95% of UFO sightings can be written off as nothing: weather phenomena; misidentified aircraft; mistakenly identified stars or planets. 5% cannot be explained. In this series we’ll be looking at the mass sightings. The abductions. The unexplained deaths. Real cases, with real people.
These are the 5%. These, are the UFO files.
5th November 1975, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest near Snowflake, Arizona.
Six men are tearing at dangerous speeds through the forest near Snowflake, Arizona. They are piled into a pick-up truck and returning from a hard day’s work in the forest, making clearings in the trees to slow the inevitable forest fires next summer. However, their breakneck driving is not from recklessness, but from sheer terror. “Is it still behind us?!” shouts the driver. Whatever the response, he will not slow down. He has no intention of slowing down until he’s out of that forest and safely back home.
One of the crew pleads with his friends. “We have to go back.” But his pleas fall upon deaf ears. At first. “We can’t just leave him.”
The driver (and crew foreman), Mike Rogers, finally hears the cries from the back and draws the truck to a screeching halt. The men sit silently, breathless, until another man speaks. “He’s right. We have to go back.” It’s agreed. Decision made, the driver turns his truck around, and they make the same journey that the seven of them had taken that morning, but now their thoughts aren’t on the day’s work ahead of them. They’re on the empty seat beside them, and the ominous disappearance of their colleague.
The day leading up to this moment had been pretty average. A bunch of guys working their way through the forest, clearing gaps in the forest to slow any fire that might break out in the coming dryer weather. But all was not well. Two of the crew members, Allen Dalis and Travis Walton, were in the midst of a dispute. Because of this, Dalis had been toying with Walton, felling trees dangerously close to him. Walton knew that there was work to be done and spent the day getting further and further from the belligerent workmate, to avoid conflict and inevitably slowing the whole operation down. Eventually, darkness fell and it was time to go home. They loaded their tools into the back of the pickup and climbed in, ready for rest at the end of a long day. But it was on that drive homeward that things took a dark turn.
As the truck weaved through the forest, a light appeared ahead of them through the trees. The men were all baffled as to what it could be, later struggling to describe the light. Struggling to say if the light was coming from a craft, or if the light was the actual craft itself. But there was a craft. A saucer shaped- object 20 feet in diameter. After a few minutes, they decide to investigate further. The truck comes to a stop and the men sit staring. “What is that?”
That’s when Travis Walton opened his door.
The others were shocked as Travis started towards the craft. They too left the truck and pleaded with him to come back, but he didn’t come back. He carried on towards the strange light. The air felt thick with static as Travis neared the light. There was a blinding flash and a scream, and when the light subsided, Travis was gone. The men had seen enough. They turned and sprinted back to the truck and fled until some semblance of calm was regained.
Now they were driving back to the scene. The men in the truck were terrified, shaking uncontrollably and rattled by what they had seen. Upon returning to the scene of the disappearance they sat in the truck, trying to build up the courage to step back out into the night, into the cold darkness that had taken their friend. The light was nowhere to be seen and they hadn’t actually seen it since that bright flash. They debated what exactly they had seen. A beam of light came from the craft and drew Travis in. They had all seen the same thing. Sure that whatever had taken Travis was gone, the men left the truck. Still shaking, they linked arms and stepped in the forest.
“That’s your story?”
The police were naturally sceptical. Seven men enter a forest with chainsaws, and after a long day of hard work where tempers are flaring, only six come out. The theory put itself together. Foul play was afoot and the most likely answer was that Travis Walton had been murdered, and his body hidden.
And yet their tall tale had about it a ring of truth. The men were genuinely distressed, and were insistent that the police search the area where Travis had gone missing. The police agreed and took the crewmen back to the forest, but their search was without success. A more thorough search was planned for the next day. This, too, was fruitless. The temperatures would drop below zero and the odds of finding Travis Walton alive were diminishing by the day.
The police continue the search but by now are seriously considering the alternate, and much more likely theory that Walton has been murdered. The men are questioned, separately, and the police are amazed that six people have their story so straight. They all report the same thing and none of their stories change. The men even state their willingness to take a polygraph test to prove not only their innocence, but their truthfulness.
The men get their wish. Cy Gilson, a polygraph examiner from the Dept of Public Safety is called in. The men are tested, and not only questioned as to whether they had anything to do with the disappearance of Travis Walton, but also regarding their bizarre cover story of flying discs and lights in the sky. And the strangest thing happens: they pass. Five of the six men come through the test without detection of deception. One test, that of Allen Dalis, is inconclusive.
It has been five cold nights since Travis disappeared, and if he had been alive at the time of his disappearance as his fellow crewmen stated, he was now almost certainly dead. The police begin questioning friends and family members of the crew, including those of Walton, determined to get to the bottom of what is going on.
In the five days since Walton’s disappearance, the spotlight and scrutiny has been building on Allen Dalis. He was the one with a motive. The dispute between him and Travis at the forefront of police minds. His was the lie detector test which had returned inconclusive. So it was that on November the 11th, days after he’d gone missing, that nobody was more relieved than Allen Dalis to hear that Travis Walton had returned.
And if investigators thought the claims of his crewmen were unbelievable, they ain’t heard nothing nothing yet...
Thanks for reading! Part Two of the Travis Walton Abduction will be here next week. Give me a follow on social media so you don’t miss out!
In this blog I'll be bringing to you short tales of things that go bump in the night, true stories of weird and unexplained events, and the real-life news of all things odd and macabre, and entertain you along the way.