It has been over thirty-seven years since a singular incident occurred in Northern Arizona the likes of which have not been repeated.
It was early November, 1975, near Strawberry, Arizona, when a young man was abducted by a alien spacecraft.
I was nowhere near Strawberry, living at the time quite a distance west of there in Flagstaff, famous along I-40 for being the jump-off point for travelers to the Grand Canyon. And famous for its mention in the song about Route 66.
Being a student at Northern Arizona University, the first I heard of the curious event was when a professor I knew was called away to help in the case of Travis Walton.
The professor was quite rattled by the affair and other than mention what an incredible event it was, would not divulge any of the particulars about the case.
No matter. It was soon a worldwide phenomenon and the grist for the UFO believers and disbelievers alike.
And I read the books and saw the film but never considered going to Strawberry. I was certain the young man had far too much attention already and I could not contribute anything on the subject but a few more questions. And he already had plenty of those, as well.
Time passed and the story settled down and Walton was able to – for the most part – return to a normal life.
In 1991, I moved to Phoenix after transferring to the Glendale, Arizona, Post Office from the delivery route I had in Flagstaff.
And soon, a new person moved onto my route by the name of Cy Gilson. The name did not ring any bells or anything until one day I delivered an envelope from a national association of polygraphers. Suddenly, the name was very familiar.
But I did not see him in the regular course of my work and I thought it would have been far too intrusive to just go up and knock on his door.
About a year later, however, there was a delivery that required his signature. So, I knocked on the door. While passing him the pen and paper, I asked, “Are you the Cy Gilson who worked with Travis Walton?”
His jaw tightened a moment but then he nodded.
“I’m pleased to make your acquaintance. I lived in Northern Arizona at the time and it was pretty crazy. I think you pretty much settled the matter.”
He nodded and looked at me very steady. “It was a life altering experience, even with the small part I played.”
I returned the nod and said, “Thank you” as I took the pen a slip of paper back.
Before I turned to go, he added, “You can never view the universe the same, you know.”
Even though I delivered his mail for several years, I never spoke to him again. I am sure he, too, got a little too much attention over the matter.
In the years since, I have seen detractors slinging mud at all the principal players in the Travis Walton incident but they are nothing but shadows, things without substance, and their words without authority or anything close to evidence.
I suppose it is like Fox Mulder said, “The truth is out there.”