The UFO phenomena is generally given little if any serious consideration by those engaged in credible scientific studies. Without a doubt many so-called UFO sightings can easily be dismissed as misidentified craft, stars, planets, or just plain hoaxes perpetrated by thrill or money seeking individuals.Many books and studies have given us statistics on UFO reports, and roughly about 95% of the sightings can easily be explained away.
Considering the great distances between stars, it is very easy to assume that the odds of a visit from another intelligence are extremely low. These assumptions are based, however, upon the extent of our knowledge, and should another race visit us, they would most certainly possess a higher degree of intelligence than we do. We are trying to judge a possibility while handicapped by the limits of what we know today.
The 1993 release of the movie «Fire In The Sky» was intriguing to many who had waited for a screen presentation of Travis Walton’s book by the same name. D. B. Sweeny and James Garner offered the film veteran actors. Those familiar with the actual story were less than impressed with the film’s inability to take the full account to the screen.
Those who were not privy to the actual story may have thought it only fiction. There are some great sets, and special effects, but the story is not done justice. My goal in this article, is to present the facts behind the movie; the real story of the abduction of Travis Walton. I ask only one thing of you the reader, reserve final judgment until you have read all the facts.
This baffling UFO case began on November 5th, 1975, in northeastern Arizona’s Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. A logging crew of 7 men were working on a government contract, clearing forest. The men loaded into a single pickup truck leaving work for the day. As they started their journey home they saw, not far from the road, a «luminous object, shaped like a flattened disc.»
All of the men agreed that Travis Walton, captivated by the sight, left the truck to get a closer look. While gazing up in awe at the object, suddenly a brilliant, bluish light struck him and threw him to the ground some distance away.
This event caused the other crew members to flee the scene in fear for their lives. After arguing among themselves, they decided to go back and see if they could help Travis. Returning to the scene, they found no trace of the craft, or Travis.
A personal friend of Travis’, Mike Rogers, was the crew foreman, and driver of the truck. According to Rogers, as the men fled the scene, he looked back and saw a «luminous object» lift out of the forest, and disappear toward the horizon. Rogers and the other 5 workers eventually would take a lie detector test. The men passed the examination, save for one inconclusive, and soon the case exploded into the national spotlight.
Walton reappeared five days later, confused and scared, with fleeting memories of alien entities, and descriptions of the inside of their craft.
He was also subsequently subjected to a number of polygraph examinations. The Travis Walton event would soon become the very first abduction case to be given serious consideration by many credible scientists. His story would force the general public to reevaluate previously close minded opinions on the subject.
The six witnesses, Allen Dalis, Dwayne Smith, John Goulette, Kenneth Peterson, Mike Rogers, and Steve Pierce, of this controversial case, described the craft in personal, yet similar terms. Rogers’ description depicts the craft as a «large, glowing object hovering in the air below the treetops about 100 feet away.»
Dwayne Smith described the craft as «smooth and giving off a yellowish-orange light.»
Additional eyewitness accounts added the following: «unbelievably smooth,» «a flattened disc with «edges clearly defined.»
Walton and Rogers both estimated that the craft was about 20 feet in overall diameter.
The details of the event quoted from the investigator’s report are as follows: As Walton approached on foot across the clearing, the «UFO began to wobble or rock slightly,» and then emitted a «bluish light from the machine… a blue ray shot out of the bottom of that thing and hit him all over,» «that ray was the brightest thing I’ve ever seen.»
This light sent Walton «backward through the air ten feet,» «hurled through the air in a backwards motion, falling on the ground, on his back,» «flying — like he’d touched a live wire.»
«The horror was unreal.»
Polygrapher Cy Gilson relates from his documents the following:
Testimony from Allen Dalis: «During the pretest interview, Mr. Dalis related the following events that occurred on that day. Mr. Dalis said they had finished work for the day and were heading home. It was almost dark. He saw a glow coming from among the trees ahead of them.
As they came to a clearing, he saw an object he called a UFO. Mr. Rogers was slowing the truck down to stop as Travis Walton exited the truck and began to advance towards the UFO in a brisk walk…
Mr. Dalis described the UFO as being a yellowish-white in color. He said the light emitting from it was not bright, but a glow that gave off light all around itself.
Mr. Dalis saw Walton reach the UFO, stop and look up at it.
He said it looked as if Walton was standing there, slightly bent over, with his hands in his pockets.
Mr. Dalis said the UFO began to wobble or rock slightly and he began to become afraid. He put his head down towards his knees. As he did so, a bright light flashed that lit up the area, even the inside of the truck.
He immediately looked towards the UFO. He saw a silhouette of Walton. Mr. Walton had his arms up in the air… Mr. Dalis turned towards Mr. Rogers who was in the driver’s seat and yelled for him to «get the hell out of here…»
Sworn testimony by Mike Rogers: «… he was on the opposite side of the truck from the UFO. He had to bend over slightly to view it in its entirety through the truck windows. He described the UFO to be glowing a yellowish-tan color. He could not say if the light emanated from within the UFO, or was a lighting system outside, that lit up the UFO.
