Regular readers will remember that former New York Times reporter Ralph Blumenthal published a book about alien abduction researcher John Mack two years ago in which Blumenthal concluded, preposterously, that Mack was a heroic figure whose transcendent greatness would transform humanity—by talking about aliens probing people’s butts. Blumenthal’s current claim to fame is his role in writing the 2017 Times story that set off the current round UFO mania that will see the U.S. Senate take up another UFO-themed hearing next week as the Pentagon’s new UFO office continues its interviews of looney tunes ufologists at the behest of a handful of UFO-addled legislators.
Tomorrow Blumenthal will release his new book coauthored with Deborah Blumenthal, his wife of 46 years, UFOhs! Mysteries in the Sky. It’s a children’s book about flying saucers—a nonfiction children’s book about flying saucers:
Never mind that the PR puffery is false—Amazon lists many UFO books for kids, going back many years, including very similar books just published in October and one coming out next week.
The book is written for children aged 6-9, per Amazon, meaning that Blumenthal is targeting kindergartners with scary tales of supposedly real monsters from space invading our atmosphere. The text is simple, in the shape of poetry but without meter or rhyme:
A thing as big as a car
The accompanying illustrations depict classic flying saucers, silvery discs with windows. What do you think that will teach elementary school kids about what UFOs “are”?
The astonishing part isn’t that Ralph Blumenthal has turned himself into a full-time UFO obsessive. It’s not even that he is trying to indoctrinate kids into the cult of ufology. The astonishing thing is that the University of New Mexico Press, which put out his John Mack biography, is also behind this kids’ book. It’s a little unpleasant to see a scholarly press joining a purveyor of paranormal nonsense to not just promote fantastical ideas but to promote them to children. This book is part of the Barbara Guth Worlds of Wonder Science Series for Young Readers, which otherwise puts out straightforward kids’ guides to climate change, animals, physics, etc.
And just for kicks: The book carries one blurb—from Leslie Kean, Ralph Blumenthal’s UFO reporting partner, the same Leslie Kean who admitted on Showtime that the two of them manipulated their 2017 New York Times story for propaganda purposes, cutting out paranormal material to make it more palatable to government and media elites.
The University of New Mexico should be ashamed of themselves for endorsing paranormal nonsense and classifying it as science.
P.S. to the cover designer: I read the title of the book first as UFO HS, as in UFO High School, which would have been a much more fun fiction Y.A. novel than whatever this nonsense is. Maybe don’t use ALL CAPS.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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