Travis Walton and his witnesses - to this day - describe the UFO in dramatic terms, and the recreations for film - like the one above for the Sci-Fi Channel in 2012 - reinforce the image of a blindingly bright, spinning disc in a forest clearing.
But what did they report at the time?
1. The flying saucer was not in a clearing.
We rolled past the intervening evergreen thicket to where we could have an unobstructed view of the source of the strange radiance... Stepping over a low-leaning fir sapling, I carefully picked my way through the opening in the trees. - The Walton Experience, 1976, pp. 24, 27
Travis's book plays it both ways - but why is he picking his way through an opening in the trees if they have an unobstructed view where the truck stops?
Here, witness John Goulette calls it a clearing because that's the official line, yet meticulously describes 40 years of new growth!
There was a clearing, and in the middle of that clearing was a pile of dead wood that they’d piled up to burn. I think they’d done it like 40 years before, when they were logging. They just never got around to burning it... There was some new growth in that clearing, so it’s probably a clearing they made when they were logging, but like I said they never got around to burn it. I think that’s basically what Travis was kinda behind, walking up to that thing, was the new growth. - John Goulette, Paranormal UK Radio Show, Nov 11, 2020
2. The flying saucer was high in the air.
Travis again plays it both ways - on the same page of the revised edition of his book the UFO is 90 feet then suddenly about 20 feet above the ground (i.e. 15 feet above a slash pile), yet it never descended. He has to look up at a 45-degree angle, so clearly it's high up.
There, a mere ninety feet above the ground, a strange, golden disc hovered silently...
Less than thirty yards away, the metallic craft hung motionless, fifteen feet above a tangled pile of logging slash. (Fire in the Sky, 1996, p. 35)
3. The flying saucer did not rotate.
Forget what the awe-inspiring recreations and what Travis and Mike now say the UFO did.
The initial witness report said it did not flash, flicker, flutter, vibrate, or rotate. It merely wobbled.
4. It did not fly away.
Travis's book recounts Mike thinking he saw the UFO fly away - nobody else saw that.
As Mike went around the driver’s side of the truck, he exclaimed, “Look!! Did you see that?”
The men scrambled to look. One of the men ran to the front of the pickup. “What was it?” he asked.
Mike told them he thought he had briefly seen the outline of the golden disc through the trees to the south. It had raised itself vertically to treetop level and streaked away towards the northeast at an incredible speed. - The Walton Experience, pp. 32-33
However, the witness report says it was not seen to fly anywhere or disappear. The above description in Travis's book is a direct contradiction of this report:
5. It was not blindingly bright.
Yes it looks great on film but the UFO glowed. That's all it did. It was a "soft yellow haze" that glowed.
The soft yellow haze from the craft dimly illuminated the immediate area with an eerie glow. - The Walton Experience, pp. 25-6
6. It was not a disc.
Travis's book, which came out 3 years later, was already embellishing the size and shape of the UFO. Mike drew it more disc-like over the years.
But originally it was boxy and pointy. Steve Pierce said he could only see the front of it:
7. Travis was not hit with a bolt and thrown back 20 feet.
The witness report describes a "flash" 18-24 inches wide! Not a lightning bolt or anything quite so deadly.
Family and friends calling NUFORC while Travis was missing relay the description of a "ray of light" that "silhouetted" him, then he "collapsed" or "crumpled".
this bluish ray of light projected from the bottom of the craft and silhouetted him completely and then he just crumpled. - Family friend calling NUFORC, Nov 8, 1975, transcribed from recording
all of a sudden this blue flash came out from underneath it. They said it was in a beam form, just a little bit wider than his shoulders, it covered him, and it silhouetted him because it was so bright… They weren’t sure whether it hit him directly but part of it did. They thought part of it did. Anyway he collapsed and hit the ground. - Travis's step-brother Ralph Anderson calling NUFORC, Nov 9, 1975, transcribed from recording
Steve Pierce says he fell back:
A bluish-green light came out and it zapped him. Okay, now we’ve made jokes about he went 15, 20, 30 feet, on other shows. But in reality I think he only, like, fell back. People said, Well he said he fell 15 feet. Well, we were on shows joking, you know? - Steve Pierce on UFO Classified, Jun 24, 2022
Dump the myth, look at the evidence
What happens when exaggerations and embellishments are accepted and become part of the myth?
The original accounts are obscured, and the truth - that the crew saw the lit-up cab of a fire tower - becomes easy to deny. Because "fire towers don't rotate and fly away!"
Read a detailed analysis of the Travis Walton hoax here.
I'm blogging about the Three-Dollar Kit.