Skeptics UFO Newsletter -2- March 1998 Skeptics UFO Newsletter -8- March 1998
CSICOP's Online Archive of The Skeptics UFO Newsletter (SUN) #50, March 1998
Return to The Klass Files home page.
Walton Claims He Is Afraid To Recall What Occurred Aboard UFO
If you had long wanted to go aboard a flying saucer and then one night you were taken aboard a UFO, were returned safely without any physical injury but could only remember what had transpired during roughly two hours of the five days you were aboard the UFO, would you be curious to recall more details of your exciting adventure? Especially since you (allegedly) recalled being transported to a large hangar where you saw three flying saucers. Many persons who only suspect they might be "abductees" are willing to "risk" undergoing many hypnosis sessions to try to recall what happened. But NOT TRAVIS WALTON, who claims he is still AFRAID to do so--more than 20 years after he (allegedly) was abducted by a UFO.
Walton's (alleged) fears were revealed in 1978 in his first book, "The Walton Experience," which concluded: "Someday, I may get up enough nerve to try hypnosis again....That missing time bothers me, and [hypnotic] regression may be the only way to get rid of that feeling." Travis had undergone regressive hypnosis shortly after he reappeared, administered by James Harder, a long-time pro-UFO researcher. But under hypnosis Travis provided no more details than he had given without hypnosis. When Harder probed for more depth, Travis declined--expressing fear for his life. Walton has never claimed any subsequent UFO abductions or ET visits to warn him against revealing any more details. But he says these fears persist, according to his more recent book "Fire In The Sky" (FITS), published in late 1996. (The book's title comes from the Paramount movie on the Walton case which had its debut in March of 1993 [SUN #21/May 1993]). In Walton's new book [p. 181] he writes: "I once thought that someday I might get up enough nerve to try hypnosis again....But after all these years I have never felt sufficiently moved to go under again."
CUFOS's JEROME CLARK STRONGLY ENDORSES WALTON'S ABDUCTION CLAIMS
Interest in the Walton case has been sparked by the strong, unqualified endorsement given by Jerome Clark, editor of the International UFO Reporter (IUR), published by the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS). In the Fall 1997 issue of IUR, in a review of Walton's recent book, Clark concluded that "after more than two decades, Walton's credibility survives intact. No shred of evidence yet brought forth against it withstands skeptical scrutiny." Clark characterizes FITS as "the best book ever written by a UFO witness" and predicts that "few [skeptics] will dare to read this book." (It is rumored that Clark helped Walton write his first book and there is evidence that he served as "ghostwriter" for much of the new material in Walton's recent book.)
If the incident is a hoax, as indicated by my many-month investigation in 1976, there is a logical explanation for the meager details in Travis' original account and for why he has refused to undergo hypnosis again. In 1975 there were only a tiny handful of "UFO-abduction" cases whose "victims" claimed to have been aboard a UFO for only a short time. The best known was the Betty/Barney Hill case which was featured in a two-hour movie shown on NBC-TV on Oct. 20, 1975--roughly two weeks before the Walton incident. Travis claims that he did not see the NBC-TV movie but his detailed description of the faces of his bald ETs closely resembles the ETs shown in the TV movie and differs significantly from the "new-look" ET descriptions which have typically been reported since the late 1980s, following publication of Whitley Streiber's book "Communion" and Budd Hopkins' book "Intruders."
For example, the "new-look" ETs are reported to have no eyelids. But in Walton's books
he wrote: "Their huge lids slide quickly down over the glassy bubbles of their eyes, then flipped open again like the release of roll-up window shades." The ETs in the NBC-TV movie had large eyelids and in one scene they moved exactly as Walton described. Walton said his ETs had "miniature rounded noses [with] small oval nostrils." This description matches the appearances of the noses of ETs in the NBC-TV movie. "New-look" ETs are reported to have no well-defined nose, only two holes for breathing. Walton said the ears of his ETs had "tiny crinkled lobes" as did the ETs in the NBC-TV movie. The "new-look" ETs have no discernible ear lobes. Walton said his ETs had "thin-lipped mouths," as did the ETs on NBC-TV. The "new-look" ETs are reported to have no mouth or simply a thin slit with NO lips [SUN #24/Nov. 1993].
