Thursday, January 20, 2011



A Novel (Viking / On-Sale: February 7, 2011) by David Halperin.

JOURNAL OF A UFO INVESTIGATOR is a bold re-imagining of UFOlogy in its “classic” era, the 1950s and early 60s, entwined with the deepest longings of a teenage boy. Danny Shapiro copes with his mother’s terminal illness and his own isolation by immersing himself in UFO research. In the story that unfolds on the pages of his “journal,” he joins up with a group of precocious teen UFO investigators, among them a beautiful seductress and thief with whom he falls in love. Together they go in search of a secret book that once lay beside the corpse of a murdered UFOlogist. Then, inexplicably, Danny’s friends vanish. Alone, pursued by the shape-shifting “three men in black,” he’s carried down inside a glowing red disk to a nether-world beyond his imaginings.

This “thrilling romp” (Booklist), this “gripping” first novel (Publishers Weekly), is the creation of a former professor of religious studies with his own background in UFOlogy. In the stunning twists of its plot, the classic UFO enigmas of a half-century ago—the Bender mystery, the Shaver mystery, the “Philadelphia experiment” and the Roswell crash—come to life, in a perspective that will astound UFO “believers” and skeptics alike.

“[T]his heartbreaking coming-of-age story of a boy losing and finding his way in this and other worlds will resonate with many readers” (Publishers Weekly).

For more information, visit and follow him on Twitter @JournalUFO

“The UFO fell from the sky on the night of December 20, 1092, the week of my thirteenth birthday. The event itself, after more than three years, I recall with perfect clarity. Many of its circumstances, however, have blurred in my mind …” So begins David Halperin’s enthralling debut novel: JOURNAL OF A UFO INVESTIGATOR (Viking / On-Sale: February 3, 2011 / ISBN: 9780670022458/ 304pgs./ $25.95).

Set against the backdrop of the troubled 60’s, the novel weaves together compelling psychological drama and vivid outer space fantasy. Danny Shapiro, an awkward, lonely teen with a terminally ill mother and a hostile father, turns to an imaginative universe to escape his crumbling home life. He enters the world of UFOs when a glowing red disk tumbles down upon him from the night sky, and his home is mysteriously burglarized not long afterward. He becomes drawn into the “Super-Science Society,” a group of intellectually and sexually precocious adolescents who have as their emblem the trisected angle. Soon he’s fallen for one of the “Super-Scientists,” the beautiful, seductive Rochelle.

Abandoned by his friends, captured and tortured by the Three Men in Black, Danny escapes to a moonlit netherworld from whose trials he emerges with the power of flight. His return to the surface takes him through Israel and Jordan, where he and Rochelle are reunited. Rochelle presents him with his daughter, a sickly, half-human infant begotten from the netherworld. Danny steps into the hero’s role. If only he can save the baby’s life, Rochelle assures him, she’ll grow up to redeem and transform the planet.

The real-life dilemma that underlies Danny’s quest—his mother is dying, yet no one in the family will speak of it; they’re too emotionally alienated to give each other support—is one David Halperin lived through in his own adolescence. Like Danny, he became a UFO investigator. He credits this belief with having helped him survive some very lonely and difficult years. “In a figurative but very real sense,” Halperin recalls, “the UFOs saved my life.”

Structured like The Wizard of Oz in its interplay of imagination and reality, JOURNAL OF A UFO INVESTIGATOR is masterful work by a stunning new voice in fiction.


In the 1960s, David Halperin was a teen-age UFO investigator. Later he became a professor of religious studies — his specialty, religious traditions of heavenly ascent. From 1976 through 2000, he taught Jewish history in the Religious Studies Department at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Now retired from teaching, he lives in North Carolina with his wife Rose. Journal of a UFO Investigator is his first novel.


An illuminating look back in time to the crash at Aztec, NM.

Dear Folks:

Aztec, Colorado is my home town. In 1948 I was one year old, my mother was teaching and the population must have been around 2500. We lived there, mostly, ‘til I was 16. We never heard so much as a whisper re: crash. My belief is that if all the witnesses and military “activity” had occurred, it would have been a local folk tale.

Some old-timers attribute the story to a tongue-in-cheek article by George Bowra, the irascible editor/publisher of the Aztec Independent, but I’ve never gone back and checked. It’s a good conference (in Aztec every year) regardless.

My first sighting occurred in ‘51, when I was four. We were at Redmesa, Colorado, south of Hesperus. I was staying at my aunt’s house during the day while my Mom taught school. Aunt Veda and I were out feeding the chickens when something made us look up. There was a stationary disc above us, some distance up, having concentric rings of silver, blue and red. Having just spent 3 years at Schofield Army Base near Honolulu, HI, I knew what planes looked like. My aunt hustled my young butt into the house and wouldn’t let me come out for some time. she wouldn’t talk about it.


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