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11/16/2008 11:03:36 AM

The Allagash Abduction was a HOAX

I'd like to ask you to meet four unlucky art students: Twin brothers Jack and Jim Weiner, Chuck Rak, and Charlie Foltz. Back in August 1976, they decided they'd go on a nice, relaxing fishing trip to the back woods of Maine. Little did they know that they would be part of the most bizarre incidents of UFO history, and I don't mean the fact that in Maine they sell lobsters at McDonald's.

In the great tradition of relaxing sport expeditions, one night they made what seems to me a relatively poor choice, they decided to go night fishing. To find their way back to the bank, they made a good-size bonfire from some large logs that would burn well into the night. Hopping into their canoe, they set off onto the lake shortly past sun-down.

After a short time, they saw a strange light hovering over some trees perhaps a few hundred yards away. Charlie Foltz, in what I can only describe as, "something you couldn't pay me enough to do," took a flashlight and started flashing it at the object. The huge glowing ball, not to be outdone, moved towards them and lit up their canoe with a bright blue beam of light.

The fishermen began rowing like all hell, except for Charlie Foltz, who "wanted to meet the aliens." This should be lesson enough to ensure that, if you are going on an isolated fishing trip with your friends. You should discuss what to do in the event of being chased down by a UFO before you leave, because that's really one situation where you need a united plan everyone agrees on.

One moment, three quarters of the canoe's crew is paddling like madmen; the next moment, they are sitting on the shore of the lake.

Curiously, the bonfire they had lit only a little while before, and which should have burned for hours and hours, was now nothing but smoldering embers. More curiously, the four men were thoroughly uninterested: they just secured their gear and went to sleep. The next day they drove home as though nothing had happened. They all remembered the strange light, but not being chased down by it, and they were uninterested in the fact that they were apparently missing a couple of hours from their night. On the way out, they asked a park ranger about the lights; he replied that they were searchlights.

They lived normal lives until 12 years later, when Jim Weiner had an accident in which he fell about 15 feet. Since the earth has not yet ever lost in the competition of "falling people vs. the Earth," he received a bad case of epilepsy as a silver medal. After this severe blow to his head, Weiner began having strange, extremely vivid nightmares of being surrounded by monsters doing experiments on his body. He went to his doctors and told them of the research being done by Dr. John Mack at Harvard, who, being a psychologist, believed that every single thing he was being told was true. (I'm not saying that all headshrinkers have this problem, but Mack's field believed that everything a person said was valuable, since people always have a reason for saying things, even if they are lies. Other than his UFO work, it should be noted, Mack was a pretty good guy.)

Anyway, Weiner's doctors said something to the effect of "you're off your rocker" and he decided to take his problems to a different set of experts, he went to a UFO convention. There he talked to some folks who put him in contact with Anthony Constantino, a high-school English teacher and hypnotist.

Constantino agreed to hypnotize the four men, and in separate 3-hour sessions they all told the same story. The light was actually a spaceship, which had kidnapped them straight out of their canoe. They were led into a room "like a veterinarian's office" and subjected to a number of unpleasant medical procedures. They went through the whole alien abduction experience, with which you have probably now become quite aware, if you read this column with any regularity. Sperm was removed, objects inserted, giant insects spoke to them telepathically, so on and so forth.

The aftermath: Jack Weiner's artwork became fairly odd, focusing on holes burnt in pieces of graph paper. He also developed a large lump on his leg, which he had removed. Supposedly, the pathologist was unable to identify it, and sent it to the Centers for Disease Control. When Jack Weiner went there to see if they'd made any progress in identifying it, he was told that the Department of Defense had, for some reason, come in and confiscated the sample.

All four men became nationwide celebrities, a book was written of their encounter, they were featured in a full-length comic book version of the incident, and they have appeared on talk shows including the Joan Rivers Show. They have been the men of honor at a variety of UFO conventions and, of course, their story was on Unsolved Mysteries.

I want to make it clear that I'm not writing this in malice. I'm sure all four of these guys are nice people, and I wish them all the luck in the world. However, I think their tale is baloney, and I hope they won't hold the following explanation against me.

First, the fact that Weiner was aware of the work of John Mack, and that he was the one to bring the possibility of a UFO abduction up to his doctors, shows that he is no uninterested party. He already knew a fair amount about UFOs going into this. To be entirely frank, if you suddenly recall being abducted by space aliens shortly after receiving a blow to the head, as did Weiner, I'm a lot more than a little suspicious about your story.

Second, all of the evidence was recovered by hypnosis. Dr. David Jacobs, one of the leading voices in the UFO community has been quite frank with his opinion on hypnosis, no one is an expert in using it, and it is extremely easy to mess it up. He tells a story about how early in his career, when he was doing a hypnosis session, the person just kept telling him things that he unknowingly told her.

