I investigated these claims in my Blog posting of February 13, "Travis Walton vs. Philip J. Klass," and found them unfounded. Klass mentions these charges in his 1983 book UFOs The Public Deceived (p. 221). Those accusations at the time did not come from Steve Pierce, but instead from Mike Rogers, Travis Walton's best friend. And Klass had never spoken to Pierce at all or communicated in any way until he read about the bribery accusations in Bill Barry's 1978 book about Travis Walton, Ultimate Encounter.
|Steve Pierce (left), Travis Walton, and John Goulette at the 2012 International UFO Congress|
But this time there were new accusations. This time Steve Pierce himself was on-board. When he appeared with Travis Walton and John Goulette at the International UFO Congress in February, 2012, Pierce completely supported Walton's accusation against Klass. Absolutely yes, Klass tried to bribe me, said Pierce. He flew out to Texas to wine and dine me and try to persuade me. He kept following me, I had to move to like three different states, to get away from him.
Of course, there is no proof that this 'new version' of Pierce's story is correct. No photos of Klass and Pierce together, no letters or documents of any kind to back up this implausible tale. During the Q&A, I asked Pierce why he had changed his story from 1978. He claimed he didn't. Pierce explained that what happened was, he got into a feud with Mike Rogers, and so in anger he grumbled it about that the case was a hoax, but that was not true.
When I returned home from the conference, I began to search for any documents that might support one version or another of this story. Klass willed his papers to the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, PA, where the collection now resides. I contacted them, requesting any files in Klass' Travis Walton case files concerning Klass and Steve Pierce.
The result was this PDF file, that completely supports in every way what Klass wrote about his interactions with Pierce in his 1983 book UFOs The Public Deceived. (To read the document easily, Click on "ROTATE CLOCKWISE.) It is a transcript of the 1978 phone conversations between Klass and Pierce. At no time does Pierce suggest that the "bribe" story is true.
Interestingly, Pierce says some rather unflattering things about Travis Walton! At one point, Pierce says,
"Travis is the most ignorant, stupid person I've ever met in my life. He ain't got enough sense, you know the book he wrote, he couldn't have wrote that book by himself. He ain't got enough common sense to write that book." (It was widely rumored that John G. Fuller, author of "The Interrupted Journey" and other books, was Walton's ghost writer.)Pierce also says that he never liked Travis in the first place, and explains why.
This file was obtained from the archives of the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, PA. It is from:
Philip J. Klass Collection, 1948-2000.I did not alter the file in any way except to add a few brief "post-it notes." If anyone doubts the authenticity of this file, you can order your own copy. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org .
36.0 Linear feet, Mss.Ms.Coll.59
Series II. UFO Case Files
Arizona: Sitgreaves National Forest-Travis Walton Case, 1975 (Misc. Interviews)
1975-1979 Box Series II-1
The last few pages pertain to the Sheriff department's initial polygraph test, given while Travis was still "missing." This information was already well-known, and has been published in many articles and books.