Travis Walton and the polygraphs

In the August 15, 2012 edition of the eSkeptic, Michael Shermer has a feature article called. The Moment of Truth: Travis Walton’s Alien Abduction Lie Detection Test In it, Dr. Shermer tells of Walton’s claim that he was abducted by aliens and his subsequent appearance on the TV show called The Moment of Truth back in 2008. Shermer was also on the show to question Walton:

My question for Mr. Walton: “Do you have any evidence to support your claim of being abducted?” Of course he answered in the affirmative, because for three decades Travis Walton has been telling people that on the evening of November 5, 1975, he was “zapped” into a UFO while working as a logger in an Arizona National Forest. His evidence? His co-workers said they saw it happen. Five days later Walton called from a nearby payphone to report that the aliens had let him go.

That result was shown to be “true” according to the polygraph test on the show. Walton had taken polygraphs before and passed but there were questions about their authenticity. Yet, it was concluded by UFO skeptics that the “Fire in the Sky” story by Walton was a hoax for other reasons.

Polygraphs are rather easily foolable. They should not be considered as good evidence someone is or is not telling the truth. They produce many false positive readings.

The next question, for $100,000, was refreshingly straight-forward: “Were you abducted by a UFO on November 5, 1975.” Without hesitation he barked “Yes.” The voice in the sky once again boomed: “That answer is…”

“False.” I couldn’t believe it. Neither could Walton, whose jaw dropped faster than a crashed flying saucer. At last, after a bestselling book and popular film about his abduction, Fire in the Sky, after countless UFO conferences and media appearances, it took a Fox reality television show to bring the case to a head.

But something was wrong. Shermer asked Walton to weigh in and his response was featured in this week’s version of eSkeptic. It made for some interesting reading.

Source: Skeptic Magazine’s eSkeptic

The Muddle of Truth

With the recent airing overseas of the canceled Fox television show, Moment of Truth some people may have been mislead into believing that some shocking new revelation about the famous logging crew UFO case has come to light. Quite the contrary. Now that the airing of the show ends the “gag clause” in my contract (with its $1 million penalty) I am free to reveal that Moment of Truth has used testing methods that the producers were informed from the beginning were long ago completely discredited by every polygraph expert, lie detector school, and polygraph professional association in existence. I’ll quote here specific condemnations of the show’s methods by four of the world’s most highly respected polygraph experts who agree: “the polygraph aspect of the show has no validity whatsoever.” I will reveal other blatant deceptions the show has committed. And I will provide details of how, after the show, I underwent two of the most rigorous new polygraph tests available anywhere in the world.

He describes why he went on the show that had a dubious and dangerous premise. He says that the editing was deceptive and the practices of using the polygraph employed for that show were unethical. Walton describes more on the polygraph and shows he has researched it rather extensively.

I came home after Moment of Truth and sought out the most rigorous new testing I could find. Polygraph evidence is admissible in court in New Mexico and so is tightly regulated by state law. I chose the firm with the highest recommendations, one that does work for the New Mexico State Prison, the Albuquerque Police Dept., even the United States Marshal’s Service. They applied the most refined and validated modern methods using state-of-the-art computer assisted, five trace equipment with digital readout. I passed two separate tests flawlessly with “a finding of: TRUTHFUL TO THE ABOVE RELEVANT QUESTIONS.” (Additional details in my updated edition of Fire in the Sky.)

To a rational person there could be no doubt that my passing five tests from three separate examiners, each of whom have strong service in law enforcement, completely eclipses the phony pretend “test” by the rogue examiner scamming the public on Moment of Truth.

The facts we have are this: Polygraphs are not reliable. Walton passed many polygraph tests, no doubt. The Moment of Truth test, as part of a TV show, was NOT a rigorous test in any sense and the results are worth nothing. But, was Travis Walton REALLY abducted? We are not closer to finding out that truth.