Skip to comments.Interview with John Mack, Psychiatrist, Harvard University (semi-vanity)
Posted on 06/28/2013 5:14:21 PM PDT by RoosterRedux
Okay now...this is a Friday night tension relief comedy spot.
Below is an interview with renowned Harvard psychiatrist Dr John Mack regarding his work with alien abductees. It is important because Mack is simply trying (at least initially) to analyze the people experiencing this phenomenon and perhaps understand the psychiatric dimension of it all.
Anyway, here it is for your Friday night enjoyment (BTW, would Quix pick up the white courtesy phone in the lobby)...
NOVA: Let's talk about your own personal evolution from perhaps skepticism to belief ...
MACK: When I first encountered this phenomenon, or particularly even before I had actually seen the people themselves, I had very little place in my mind to take this seriously. I, like most of us, were raised to believe that if we were going to discover other intelligence, we'd do it through radio waves or through signals or something of that kind.
Quote: I came very reluctantly to the conclusion that this was a true mystery
The idea that we could be reached by some other kind of being, creature, intelligence that could actually enter our world and have physical effects as well as emotional effects, was simply not part of the world view that I had been raised in. So that I came very reluctantly to the conclusion that this was a true mystery. In other words, that II did everything I could to rule out other sources, or sexual abuse. Some of these people are abused. But they're able to tell, distinguish clearly the abduction trauma from other forms of abuse. Some forms of psychosis or people making up storiesI could reject that on the basis that there was no gain in this for the vast majority of these people.
.... I've now worked with over a hundred experiencers intensively. Which involves an initial two-hour or so screening interview before I do anything else. And in case after case after case, I've been impressed with the consistency of the story, the sincerity with which people tell their stories, the power of feelings connected with this, the self-doubtall the appropriate responses that these people have to their experiences.
NOVA: So tell us, please, how literally you intend people to take this? Are you suggesting people are really being snatched from their beds by aliens and experiments on board a spaceship?
MACK: Just how literally to take this, is one of the most interesting and complex aspects of this. And I want to walk through that as clearly as I can. There are aspects of this which I believe we are justified in taking quite literally. That is, UFOs are in fact observed, filmed on camera at the same time that people are having their abduction experiences.
People, in fact, have been observed to be missing at the time that they are reporting their abduction experiences. They return from their experiences with cuts, ulcers on their bodies, triangular lesions, which follow the distribution of the experiences that they recover, of what was done to them in the craft by the surgical-like activity of these beings.
All of that has a literal physical aspect and is experienced and reported with appropriate feeling, by the abductees, with or without hypnosis or a relaxation exercise.
....There is aI believe, a gradation of experiences and that go from the most literal physical kinds of hurts, wounds, person removed, spacecraft that can be photographed, to experiences which are more psychological, spiritual, involve the extension of consciousness. The difficulty for our society and for our mentality is, we have a kind of either/or mentality. It's either, literally physical; or it's in the spiritual other realm, the unseen realm. What we seem to have no place foror we have lost the place forare phenomena that can begin in the unseen realm, and cross over and manifest and show up in our literal physical world.
So the simple answer would be: Yes, it's both. It's both literally, physically happening to a degree; and it's also some kind of psychological, spiritual experience occurring and originating perhaps in another dimension. And so the phenomenon stretches us, or it asks us to stretch to open to realities that are not simply the literal physical world, but to extend to the possibility that there are other unseen realities from which our consciousness, our, if you will, learning processes over the past several hundred years have closed us off.
NOVA: I wonder, if in that vein, you can speak to what you think this experience is about?
MACK: ....There are several effects that these experiences have for those who undergo alien abduction encounters. First is the most familiar aspect or fit, which is a traumatic event in which a blue light or some kind of energy paralyzes the person, whether they're in their home or they're driving a car. They can't move.
They feel themselves being removed from wherever they were. They floated through a wall or out a car, carried up on this beam of light into a craft and there subjected to a number of now familiar procedures which involve the beings staring at them; involves probing of their body, their body orifices; and a complex process whereby they sense in the case of men, sperm removed; in the women, eggs removed; some sort of hybrid offspring created which they're brought back to see in later abductions. That's the sort of literal experience.
