Excerpt from Journal of a UFO Investigator by David J. Halperin, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Journal of a UFO Investigator

A Novel

by David J. Halperin

Journal of a UFO Investigator by David J. Halperin X
Journal of a UFO Investigator by David J. Halperin
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  • Published:
    Feb 2011, 304 pages

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Journal of a UFO Investigator

The UFO fell from the sky on the night of December 20, 1962, 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.

I can’t remember, for instance, where I’d been that evening. I was certainly coming home from somewhere, maybe a meeting of some sort. I see myself standing before the house on the front lawn, just a little off the sidewalk, ready to go inside yet looking steadily into the sky. It was very cold, and it must have been late, certainly after 10:00 p.m. Orion was high in the southern sky over the house, Sirius not far below and to the east. All the stars were extraordinarily clear, their colors very marked. I could make out the red of Betelgeuse, the ice-blue, diamond-blue glitter of Sirius. There was no moon.

The object appeared in the east. I don’t know what called my attention to it. I was not surprised to see it. I’d been a UFO investigator for two months, since the fourth week in October. I knew such things were there in the skies, if only I was ready to look toward them.

It was a disk, glowing deep fluorescent red. Darker at the edges than near the center. Apparent size about twice what the full moon’s would have been if the moon had been visible. It moved westward at a leisurely pace, toward me, briefly obscuring the stars as it passed beneath.

My camera was in my bedroom, third dresser drawer. My father’s binoculars were on a shelf in his den. I was torn whether to run into the house to get them, knowing the thing might be gone when I came out. I suspected it wasn’t likely to register on film. While I stood trying to decide, it came to a dead stop over the house.

How long it stayed motionless, I don’t know. I didn’t think to look at my watch. Suddenly it began to flutter downward, in a classic falling leaf maneuver, as if to land or crash on top of me. I tried to run; my feet wouldn’t move. They tingled as if electricity were running through them, the way the body tingles when lightning’s about to strike. Or when a nightmare begins, and I don’t yet know how it will end.

My legs crumpled. The frozen earth, its winter-brown grass red in the blood-colored light, slammed against my body. I lay in a twisted S, my face turned upward, the back of my head wedged against the ground. The disk—solid, heavy, bigger than a bus or even a boxcar—fell quivering a few hundred feet above me. Its crimson glare pulsated, darkening slowly, all at once brightening. It swallowed up the sky.

My hand at least would move.

I felt around my pocket for my key chain, found the thick metal triangle, the Delta Device. I squeezed—

The disk stopped. Hung in midair.

Not because of the Delta. It can’t have had that power. But after a few seconds I felt the gadget vibrate in my hand, and I knew: yes, this works, just as Jeff Stollard and I had planned. Another moment, and I might be crushed to death. But not in silence.

And the disk—


—spoke to me. The words it said I have forgotten. Maybe they weren’t words, just sensations, images or feelings perhaps, stimulated within my brain—


The door opens. She comes in.

My mother. She leans on the dresser, just inside the doorway to my bedroom, breathing hard from the strain of walking twenty feet.

“I’ve been knocking. Didn’t you hear me?”

“No,” I lie. But it’s not quite a lie. I heard her knock but didn’t entirely hear it, just as I see her every day, but not entirely. Right now I hardly see her at all. My desk lamp is the only light I have on. Outside its circle, she’s in shadow.

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Reprinted by arrangement with Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., from Journal of a UFO Investigator by David Halperin. Copyright © 2011 by David Halperin

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