An Interview with Travis Walton: Fire In The Sky, 35 Years Later
By Bret Oldham
Perhaps one of the most well known and most investigated alien abduction cases in history is the Travis Walton case. Documented missing time, multiple witnesses, and a worldwide media explosion which eventually led to a major motion picture, “Fire In The Sky.” Travis has written his own account in his bestselling book, with the same name, and he now has a new version out with additional illustrations and 25 pages of new material which can be purchased on his website: www.travis-walton.com, at a special Christmas discount.
Bret Oldham: Travis, your case is one of the most well known alien abduction cases in history. How do you feel about all the attention you’ve gotten from it?
Travis Walton: You have to learn how to deal with it. I very quickly learned a little bit of media wisdom, that if you decline to be involved then it just puts a negative spin on what they were going to do anyway. You can’t stop them from doing it. I never sought out an interview in my life. They all came to me. Turning them down, although I’ve done a lot of that, sometimes just makes it worse.
Bret Oldham: So it must have been overwhelming then. I mean, you were still recovering from what happened to you. Did it happen suddenly, getting all of this attention?
Travis Walton: Oh yeah, of course! It was worldwide news by the time I was returned.
Bret Oldham: When you got back and you realized what had happened to you, did your family believe you?
Travis Walton: Yeah, everybody that knew me, all close friends and relatives, didn’t have any problem with it. It’s people who really didn’t know me who just heard a few rumors that thought they were experts on things they knew nothing about.
Bret Oldham: So you had a lot of support from your family at this time?
Travis Walton: Yes.
Bret Oldham: When you guys first saw the lights from the craft and came upon it, what prompted you to get out of the truck and approach the craft?
Travis Walton: I thought it would be gone before I got very close to it. I thought it would take off.
Bret Oldham: So, you were just trying to get a closer look at it?
Travis Walton: Yeah, but I have to admit I was showing off a little bit for the rest of the crew. What I was doing was very alarming to them. They started screaming at me to get back in the truck. I was starting to become somewhat apprehensive myself the closer I got. So I started to slow down and I was really thinking I may have gotten myself into a bad situation.
Bret Oldham: So at that point you had a real good view at what you were looking at?
Travis Walton: Yeah, you know anybody who can think that at that close of a range that you could mistake something like the planet Jupiter or a helicopter or something. It’s impossible as it was less than 100 feet away. It was unmistakable.
Bret Oldham: As you got closer to it and realized exactly what you were looking at, you had to have gotten quite an adrenaline rush. Did the fear set in at that point?
Travis Walton: I was already getting some real fear. When it started to move and the sound got louder, I jumped for cover. The closest thing was a log, which was in front of me. I jumped down into a crouch, kind of forward in the direction of the craft. It wasn’t until I straightened up that my upper body at that point was closest to the craft and that’s when it hit me.
Bret Oldham: What do you most distinctly remember about being on board the craft?
Travis Walton: The eyes of those creatures.
Bret Oldham: I know we’ve talked before about it and I know you’ve described to others that their eyes were similar to the Greys but they blinked.
Travis Walton: Yeah, I don’t use the term “Greys.”
Bret Oldham: So you don’t think that is the alien species who had taken you?
Travis Walton: Well, from what I gather from hearing little bits of lots of UFO reports is people tend to describe beings into a few narrow categories but I think they’re forcing things to fit. I think there are probably as many different kinds of aliens as there are life supporting planets out there. Some of them would look similar and that they would get lumped together isn’t surprising, but too often when there is a slight difference in the description with people coming forward that people assume they saw the same thing but didn’t quite record the details correctly, but I think that there really are that many differences.
Bret Oldham: Most, but not all abductees report being taken numerous times. Do you feel that you have had any other incidents since your abduction? Or even before then?
Travis Walton: I wouldn’t tell anybody if I did. I have enough trouble with what happened.
Bret Oldham: Yeah, I understand. What were your beliefs about UFOs and alien life forms before this happened to you?
