Travis Walton: The Hoax that Wasn’t
By Joseph Capp
Sometimes the truth is hiding in the spin.
Wednesday, November 5, 1975
Seven men working a “tree-thinning” contract (9 years in business) in Turkey Springs, Arizona returning home from working late due to trying to meet a deadline, sight a UFO craft in a clearing in the woods.
They report to an officer later that they had spotted a UFO hovering there and a fellow worker, Travis Walton, ran towards the UFO despite their warnings. He then was hit by a beam of light from the object. He was knocked back ten feet and lay unmoving.
Frightened, the remaining six fled in the car. When they returned later, he was gone, so was the craft. They reported it to the police two hours later. The police officers returned with them to the site and after a through search Travis was officially listed as missing.
On Nov 10th, suspecting foul play, the authorities asked the 6 members of the crew to take polygraph exams. They agreed. Five passed the test; one was inconclusive.
On Nov 11th, five days later, Walton calls his brother-in-law at 12 midnight and begs him to pick him up. When he is found, he appears visibly frightened. He starts babbling about spaceships and aliens.
The story gets picked up by the national press then the circus moves in including the UFO researchers.
“The Skeptical Inquirer” and its late truth machine; Phillip Klass weigh in on this “laughable story” by attacking the characters of the 7 men and the evidence supporting their story.
1. The young man, Travis Walton, had a expunged record (burglary) so Mr. No Klass mentioned the record in his book, but didn’t mention how he came by this fact. Of course, this should have been a plus to Walton’s character, since he did get the conviction wiped off the record by doing what was right, but Klass didn’t represent it that way in the book. Travis had revealed his youthful offence in the primary examination after the UFO incident.
2. Mr. Klass had valid data which indicated that certain information had been withheld intentionally by APRO (Aerial Phenomena Research Organization) which was based in Tucson, Arizona. (Travis Watson failed his first polygraph test administered by an expert with 10 years experience, hired by APRO).
3. Travis took a second Polygraph test (two months later) and he passed, but Klass pointed out the examiners only had 2 years experience and was instructed what questions to ask.
4. The motive given for the hoax by the debunkers and others is: Mike Rogers, owner of the business for nine years,” had grossly underestimated the magnitude of the job and could not complete it on time” This would result in payment held up till spring unless he could prove an act of God –which this was.
The Walton family are described as a “UFO Freak family” because they believed that UFOs were space ships from other worlds. Some members of the family had claimed to have witnessed UFO craft. "I'm not surprised,” said one member, “I don’t think he (Travis) is on this earth. Duane, his brother, “the psychopath” said "Travis will be found; the UFO's are friendly” when he was questioned by the authorities right after the disappearance. Travis Walton admitted that his father, who deserted them, believed in UFOs. “Klass noted: “no concern expressed by family” therefore they knew his disappearance was a lie and family was fantasy prone. And, yada, yada, yada…
By the way, just a note, under the freedom of information act documents were de-classified to indicate activity by UFOs in and around the areas at that time:
“DOD, USAF, and CIA document reveal that during October, November, and December of 1975, reliable military personnel repeatedly sighted unconventional aerial objects in the vicinity of nuclear-weapons storage areas, aircraft alert areas and nuclear-missile control facilities at Loring Air Force Base, Maine; Wurtsmith AFB Michigan; Malstrom AFB, Montana; Minot AFB, North Dakota…”
There is no doubt the press thought this was a good story - but never real. Listen to the tale weaved by the “National Inquirer” journalist Jeff Wales – never a real champion of the abduction story.
From the man who picked Wales up: "The brother has taken charge and the brother is some kind of… The kid is scared to death of him and so is our reporter."
Jeff Wales, upon seeing Travis’s brother for the first time reported “The cowboy (Travis Watson’s brother Duane) was no disappointment. He was one of the meanest and toughest-looking men I've ever seen - in his late twenties, a rodeo professional and amateur light-heavyweight fighter, a total abstainer, broad-shouldered, T-shirt packed with muscle, chiseled-down hips, bow legged, eyes full of nails, tense, unpredictable.”
"Nobody is going to laugh at my brother," he told Wales.
Wales replied… “we would hide them away and pay the kid a grand to tell his story”
“To our relief the cowboy agreed - but not, he said, because of the money, because his brother had a true story to tell which would enlighten the world”.
“Our first sight of the kid (Travis) was at dinner in the hotel dining room that night. It was a shock. He sat there mute, pale, twitching like a cornered animal. He was either a brilliant actor or he was in serious funk about something”.
UFO Media Matters
Walton: The Man With Second Chance.