J. Gordon Melton, a nationally known author, lecturer, and scholar, is the Distinguished Professor of American Religious History at Baylor University and serves as the director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion. Dr. Melton is best known for his work on religious cults, and he is considered America's senior scholar in the field of new and unconventional religions, having studied them for more than 40 years. Simultaneously, he has emerged as a leading scholar of vampire and Dracula studies and previously served a tenure as the American president of the Transylvanian Society of Dracula, an international association of vampire and Dracula scholars. He has authored multiple books in the field, two of which received the Lord Ruthven Award as the best nonfiction book in vampire studies.
He is a graduate of Birmingham-Southern College (B.A., 1964), Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary (M.Div. 1968), and Northwestern University (Ph.D. 1975). An ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, he founded the Institute for the Study of American Religion and has remained its director for the last 49 years. The institute is devoted to organizing, motivating, and producing research-based studies and educational material on North American religion.
Author Donald Jeffries discussed his book, On Borrowed Fame, which explores the darker side of fame. Researcher Micah Hanks provided an update on a proposal to setup a U.S. government office to look into UAPs.