On November 5, 1975 a seven-man work crew prepared to leave their job site in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest near Snowflake, Arizona. Spotting a bright light in the forest they were shocked to come upon a hovering, disc shaped object. Travis Walton got out of the truck to investigate and was struck by some type of beam or ray which knocked him to the ground. Thinking they were in danger, the other men fled. Soon after the men returned but could not find a trace of Walton. Over the next few days many would search the woods, also without finding a trace of the missing woodsman. Near midnight on November 10 a relative received a phone call from Walton, explaining he was hurt and calling from a phone booth at a nearby gas station. Walton was picked up; he was found unshaven and wearing the same clothes he had been wearing when he disappeared. Travis Walton claimed to be unaware that several days had passed. He had memories of his time, supposedly on board the craft, but could only recount his experiences without severe emotional distress while under hypnosis. Walton went on to pass multiple lie detector tests and fail two. He later wrote of the ordeal, which formed the basis for the feature film Fire In The Sky. The Travis Walton case is hailed as one of the best cases of alien abduction by some and as a complete hoax by detractors.
Travis Walton’s Experience
In 1975 Travis Walton was working for his friend Mike Rogers as part of a crew contracted by the US Forest Service to clear trees and brush in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. In addition to the two friends, the crew consisted of Allen Dalis, John Goulette, Kenneth Peterson, Steve Pierce and Dwayne Smith. As the young men were leaving their job site at approximately 6 PM on November 5, 1975, they spotted a silver, disc shaped object among the trees. According to interviews with Walton, the mysterious object was approximately 90 feet from the crew’s vehicle. It was hovering and glowed in a way that reminded him of molten metal. There was a sound, something like the hum of machinery, coming from the disc.
For some reason Walton, who has admitted that he may have simply been showing off, got out of the vehicle and approached the UFO. At least two of the crewmen who witnessed the event have stated that he appeared to be in a trance of some sort, although Walton himself suggests he was merely in awe of the object. As he approached, the noise emitted by the disc seemed to increase and it began to move slightly. Walton decided to crouch behind a nearby log, apparently reconsidering his decision to approach the object. When he raised himself and turned to go back to the vehicle some type of ray or beam of light was emitted by the object and hit Walton, supposedly throwing him to the ground. Fearing for their own safety, the rest of the crew fled the scene. Shortly thereafter they returned to look for their companion and found that both he and the floating disc had disappeared. They would report him missing and be suspected of murdering the young man and leaving his body in the woods. Officials and volunteers would search the surrounding area for the missing young man, who was not dressed to withstand the cold nights in the forest, without finding any clues of his whereabouts.
Travis Walton reports that when he came around his vision was blurry and he first thought himself in a hospital. However, as he slowly regained his senses he discovered that he was not surrounded by doctors, as he had assumed, but three humanoid creatures. They wore jumpsuits of a tan or orange color and stood just under five feet tall. Walton describes them as having large heads with small features except for their very large, brown eyes much like the eyes of a horse. Lashing out, Walton pushed one away and has described the being as feeling extremely light and rubbery, as if it was made of fat or marshmallow. Getting up, Travis grabbed a transparent, glass-like rod to use as a club. Finding it too light, we attempted to break it to create a dangerous point to use as a weapon. The substance would not break, however, so he brandished the object like a club. The three beings retreated, leaving Walton alone.
Finding a corridor outside the room, Travis Walton moved in the opposite direction of the beings. He reports coming to another room with a high backed chair, turned away from the door. Slowly circling around the chair, fearing it occupied, he entered the room. As he moved towards the far side, it seemed to grow darker with points of light like stars in the sky. The chair was empty but a man in a clear helmet appeared at the door. Although he did not speak, he smiled and motioned for Walton to follow. Thinking he was being rescued, Walton followed and the man led him out into a large hangar where there were other discs and strange, almost human, beings. There a male and female pair moved Walton onto a table and placed a mask over his face. When he again regained consciousness he was on the side of a road.
Making his way to a nearby gas station, Walton called his sister’s house. It was nearly midnight on November 10. Although his brother-in-law at first thought it was a joke, he went to pick up the missing man. On the trip home Travis Walton was shocked to learn that he had not been missing for a few hours, as he thought, but for days. He could remember certain events (those described above) from his time in the craft but he could not account for all of the time he was gone. Recounting his experiences was emotionally difficult for Walton, who would become hysterical as he spoke. Eventually hypnosis was used, not to retrieve his memories but to afford him a certain amount of emotional detachment as he spoke.
Aftermath of The Incident
The case of the missing woodsmen, the suspicion his colleagues had killed him and their claims of an encounter with an unidentified flying object had made international news. Travis Walton found himself the most famous alien abductee since Betty and Barney Hill. Detractors have maintained his story is a hoax, pointing to inconsistencies in Walton’s book and a failed lie detector test which may have been administered by a biased examiner. Offers were also made to the members of the work crew to admit it was a hoax, yet none accepted. At least one man surfaced, years later, claiming to be a witness but was subsequently revealed to have ties to attempts to debunkers.
Travis Walton has passed lie detector tests, as have the other members of the woodcutting crew. In the interviews compiled on the (Factual Eyewitness Testimony of) UFO Encounters album, Charles R. McQuiston (one of the developers of the PSE method of lie detection) found Walton to be telling the truth, although some details may be “embellished,” as one may expect from a story that has been told many times. According to Walton there have been at least 15 lie detector examinations given to family members and witnesses, including personally taking five tests with three different polygraph experts, all without a single negative result (although one of the crew is known to have had an inconclusive result). However, Walton was involved with at least one other problematic lie detector test when the Fox television game show The Moment Of Truth determined he was lying about being abducted by a UFO. Supporters point out that the show’s methodology was highly questionable (and had he been found truthful they would have to pay him $100,000).
Walton’s story continues to garner interest from both UFO believers and skeptics. His book was turned into a film (which did deviate from the original story) starring D.B. Sweeney in 1993. He has appeared in documentaries, such as UFOs Are Real, and continues to make lecture and book signing appearances as well as giving television, Internet and radio interviews. Travis Walton has also released an updated version of his book original book The Walton Experience under the title Fire In The Sky: The Walton Experience.
For More Information
Walton’s Official Website: http://www.travis-walton.com
Travis Walton Fire In The Sky: The Walton Experience
PodcastUFO Episode 21: Travis Walton