'My family still doesn’t believe': Mystery of decades-old 'abduction' lives on
“To me, it was the urge to see it up close before it got away,” Travis Walton said about why he ran toward the light.
CREATED Apr. 29, 2013
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - It's one of the most famous and well-documented UFO stories ever. It thrust a small Arizona town into the international spotlight. Hollywood made a movie about it. Decades later, people are still talking about it, and the man in the middle of it all has a message for you.
For some, what happened in the White Mountains on November 5, 1975 is a matter of belief. For others, it’s fact.
Twenty-two-year-old Travis Walton was with a logging crew in a national forest outside Snowflake, Ariz. In the darkness, the crew said they saw a glow.
“To me, it was the urge to see it up close before it got away,” Walton told KGUN9 recently.
The 90s sci-fi flick Fire the Sky shows what Travis said "it" was: some kind of spaceship.
After Walton ran toward the glow, he later described, “I was hit by a blast of energy from this craft.”
His buddies all said they saw it, too. They drove off without him and later told deputies about Walton’s disappearance. A massive search followed.
Days later, Walton finally turned up on a street, half-conscious, and soon describing the inside of a UFO.
Now, nearly four decades later, Walton -- and every single man there that night -- are all still sticking to that story.
“It's an ongoing battle,” he said, explaining he’s spent years fighting what he calls "misinformation."
“That I had been hallucinating on drugs, that the hypnotist had planted these memories in my mind,” he said, giving examples.
Walton wrote a tell-all book, pointing out, for example, every crew member passed a lie detector test.
Walton said it's only a matter of time till everyone's a believer.
“The skeptics are a bit like Flat Earthers,” he said.
Chris Impey is a distinguished professor at the University of Arizona's astronomy department. He said personal stories and fuzzy photos don't cut it -- that scientists need hard evidence as proof in cases like Walton's.
“Some artifact, some physical object that we can look at -- that anyone can look at -- and say, 'No, this isn't terrestrial,'” Impey said.
“No such object has ever been delivered into a scientist's hands so they remain skeptics,” he added.
Firm belief in what happened near Snowflake forced Steve Pierce to break his silence. He was there that night.
“It just scared me so bad that I didn't talk about,” Pierce told KGUN9 over the phone.
He didn’t talk about it until recently. Pierce said he's speaking up to get the "truth" out there, at the request of his daughter.
“My family still doesn’t believe us,” he said. “I've got two brothers that still don't believe it.”
Walton also has people close to him that don’t believe, he said. That’s one reason he regretted running toward the light that night.
“I wished I'd stayed in the truck,” he said.
“It derailed my life and I wish I could have it back,” he also said, adding he’s since accepted what happened as fate.
Still, he has never changed his story and neither have any of the witnesses. Nearly 40 years later, the mystery of Snowflake lives on.
Photographer: Craig Mills