Perhaps he said "how many aliens were in the room?" or something in the question tells the person being hypnotized that they should have seen aliens in the room. The exact number is irrelevant, because it already establishes that yes, in fact, aliens are there. Suffice it to say that I don't trust hypnosis farther than I can throw the hypnotist, and I've got skinny arms. Hypnosis provides the only proof that this whole thing occurred, and it is the least reliable method most prone to providing errant results, ever conceived by man.

There's an episode of Dragnet where Sgt. Friday is investigating a murder, so he goes into a bar and asks all the patrons what happened. They all give him the same story- the exact same story. Friday turns to his partner and says, "usually it's hard to get witnesses to agree on anything, but they're all telling me the exact same thing, in the exact same words. Something's not right here." If the stories were wildly different, I wouldn't believe them, but there's another extreme: since they're exactly, perfectly, 100 percent the same, I'm mildly suspicious about them.

The fact that the park ranger instantly said searchlights were responsible for the lights is interesting. If he didn't know there were searchlights in the area, would he have said that? No detail is given in any of the accounts I've read, but that's a minor, fascinating, and suspicion-generating part of the story.

I'm sure you're asking, "if this abduction never occurred, and the culprit isn't bad hypnosis, why would they make this story up?" I agree totally. Aside from the nationwide fame, celebrity-status among the UFO community, profit, and increase in the sale of their artwork, they had no reasons to make this whole thing up. I'm not saying they did (I have no proof of that) I'm just saying that they had a lot to gain by doing so.

So what does this case boil down to? A decade after a weird fishing trip, a severe blow to the head makes one of the fishermen suspect he'd been abducted by space aliens. Not just that something weird had happened; he went in believing UFOs were at the heart of it. "Evidence" was then collected by the least reliable method, hypnosis, and the four received some money and a lot of fame. I don't know what happened that night, but I do know that a story has got to be a lot stronger than what they've got to convince me of the existence of space aliens, flying around, and kidnapping people.

 replies will be listed below this message edit

  Replies 1 - 10 (out of 11 total)

11/16/2008 12:01:46 PM

If everything else about their story didn’t ring false, I’d still be hesitant to believe them just because two of them are named ‘Mr. Weiner.’ Names aside, however, something doesn’t seem credible. While camping in 1976, these four men began to run dangerously low on food. To fix things, they decided to try their hand at night fishing. Before leaving, they erected an insanely large bonfire, so that it would still be raging when they returned. Did you catch that logic? Already I find these men less credible, because they decided, Hey, let’s make the bonfire really really big, and then leave. The fact that the beautiful Allagash forests weren’t burnt to the ground is arguably undeniable evidence of alien intervention, but I feel like it’s just luck.

The men went out on a canoe, and shortly after spotted a large flying object several hundred yards away. Charlie Foltz did what any man would have done in the same position: He turned on his flashlight, and signaled an SOS. What he was hoping to be saved from escapes me completely, nor do I understand where he got the idea that a glowing light in the northern sky would save him from it. The glowing light turned towards them and hovered in their direction, and they paddled madly for the shore, where they were enveloped in an eerily colored light. The next thing they knew, they were once again on the bank. Charlie shined his flashlight at the object menacingly, and it flew away. Their fire, however, had died down, suggesting that several hours had passed.

In my case against the Allagash abductees, there is no single piece of evidence that outweighs the art the four men drew. For men who call themselves artists, this stuff seems almost as convincing as pencil-scratched desk drawings of UFOs.

And let’s not forget that the “Allagash Abductions” occurred a year after the Travis Walton Abduction. Coincidence? I highly doubt it.

11/16/2008 3:57:17 PM

A good sceptical attitude towards these things is healthy, personally I would not believe abduction cases these days without a good polygraph result indicating truthfulness from all witnesses. Anyone know if these have been done ?

11/17/2008 9:06:48 AM

I believe the men involved in the Travis Walton abductions all took the test and all but one passed.

11/17/2008 1:52:47 PM

While I really don't intend to play out the Travis Walton saga, I will again however,
express my doubts about the genuiness of that account..

Sure, on the surface, when you have multiple people involved, the numbers by
themselves seem sufficient (imo) to support the view that the account could only
have been true.. myself, I prefer to cling to my unsettled opinion of 'doubt',
because when you examine everything about this case in it's entirety, which
has been discussed over many years, the 'doubts' seem to win out imo.

