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Episode Recap: The Abduction


Subject Names: Travis Walton, Mike Rogers, John Goulette, Ken Peterson, Steve Pierce, Dwayne Smith, Allen Dalis, Marlin Gillespie, Ken Coplan, Cy Gilson, Dr. Howard Kandell M.D.
Subject Location: Snowflake, Arizona
Paranormal Experience: Alien encounter/abduction

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The most famous alien abduction case in history Travis Walton was just 22 years old, and wasn't much of a regular, churchgoing kid. Considered a bit of a rebel by the folks of Snowflake, Travis went through life on his own terms, doing everything from boxing to bull riding. 

Travis cleared scrub and trees along with a crew of men: Mike Rogers, John Goulette, Ken Peterson, Steve Pierce, Dwayne Smith, and Allen Dalis. They were behind schedule on an area in the Sitgreaves National Forest. Around sunset, the group packed up to head back. As they were making their way down a logging trail back to the road, they saw a glow through the trees. It wasn't the moon, and it wasn't a forest fire. Travis urged Mike to check it out. When they reached the clearing, Travis was out of the truck before it had even stopped. It was hanging right in front of him: a clearly defined, metallic craft hovering about fifteen feet off of the ground. The team began yelling for Travis to get back into the truck, but Travis was transfixed. He thought it would be gone before he got close enough for it to be dangerous.

It was terrifying and exciting at the same time. As he approached, it began making strange sounds as though it were coming alive. Before Travis could think of what to do, a greenish-blue light came out and struck him, flinging him to the ground. The rest of the team freaked out, convinced the ship had just killed him and they were next. Mike floored the gas pedal, the remains of his team in terrified hysterics as the made their escape.

When they finally stopped the truck to think, arguments began. Mike knew they had to go back for Travis, but the rest of the team was desperate to get out of there. Finally, they all agreed to go back. If nothing else, they needed to recover the body. When they got back, the ship was gone. There was no sign of Travis. They began a frantic search. Finally, Mike realized Travis really was gone, and he was ashamed that he'd left Travis there. They drove back into town, debating over whether or not to call the police. Steve knew the cops wouldn't believe them. Allen had been in trouble with the law before, so he didn't want to get the cops involved. Mike was too upset to even make a phone call. The unfortunate duty fell to Ken Peterson. Ken didn't want to mention anything about a UFO over the phone. He just wanted to report a missing person. Sheriff Marlin Gillespie and Deputy Ken Coplan drove over.

When they arrived, the team all tried to talk over each other to tell the story. Sheriff Gillespie thought it was a hoax, and the team was trying to cover up a crime. Still, he launched a manhunt the next day to try to find Travis. They got a large search party, and expected to be searching for either an injured individual, or a dead body. The searchers fanned out and would search for a mile or two in one direction, then double back and start in another. There were even searchers with Geiger counters. Mike encountered these searchers, who said they were only finding background radiation. Mike suggested they run the scanners over his team. There was no sign of radiation. They'd all showered and changed clothes since the incident.

Mike ran and grabbed the hard hats for scanning. The needle went nuts. Seconds after that, the searchers with Geiger counters left. Nobody knew who they were. On the second day of the search, they began checking every building within 20 miles of the site. The deputy sheriff was skeptical. He kept asking what the team had done with the body, and urged them to tell the truth.  After two days of searching, they found no sign of a crime, and certainly no signs of a UFO. By the third day, the news of Travis Walton's disappearance had gone beyond Snowflake. Reporters called constantly, interrupting the officers as they were trying to work. By the fourth day of searching, the accusations began coming from local townsfolk. Shouts came asking them where the body was buried. The sheriff suggested the entire team take polygraph tests. They knew they had to do it, if only to clear their own names. 

When they arrived at the courthouse that Monday, the media was there in force. They were harassing the team with questions, asking where they'd buried the body. They were frightened, and worried that if one person failed, their lives were over. Cy Gilson, the polygraph operator, was a top rated examiner in the State of Arizona. The men very quickly realized that the polygraph test was not for whether or not they'd seen a UFO. It was for murder. The team didn't trust Cy GIlson at all. The sheriff guaranteed that the test would be fair. Sheriff Gillespie remained convinced that the UFO story was a hoax to cover up murder. Once each man had finished their stint in the polygraph chair, they were taken to a separate room. Allen Dalis was not cooperative. He and Travis had had disagreements in the past, and he didn't like the questions being asked. Allen's examination was deemed incomplete. Cy GIlson wanted to have another examiner review the charts before he gave a final result. The men waited and waited while each examination was conducted.