Tracy Torme, who convinced Paramount to produce the "Fire In The Sky" movie and authored its script, admitted that "it doesn't fit any of the other [abduction case] patterns," when he appeared on a radio talk show to promote the movie in early 1993. As examples of the major differences in Walton's tale and the "new-look" abduction reports, Torme noted that "Walton was gone for five days and six hours instead of a couple of hours. When he awakened [in the UFO] he was not paralyzed. He was not naked. He was not being experimented on medically." He has not had any experiences since then. He didn't seem to have any in childhood. He didn't come back with a lot of scars or anything." (Inasmuch as Betty/Barney Hill never reported that they had been paralyzed, awakened naked in the UFO, had permanent scars, or previous childhood abductions, such "new-look" details were not in the NBC-TV movie--which Travis claims he didn't see.)
"MISSING" PHYSICAL EVIDENCE CHALLENGES TALES OF "EYEWITNESSES"
According to Walton's books, a team of timber cutters headed by Mike Rogers, who had been working in the Turkey Springs area of Sitgreaves National Park under U.S. Forest Service contract, were driving back home around dusk when they spotted a UFO hovering over a nearby clearing. Although the truck was moving, Travis (allegedly) opened the door, jumped out and ran toward the UFO--ignoring the warnings of his teammates. Suddenly, according to Walton's account, "a tremendously bright, blue-green ray shot out of the bottom of the craft. I saw and heard nothing. All I felt was the numbing force of a blow that felt like a high voltage electrocution....The stunning concussion of the foot-wide beam struck me full in the head and chest.... From the instant I felt that paralyzing blow, I did not see, hear or feel anything more....I was hurled backward through the air for 10 feet. My right shoulder collided with the hard rocky earth of the ridgetop. Landing simply spread out on the cold ground, my body lay motionless." (Emphasis added.)
Walton's teammates (allegedly) panicked and Rogers drove off leaving Travis behind. A few minutes later, after they saw the UFO depart, they drove back and found that Travis had disappeared. Travis would be "missing" for more than five days until around midnight on Nov. 11, when he called his sister's house from a pay-phone in the village of Heber--roughly 10 miles from where the incident (allegedly) had occurred. Travis' older brother Duane, who lived in Phoenix but had driven to Snowflake (where Travis resided) after being informed of the incident, then drove to pick up Travis. Very early the next morning (Nov. 12) the two men drove to Phoenix. Later that same day--less than 24 hours after Travis' return and less than six days after he (allegedly) had been zapped by the powerful UFO beam, he was given a physical examination by two medical doctors, Dr. Howard Kandell and Dr. Joseph Saults, who were members of APRO--then a large pro-UFO group with headquarters in Tucson. Despite the claim that Travis had been struck on the face and chest by the intense blue-green beam, there was not a single burn-mark anywhere on Travis' body. Despite the claim that the beam had knocked Travis unconscious and sent him flying through the air to impact on the hard, rocky earth, there was not a single bruise mark anywhere on his body. The only thing observed was a tiny puncture-wound scab on Travis' right elbow. This could have resulted from a thorn or a hypodermic needle, Dr. Kandell told me during my 1976 investigation. The doctors had brought along a camera and a tape recorder, but Duane would not allow them to use either and insisted they not question Travis about his UFO experience.
Skeptics UFO Newsletter -3- March 1998
Rogers had reported the incident to the local Sheriff's office, which had launched a limited, unsuccessful search for Travis that night. When Travis' mother, who had spent the hot summer months living in a small cabin not far from Turkey Springs--and who was still living there in early November--was informed around midnight of what had occurred, she took the news calmly. The next morning a party of roughly 50 persons had assembled to search for Walton and for physical evidence to support the UFO-zapping story because law enforcement officers had begun to suspect that the crew might have killed Travis and concocted the UFO story as a cover. Careful inspection of the site failed to find any physical evidence to support the "zapping." The "slash-pile" of timber near where Travis had been standing and pine needles on the ground showed no signs of intense heat or disturbance from the beam that allegedly had lifted Travis off his feet. That afternoon, Travis' mother requested the search be ended.
