NC Literary Hall of Fame



Intimate Alien: The Hidden Story of the UFO (Spiritual Phenomena) by David J. Halperin

Stanford University Press
$26.00, hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-503607088
March, 2020
Available from your local bookstore or

“It takes a classical scholar to fully challenge the belief in flying saucers, and David Halperin is the right expert for the job. Nearly fifty years after we realized we were pursuing the same mystery, I am delighted to see he has valiantly continued on this colorful and occasionally terrifying path.”
—Jacques Vallée, author of Passport to Magonia: From Folklore to Flying Saucers

“Whatever it is, the UFO is a real phenomenon. What David Halperin explores is how to interpret phenomena that are neither imagination nor physics but somehow both. Intimate Alien is a thoroughly fascinating dive into a third domain, a genuine twilight zone that is perpetually shimmering between mind and matter.”
—Dean Radin, author of Real Magic: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Science, and a Guide to the Secret Power of the Universe

"David Halperin doesn't believe in the literal reality of flying saucers, but he understands that they needn't physically exist to teach us lessons about a culture that sees them. Part folklorist and part psychologist, Halperin reads our UFO mythos like an alienist analyzing an extended collective dream."
—Jesse Walker, author of The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory

UFOs are a myth—but myths are real. The power and fascination of the UFO has nothing to do with space travel or life on other planets. It's about us, our longings and terrors, and especially the greatest terror of all: the end of our existence. This is a book about UFOs that goes beyond believing in them or debunking them and to a fresh understanding of what they tell us about ourselves as individuals, as a culture, and as a species.

In the 1960s, David Halperin was a teenage "UFOlogist." He grew up to be a professor of religious studies—his specialty, religious traditions of heavenly ascent and otherworldly journeys. Until his retirement in 2000, he taught Jewish studies in the Department of Religious Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill. He's the author of five nonfiction books on Jewish mysticism and messianism and one novel, Journal of a UFO Investigator, published in 2011 by Viking Press and translated into Spanish, Italian, and German. He blogs about UFOs, religion, and other subjects dear to his heart at

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