The Myth and Mystery of UFOs

The Myth and Mystery of UFOs

by Thomas E. Bullard
     
 

When United Airlines workers reported a UFO at O'Hare Airport in November 2006, it was met with the typical denials and hush-up that usually accompany such sightings. But when a related story broke the record for hits at the Chicago Tribune's website, it was clear that such unexplained objects continued to occupy the minds of fascinated readers. Why, wonders Thomas

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Overview

When United Airlines workers reported a UFO at O'Hare Airport in November 2006, it was met with the typical denials and hush-up that usually accompany such sightings. But when a related story broke the record for hits at the Chicago Tribune's website, it was clear that such unexplained objects continued to occupy the minds of fascinated readers. Why, wonders Thomas Bullard, don't such persistent sightings command more urgent attention from scientists, scholars, and mainstream journalists?

The answer, in part, lies in Bullard's wide-ranging magisterial survey of the mysterious, frustrating, and ever-evolving phenomenon that refuses to go away and our collective efforts to understand it. In his trailblazing book, Bullard views those efforts through the lens of mythmaking, discovering what UFO accounts tell us about ourselves, our beliefs, and the possibility of visitors from beyond.

Bullard shows how ongoing grassroots interest in UFOs stems both from actual personal experiences and from a cultural mythology that defines such encounters as somehow "alien"—and how it views relentless official denial as a part of conspiracy to hide the truth. He also describes how UFOs have catalyzed the evolution of a new but highly fractured belief system that borrows heavily from the human past and mythic themes and which UFO witnesses and researchers use to make sense of such phenomena and our place in the cosmos.

Bullard's book takes in the whole spectrum of speculations on alien visitations and abductions, magically advanced technologies, governmental conspiracies, varieties of religious salvation, apocalyptic fears, and other paranormal experiences. Along the way, Bullard investigates how UFOs have inspired books, movies, and television series; blurred the boundaries between science, science fiction, and religion; and crowded the Internet with websites and discussion groups. From the patches of this crazy quilt, he posits evidence that a genuine phenomenon seems to exist outside the myth.

Enormously erudite and endlessly engaging, Bullard's study is a sky watcher's guide to the studies, stories, and debates that this elusive subject has inspired. It shows that, despite all the competing interests and errors clouding the subject, there is substance beneath the clutter, a genuinely mysterious phenomenon that deserves attention as more than a myth.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
It takes courage to proclaim a widely held modern belief as a myth or folktale, and Bullard isn't willing to declare the whole UFO phenomenon as bunk. He does, however, look at UFOs through his own training as a university professor with a Ph.D. in folklore and comes to many fascinating conclusions. Bullard is well known in the UFO community because he leaves the door open that there may be some basis in reality behind UFO stories while also contending that the UFO field is fertile ground for rumor and legend. His bibliography is impressive, and the book is a full account of UFO sightings and the development of "Ufology." He concludes that there is enough evidence to suggest that UFOs deserve a place in academic inquiry, with more scientific research needed. While full of interesting information, this isn't an easy read; he writes like a scholar and there is much to plow through. VERDICT Those interested in the UFO phenomenon will find tons of interesting material to ponder and a different way of looking at it.—Mary E. Jones, Los Angeles P.L.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780700617296
Publisher:
University Press of Kansas
Publication date:
10/28/2010
Pages:
428
Sales rank:
1,436,210
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

Meet the Author

Thomas E. Bullard is a board member of the Center for UFO Studies and Fund for UFO Research and author of UFO Abductions: The Measure of a Mystery and The Sympathetic Ear: Investigators as Variables in UFO Abduction Reports.

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