By Mia Zarrella | September 7, 2016 | Culture
In his newest book, author Ben Mezrich explores America's UFO superhighway.
Cattle mutilations and UFOs are nothing out of the ordinary for investigator Chuck Zukowski, the subject of Bostonian Ben Mezrich’s newest book, The 37th Parallel (September 6; Atria Books), which has already been optioned for a movie.
On September 9, the New York Times bestselling author of The Accidental Billionaires hosts a reading at Brookline Booksmith (279 Harvard St., Brookline, 617-566-6660). Here, he speaks to the book’s origins and his conversion into a UFO believer.
There’s this whole world of ufology, which seems ridiculous, but there’s a lot to it. Over the course of writing this book I became a believer that there’s a very good chance we have been visited by UFOs.
What drew you to Zukowski as a subject?
After getting fired from the [El Paso County] sheriff’s department, Zukowski became a UFO hunter, traveling the Midwest searching for proof of alien contact. He began to find evidence of a strange phenomenon: More than 85 percent of UFO sightings and mutilations occur on the US’s 37th parallel [which stretches across from San Francisco to Chesapeake Bay].
How do you research such a topic?
You get a hold of the radar stuff, and as many military documents as you can. But in the end, you are telling it from the words of the people involved. For me, the most important thing about Chuck being credible is that he is sincere in his belief. I am trying to tell the story of his obsession.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ESSDRAS M SUAREZ/THE BOSTON GLOBE VIA GETTY IMAGES