Walton Claims Scant Interest In UFOs Prior To The Incident
Travis denies [p.124] that he and his family had a long-time interest in UFOs. "I have a very wide set of interests and many are keen interests, but UFOs aren't one of the keen ones, even now!" (Emphasis added.) Travis acknowledged that his brother Duane had had a UFO sighting some years earlier, but added: "I have talked with him on a couple occasions about the subject since then, but we've never had a disproportionate interest in the topic." (Emphasis added.)
The veracity of these Walton claims is challenged by a tape-recorded interview with Duane Walton and Mike Rogers, conducted by UFOlogist Fred Sylvanus on Nov. 8, 1975, while Travis was still "missing." At one point Duane said: "Travis and I discussed this many, many times at great length and we both said that [if either saw a UFO nearby] we would immediately get as directly under the object as physically possible....We discussed this time and time again..." Duane went on to explain that if only one of them was taken aboard a UFO, he would "try to convince whoever was in the craft to come back and get the other one." During the closing moments of the interview, Duane said he believed that Travis was "having the experience of a lifetime. I don't think he's in any danger at all. He'll turn up. All I can say is that I wish I was with him."
If Duane truly believed that Travis had been abducted by a UFO, he could not be so sanguine. Unlike other "abductees" who (allegedly) were held for only an hour or two, Travis had now been gone for nearly three days. Perhaps the ETs were taking Travis back to their native planet to be stuffed and placed in an ET museum. (Travis tries to explain his brother's statements [p. 125] by saying that Duane's comments were "directed partially to bolster my mother's morale." Nonsense. Their mother was not present during the interview and its contents would not be made public until many months later after I received a copy of the tape from William Spaulding, head of a small pro-UFO group in Phoenix called Ground Saucer Watch.)
Walton's Lack Of Candor Sometimes "Flirts With Falsehoods"
Walton's new book offers many examples in which he is not completely honest with the reader. For example, in the book's preface Travis admits that he was a bit wild during his teen years: "I had a few isolated brushes with the law, mostly traffic offenses, but nothing that left me with any record." (Emphasis added.) This is literally true, but very misleading. On May 5, 1971--roughly four years prior to the UFO incident--Travis Walton and Charles Rogers, Mike Rogers' younger brother, pleaded guilty in the Navajo County Superior Court to the following charge: "On or about the night of February 18, 1971, they broke into the office of the Western Molding Co., with intent to steal and did steal therefrom a quantity of Western Molding checks and on the 19th day of February filled out said checks payable to a fictitious person and signed the name of Robert W. Gonsalves, thereby to cheat and defraud." After Walton and Rogers agreed to make restitution of the funds, they were placed on two-year probation. On Aug. 3, 1973, having lived up to the terms of their probation, they were allowed under Arizona law to "cleanse the record" by appearing in court and pleading "not guilty" to the original charge. Thus, Travis is legally correct when he says his "few isolated brushes with the law" did not leave him with "any record."
Skeptics UFO Newsletter -4- March 1998
Walton Flunks His First (Secret) Polygraph (Lie Detector) Test
On Feb. 6, 1976, APRO announced that Travis and Duane Walton had taken and passed polygraph tests administered by George Pfeifer, an employee of Tom Ezell & Associates. When I called on March 13 to talk to Pfeifer, Mr. Ezell told me that Pfeifer had left to go into business for himself. Ezell said he had been out of town when the Walton tests had been administered, but he volunteered to examine the polygraph charts to evaluate Pfeifer's assessment. Near the end of our conversation, Ezell said: "Let me give you a little information that might help you. Walton was given another examination before George gave him one." When I asked who had given Walton this heretofore secret polygraph test, Ezell replied: "I believe by a Jack McCarthy, who I would say is one helluva good examiner--in Phoenix." Considering that McCarthy was Ezell's competitor, this was an impressive compliment. Ezell had learned of the McCarthy test from Pfeifer,
who had learned of it from APRO officials.
