The Travis Walton Abduction
- Close Encounters
- For nearly 38 years the world has been mystified and intrigued by the tale of Travis Walton, a logger in a small town in Arizona who went missing in late 1975. The disappearance, the search and his subsequent re-appearance have become one of the most publicised examples of supposed “alien abduction” and remains to this day cloaked in mystery and suspicion.
Walton has to this day kept to his story, and has appeared in numerous media discussing his experience. However, his story has always been the subject of debate and speculation. It is one of the few examples of a UFO encounter where multiple witnesses were involved, and all involved in the earlier aspect of the story have proven that something happened in the woods near Snowflake, Arizona.
A then 22 year old Walton was, on the evening of Wednesday November 5th in 1975, returning to Snowflake with 6 other men, including their boss Mike Rogers, who was contracted by the United States Forest Service to thin out undergrowth and scrub bush from a large forest area. The crew were behind schedule and were working long hours to finish, working from dawn to dusk most days.
Just after 6pm the 7 men piled into Rogers’ truck to return to Snowflake, and shortly afterward, saw what they first thought to be a forest fire. Upon approaching a clearing they came across a large silvery disc hovering in mid-air. Rogers stopped the truck, upon which, Walton got out and ran towards the object.
The men observed the object starting to make loud noise and “wobble” from side-to-side, and as the men shouted for Walton to return to the truck, Walton began walking backwards away from the object. It was then that the men watched in horror as Walton was struck by a blue-green ray shot from the disc, and was “risen a foot in the air and thrown backwards 3 metres, landing and sprawled limply.
Convinced Walton was dead, and scared as hell, Rogers gave into the terrified shrieks of his crew members and sped away, sure that the disc was following them. However, after stopping some time soon after the crew turned around and went back, searching the clearing for a half an hour but found no Walton.
Returning to town, they called the police and reported Walton missing, however it was later in the evening that the men fully divulged what they had witnessed. The police and some volunteers, as well as most of Rogers’ crew, returned to the woods that night to search but found nothing.
Come daybreak police were becoming suspicious of the UFO story and suspected homicide.
By Saturday the 8th, the story had spread via international media, and Snowflake was inundated by reporters, ufologists and people curious about the where-abouts of Walton.
On Monday Rogers and his crew were asked to under-go polygraph examinations, also known as lie-detector tests. Rogers and four other men successfully completed their exams and it was concluded that they were not responsible in regards to a possible injury or murder of Walton and were telling the truth concerning seeing a UFO.
Just before midnight that night, Walton’s’ brother-in-law received a call at his home in a nearby town and rushed out of his house, picking up Duane Walton, Travis’ brother. The call was from Travis, who had at first weakly said that he was at a nearby gas station and needed help before hysterically screaming that he was hurt. They found him at the gas station, in the second of three telephone booths, unshaven and considerably thinner. He was still wearing the same clothes he had disappeared in, and on the way back to Snowflake seemed anxious and afraid, speaking of “beings with terrifying eyes”.
Upon learning he had been missing for nearly a week, he stopped talking altogether. Due to his weakened condition, Duane decided not to reveal Travis’ return straight away, starting what many consider to be a cover-up of a possible hoax. Their mother was already garnering suspicion due to her behaviour in front of police, and it was thought that Travis may be hiding in her house.
On Tuesday the public became aware of Travis’ return and a medical exam was conducted. Soon after, Travis told police of his where-abouts during the last few days, describing an encounter aboard a ship where he woke up in a room and was “examined” by small humanoids with large eyes who wore orange jumpsuits. He also claims that he at some point entered a hangar-like room and saw a number of craft and other human-like beings, who he began to question about his where-abouts and what they were doing. He was led by one to a table and an oxygen mask like device was applied to his face, where he passed out and subsequently found himself by the gas station.
The National Enquirer, an American tabloid magazine, wanted Walton to under-go a polygraph exam - one was arranged, and it is here that the story becomes more controversial and intriguing, as it is claimed that on this first initial exam Travis was concluded to be lying. The examiner - John J McCarthy - also claimed that Walton tried to cheat the exam. However it is claimed by many that the fact that Walton was still in a nervous, agitated state was not taken into consideration and that McCarthy had acted aggressively and unprofessionally towards Walton during the exam, thus hindering a conclusive result.
It was agreed that the results of this exam would be suppressed, however, months later the exam and its results would be made public and would shadow Walton and his credibility, although he has over the years taken a number of polygraph tests and has passed every one of them. Philip J Klass, a well known UFO sceptic, launched an immediate attack on Walton and his claims,always arguing up until his death in 2005 that Walton and Rogers had faked the events for financial reasons, and has even debated Walton and Rogers on Larry King Live.
In 1978 Walton published his account in ‘The Walton Experience’, which, in 1993, was adapted for the screen in a film called ‘Fire in the Sky’. The movie also created controversy as it is noted that the film is highly inaccurate in its depiction of events, especially the section of the film regarding the abduction. It has even been claimed the studio considered Waltons’ account “too boring” and created a more darker narrative.
A man claiming to be an ex-military intelligence officer approached Walton during publicity for the movie, saying he was hunting in the woods with his wife the night of the UFO encounter in ‘75 and saw the attack on Walton. After undergoing a polygraph test, it was concluded that the man was deliberately lying and was trying to fool the polygraph. It has been theorised that the man was colluding with Klass in an effort to discredit Walton. Klass denied he had anything to do with the man and any deception on his part.
Walton has lived in Snowflake since his encounter and has had several children with Mike Rogers’ sister. He has always maintained his story to be true, factual and appears regularly at UFO conventions.
What do you think happened in November in Snowflake, Arizona in 1975?
Hoax or was Travis Walton abducted by aliens?
By Matteo Sweeney
(Picpost by Ashley Hall)
Photo: Cover art from the movie ‘Fire in the Sky’ which was loosely based on Travis Walton’s experiences.
Inset Upper: Travis Walton at around the time of his disappearance.
Inset Lower: The questions Walton’s co-workers were asked for the polygraph examination.
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