Travis Walton: I didn’t think it was all that unusual. I was aware of this phenomenon. A person would have to be pretty stupid and I mean really ignorant to think that the people of earth are the sole life in the universe. It just boggles the mind!
Bret Oldham: Pretty egotistical isn’t it?
Travis Walton: Yeah, I would say most anybody I’ve spoken to in those years before that, say if I had asked them, ‘do you think humans are the only life in the universe?’ I don’t think very many people would have said, “Oh yeah.” There’s billions and billions and billions of suns just like our star, our sun, and they’re all in our night sky just to twinkle at us at night.
Bret Oldham: So you pretty much believed that there were alien life forms in just doing the math if nothing else?
Travis Walton: Yeah, but it wasn’t anything that I was overly pre-occupied with although people would love to say that it was, especially the skeptics, the debunkers. They imply that if you even thought of it at all in the past that that must mean you made it all up or something.
Bret Oldham: Right, I’ve heard that many times.
Have you had any physical effects from the experience that you’ve noticed over the years or even at that time?
Travis Walton: I did have some signs of lack of sleep and stress, right after it happened for quite some time. Other than that no kind of marks or anything, and the medical tests all checked out. I’ve been pretty darn healthy ever since.
Bret Oldham: A lot of abductees suffer from post traumatic stress. Did it affect you psychologically or emotionally at all?
Travis Walton: I don’t think it was anything debilitating or anything like that. It was just memories and an ongoing situation that I just had to deal with. The incident itself was traumatic but the reaction of people was just a constant challenge and always has been.
Bret Oldham: Did you have nightmares from it?
Travis Walton: Oh yeah. I still do. I used to wake up from it and I would remember that that was what I was dreaming about. They’re less common now. They say they will hear me in my sleep like I’m fighting with something.
Bret Oldham: I’m sure after all this time you’ve learned better how to handle it. This happened to you 35 years ago. I remember you commenting when we met that it was the 35th anniversary of the event. You’ve had a lot of time to think about it and research the phenomenon. In your opinion, what do you think is going on with it all, especially with the abduction phenomenon?
Travis Walton: (Laughs) That’s a very sweeping question. There are lots of things. I could comment about the current situation but you know it does seem that there’s a growing interest and a growing awareness and a growing suggestion that maybe an open general understanding might be on its way.
Bret Oldham: As far as the public accepting what’s going on?
Travis Walton: Yeah.
Bret Oldham: Yeah, I think so too. What do you believe is the alien agenda? Although there could be several different agenda’s involved.
Travis Walton: I’m sure there’s several. I don’t think that it’s malevolent although I don’t know for sure. You never know for sure. I think the trauma I went through has a lot to do with just the way it happened and would not really be anything to judge their intentions by.
Bret Oldham: So you feel like, in your case, it was basically just observing and learning about us?
Travis Walton: I don’t know. You know in my case I like to think, and it’s a personal bias I guess, but that it happened because I got too close and apparently did something unexpected and then you have to clean up the mess and fix it.
Bret Oldham: I know it’s been reported by other abductees that they have witnessed on the craft either human or human like beings interacting with the alien abductors. Do you believe that these beings might be humans from our government and that there is government involvement with some of the species or they might just be hybrids?
Travis Walton: Well they certainly know a lot more than they are letting on but what their involvement is now definitely suggests that there is some sort of earth based agency involved. There is some connection.
Bret Oldham: Yes, I think most of the research would indicate that. I’ve always thought that some of the people who are reporting seeing humans might not have been taken aboard an actual space craft. They might have been taken to some sort of government facility in conjunction to what’s going on with the aliens.
Travis Walton: Yeah, and you know what I say about what I believe the government knows is this. It’s really a small organization within the government. Obviously there’s a majority of people in our government that don’t know anything about it. It’s just a certain few that have their secrets.
Bret Oldham: You recently told me that you’ve now taken six lie detector exams. Could you elaborate on that and explain why you’ve agreed to take so many of them?