Although the Hill's case seems to have various precedents, as it became more
well known, Walton's case in the mid 70s, really tested a couple of issues that
weren't really challenged before in the public arena, as they were to be with
this.. for example, polygraph testing was and still remains, imo, a central point of
concern. Depending on which one prefers to believe, you can make your argument
for or against Walton. So ultimately, 'believability' or 'credibility' began to rise to
the surface as the more important considerations..

At the moment, I can't recall each of the little tidbits which caused me to have so
much doubt with this case.. something related to the fact that Walton initially failed
one polygraph test which for whatever reason, gets buried or explained away in
each re-telling.. or that the initial polygraphs of everyone involved was limited in
their scope.. this point isn't overly emphasized for one reason or another. So, I fail
to understand how Walton's supporters can rely upon this so heavily unless that's
what they prefer.

I've offered before and think it would be very helpful, if each of the witnesses
were to take individual polygraph tests today, where they had absolutely no control
of the test parameters.. and passed, then I'd be fully willing to reverse my opinion.

I don't know if they have, are willing to or have not.. but I have some difficulty with
those supporters who prefer to rely SOLELY upon tests conducted back then. If
the witnesses are all still alive and so adamant in their claims, why not have some
highly reputable lab perform testing today?

I might anticipate that the response from the witnesses today, to a new round of
independent, rigidly controlled polygraph testing, might be that they are all tired of
affair, the publicity, the ridicule and on and on.. Sorry, but this would amount to
being a delay tactic or defensive reaction, imo... They would have nothing to lose
or would they?

I can appreciate the controversial nature of hypnosis and claims which lack
any hard physical evidence.. and even photographs. So, what are we left with
but polygraph testing? Why should we remain content with an endless
back-and-forth debate which these guys could help to minimize, if they chose

I would like to read where someone or some organization has pushed for this
to come about.


11/17/2008 5:43:35 PM

LJ wrote

"something related to the fact that Walton initially failed
one polygraph test which for whatever reason, gets buried or explained away in
each re-telling.."

If I recall from my reading of various accounts of the Walton test, the initial polygraph was taken very soon after his reappearance when he was still in a confused , dazed and stressed state.

What do polygraphs measure ? Answer STRESS as evidenced by increased heart rate, blood pressure and sweating.

I think it is highly likely that the mere recall of such stressful events so soon after his experience of them would have distorted the test so much for it to be useless, and the more accurate results would occur after he had settled down and was assured that the incident was over and he could relax..

Add this to the fact that at the time the initial tests were taken, polygraphs were the new kid on the block as far as the technology went and as time went by techniques advanced and became more accurate, and I think we couild discount the results of the first polygraph, and take the later ones which he passed as being more representative of the truth.

11/17/2008 11:10:45 PM


Again, I think the Walton saga might have been the turning point where we began
to see (again, just my opinion) an upswing in our interests and reliance upon
hypnosis and polygraph testing.. I'm thinking that most Walton supporters want
to rely upon what favors their position while discounting anything that doesn't.

I don't disagree that these things were still relatively new, for most purposes, and
not fully explored (if that's the right word to use)..

What you say may well be true, about Walton being stressed.. because who am I
to even suggest he wasn't.. However, having said that, your coming to his aid in
this regard is the first such explanation that I can recall which uses that as the
basis for his failing the one test.. vague as my memory is, at this point, I recall that
the initial conclusion on 'that' test was simply that he was 'deceptive'..

Now I may ask, how soon is 'too soon" for one to be tested? One could argue
that taking a polygraph at at any point in time is 'too soon', unless of course, the
results favor the desired outcome. I think my point is a fair one that the other tests
that were conducted, were quite limited in scope.. that is, very very few questions
actually related to the claim. This is a very relevant consideration, imo. But it has
been quite a while since I delved into this, so don't quote me verbatim.. I'm attempting
to generalize. For whatever the reason, I'm not too receptive to conclusions which
give the appearance of being selective in what aspects they will accept or discount.

I wouldn't think that anyone would oppose somehow rounding up all the parties
involved and having them participate in a new round of testing where, as I suggest,
none had any control on the testing parameters.. there would be no self sponsored
testing. Just once, I would like to see some seasoned author, reputable researcher
or related ufo organization coordinate an effort to bringing this about where an
established and fully independent technician would administer a good handful of
pointed questions directly related to the claims, to each respective witness.

Again, we'be grown to accept the controversial nature of hypnosis, photographs
and /or even claims themselves where there's no physical evidence. I think a new
round of polygraph testing might just help to lessen the divide between supporters
and critics, at least to some degree. So, my question remains the same: The
parties would have nothing to lose.. or would they?

This might be too impractical or unreasonable an expectation, given the enormity of
the ufo phenom.. but, presuming that all the parties were still alive and thriving,
I'd sure welcome some dedicated effort which sought to retest everyone more
thoroughly. It would be a shame to wait another 30 or 40 years, waiting for all
the parties to pass on, only to continue the debate when we had plenty of
opportunity to re-examine our conclusions.


