DREAD: THE UNSOLVED Explores the Alien Abduction of Travis Walton


November 5th, 1975, Travis Walton was working as a lumberjack in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. After a hard day at work, he loaded up in a truck with six of his coworkers and headed back towards the nearest town, Snowflake, Arizona. As they drove on, with night settling in, they witnessed a saucer-shaped object just a hundred feet in front of them.

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The truck was stopped and, after an argument, Travis decided to approach the strange craft. As he got closer, he says a beam of light struck him and he blacked out. His friends, terrified at this development, left Travis where he lay, and sped off into the night.

Once they had gotten about a quarter of a mile away, they say they saw the alien craft zip skywards. They returned to look for Travis but according to them, he was gone.

Meanwhile, Travis claims he awoke in what he thought was a hospital. He looked up to the doctors working on him and realized they were short, bald, humanoid aliens. He says he fought with them for a time before they placed a plastic wrap over his face, and things went dark again. Other times, when Travis tells this part of the story, he runs away from the aliens and gets into a control room, where he claims that he was approached by a human wearing blue coveralls and a helmet. He explains that this strange person led him through the ship, showing off the hangars and other amenities, before bringing him back to an examination room, where he’s knocked unconscious by one of the earlier aliens.

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Travis’ co-workers returned to town and spoke with authorities, who were skeptical. They believed that the 6 other workers had murdered Walton due to a disagreement earlier in the day. With no evidence supporting their claims, all they could do was work the investigation, and wait.

November 10th, 1975: Travis Walton states he woke up in the forest where he was abducted. His clothes were on backward. He states that he remembers seeing the craft close its doors and float into the distance. He wandered to a phone booth in Heber, Arizona, roughly 30 miles southwest of where he was taken. He claims the town was strangely completely empty. He places a call to his brother-in-law on the payphone and is back at home within an hour.

His attempts at recovering quietly at home were quickly thwarted. Travis Walton was on the lips of every UFO researcher and tabloid journalist in the country at that point. A man had seemingly been taken for five days and returned. No one was going to leave Travis alone. He was immediately put on the defensive, and given a lie detector test. He failed spectacularly. Some say this was due to the fresh trauma of being abducted, while others claim he had been hiding in the wilderness for five days and hadn’t gotten his story straight just yet. He would go on to pass subsequent tests.

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Not everyone believed Travis. His most vocal detractor was UFOlogist Phillip Klass. He noted that the Sheriff that was familiar with the case stated that Walton, along with his mother and brother-in-law, were huge fans of alien media. He posited that just two weeks earlier, Walton had watched The UFO Incident, a fictionalized portrayal of the abduction of Betty and Barney Hill. Details in Walton’s story allegedly closely matched what was shown in the film.

According to Travis, the area where he was abducted began acting strangely. UFOlogists and Walton claim, without concrete truth, that the trees in the area have begun growing faster. They claim that core samples have shown increased growth at least 15 years after Walton’s abduction. Tests were allegedly done that show a chemical change in the soil in the area. The tree trunks that faced the UFO reportedly have incredibly wide and elliptical rings in their cores.

Walton maintains he was abducted. He thinks it wasn’t on purpose though. He believes that he wandered too close to aliens studying the environment, and got accidentally knocked out by their tools. He thinks he might have been airlifted onto the ship to make sure he was okay.

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These days, the area where the event happened is a very different place than it was in 1975. In 2002, a wildfire destroyed the area. The logging road Travis and his friends were on that night has since been decommissioned by the Forest Service.

In 1979 Travis wrote a book about his experience called Fire in the Sky, which was adapted into a horror film in 1993 (trailer below). Travis Walton never went back to logging and has spent the last 40+ years touring the country, giving talks at UFO conventions. He occasionally takes groups up to the area in the  Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest where something extraordinary, whether it was extraterrestrial or a hoax, happened all those years ago.

So what do you think? Was Travis Walton abducted by aliens? Or maybe this whole thing is just a hoax between friends gone wrong. I’ll leave it up to you.

You can give me your theories in the comments or on Twitter @DreadUnsolved or on Instagram @DreadTheUnsolved. I’m also on Facebook. You can send your tips to TheUnsolved@DreadCentral.com

Thanks for watching.

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