Travis Walton: The first one I took as passed they questioned the methodology because that method yields as high as 80% false positive. Which means it has a tendency to say people are lying when they’re not. But if you pass it’s pretty solid because the error factor is in the direction of judging truth tellers. So I underwent more testing kind of to challenge a skeptical investigator who criticized the former testing. So I took two more tests from the Arizona Department of Public Safety and the former examiner who had tested the crew earlier and those two tests I passed at the highest level. Then, because I got involved with a dumb TV show that used fake polygraph (laughs) I decided that I would go from there. It never aired in the United States but I decided I would go and find the most rigorous testing that I possibly could. So since the results were usable in court in the state of New Mexico I looked there and the examiners I talked to recommended this one firm that does testing for the New Mexico State prisons and the Albuquerque police department and even the U.S. Marshall Service. The test, because they’re used in court are very highly regulated there so they are of the highest standards. This firm used really modern computer assisted equipment. They had a five trace machine. Normally there’s only three or four things that are being measured, physiological responses, but this one measured five and it was all being monitored by the computer and scored by the computer at the same time the examiner scored. I passed at the highest level on both tests with both the computer and the examiner. I took two separate tests from him. Also it was an opportunity to cover some other questions. The polygraph examiners always want to go after the central question that really covers all the other questions and they don’t feel that going into any detail is necessary. In this examiners view, did this event actually happen just covers everything or was I under the influence of drugs and so on. The one question that I wanted more specifically covered was, did I have any knowledge of anyone causing the radiation readings at the site or the electromagnetic readings at the site or the phenomenal growth of the trees nearest where the craft came down? That question was asked and I passed that. It was just a way to update; I mean I spent 15 years proving myself.
Bret Oldham: To disprove the skeptics. Do you still get a lot of skeptics, even to this day?
Travis Walton: To this day, the skeptics are really a propaganda program. For instance, there are two skeptics, Robert Schaeffer and Anson Kennedy; they both have the same article that they put up about me that this tabloid writer put out that I discredited years ago, way back in 1996. I showed that this tabloid writer had written two different versions of this article in which he starkly contradicted himself. But when I go to these skeptic’s websites and try to comment or point this out they won’t post it. So, in other words, they’re interested in lying to the public and deceiving the public about how reliable this is. You know, the guy claiming something about the psychiatrist doing such and such when they weren’t even there yet. They hadn’t flown in.
Bret Oldham: So they just manipulated their own truth about it?
Travis Walton: Yeah, just making up a bunch of stuff. In one case, we were referred to (my brother) as total abstainer and in the other article as a staggering drunk. That’s not a mistake. That’s a lie pure and simple. The guy has no credibility but they put it out there because he’s basically mocking the whole thing, for a few shekels. Normally skeptics place no faith in tabloid writers. A tabloid reporter is the bottom of the barrel. This guy decided to write an article claiming a bunch of negative stuff about me after he had written a positive article and did a flip flop. It’s hypocritical. Whatever I can find negative against it, we’ll report that, and there’s anything positive we’ll hush that up.
Bret Oldham: I just find it amazing that after all this time and how you’ve been diligent in your efforts to prove your truthfulness about everything that happened to you, which you’ve done a very good job at, that there are still people out there doing the kinds of things you’re talking about.
Travis Walton: People very often try to attach themselves in some significant way to people near the center of this to seem important. It’s not always negative. I heard about this guy who was a staunch supporter of mine but he was claiming that he had attended the homecoming party that was thrown for me when I was returned. The problem is, that party never happened. That was just something they made up for the movie. There are lots of examples where somebody’s supportive. There’s one guy around here claiming that when I was returned that my first phone call was to him and since he wasn’t home then I called my family.
Bret Oldham: So someone else who is just trying to draw attention to themselves.
Travis Walton: The operator who took the emergency call listened in on it and reported it to the sheriff. There was no other call made by me from that phone booth that night.
Bret Oldham: So that’s how the word got out so quickly that you had returned.