Finally, they caught Cy leaving the building and begged him for something, even if he couldn't give a final result. As far as Cy could see, five of the six men passed the examination. They were telling the truth. The six men heaved a sigh of relief. The sheriff was quite surprised. Five hours after the lie-detector tests were concluded, Travis Walton was lying on the edge of the highway. There was light coming from above. Before he could look up, it was gone. The ship disappeared. Travis slowly got to his feet, allowed his legs to steady, and then took off running. He ran toward lights in the distance, recognizing the town. He picked up the phone and called his brother-in-law. They thought it was a prank call. Mid-sentence, Travis collapsed. When he woke, his brother-in-law and brother Duane were there to get him. Travis tried to tell Duane what had happened, but he could barely talk. He couldn't believe he'd been gone for five days, until he felt his face and the five days of growth on his beard. Duane took him to a hospital in Phoenix to get him checked out. Dr. Howard Kandell, MD, was the doctor who first examined him. Travis was dazed. Dr. Kandell said his behavior was consistent with someone who'd been through a traumatic experience. He ran bloodwork, looking for any difference in blood chemistry. He even ran checks for any drugs Travis might have taken. He was looking for signs of exposure or trauma. The only sign of any trauma was a possible injection site on Travis's arm. When they got back to Duane's house, the sheriff was already aware of Travis's return.

The sheriff was insistent that he interview Travis as soon as possible, and came to Phoenix. When he saw Travis, Travis looked very tired and nervous. The sheriff asked him what happened. Travis was in no condition to be interviewed, but tried to relate it as best he could. Duane tried to cover for Travis, telling reporters that he was in a hospital in Tucson. Even the National Enquirer was on Duane's doorstep. In exchange for an exclusive, they were willing to fund testing to see what, if anything, had been done to Travis. Travis was taken to a hotel. He had no concept of the ramifications of cooperating with the Enquirer. He was still traumatized, and at the mercy of some pretty powerful forces who had no interest in what he needed. Initially, Travis broke down. He was put under hypnosis, so he could get past the overpowering fear and tell his story. When he was under, he didn't remember anything at first. There was just overpowering pain. It was hot and humid. He was struggling to breathe. Travis saw this curved object over his chest. He heard movement around him, creatures bustling around.

Perhaps he was seeing doctors?  Had the crew taken him to the hospital?  When his vision cleared,  Travis realized that what he was seeing wasn't human. He lashed out, and the thing on his chest fell off. The adrenaline rush gave him the strength to stand. He saw three creatures, small, definitely not human. However, they were very intelligent, and very unemotional. Three of the creatures began walking around the table toward Travis. Grabbing the biggest, nearest object he could find, he tried to fight his way out. The fear was overwhelming. The creatures stopped just out of reach, turned, and walked out. Travis took the opportunity to attempt an escape. The corridor curved so tightly, he could barely see in either direction. 

When he came to the next door, he found an empty little room that held a solitary chair. Travis wasn't able to feel safe until he saw that the chair was empty. He didn't see any doorknobs or buttons, until he looked closely at the chair. Could some of the buttons there open a door and let him out?  As he walked toward it, the room darkened, and he saw dots of light all around. Could he have been seeing a star map?  Travis slowly sat in the chair. None of the buttons seemed to do anything. He wrapped a hand around the lever on one arm. That seemed to control the display of stars. They moved and turned as he moved the lever. When he turned around, there was a someone who looked like a human being standing in the doorway. Travis begged the man to help, but something about the man seemed different. The man took Travis by the arm and walked him through some doors.

Finally, they stepped outside of the ship. As Travis's eyes adjusted, he realized he was standing in something that felt like an aircraft hanger. There were other ships like the one he'd left all around. The man led Travis through some doors and into a room,  Three people stood there, but there was something different about them, as well. The trio tried to wrestle Travis onto a table. One had a plastic mask. Travis was just getting his fingers under the edge to try to pull it away when the hypnotist snapped him out of the trance. When Travis met up with the team later, the fear was still in his eyes. He told them the story, They knew it was hard to believe, but they all knew Travis wasn't lying. The drug tests run by the doctor when he came back confirmed that Travis hadn't recently been on drugs. 

To this day, the sheriff felt the police were the victims of a fraud. He would love to get the real story one day. The team still knows what they saw. Mike Rogers had nightmares. Ken Peterson was afraid to even look out the window. Cy Gilson administered a polygraph to Travis in 1993. He passed. What Travis says happened to him happened. None of the men have wavered from their story since 1975. Cy Gilson re-tested Allen Dalis in 1993 to get a conclusive result. Allen Dalis passed.