He did say he could see the shadows of the trees on the ground, around the UFO. He said it was round and about 20 feet in diameter.
He said the UFO was about 75 to 100 feet from the truck…
As Mr. Rogers started to move the truck, a brilliant flash of light lit up the entire area, even inside the truck. It was described as a prolonged strobe flash. He did not see a beam of light emit from the UFO and hit Walton.
As the flash occurred, Mr. Rogers turned around in his seat to look at the UFO again and saw Mr. Walton being hurled through the air in a backwards motion, falling on the ground, on his back. At this time, Mr. Dalis and someone else yelled to «get the hell out of here…»
Upon returning to the scene, the crewmen searched briefly through the woods, calling Walton’s name. They then proceeded down to the main road and after some debate, decided to call the police and ask for assistance. They were first met by a Deputy Ellison and subsequently by Sheriff Marlin Gillespie, who would later describe the crewmen as apparently sincerely distressed.The officers and crewmen went back up the hill and searched again with flashlights, eventually calling off the search and making plans for a more thorough manhunt beginning early the next morning.
The next several days were marked by unsuccessful searches for the missing Walton, including some use of helicopters and dogs. Temperatures dropped below zero the first two nights of the search, creating fear that, if Walton was injured and disoriented, he may not survive.
Meanwhile, law enforcement officials were looking for alternate explanations of the event, including thepossibility that Walton had been murdered.
Law enforcement, looking for a more believable explanation than a flying saucer, began a thorough investigation of the facts. All six remaining members of the crew were questioned over and over again. Family members and friends were also interrogated.
One fact that colored this questioning was that all of the men were unlearned, everyday working people, noted to be a little «rough around the edges.»
This, of course, is a typical assumption by some that those who have not been successful financially in this world are all liars, cheats, and can’t be trusted.
One common theory at the time was that Dalis and Walton had fought, and that Dalis had either accidentally or purposely killed Walton, and hid his body. The problem with this theory was that if a murder had taken place, why would the other 5 crewmen risk the fires of justice to cover for Dalis.
A second theory put forth at the onset was that possibly all of the crewmen had been involved in some kind of brawl or argument, and accidentally killed Travis, hiding his body somewhere in the vast forest.
If this was true, why concoct a story involving a UFO abduction, being one of the most unbelievable stories one could put forth.
Another scenario offered by some was that since the crew was behind on their government contract, they were looking for an excuse to get out of it. Again, why this most bizarre story?
In their initial reports, the 6 crewmen had indicated a willingness to undergo any kind of lie detection test to establish their truthfulness. After the second day of searching, law enforcement officials brought in Cy Gilson, a polygraph examiner from the Department of Public Safety (associated with the state police), to test all the crewman.
Five of the witnesses passed this polygraph examination, while for the sixth, Allen Dalis, the test was ruled inconclusive (unable to assign a reading).
While the successful tests fueled media interest in the case, the inconclusive result for Dalis put some heat on him personally. While some of the crew members, such as Rogers and Walton, had been friends long before the forest service brush-clearing contract, the others were only acquaintances, and in the case of Allen Dalis, he and Walton were said to have had some personal animosities between them.
If Walton had been involved somehow in a conspiracy to deceive authorities, he certainly left his closest family members out of the loop. At approximately 1:30 AM on the morning of Nov. 6, crew members Coplan and Rogers went to notify Walton’s mother, Mary Kellett, of her son’s disappearance.
Mrs. Kellett’s calm response upon being awakened and told her youngest son had been kidnapped by a UFO was «Well, that’s the way these things happen,» and then she proceeded to described two instances when she and her oldest son, Duane, had also seen UFOs.
Later that morning (approximately 3:00 AM) when Mrs. Kellett told Walton’s sister, Mrs. Grant Neff, that «a flying saucer got him [Travis],» Mrs. Neff surprised Coplan with how calmly she also took the news. The rest of that day was taken up by an extensive search of the area where Walton had disappeared.
Curiously absent from the site was any physical evidence of anything happening, in spite of the «explosive» force of the blue-green beam. No blood, no shreds of clothing, no evidence of the blast effects was found by any of the nearly fifty searchers involved. Neither was any evidence found of any violent confrontations among the crew members. There was no trace of Travis Walton.
For as many UFO proponents there are, there are that many and more debunkers. The authorities tried to keep the scene of the incident for serious forensic examination, but the mass influx of people, not only local, but world-wide, made this an impossibility. The crewmen’s stories were treated with mixed opinion.
Some marveled to hear what they had seen, and some called them «pranksters» and «liars.»
Some even went as far as to suggest that the whole account was nothing more than a joke gone bad, and that Travis was hiding somewhere and would suddenly reappear on cue. At this stage of the investigation there was one question on the minds of all involved, whether friend or foe;