Travis Walton: I don’t even know how the word got out that I was returned. I guess the sheriff must have announced it.
Anyway, there was some guy here on the Internet forums here just recently who was claiming that he was the county sheriff’s nephew and he had said he had the inside story on how it was all a drug hallucination. It was so stupid because every detail that he gave showed that he was making it up. For one thing, he was saying that his uncle was Sanford Slegg and was claiming that he was the county sheriff. Well the county sheriff was not Sanford Slegg. The county sheriff was Marvin Gilespie. The town marshal had no real role in the investigation. It was the county sheriff’s investigation. All the details that he made up said that the crew came into town and they met at the Red Robin diner and talked to the patrons there and told them how they were chased by a UFO. The problem is that there was no Red Robin diner in Heber in 1975. The first Red Robin diner never opened until 1993 and that was in Pennsylvania.
The crew met with the sheriff and his men at a service station that was closed for the night. There was no diner. So all the supposed conversations that happened between the crew and the diners never happened. He just had a whole scenario that was just totally off the wall. But interestingly enough, most of the forums where this guy came on, everybody just jumped on him. People were well versed enough in the facts to know that he was way off in a ridicules way.
Bret Oldham: So that caused him to back down. He knew people were just too well informed about the case.
Travis Walton: Yeah, it did. He was claiming that he went to school with my son and his cousin and yet none of them could figure out who he was. They even got out the yearbooks and tried to figure out who he was and couldn’t.
Bret Oldham: (laughs) Wow! One of the things we talked about before and maybe you could reiterate about it. I asked you if you had been regressed and what happened during the regression?
Travis Walton: Well, I underwent hypnosis because it was so traumatic that I wasn’t able to recount everything that had happened. It was just so hard that I would break down before I could get through it. So what the hypnotist did was allow me to separate the memories from the fear reaction. So I was able to repeat what happened without as much of the fear. I was able to actually, for the first time, get though it all. But when he tried to go deeper about other memories there was quite a block there that he thought it would be fatal to continue. So the hypnosis was discontinued and I’ve never tried to get past those blocked memories again.
Bret Oldham: So you just thought it was better to just let sleeping dogs lie, as they say?
Travis Walton: If they’re blocked it must be for a reason.
Bret Oldham: Well Travis, you have tremendous respect within the UFO community and for the most part the general public. Your honesty and courage to openly discuss your experience is greatly admired. I know it hasn’t been easy on you.
Travis Walton: It’s been tough but you know, off and on over the past 35 years, at various times, I’ve decided to quit talking about it for awhile, but I’m beginning to realize that along with this comes a really great responsibility, along with the burden of having had this ruin my life.
Bret Oldham: What is it you would like people to learn about you that they might not already know?
Travis Walton: I would like, that if they have any questions about stuff they hear on the Internet and gossip and all that kind of stuff, just check it out first. Unfortunately, I’m in an awkward situation in that the only information that could prove this stuff false or true is in my book and so, of course, it sounds like I’m trying to sell a book. So I tell skeptics, don’t buy my book. Just go to the library and borrow it. Before you attack what I’m saying find out what I’m saying.
Bret Oldham: Yeah, take the time and learn the truth.
Travis Walton: Yeah, yeah.
Bret Oldham: I know now people are really starting to accept the alien abduction phenomenon more and starting to realize what is going on out there. I just really admire what you’ve had to go through. I think you’ve helped a lot of people that have experienced this type of thing and helped bring an awareness to the public that was really needed.
Travis Walton: That’s what I hope. I’ll continue with it. I hope to do some good somehow.
About The Author:
Bret Oldham is a paranormal researcher with Halo Paranormal Investigations based in Nashville, TN. Their research encompasses a wide range of subjects, including UFOs, ghosts, and cryptozoology, with special emphasis on alien abductions, the EVP phenomenon, and ITC communication.
Bret can be reached at: email@example.com
Halo Paranormal is on Facebook and at: www.myspace.com/haloparanormal.