11/18/2008 12:29:00 AM

Hi LJ,

Have a look at


Which contains a detailed look at the Walton case
specifically it says regarding Walton's failed first test:

"And the conditions of the McCarthy test are not particularly ideal. Descriptions of Walton's extreme agitation are universally available, even from cynical skeptics such as Enquirer reporter Jeff Wells: "Our first sight of the kid was at dinner in the hotel dining room that night. It was a shock. He sat there mute, pale, twitching like a cornered animal. He was either a brilliant actor or he was in serious funk about something... The kid was a wreck and it was all the psychiatrist could do to get him ready for the lie-detector expert we had lined up."

Additionally, the Walton brothers experienced McCarthy as hostile and disbelieving, which (if true) can also increase the risk of false positive error. On tape, McCarthy interrupts Walton 28 times, for example berating him when he is clearly confused about dates, snapping "Where have you been, in a vacuum?"

In the context of an RI test, these issues simply establish that we have exceptionally good reasons to discount the results. Klass' heralding of the "bombshell" McCarthy results, as well as Kevin Randle's contemporary argument that the McCarthy test "speaks volumes" about Walton's truthfulness, are in striking contrast to Charles Honts' comment that a "failed RI test should be given no weight for any purpose".

In reply to your point about self organised polygraphs, the article reports on the tests done in 1993 after the making of the film "Fire in the Sky"

"The Gilson tests were conducted during preparation for the 1993 film adaptation of Walton's experiences, also titled Fire in the Sky, produced by Paramount Pictures. The tests had been sponsored and monitored by a skeptical investigator named Jerry Black, who initially contacted Paramount demanding to know why they were making a movie about a known hoax. Black reopened an independent investigation into the case, interviewing such key participants as George Pfiefer, John McCarthy, Sheriff Marlin Gillespie and the Forest Service officials.

On the heels of the film and the Gilson tests, Walton was able to present a summary rebuttal to his critics in his 1996 book release (most notably in the form of an 85 page appendix dissecting his primary accuser, Klass.) In it he quotes Jerry Black on his eventual assessment of the case:

"There's no question in my mind that the clincher, as far as Travis Walton himself is concerned, was his agreeability to take the polygraph in the face of realizing that he had really nothing to gain and everything to lose at this late point and date. The film was already made, he had his money; if he was really lying he would have been a fool, under the circumstances, to take the test with nothing to gain and everything to lose. [This] showed me that he had nothing to fear, that in his mind he knew, he *had to know* that in his mind he was telling the truth as he knew it. He knew full well that it was going to become public record. The questions were tight. Everything in the polygraph just confirmed my total investigation."

On the subject of a hoax to get out of the forest contract..

"Klass eventually focused on his "forest contract theory" for hoax motive, wherein Walton and Rogers were staging the hoax as a way to get out of the forest service contract via an "act of God" provision. According to all parties, Rogers was in fact close to defaulting on the contract. Klass documents this, citing Forest Service Contracting Officer Maurice Marchbanks.

However, Klass failed to relay Marchbanks' opinion of the plausibility of such a motive, as Marchbanks is reported elsewhere stating flatly, "There was no way such an alleged hoax could benefit Rogers." Forest Service Contract Supervisor Junior Williams concurred: "He had no reason -- I didn't see that he had anything to gain, as far as his contract was concerned, or anything else, to conjure up a story of this kind."


PS looks like it's Skeates day at the shrink thank God.

11/19/2008 6:36:31 AM

IMO, cases like these are not ones that are going to prove the existence of ET and are not worthy of intense focus and analysis, due to the questionable nature of their evidence, the manner in which it was retrieved, and the likelyhood that it could be a hoax. Instead, they tend to drag the entire ET phenomenon and any credibility it has down the drain with them. Even if they are true, the manner in which the evidence was collected is controversial and can be easily disputed by debunkers. Since battling the debunkers has become a major aspect of the UFO phenomenon, giving them more cases that are easily questioned and dismissed does not help our side at all.

Yes, this is politics and real cases can be overlooked given my criteria for a good case, but UFOSkeptic's analysis is important because believers need to reject hoax cases since we do not want them polluting the database of real cases. So while interesting and potentially containing useful information, these case are not going to push us over the edge of proof of ET, IMO.

11/20/2008 8:35:21 AM

So the Allagash Abduction was a hoax, correct?

11/21/2008 9:42:46 AM

I used to think this was the most convincing case of alien abduction until a started to think about it. Is it a hoax or is there more than meets the eye?

  Replies 1 - 10 (out of 11 total)

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