Today's story is about Travis Walton, who was an a then 22 year old American logger… at the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Now November 5th, 1975 is a particularly noted date of importance for Travis…because on this unforgettable day…his life changes when he comes face to face with an encounter of the 4th kind.
Now in case you guys or the listeners at home, are unfamiliar with the varying degrees of close encounters. I'll give you a brief description here. So a first encounter is defined as the person who witnesses a UFO within approximately 150 meters. A encounter of the second kind, is when a UFO in the sky or on the ground leads evidence behind such as scorch marks on the ground or indents. When an encounter is with visible occupants inside the UFO it is considered of the third kind. The fourth kind involves the person being taken and experimented on within the alien craft. And lastly encounter the fifth kind involves direct communication between aliens and humans.
Now back to the story at hand, it all began on Wednesday, November 5th, 1975. Travis was employed by his best friend, Mike Rogers who had for nine years contracted with the United States Forest Service for various duties. Travis was actually dating Mike's sister Dana whom he later married. Travis is included he typically worked as part of a six man crew, including the likes of Ken Peterson, John Goulette, Steve Pierce, Alan Dallis, and Dwayne Smith. They all lived in the land of snowflakes… no seriously, the small town they lived in and was called snowflake.
The boss man Mike, was lucky enough to land him and the crew a more than lucrative contract from the forest service. They were hired to thin out scrub brush in undergrowth from a large area (more than 1200 acres to be exact) near Turkey Springs Arizona. The only downside to such a Goldmine of a job, was the fact that it was behind schedule. As a result the crew had to work overtime to fulfill the contract… which would take approximately 6 AM until sunset. A little after 6 PM, Mike and crew had finished their work for the day and piled into Mike's truck for the drive back to snowflake. A short while after starting their journey back home, the crew noticed that behind a hill, the sky was lit up nice and bright in a crimson red hue.
When they inevitably drove closer, they stated to had saw a large silvery disc hovering above a clearing while shining ever so brightly. It looked be around 8 feet high and 20 feet In diameter. At this point, Mike stop the car, while they all stared mouth agape at this unidentified object. While they were content staring at it from afar, Travis was not… him being young and fearless and his urge for curiosity, got the best of him. Travis then, leaped out of the truck and ran towards the large disc.
The rest of the crew members shout it out at Travis, to get his fucking ass back in the truck. But Travis was so drawn to it, that he kept inching forward… until he was pretty much directly below the object. That is when, the shit hit the proverbial fan. The crew described the disc, started to make noise is similar to a loud turbine and begin to Violently shake from side to side. Realizing at this moment that he fucked up, Travis began to cautiously back pedal away from the object. It was too little, too late… the crew witnessed a beam of blue & green light shooting out the disc, and striking Travis. When this happened, Travis rose a foot into the air, with his arms and legs outstretched… and was blasted 10 feet back, his body crashing limply over the ground. Overwhelmed with fear and fresh shit in their pants, Mike and the crew hit the pedal to the metal and roared away in the truck. Only after a short distance did they realized, fuck we left Travis behind helpless and in need of help. They then turn the truck around and headed back to find him….but Travis was already gone.
After leaving the scene and returning home to snowflake, they made a report to the police. Talking to both the Deputy and Sheriff at that time, both who were noted thinking that even though the story seemed outlandish… these men were sincerely distressed, with some of them in tears ( ether the crew were ether telling the truth, or were so convincing as actors…that they had Oscar nominations in the near future. The policeman and some crew members (some of the other crew members elected to return to snowflake to inform family and friends) went back to the scene with flashlights and desperately search for Travis (since with it being a bitterly cold winter night, there was fear of travis falling victim to hypothermia) but unfortunately they had to leave back empty handed. By the next morning on November 6, even with officials and volunteers scouring the area around the scene where Travis went missing there was still no trace of him. Little did they know they were to be player in one of the largest manhunts in Arizona history.
Very soon actually the case would break into the national media. Arizona would become overrun by researchers, newspaper writers and UFO buffs….and after several days of exhausting men on foot, vehicles, scent dogs and even helicopters…NOTHING came up. At this point the law enforcement began to follow another line of investigation and a possible motive for murder. With the possibility of there being bad blood between Travis and another crew member, law enforcement began to evaluate the credibility of the men involved in the clearing contract. Having them take polygraph examinations, all of the men passed the test. Police decided that there was no cause to believe that the men were covering up a fight or worse a murder. With foul play now ruled out…was it truly possible for the ufo story to be true?
five days after his disappearance, like out of nowhere… Travis Walton returned. 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." He was rescued from a small filling station, hungry, thirsty, dirty, weak, and feeble. He was taken for a medical examination.The medical examination revealed that Walton was essentially in good health, but they did note two unusual features: A small red spot at the crease of Walton's right elbow that was consistent with a hypodermic injection, but the doctors also noted that the spot was not near a vein.
Analysis of Walton's urine revealed a lack of ketones. This was unusual, given that if Walton had indeed been gone for five days with little or no food as he insisted (and as his weight loss suggested), his body should have begun breaking down fats in order to survive, and this should have led to very high levels of ketone in his urine. Critics would argue this inconsistency is evidence against Walton's story.
Well now that some questions had been answered, another one was created, "Where had Walton been for the last 5 days?”
Walton reported that after approaching the UFO near the work site, the last thing he remembered was being struck by the beam of light. When he woke, Walton said he was on a reclined bed. A bright light shone above him, and the air was heavy and wet. He was in pain, and had some trouble breathing, but his first thought was that he was in a normal hospital.
