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Monday, September 14, 2009


****½ Witnessed by Budd Hopkins. Nonfiction.

If I have a guilty pleasure in reading, this is it: alien abduction stories. I don't really believe them, but I'd like to. Maybe. Belief doesn't seem to be all that comfortable for the people these things have happened to.

Witnessed is the account of a UFO experience that was witnessed by a large number of people, and not just the stereotypical "hicks in a farmyard." As the subtitle says, it's "the true story of the Brooklyn Bridge UFO abductions."

What I liked so much about this book is that it scrupulously doesn't draw conclusions. It tells each person's story, but it very carefully stays away from saying where the "aliens" were from or what they wanted. For me, that makes it a stronger, more believable story.

I also appreciated the way the experience affected everyone involved differently, and how the book showed the human side, not just what happened and how they felt during the experience, but what the aftereffects were and how it changed their lives--usually not for the better.

There were also some compelling arguments, chief among them being that the most credible witnesses did not want to come forward and did not want their names published. They weren't making things up to get attention--on the contrary, they avoided attention.

Actually, I should say that I believe while I'm reading. Afterward, I'm not sure again. Still, I love reading UFO stories, even if I do feel a little silly about it.

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