Like any nerd growing up in the 70s I was fascinated by UFOs. The decade’s love for all things woo, coupled with books from Eric Von Däniken had resulted in a resurgence in the phenomenon, resulting in all kinds of books, movies, and TV shows. UFOs were everywhere, and I was all about them.
I probably got this book at The Book Exchange, a seedy used bookstore we used to frequent. (There was a copy of Crumb’s “Stoned Agin” poster hanging up in there which fascinated and perplexed me.) What probably drew me to this book more than some others was the center selection of black an white drawings and photos of UFOs and their inhabitants. I could and did pore over those images for hours.
I don’t remember actually reading the book all the way through, though I’m sure I must have. Mostly I remember reading parts of it over and over, especially the part about the alleged abduction of Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker. This story, which took place not too far from me, had it all, including space creatures that looked like this:
What kid wouldn’t want to know more about that thing?
What’s interesting was that although I was a scaredy-cat kid, this book didn’t really frighten me. I wanted to see a UFO, and couldn’t read about them enough.
In fact, later, in high school, the school library got a copy of The Encyclopedia of UFOs, which was fat-packed with pictures and stories. They shelved it as reference, non-circulating, so there was only one way to really look at it: get my friend to steal it from the library, which he did.
When did I get it? I imagine I picked it up around 1977 or 1978, when Close Encounters of the Third Kind really pumped up UFO interest, but I may have had it even earlier.
Do I still have it? Beyond Earth I no longer have. I still have that stolen copy of The Encyclopedia of UFOs and I hope the statute of limitations has run out on that.