I looked again, and there before me was a flying scroll.
He asked me, “What do you see?”
I answered, “I see a flying scroll, 30 feet long and 15 feet wide.”
And he said to me, “This is the curse that is going out over the whole land…I will send it out,…It will destroy it completely, both its timbers and its stones.”
(Zechariah 5:1 – 4. New International Version)
On November 5th, 1975, seven loggers working the Mogollon Rim, Arizona section of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests – an area with elevations rising to over 8,000 feet – were wrapping up a hard day of timber stand improvement. These practices are used around the country to remove trees of undesirable quality to help forests grow to their full potential, and in the Mogollon, an area prone to lightning strikes, they serve to reduce the likelihood of fires.
Their slash piles were finished, and the sun was setting. The crew of young men was exhausted and ready to get back to town. They all piled into 28-year-old crew chief Mike Rogers’ old Chevy pickup truck. Mike was driving offroad out of a remote clearing in the valley forest and upward toward the gravel rim road, three of them riding quietly up front. Kenny Peterson, 22-years-old, was seated in the middle trying to get a song on the FM, while 21-year-old Travis leaned his head out the open passenger-side window.
The gentle rush of cooling air felt good after a long day of hard manual labor. The other four sprawled out in the back, loudly making their own music with a raucous rendition of Bobby Bare’s Marie Laveau. That’s when they saw it: an odd light in the canopy of trees. Could it have been a plane crash? No one was messing with the radio dial now.
The singing in the back trailed off, “Gimme…million…dollar…and…”
They hadn’t heard anything like a crash, but perhaps their saws and machinery had dulled their senses. One thing was for sure, they had to investigate. When they got to the area of the beckoning light, they all saw it there in a clearing which had been created by the removal of a huge oak tree the year before.
One of the crewmen screamed, “Oh my God, it’s a f***ing UFO!”
It was not Venus. It was not the moon, which was behind them. Surrounded by an imposing canopy of pine trees, as if hiding from prying eyes, a glowing disc-shaped object was silently hovering about 9 feet above the ground. Everyone was surprised when the passenger door flew open and young Travis ran toward the UFO. He wanted to get a better look at the stunningly beautiful, advanced technology undulating and slightly rotating in front of them. He was known for being wild and brave.
The week before, he had jumped into the road, standing his ground, and yelling a bear away. This time, Travis found himself underneath a UFO. It began to slowly ascend, and as it did, it gave off a palpable static electric charge they could all feel.
As the charge began to build up on their bodies, their hair stood up. High- and low-pitched sounds rippled through the air, and other unusual noises came out of the craft. Mike, Kenny, and the other four crewmen in the truck screamed at Travis to come back. Travis took cover behind a slash pile left over from several weeks earlier, a nice pile of wood where he could shelter while still checking out the incredible spectacle just above him. However, as the eerie emanations from the craft grew louder, they mingled with the terrified shouts of his friends and coworkers. Travis decided to make a run for the truck.
He stood up and was hit in the chest by a brilliant beam of light that came out of the craft. It lit up the entire forest as it blasted him backwards 15 feet through the air. One of the crew in the back of the truck, a Vietnam War veteran, had a flashback of soldiers being launched back by grenade hits. Travis landed with a thud. He lay motionless. They all felt the power of the beam in their bodies. It sent a surge of vibrations through the truck. Mike, with a tight grip on the steering wheel, felt the blast shake the wheel violently enough to cause tremors in his arms. Their initial impression was Travis must be dead. We must escape.
“Get the hell out of here Mike!” someone shouted.
Mike felt a protective instinct for his crew kick in. He had to get them out of there. He tore up through the valley, and the old Chevy skidded its way out onto the rim road. The truck screeched to a halt in a trail of dust.
“All of you get out. I have to go back for Travis. Take the gas canisters in case you need to start a fire.” Mike told the crew.
But the men did not want to wait in the forest by themselves. They decided to all return to find Travis. As they descended toward the valley, they saw the craft take off and disappear almost instantaneously. They needed to hurry. What if Travis needed medical attention? When they made it back, Travis Walton was gone.
A massive search with law enforcement, scent dogs, and helicopters was launched. The logging crew was almost charged with murder. Five days and six hours, later, Travis reappeared on the side of the road near Heber, Arizona, approximately 30 miles away from the site of the UFO encounter. The traumatizing story of Travis’ disappearance and UFO abduction was made into the movie Fire in the Sky (1993) and the more accurate Travis: The True Story of Travis Walton (2015). It remains one of the greatest mysteries of UFOlogy.
On Wednesday, July 26th, 2023, a historic public UFO Hearing was held by the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability. It featured rising Congressional heroes of UFOlogy like Tim Burchett and Anna Paulina Luna, UFO whistleblower David Grusch, and two military pilot witnesses of UFOs, Ryan Graves and David Fravor.
The government has said there are approximately 171 unexplained cases of UAP encounters that they are looking into. It is inferred that these are based on classified military data. But outside the government sphere, there are thousands of stories burdening the souls of individuals too scared, scarred, or ridiculed to share theirs. There is a critical need for a method of reporting civilian encounters that ensures safety and protection. A method that takes reports seriously and conducts transparent investigations.
As we conclude this journey into one of the forgotten chapters of civilians entwined in the enigmatic world of UFO encounters, one truth is strikingly clear: behind the sensational headlines and government inquiries lies a realm of deeply personal stories that have long yearned to be taken seriously. Travis Walton is just one account out of countless ordinary individuals who found themselves thrust into extraordinary circumstances.
These stories paint a broader picture of the UFO phenomenon—one that transcends the boundaries of skepticism and belief. It is through these untold stories that we gain a renewed appreciation for the complexities of human experience and the mysteries that continue to beckon us beyond the boundaries of our understanding. As we continue to ponder the skies and the uncharted territories of the cosmos, let us not forget the forgotten civilians, whose whispers of truth contribute to the timeless saga of humanity's quest for meaning in the face of the unknown.
(Co-authored by CJ Dearinger)