Two days later I called McCarthy and said that Ezell had told me that McCarthy had tested Travis Walton prior to the Pfeifer test. McCarthy acknowledged that was true. When I asked for McCarthy's assessment of his polygraph test on Travis, he responded with two words: "Gross deception." McCarthy explained that sometimes Travis would hold his breath, in an effort to "beat the machine." McCarthy told me that he had been hired by APRO director Jim Lorenzen and the National Enquirer, which had sent in a team of reporters after Travis had reappeared. The tests had been administered in a suburban hotel. When McCarthy re-ported his conclusions, a National Enquirer reporter hastily typed up a "secrecy agreement" which McCarthy signed constraining him from publicly revealing the tests or their results. When I later telephoned McCarthy and said that I had learned of the tests from Ezell, McCarthy faced a difficult decision: he could resort to falsehood by denying the Walton tests or confirm what Ezell had told me.McCarthy opted for the truth.
(When I visited McCarthy on Nov. 3, 1977, he showed me some of the charts from the Travis test. When Travis was asked "Were you actually in a spacecraft from the 5th of November to the 10th of November," the chart showed a dramatic increase in Travis' blood pressure with the polygraph pen hitting its retaining stop. The charts showed that in response to some questions, Travis held his breath for 10-15 seconds before responding "yes" or "no." In Walton's recent book, he tries to explain this away [p. 325] as only a "respiratory quirk.")
On Mar. 22, 1976, I called Ezell back to get the results of his analysis of the polygraph charts of Pfeifer's tests on Travis and Duane. Ezell told me that in his opinion it was impossible to tell whether Travis and Duane had responded truthfully to the test questions. In other words, the tests were inconclusive. Later, when the charts were examined by another Phoenix polygraph examiner, Cy Gilson, he agreed that the Pfeifer tests were "inconclusive."
On July 19, 1976, Rogers proposed new polygraph tests for Walton, himself, other crew members, Travis' mother and brother. If they passed, I would pay for the tests; if they failed, APRO would pay. I agreed to new tests for Walton, Rogers and the other five crew members, but negotiations broke down when I discovered that APRO's Lorenzen and Rogers were resort-ing to deception to get me to accept their choice of a polygraph examiner. This particular examiner (then living in San Diego) claimed that his polygraph tests showed that household plants have "feelings" and can tell whether they are "loved." (Attempts by several scientists to replicate his test results failed.) When I declined to have the new tests performed by this particular polygraph examiner, Rogers refused to use any other.
Walton, Rogers Resists New Tests, Suddenly Change Their Minds And Pass
In early 1992 as the filming was getting underway on Paramount's FITS movie, Tracy Torme received a phone call from Ohio UFOlogist Jerry Black who proposed that Walton and Rogers undergo a new set of polygraph tests at Black's expense because of doubts about the
Skeptics UFO Newsletter -5- March 1998
Pfeifer tests. Later, when Black talked with Travis to propose a new polygraph, Walton questioned the need, as he explained [p. 145-46] in his recent book: "I asked him why I should take another test when I'd already passed one. He [Black] criticized the validity of the Pfeifer test; I defended it....A new test would amount to an admission that the test I had already passed had been somehow insufficient.... Mike [Rogers] at first resisted on grounds similar to mine."
Then, curiously, Rogers and Walton changed their minds. Travis explains that an important factor in his change of heart was that the new tests would be given by Cy Gilson, a Phoenix examiner, who "had expressed his opinion that both the McCarthy test and the Pfeifer test were inconclusive for the same reason--their same obsolete technology." Gilson would use newer polygraph techniques, which included computer analysis, developed by professor David Raskin of the University of Utah.
On Feb. 1, 1993, Gilson first tested Allen Dalis--who had been a member of the crew at Turkey Springs--and then Rogers. Both passed with flying colors. In a letter to test-sponsor Black, Gilson reported that his test of Dalis yielded a "computer-based analysis [which] returned a posterior probability of truthfulness [score] of 0.993, indicating that charts like these produced by Mr. Dalis are produced by truthful examinees 99% of the time." Gilson reported that Rogers had also scored 99%. Three days later Gilson tested Travis and reported he had scored well but with a slightly lower 96%.