As his faculties returned, Walton says he realized he was surrounded by three figures, each wearing a sort of orange jumpsuit. The figures were not human. Walton described the beings as typical of the so-called Greys which feature in some abduction accounts: "shorter than five feet, and they had bald heads, no hair. Their heads were domed, very large. They looked like fetuses [...] They had large eyes — enormous eyes — almost all brown, without much white in them. The creepiest thing about them were those eyes … they just stared through me." Their ears, noses and mouths "seemed real small, maybe just because their eyes were so huge." (Clark, 646)
Walton related that he feared for his safety and got to his feet, and shouted at the creatures to stay away. He grabbed a glasslike cylinder from a nearby shelf and tried to break its tip to create a makeshift knife, but found the object unbreakable, so instead waved it at the creatures as a weapon. The trio of creatures left him in the room.
Matheson finds this portion of the narrative troublingly inconsistent, noting that "despite his 'weakened' condition, 'aching body' and 'splitting pain in his skull', maladies [sic] for which no cause is suggested, he has no trouble jumping up from his operating table, seizing a conveniently placed glasslike rod, and, assuming a karate 'fighting stance', frightened them with this display of macho aggression, enough at least to cause them to run away." (Matheson, 110)
Walton then left the "exam room" via a hallway, which led to a spherical room with only a high-backed chair placed in the center of the room. Though he was afraid there might be someone seated in the chair, Walton says he walked towards it. As he did, lights began to appear in the room. The chair was empty, so Walton says he sat in it. When he did, the room was filled with lights, similar to stars projected on a round planetarium ceiling.
The chair was equipped on the left arm with a single short thick lever with an oddly shaped molded handle atop some dark brown material. On the right arm, there was an illuminated, lime-green screen about five inches square with black lines intersected at all angles.
When Walton pushed the lever, he reported that the stars rotated around him slowly. When he released the lever, the stars remained at their new position. He decided to stop manipulating the lever, since he had no idea what it might do.
He left the chair, and the stars disappeared. Walton thought he had seen a rectangular outline on the rounded wall — perhaps a door — and went to look for it.
Just then, Walton heard a sound behind him. He turned, expecting more of the short, large eyed creatures, but was pleasantly surprised to see a tall human figure wearing blue coveralls with a glassy helmet. At the time, Walton said, he did not realize how odd the man's eyes were: larger than normal, and a bright gold color.
Walton says he then asked the man a number of questions, but the man only grinned and motioned for Walton to follow him. Walton also said that because of the man's helmet he might have been unable to hear him, so he followed the man down a hallway which led to a door and a steep ramp down to a large room Walton described as similar to an aircraft hangar. Walton says he realized he had just left a disc-shaped craft similar to the one he had seen in the forest just before he had been struck by the bluish light, but the craft was perhaps twice as large.
In the hangar-like room, Walton reported seeing other disc-shaped craft. The man led him to another room, containing three more humans — a woman and two men — resembling the helmeted man. These people did not wear helmets, so Walton says he began asking questions of them. They responded with the same dull grin, and led him by his arm to a small table.
Once he was seated on the table, Walton says he realized the woman held a device like an oxygen mask, which she placed on his face. Before he could fight back, Walton says he passed out.
When he woke again, Walton says he was outside the gas station in Heber, Arizona. One of the disc-shaped craft was hovering just above the highway. After a moment, the craft shot away, and Walton stumbled to the telephones and called his brother-in-law, Grant Neff. He thought that only a few hours had passed.
After hearing Walton's story, Gillespie speculated that Walton may have been hit on the head and drugged, then taken to a normal hospital where he had confused the details of a routine exam with something more spectacular. Walton dismissed this, noting that the medical examination had found no trace of head trauma or drugs in his system. Walton told Sheriff Gillespie that he was willing to take a polygraph, a truth serum, or undergo hypnosis to support his account.
One of Walton’s biggest detractors was Phillip J. Klass, an investigative journalist and UFO researcher who aired on the side of skepticism, to put it mildly. Klass didn’t make very many friends in the field of ufology, though his skepticism was welcomed by those who believed he contributed to a more objective viewpoint on the phenomenon.
So, it comes as no surprise that Klass didn’t believe Walton’s story, and subsequently pointed out some questionable aspects of his narrative. Klass said Walton did not pass his initial polygraph test, nor did the men who allegedly witnessed the event. According to Klass, the first polygraph test Walton cited as having passed was not actually the first, but the second.
Klass said he had hard evidence that Walton had received a polygraph test from an examiner named John McCarthy, an expert trained at the Army’s Fort Gordon polygraph school. McCarthy determined that Walton was attempting to perpetrate a hoax and that he used tactics such as holding his breath to try to fool the machine.
However, McCarthy said this test was paid for and the results published in a report for the National Enquirer, one of the most notoriously untrustworthy tabloid publications there is. It’s ironic that such a dubious publication would be cited as hard evidence.
In a heated debate on Larry King Live between Klass, Travis, and Mike Rogers (one of the men who allegedly witnessed Walton’s abduction), Klass attacks the validity of the men’s story, whereupon Rogers accuses Klass of being a government disinformation agent. Klass, clearly upset, begins swearing at Rogers, saying, “I’ve caught you in numerous lies, and you know it!”
Klass’ m.o. included ad hominem attacks, smear campaigns, and frantic outbursts, detracting from his case against Walton and Rogers. While a healthy amount of skepticism is always necessary when examining unbelievable cases, it helps to remain calm and composed when giving an objective, level-headed view. Unfortunately, Klass is no longer here today to defend himself…he’s dead now….and travis Is still alive and continues to defend and recount his story to this day.
So we will end this story with a statement made by Walton in recent years.
“It was many years ago that I got out of the crew truck in the national forest and ran towards 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 resemblance of a normal life, running headlong toward an experience so overwhelmingly mind-bending in its effects….so devastating in its aftermath, that my life would never…. and could never be the same again.”