Before my wife and I were married, we were driving back to Nacogdoches, Texas, after a picnic at Oil Springs late one afternoon when we saw a distant object slowly ascend into the sky, the way a weather balloon might. Then it did something no weather balloon has ever done: It came to dead stop, then took off like a jet airplane, disappearing into the distance.

UFO? Well, it certainly appeared to be an object. It was flying. And it was unidentified, at least by us.

But was there anything more to it than the bright confusion of a late afternoon, compounded by youth and susceptibility? Such unanswerable questions lie at the heart of “Montana UFOs and Extraterrestrials,” a new book by Joan Bird that takes a detailed look at reports of space aliens and flying objects in the Montana area.

Ms. Bird, who has worked as a conservation biologist and earned a doctorate in zoology and animal behavior, falls squarely into the camp of those who believe that odd occurrences in Montana skies may be attributable to visitors from other planets. Moreover, she finds the federal government perfectly capable of doing its best to hide evidence that she is right.

Her claims cannot be casually dismissed. This 230-page book is extensively documented, with a five-page bibliography, hundreds of footnotes, interviews with eyewitnesses and a respectable amount of skepticism about some of the more outlandish tales. Ms. Bird also is a writer compelling enough that she sounds sober and restrained even while relating jaw-dropping stories that pull the reader through the pages.

To read more, click here.