SUN first learned about the new polygraph tests in early April of 1993 and talked with test-sponsor Black, and then with Gilson, to try to learn more about the test and the new computer analysis techniques used. Gilson referred me to professor Raskin at the University of Utah. Fortunately, I knew an Arizona attorney who had employed Raskin as a polygraph expert and she agreed to arrange for Raskin to talk with me about his polygraph technique. I had hoped that Raskin would be interested in reviewing Gilson's polygraph charts, and Black had agreed to make them available for Raskin's analysis. When I called Raskin on April 10, I learned that he was aware of the Gilson tests, but he showed no interest in the results or in reviewing Gilson's charts. Shortly before our conversation ended, Raskin emphatically stated: "I have enough important battles to deal with....I do not want to get involved in this."
Possibly one of the "important battles" of greater concern to Raskin was the then-recent discovery that a high CIA official, Aldrich H. Ames, was a covert Russian agent. Ames had successfully passed two polygraph tests given by the agency. SUN has been told that the CIA uses Raskin's polygraph techniques but this is not known with certainty. The Feb. 27, 1994, edition of The Washington Post, which carried a feature article on Ames and the two polygraph tests he managed to pass, noted that "there are various ways to defeat it [the polygraph]. Taking 400 milligrams of meprobamate will do the trick nicely, studies show."
New "Mystery Witness" Appears, Uses Tricks In Polygraph Test
What SUN did not know until we obtained a copy of Walton's recent book in May of 1997 was that shortly before the FITS movie made its debut, Travis received a telephone call from a man who claimed he and his wife had been in the Turkey Springs area on the night of Nov. 5, 1975, and had seen the UFO and its blue beam. According to Travis [p. 276], the man (whom SUN will refer to as "X") "seemed rational and sincere....The man said he had been in military intelligence and had been advised by his superior officer to keep quiet unless my crewmates were on the verge of being convicted of murder. I was very cautious and questioned him in detail but he gave the right answers, including topography of the surrounding terrain....The man said he had confided what he had seen right after the incident to a friend, a known public official who would attest to that." Travis said he had "X" call Torme and claims "we agreed he sounded genuine." (Torme's recent recollections differ slightly.) Paramount had "X" fly out to Los Angeles for an interview which Torme recently told me had prompted his own suspicions. When "X" agreed to take a polygraph test, arrangements were made with Gilson to conduct the test.
Skeptics UFO Newsletter -6- March 1998
Gilson tested "X" on Mar. 11, 1993--the day before the FITS movie made its debut. The results, according to Walton's book [p. 277], "were very strange--with some truly sinister implica-tions....Things came to light which gave indications of deceit and suggested possible intrigue from high levels in our government." According to Walton's account, the first test series included the following issues, with "X's" answers shown in brackets:
(1) Had "X" been present at Turkey Springs on Nov. 5, 1975? [YES]
(2) Had "X" seen aerial lights there in the trees? [YES]
(3) Had "X" seen the blue beam? [YES]
(4) Was "X" then in Army intelligence with a top security clearance? [YES]
According to Walton, Gilson's analysis indicated that "X" had answered TRUTHFULLY, with a computer probability score of 93%--almost as high as Walton, Rogers and Dalis had achieved. The second test series dealt with the following:
(5) Had "X" had any prior communications or correspondence with PJK (Philip J. Klass) or the head of CSICOP (an organization of skeptics with which I am affiliated)? [NO]
(6) Had "X" conspired with anyone to discredit Walton and his UFO story? [NO]
(7) Was "X" currently working for any branch of the U.S. military? [NO]
(8) Had "X" been advised by a military supervisor to keep quiet about what he had seen on the night of Nov. 5, 1975? [YES]
Gilson's analysis of the second test series indicated a probability of DECEPTION of 89%, according to Walton. Curiously, "X's" charts showed the greatest deception for questions (5) and (8). "X's" deception on (5) prompts Walton to suggest that I recruited "X" to try to fool Paramount and embarrass Gilson by having "X" later confess that his tale was a hoax.
A Ridiculous Accusation, A More Logical Explanation
I WOULD NEVER ENGAGE IN SUCH TRICKERY, KNOWING THAT IF IT WERE EXPOSED THIS WOULD RUIN MY REPUTATION AS A TECHNICAL JOURNALIST AND AS A UFO RESEARCHER. Nor would CSICOP. But IF I had, surely I would never have selected "X" for the job if Gilson's analysis was correct that "X" was being truthful when he said he was in the Turkey Springs area on Nov. 5, 1975, and saw a UFO and its blue beam.
