he walked to the edge of the room, the stars which were once visible faded out, and the surfaces of the wall, ceiling, and floor became visible. Approaching one of the rectangular doors, he searched for some kind of control to open it, but found none. Walking back to the chair, Travis hears a faint sound, a door opens, and standing before him is a human being! This man was over 6 ft tall, and muscularly built. Running up to him, Travis starts asking questions. No sound came from the "man." The man took Travis by the arm, leading him down a narrow hallway. Stopping in front of a door that suddenly opened itself, they entered a small, bare room. Again Travis tried to get a response from the man, but his efforts fell on deaf ears.
Travis spent only a couple of minutes in the small room, and then another doorway opened. From the opened doorway, nice fresh air came in. Next Travis proceeded down a ramp to a floor. Looking back he could see the craft that he had just exited. This craft was much larger than the one he had seen in the woods. He estimated the diameter at about 60 feet in diameter. Travis had now left the large craft, and entered a large room. Within this room he could see several other smaller saucer-type crafts. Travis was now taken through a hallway to another set of doors, which also automatically opened. Through this door he entered a totally white room with a table and a chair. Travis' attention was immediately drawn to three other humans in the room. This time there were two men and a woman. These three had similar characteristics to the first human he had seen. All four of them had a family like similarity. Travis again tried to initiate a conversation, but again to no avail. Travis asked a couple of questions along the lines of; "Would somebody please tell me where I am?", "What in hell is going on?, What is this place?"
The woman and one of the men took Travis by the arm and led him to a table. Travis became frightened wondering what they were going to do. All three of the men gently pushed Travis back on the table. The woman took an object that resembled an oxygen mask, yet no tubes were attached to it, only a small black golfball sized sphere. Travis tried to push the mask away, but suddenly felt weak, and next came nothing but blackness. One thought came to him before consciousness left him; "What happens next?"
The investigation of the disappearance of Travis Walton was nothing short of mass confusion. The town of Snowflake had been swamped by newspaper and television reporters from all over the world. Everybody took a side. It seemed at the time that opinions were equally split. One side thought; "This whole mess will be over as soon as they find his body", the other side thought; "Where in the world is Travis hiding, and when will he come back?" Neither side had long to wait. The continuing search for Travis turned up absolutely nothing except innuendo and theory. All speculation would be put to the test, when 5 days after allegedly being hit with a beam from some sort of flying craft, Travis suddenly reappeared.
Travis stated; "Consciousness returned to me on the night I awoke to find myself on the cold pavement west of Heber, Arizona. I was lying on my stomach, my head on my right forearm. Cold air brought me instantly awake. I looked up in time to see a light turn off on the bottom of a curved, gleaming hull. As I'd raised my head up, a white light caught my eye just before it blinked off. Either a light had been turned off or a hatch had closed, cutting off the light from inside. I only caught a glimpse as I raised my head; I could not be sure which it was."
Travis further stated: "Then I saw the mirrored outline of a rounded, silvery disc hovering four feet above the paved surface of the road. It must have been about forty feet in diameter because it extended several feet off the left side of the road. It was too large for the highway and it extended past the roadside to my left to clear a cutaway rock embankment on the other side of the highway. It appeared to be about fourteen feet high in the center". Travis continued; "For an instant it floated silently above the road, a dozen yards away. I could see the night sky, the surrounding trees, and the highway center line reflected in the curving mirror of its hull. I noticed a faint warmth radiating onto my face. Then, abruptly, it shot vertically into the sky, creating a strong breeze that stirred the nearby pine boughs and rustled the dry oak leaves that lay in the dry grass beside the road. It gave off no light; and it was almost instantly lost from sight. The most striking thing about its departure was its quietness. It seemed impossible that something so large, moving through the atmosphere at such speed, would not have shrieked through the air, or even broken the sound barrier with a sonic boom. Yet it had been totally silent!"
I scrambled shakily to my feet. My legs felt rubbery. I swayed, then caught my balance. I looked around and recognized the deserted stretch of curving road as the highway that wound down the canyon into Heber from the West. I ran wildly down the deserted highway, across the bridge into Heber, stopping at the new building across from the Union 76 service station. No one answered my desperate knocking. No cars passed by. I ran down the highway, over the second bridge, to the row of telephone booths at the Exxon station. I dialed the operator (a dime was not required to reach an operator in our part of the country) and panted out the number of my sister. She was the only nearby relative with a telephone. My brother-in-law Grant answered. It was 12:05 A.M. I was in an incredible mental state, difficult to describe. As best I can remember, I shouted something like: "They brought me back!" Then I babbled, "I'm out here in Heber, please get somebody to come and get me!" My hand shook as I held the cold receiver. Grant was not amused. He took this call to be another cruel joke. "Uh, I think you have the wrong number," he replied sarcastically, starting to hang up.
"Wait! It's me, Travis!" I screamed hysterically into the receiver. "Where are you?" he asked, still suspicious of a joke. "I'm at the Heber Exxon station." "Okay," he replied, almost apologetically, yet still cautious of a prank. "Stay right there. I'll come and get you. Just hang on."
Grant drove the three miles from Taylor over to Snowflake and found my brother Duane at Mom's house. He told Duane about the call, and of his doubts it was really me. Duane, too, thought the call might have been yet another example of someone's idiotic concept of humor. But they decided they couldn't risk not investigating. They set out for Heber, thirty-three miles away.
