The Three Hundred and Thirty-Eighth Blog: The One Where I Went to a UFO Convention and Met Someone!

First off, I want to apologize for missing a deadline. I do have a good excuse, and it’s tangentially linked to this post. Next time, if I’m struck low by con crud – I’ll just throw up a little message or some amusing cat picture explaining there is no post this week.

Now – I went to my first UFO convention a week ago, partially for the novelty of it and to see a person who is well known in these circles.

Travis Walton disapproves of the quality of this photo

If you’ve seen the movie Fire in the Sky or read the book of the same title, this is that Travis Walton. He is the reason why I went out to Knoxville and added to my speeding ticket collection (only 46 more states to go!).

I’ve been asked if I believe in UFOs. ‘Believe’ is a loaded word for me. To say I believe in something means I accept it as a facet of life without reservation, even if given evidence to the contrary, or even lack of evidence to its existence. I don’t believe in UFOs like a child believes in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. I accept their existence, but if someone showed me evidence of a hoax, I would change my view.

Having said that.

I believe Travis Walton.

I got to see him three times. Twice at the convention, and once in the elevator at the hotel where I was staying. He’s friendly, a little reserved and signed my copy of Fire in the Sky without fuss. One might say aloof, but then again – if you’ve gone through what he’s gone through, I think you’ve earned a little distance from people.

But if you look at him, you can’t help to think that he’s undergone a trauma reserved for combat or dark alleys. The best way to describe his demeanor is: something scooped out everything that was Travis Walton and left the husk behind out of politeness. I don’t think he’s pulling a con, or that he had a serious of events in his mind that could be interpreted one way and he chose the other. He was abducted by beings from another world (dimension?), held for five days and then dumped back down. Whether it was their way of saying “Sorry about that blue flame hitting you, but Gazorth is a little quick on the trigger. Here’s fifty bucks and we just settled out of court” or this was a deliberate attempt to take someone for tests and it backfired a little, it did happen. A conman wouldn’t keep this up for forty-four years. I can’t keep up a self-imposed deadline for a month apparently, much less claim to be abducted.

Another thing about the convention and comparing to the local Comic-Con or GenCon, is the atmosphere. Outside, it was like other conventions with wares being peddled (you know what attracts aliens? Clean gutters and tattoo artists) and celebrities selling autographs (Dean Haglund from ‘The X-Files’ was there!). Inside the lecture hall was a different matter.

Even as some of the presentations were…odd…there was an atmosphere of serious scholarship. Comic-Con and GenCon had more of a free-wheeling feeling to it. Everyone there to see their favorite actors or writers or artists and play games. In Knoxville, it was an almost monastic silence and perhaps only five cosplayers (in order of complete costumes: Scully, Spock, George Norry [including a woman sporting the dyed black hair, brows and mustache], and silver lame generic alien). I should also mention that this is the inaugural convention, so I’m sure as it goes on there will be more to it. Will I go? Not entirely sure.

It’ll come down to my belief and acceptance.

Thanks for stopping by! I will be more diligent about maintaining my deadlines in the future. To the right, as always, you can buy me coffee or check out the books written by good friends. If you like this blog, be sure to spread the word.

Always: keep watching the skies.