IF Walton or Rogers really suspected that "X" was an agent of PJK or CSICOP, after "X" failed Gilson's tests, they would surely have devoted some effort to try to get "X" to confess--knowing that such an admission would utterly destroy the reputation of their major critic. Seemingly a marvelous opportunity--which they never pursued!
Another quite different scenario emerges because Gilson said he caught "X" in "a deliberate attempt to produce countermeasures" (i.e., tricks) when "X" was told to intentionally lie to provide a "benchmark" to enable Gilson to assess when "X" later was lying. If "X" was resorting to tricks, perhaps there were others that Gilson failed to detect. Where might "X" have learned such tricks? One possibility is via Allen Dalis, who could have learned them from other inmates in the Arizona State Penitentiary. (Dalis had been sentenced in 1976 to three five-year concurrent terms for armed robbery--committed to support his hard-drug habit.) Dalis could have offered to demonstrate the effectiveness of the techniques by being the first to undergo tests by Gilson in 1993. If Dalis passed, as he did, Rogers and Walton would use the same techniques. If Dalis failed, Rogers and Walton could find some excuse to renege. Their success could then have prompted Rogers to conceive of the idea of a new "mystery witness" who would emerge as the FITS movie was making its debut. This would enhance the popularity of the movie and the credibility of the Walton abduction tale. "X" would be briefed by Dalis or Rogers on the techniques. If "X" goofed in trying to use the techniques and failed the test, I could be accused of being "X's" sponsor. For Rogers, it would be a tempting "no-lose" scenario.
Skeptics UFO Newsletter -7- March 1998
Another possibility is that "X" acted entirely on his own in concocting his tale, hoping to pocket some money and gain personal publicity.
Walton Reveals PJK's (Alleged) Evil Character And Misdeeds
My book "UFOs: The Public Deceived," published in 1983, devoted 61 pages (17% of the total) to the Walton incident and the results of my many-month investigation of the case. Wal-ton's recent 370-page book contains an 86-page appendix titled: "PJK: Propaganda Job Krumbles, or, Perfidus Janus Kalumnior." It is largely devoted to revealing my evil modus operandi and character and also to challenging the expertise and ethics of polygraph examiner McCarthy. Walton, after characterizing me as his principal critic, comments: "PJK's ties to military/aerospace sources--as editor of Aviation Week and Space Technology [I was one of several senior editors], his Washington D.C. address, his prosecutorial, muckraker approach, and his extensive use of propagandist techniques--have led people in the UFO community for many years to speculate that he is a paid operative of some covert agency interested in promulgating disinformation about UFOs. As one would expect, whether it's true or not, he's always denied it." Walton adds: "If some high-level agency were going to choose someone for such a purpose, it would seem they would pick someone more able." (Emphasis added.) Later, Walton says: "PJK's likeliest motivation seems to me to be fanatical disbelief--obsessive, overzealous, monomanical disbelief" [p.288]. Travis adds: "He [PJK] is neither thorough nor accurate. He deals not in hard facts but in distortion, supposition, innuendo, and assumption, reaching one unjustified conclusion after another. He is as far from [being] scientific as one can get" [p. 291.]
Walton Accuses PJK Of Ignoring Physical Evidence
Walton charges [p. 300] that PJK "entirely ignored every bit of physical evidence in support of the case. In his many white papers and in his two books...there was not a single mention of the recorded magnetic anomalies, ozone traces, Geiger counter readings, or strange `metal' fragments found at the very site of the incident! Not a peep about the reports of outages of power and television reception in the nearest towns at the time of the incident. He was well aware of those reports, yet not a word about them." (Emphasis added.)
The "magnetic anomalies" measurements were made by William Spaulding, head of Ground Saucer Watch (GSW), who initially believed the Walton tale. A week later when he repeated the test he found no magnetic anomalies, prompting him to conclude that his earlier measurements were flawed. Detection of "ozone traces," also attributed to Spaulding, were never mentioned by him in our numerous telephone and letter exchanges. When Spaulding wrote a report on the Walton case in mid-1976 for his GSW members, he made NO mention of any ozone traces.