"Lights suddenly shone into the phone booth. Relief flooded over me when I raised my head and saw the headlights of Duane's pickup. Duane and Grant got out and came to where I was still slumped in the phone booth. Duane opened the glass door of the booth and helped me to my feet. "Am I ever glad to see you!" Grant said. Duane helped me into the warm truck and asked Grant to drive. On the way to Snowflake I tried to tell them about what happened to me, but I just couldn't get it all out. "They were awful; white skin; great big eyes; . . ." I sobbed in horror". "Take it easy, Travis, you're all right now. They didn't harm you, did they?" "No . . . but those eyes, those horrible eyes! They just kept looking at me!" "Just so you're okay, that's all that counts," Duane said. "Everyone has been worried sick about you." "If it's already after midnight, I must have been unconscious for a couple of hours," I replied shakily. "Because I only remember about an hour or an hour and a half inside that thing." Duane and Grant looked at me strangely. "Travis, feel your face," Duane said. "Good heavens, I just shaved this morning and it feels like a week's growth!" I exclaimed, still not comprehending. "Travis," Duane said gently, "You've been missing for five days!"
After Travis was found, the first consideration of family and friends was his health. Only a few bruises and scrapes marred him physically. His mental condition? That was a different story. Travis' older brother Duane tried to protect him, and handle the authorities, but was ill-equipped for what was to come. UFO research groups descended on the family, local and state police were hungry for some answers. Profiteers, racketeers, freaks, debunkers, and skeptics all wanted a piece of Travis and his story. Already angry at thinking they had been hoodwinked, they couldn't wait to say "I told you so," "I knew it was a hoax," "They were all a bunch of loons." Was this another fraudulent, stupid story of "little green men"? The collusion of National Enquirer and APRO would have an adverse effect on the case. Did they care whether or not the story was real? Or were they interested only in selling papers? The research group APRO had a reputation of being a fair and open-minded organization. Certainly not able to investigate all UFO reports, they had to be choosy, and look into the most credible cases only. Not especially overflowing with financial backing, they were put into the position of having to rely on The National Enquirer bankrolling the investigation in exchange for the exclusive rights to publishing it.
Rushing Travis to a lie-detector test was a mistake. Still in a state of mental confusion, he was unsure exactly what had happened. He only recalled bits and pieces of information at first, but in time his memory slowly returned. Travis' first lie-detector test showed deception. Subsequently he would pass 12 others, one as late as 1993, some 18 years after the fact. It would seem incredibly strange that 4 witnesses of an event would pass an examination, with 1 inconclusive, and the victim of the event itself fail. It should be noted that all of the witnesses subsequently passed all lie-detector tests given them. It was also reported that one of the crewmen was offered $10,000.00 to say the whole case was fabricated. Though certainly tempted by the huge sum of money, he stuck to his original assertion. The Dalis test was also tainted by the fact that he was allegedly wanted for questioning relating to a crime, and also had some family problems unresolved, like a fairly large sum of back child support. His name in the papers would most assuredly alert searching family members and authorities to his whereabouts.
In my own research for these articles, I have searched through literally hundreds of reports, both pro and con. It is amazing that even some of the larger, more reputable movie and book review sites (not naming names), don't even have some of the basic facts of the case correct. I have seen different numbers of crewmen listed, anywhere from 3-7, when the actual police report lists all 6 men (including Walton) with their names, addresses, etc. This is only one area of misinformation. Taking into account all of the information available at this time, there are some facts of the case which are irrefutable;
1) Despite allegations of a hoax by well-known UFO investigators, NO ONE has brought forth any proof to substantiate their claims.
2) Despite a massive search by approximately 50 volunteers aided by dogs and helicopters, NO physical trace of Travis Walton was found during the 5 days of his disappearance.
3) During the 25 years since the case began, not ONE person has brought forth any information indicating where Travis was, or even alleged a possible sighting of him during the five days.
4) Law enforcement officials, though claiming hoax all the while, never presented ANY evidence to put a dent in one of the crewmen's statements, which remain the same to this day.
5) From a theoretical standpoint, it is highly unlikely that 6 men, common everyday working men, could put together an elaborate hoax, pass lie-detector tests, stand up to questioning, and stick to the same incredible story for a quarter of a century, without a break. The stress of the investigation caused personal problems among the men, yet they still stuck to their stories.
6) Though Walton did receive money for his story, it was not until many years later that he gained financially from it. Reviewing all the facts presented to date, it is also advisable to mention that it is easier to prove that something happened, than to prove that it didn't. It is also very easy to simply yell "Hoax," without tenable proof. However, in the shadow of all of the crewmen's statements to date, it is very compelling to say that something very extraordinary and unusual did happen on November 5th, 1975 in the remote forests of Arizona. The Travis Walton Story, "Fire In The Sky," remains one of the most intriguing reports of UFO abduction today.
"It was many years ago that I got out of a crew truck in the national forest and ran toward a large glowing UFO hovering in the darkening Arizona sky. But when I made that fateful choice to leave the truck, I was leaving behind more than just my six fellow workmen. I was leaving behind forever all semblance of a normal life, running headlong toward an experience so overwhelmingly mind-rending in it's effects, so devastating in its aftermath, that my life would never - could never - be the same again." (Travis Walton)