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March 1993. I was a junior in high school at the time I saw the movie "Fire In The Sky," which dramatized the alleged alien abduction of Arizona logger Travis Walton.
At the time, my obsession with UFOs and alien abduction stories was just beginning to blossom. I'd heard bits and pieces of Walton's story before and was intrigued. Also, James Garner was in the film and even as a naive high school kid I already knew the "The Rockford Files" was the greatest show to ever grace TV screens.
By the time the film was over, I was a full-fledged UFO addict. I went straight to the public library to find some books about the subject and, to my surprise, I found "The Walton Experience," a book written by Travis Walton himself. Much to my delight, the book details people's own discrimination and mistrust toward their fellow man as much as it does a visitation from outer space.
So, it was with a great deal of excitement that I learned Walton would be attending Lexington's annual Scarefest convention - on the 35th anniversary of his UFO encounter. The first day of the convention was Friday, Nov. 5. Walton claims he was abducted on Nov. 5, 1975. Obviously, this opportunity would only come along once.
As much as I loved his book, I had never bought my own copy. Now I was going to buy a copy from the man himself on the anniversary of the very day of the incident. And I did, sort of.
Walton was the first guest I met at the show on Friday. My wife and I walked up to his table and we began to talk a bit about the movie. I mentioned that today was "the day" to which he replied that it was actually tomorrow.
"But today is Nov. 5," I said.
"No, tomorrow is the 5th."
Then he signed and dated my book "11-4-10."
I didn't want to argue with the guy. Besides, he was very kind and down to earth (pardon the pun) and I didn't want to be rude. The next day, during his Q&A, he mentioned that yesterday was in fact the anniversary.
The Q&A presented its own odd story. Walton's talk began with a short video that mixed clips from the movie with snippets from various talk show appearances Walton made in support of the movie.
First, the DVD player wouldn't work. Eventually, a new player was finally located and the lights turned off. Only, the lights refused to stay off. The lights would either fade back on, flicker or fade in and out all on their own. Kinda fitting, I guess.
So, my own Walton experience didn't go as planned. But, I guess that if it had, I wouldn't have had a story to tell.