James Atherton was a UFOlogist who wrote the book Among Us which Milton Ross gave to Max in the episode Missing. The gang discovered from the back book flap that Atherton lived in Marathon, TX in a geodesic dome, a structure Michael had had a vision of.

In the episode 285 South, Michael “borrowed” Maria’s car with her in it and, with Max, Isabel and Liz following, headed out to see what mysteries the dome held.

Atherton is described my Milton Ross as "A bit on the alternative side. Atherton had an underground following...never truly embraced by the mainstream, such that it is.”

Max believes Atherton was nuts because Atherton wrote in his book that .aliens wouldn't possess the lung capacity or brain capacity for more than short-term survival on Earth.”

Atherton was killed by Nasedo in 1959 and murder was witnessed by River Dog. James Valenti Sr., father of Sherrif Valenti, discovered the body when he was Sheriff. The body was left with a distinctive Silver Handprint, identitcal to the one Max left on Liz when he healed her at the Crashdown Cafe in the pilot.