Travis Walton Abduction
Even with the police’s doubts about the abduction, word spread quickly and soon Snowflake Arizona was host to news reporters, ufologists, and spectators who were all interested in Walton’s story.
Perhaps one of the greatest cornerstones of the science fiction world is that of life on other planets. The idea that we are not alone in the universe and that other intelligence exists outside our world has gripped the imagination of countless readers. You’d think that with all the technology we have, satellites orbiting the planet, eyes watching the sky, and other methods of searching the skies, we’d have proof positive of Alien life, but sadly, nothing yet. We are still at a loss as to if we are alone in the universe. Many scientists and philosophers have tried to answer the question, but we are no closer to an answer than we were before. Today, in looking at events that have influenced my science fiction writing, I’m going to take an overview of the timeless question; are we alone in the universe?
To start this discussion, I’m going to look at one of the biggest skeptical challenges that surround Aliens and UFO’s; why aren’t they here? If the universe is teeming with life, why haven’t we seen Aliens and had a spaceship land on the White House lawn? The skeptic will always point to this first, no matter what part of the discussion you enter. If there really were Aliens out there, if intelligence evolved outside our planet, why haven’t we seen evidence of them?
There’s an old saying that goes along the lines, ‘if two people are involved in a situation, there’s three sides to the story. The first person’s, the second person’s, and the truth.’ In today’s blog, I’m looking at a fascinating story that has many sides, with each side claiming their version in the truth. When multiple people witness something unexplained, and evidence is provided which both proves and disproves the story, how does someone sort out what really happened? That’s the situation we find ourselves in today as we look at the amazing abduction account of Travis Walton.
The story begins on Wednesday, November 5th 1975 when a crew of workers were returning home after a long day of cleaning and clearing undergrowth from a large forested area near Turkey Springs, Arizona. Walton, in a truck with other workers, headed for their hometown of Snowflake, Arizona, when, just after 6 p.m. the crew reported seeing a bright light emanating from behind a hill. Driving closer, they reported seeing a large silvery disc hovering in the air. Eight feet high and twenty feet long, the craft hovered while shining brightly. Walton exited the truck and ran toward the craft while the others shouted for him to return. A blue-green light hit Walton before he disappeared.
Around 7:30 p.m. Deputy Sheriff Chuck Ellison answered the call from Walton’s coworkers who initially reported that one of their logging crew was missing. Ellison met the crew at a nearby shopping center in Heber, Arizona where the men related the tale. Ellison noted the men were visibly distraught and two of them were in tears. Ellison reacted skeptically at first but later said, ‘if they were acting, they were awfully good at it.’
Check Out Leif's Books on Amazon
Ellison notified Sheriff Marlin Gillespie who told Ellison to keep the crew at their location until he could arrive. Less than an hour later, Gillespie and Officer Ken Coplan arrived to interview the men. The story they told the sheriff was the same they told to the deputy. Members of the crew insisted they search the area with tracking dogs, but no dogs were available so police and some of the crew returned to the scene and began a search.
Local law enforcement quickly became suspicious of the story due to the lack of any evidence at the scene they investigated. More police and volunteers arrived, hoping to quickly find Walton, who’d only been wearing a tee shirt with a denim jacket and jeans. The nights in the area could turn bitterly cold and hypothermia and exposure could harm even a healthy man in one night without proper protection.
By the following morning, the scene and surrounding areas had been scanned but no trace of Walton could be found. By this point, police were growing suspicious that the UFO tale had been concocted. Their best guess was that Walton had been involved in a work-related accident or a homicide.
Even with the police’s doubts about the abduction, word spread quickly and soon Snowflake Arizona was host to news reporters, ufologists, and spectators who were all interested in Walton’s story. One of the people to arrive was Phoenix UFO investigator Fred Sylvanus. Sylvanus interviewed Mike Rogers, Walton’s boss, and Duane Walton, Travis’s brother. Shortly after the interview, Snowflake town marshal Sanford Flake denounced the entire event as a prank by Travis and Duane. Many at the time disagreed with Flake’s assessment of the situation, including his wife.
On Monday, November 10th, a polygraph was administered by Cy Gilson, an Arizona Department of Public Safety employee. The polygraph was given to Rogers and the remaining crew. Many of the questions centered on if anyone knew where Walton’s body was buried, if anyone knew or had harmed Walton, and the truth about seeing a UFO. Remarkably, all the men passed the questions about harming or knowing who harmed Walton and all insisted they’d seen a UFO.
A quote from Gilson on the results of the polygraph, “These polygraph examinations prove that these five men did see some object they believed to be a UFO, and that Travis Walton was not injured or murdered by any on these men on that Wednesday. If the UFO was fake, five of these men had no prior knowledge of it.” With the polygraph tests complete, Sheriff Giliespie announced that he accepted the UFO story, saying, “There’s no doubt they’re telling the truth.”
Five days after disappearing, Travis Walton returned and the media storm surrounding the case grew. Walton only recalled about two hours of his ordeal, despite being missing five days. He claims to have awoken in a room with three short creatures that he fought with until a human-like creature led him to another room and placed a mask over his face. His next memory is standing outside a gas station with the UFO flying away from him.
Medical examinations ruled out head trauma and drugging as causes of the fantastical story. Hypnosis regressions revealed no information that Walton couldn’t naturally remember but Walton did say under hypnosis that he would die if they tried to regress him further. Walton underwent polygraphs, passing some and failing others. Skeptics and believers alike discredit these as claims of sloppy testers with leading questions and Walton trying to use tricks to pass the tests have surfaced.
Many other parties got involved in the subsequent investigations. APRO, the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization, brought a level of credibility to the story, but the involvement by the National Enquirer is a sticking point for many skeptics.
Throughout the years, the Travis Walton case has resurfaced, most notably when the book Travis Walton had written about the incident was adapted into the film, Fire in the Sky. Though Walton and his crew stick to the original narrative, still professing abduction, many skeptics don’t believe. To this day, no definitive answers have been given but the incident continues to entice UFO investigators almost fifty years later.
Thanks for taking the time to follow along with this amazing story. To see more of my blogs, or to buy some of my science fiction books today, head over to my website, www.leifericksonwriting.com today and see where your imagination can take you. Thank you.
Sheriff Skeptical of Story: Saucer Traveler Hiding After Returning To Earth”. The Victoria Advocate. Associated Press, Nov 13, 1975
Paul Kurtz (10 September 2013). The Transcendental Temptation: A Critique of Religion and the Paranormal. Prometheus Books. pp. 441–. ISBN 978-1-61614-828-7.
Sheaffer, Robert. (1981). The UFO Verdict: Examining the Evidence. Prometheus Books.
About Leif J. Erickson
Leif J. Erickson is a science fiction and fantasy author from a small farming community in west central Minnesota. Using his time wisely when he was a farmer, Leif developed many ideas, characters, and storylines to create over fifty unique first drafts and outlines for stories. From his start in a small town school, to college at North Dakota State University, back to his family farm, then to the bright lights of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and back to his small farming town, Leif has always had a love of writing.
When Leif isn’t writing he can be found with his wife hiking in state parks, canoeing local lakes and rivers, exploring local and regional ghost towns, experiencing museums, or simply reading or hanging out with friends and family. Leif draws on the local nature and ecology to find inspiration for his writing while he also asks what’s possible for technology and the human race, weaving them together for amazing stories that will stay with the reader for years to come. Leif looks forward to having many novel and story releases in the years to come.
You can see all of Leif’s Books here: Leif’s Amazon Author Page