David J. Halperin, "Intimate Alien: The Hidden Story of the UFO" (Stanford UP, 2020)


In his book Intimate Alien: The Hidden Story of the UFO (Stanford University Press, 2020), David J. Halperin explores the phenomena of UFO's through a psychological lense.

UFOs became part of our cultural landscape in 1947, and they've been with us ever since. Debunked innumerable times, they refuse to go away. Made the subject of great expectations by their believers, they invariably disappoint. They've been called a myth, both in disparagement and, more properly, in appreciation of their power and significance. 

This book argues that they are actually a mythology, as gripping and profound as the great mythologies of antiquity to which they're linked. The question it asks about them is not, "What are they?" nor "Where do they come from?" but "What do they mean?" Halperin begins his exploration with his own longish teenage foray into the UFOs that he began to believe in as his mother lay dying of cancer. Despite the fact that he was only a high school student, Halperin joined and then became the director of "New Jersey Association on Aerial Phenomena" (NJAAP), an organization of amateur observers with members across the States. He goes on to revisit a range of famous cases of UFO sightings and abductions while introducing his own approach, which is informed by the study of religion, folklore, and Jungian psychology. Ultimately arguing for UFOs as evidence of the inner trauma of individuals as well as entire societies, he posits that the rise of the UFO in post-World War II America coincides with that moment in the nuclear age when we first became capable of imagining our death as a species,

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