When the area near the "zapping site" was checked for radiation by a Forest Service employee using a Geiger-counter, it showed a normal background level [p. 61]. When Mike Rogers suggested checking his "hard hat" and that of Allen Dalis, the Geiger-counter showed increased radiation. But neither Rogers nor Dalis had gotten close to the (alleged) UFO.
Travis claims that "strange metal fragments" were found by Spaulding at the site, but he did not visit the site until several days after it had been searched by law enforcement officers who had found nothing. Spaulding never mentioned any such fragments to me. In Travis' recent book [p. 138] he claims that Spaulding gave them fragments to his brother Duane. While Travis now claims these fragments were important physical evidence, we can not find any mention of them in his first book. There was no mention of power outages in nearby towns in any of the many articles in Arizona newspapers at the time. Nor did Travis mention the alleged power outages in his first book, so far as we can find. (Neither book contains an index.)
When Duane Walton underwent a polygraph test by Pfeifer in early 1976, one of the test questions was: "Would you lie to help Travis in this matter." Duane replied "No," and Pfeifer concluded he was being truthful. In late April of 1976, before I publicly disclosed the "secret" McCarthy test that Travis flunked, I interviewed Duane by phone. During our conversation, I asked: "When did Travis first take a polygraph, or lie-detector, test?" Duane replied: "I don't know. I don't have the foggiest notion." Duane was present during McCarthy's test. Walton justifies Duane's falsehood [p. 337]: "Duane had learned prior to the call of PJK's reputation for being rabidly anti-UFO, unfair, devious, prone to twisting people's words to suit his purposes....However surveys show that when confronted with a person one considers shady, or believes intends on harm, most honest people consider themselves justified in speaking at odds with the facts..." (Emphasis added.)
Walton ends his book as follows: "While PJK deliberately hid favorable data and ducked confrontation with my strongest points, I have openly confronted his best....not one point in his prosecutorial campaign can stand up to rational analysis, to weigh objectively against the incident's authenticity." Travis predicts: "He'll completely sidestep my examples of how he conducted his campaign, my exposure of his falsehoods, deceptive omissions, and distortions. He'll continue to beg the question of the strongest evidence: physical traces, consistent testimony from seven eyewitnesses, unassailable polygraph tests." (Emphasis added.)
Travis' Actions Speak Louder Than His (and Jerry Clark's) Words
If Travis was really abducted by a UFO, and even if he previously had no interest in the subject, UFOs should have become the focal point of his interest. He should certainly have joined APRO, whose leaders endorsed his abduction tale, to participate in its efforts to "solve the UFO mystery." But he did not. If he had not previously read any UFO books, as he claims, surely he would be eager to read the book "Interrupted Journey," recounting the (alleged) UFO abduction of Betty/Barney Hill. But Travis did not. In 1987, when tales of UFO abductions achieved national prominence with publication of the Budd Hopkins and Whitley Strieber books, surely Travis would want to read their books--and the many similar-theme books that followed--to learn about the experiences of other "abductees." Surely he would want to attend UFO conferences and "support group" meetings to talk to other "abductees." But the only UFO conferences Walton attends--always with Rogers--are those where they are invited speakers. On Nov. 5, 1975, Travis claims he was so very curious about UFOs that he ran under a hovering UFO. Now, having been paid generously by Paramount and having enjoyed trips to Europe and Australia to promote the movie, Travis shows scant curiosity about UFOs. He says [p. 193] he only wants "to get on with my life and live it as normally as possible."
NOTE: Opinions expressed in SUN are those of its editor--unless otherwise noted--and do NOT necessarily represent the views of any organization with which he is affiliated--or his spouse. We thank Dr. Gary Posner for help in proofreading.
SKEPTICS UFO NEWSLETTER (SUN) IS PUBLISHED BIMONTHLY. SUBSCRIPTION RATE (SIX ISSUES) IS $15/YEAR FOR U.S./CANADA. OVERSEAS RATE (AIRMAIL) IS $20/YEAR. (PLEASE MAKE CHECK/MONEY ORDER PAYABLE TO PHILIP J. KLASS)
Skeptics UFO Newsletter -2- March 1998
Skeptics UFO Newsletter -8- March 1998