Now, the effect of that isor what seems to be going on there, in a number of abducteesnot just people I see, but the ones Budd Hopkins and other people seeis to produce some kind of new species to bring us together to produce a hybrid species whichthe abductees are sometimes toldwill populate the earth or will be there to carry evolution forward, after the human race has completed what it is now doing, namely the destruction of the earth as a living system. So it's a kind of later form. It's an awkward coming together of a less embodied species than we are, and us, for this evolutionary purpose.
However, that might not be literally true. It might be that that this is a communication to us. That perhaps we need to change our ways. It may not be that these are literally our babies. It may be a kind of expression of images of babies; or it may be that these hybrids we're told is what will have to be. It's a kind of insurance policy if the earth continues to be subjected to the exploitation of its living environment to the point where it can't sustain human and other life as it's now occurring. But it may not be literally what is going to happen. So that's one area.
As my granny said, sometimes medicine (the Truth in this case) goes down best with a spoon of sugar.
I thought Mack was dead. Maybe it was just brain-dead.
He was a big leftist in the anti-nuke, Nuclear Freeze movement in the 1980’s. Turned out that he was more of a liability than an asset to the Left.
That said, because a man is wrong at politics doesn't mean he is wrong at everything. Stay on topic...read the interview.
Far,far,FAR more likely that those claiming to have been "visited" have *very* serious psychiatric,or neuropsychiatric,conditions.
BTW, Mack (from 1980 to 1986) was the chairman of the executive committee of the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
I worked for 20+ years at one of Harvard Medical School's major teaching hospitals.While HMS has on its faculty some amazingly skilled chest surgeons,pediatricians,oncologists as well as physicians trained in every other medical specialty I can assure you that not all of it's psychiatrists are playing with a full deck.One bit of proof of my claim...the Dept of Psychiatry at HMS has,for years,held the position that homosexuality is just a different kind of love.Maybe that will give you an idea of what *they're* about.
What is the bottom line...I do not know. But Mack's work is scientifically valid and profound. He ventured into an area of study that was considered verboten by all other serious scientists.
And his reports are perfectly in line with what any scientist would and should do.
I might never have heard of this guy if not for your post. Whatever one might think about alien abductions, this fellow was definitely for real. Shakespeare was on the money when he wrote: “There are more things ‘twixt heaven and earth, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
Mack's tenure was subjected to examination, the goal of which examination was to deny said tenure, and after prolonged and in depth analysis, Mack won this case and retain his tenure.
Let me ask you, what is your problem here. Is it the subject matter in question or is it your linkage with Harvard?
Mack's tenure defense at Harvard was led by Daniel P. Sheehan and was supported by Alan Dershowitz. Mack was overwhelmingly exonerated.
There aren't many things in this life that I know much about but I do have a pretty fair idea of the culture,the "inner workings" of HMS.My knowledge of that world comes,in part,from having had more long,frank,talks with faculty members of the school than you've had hot meals.
Let me ask you, what is your problem here. Is it the subject matter in question or is it your linkage with Harvard?
My basic problem is the plausibility of "alien visitation" and "alien abduction".Call me a "Doubting Thomas" but I need more proof in this matter than the tales of a few..."unfortunately afflicted"...folks and the beliefs of one,or every,psychiatrist in the country.Including the entire staff of HMS's Dept of Psychiatry.
While I was fairly convinced about UFOs I thought the alien abduction BS was just that-until I read John Mack's book, Abduction.
it is one of the most frightening books I have ever read and I consider Dr Mack a genuine hero for even writing it.
And then you jump to insults about hot meals...that's an irrational leap. If you are a student of rationality (and psychiatry)...what is the basis for that?
You seem to have an inordinate fear of this issue (I can't blame you for that...it is an inordinately frightening issue)...
But you do not make concrete claims to oppose John Mack.
Have you read the accounts? And if you have, what is your opinion? Clinical opinion...not your personal opinion.
If you are not a psychiatrist, perhaps you can provide a link to one who has a differing opinion on the findings of Dr Mack.
Anecdotal accounts in the faculty dining room included.
Tell us about your findings.
We are not idiots here...tell us your personal findings and let us form our own opinions.
Brave comment! Thx!
John Mack got his ass kicked by CSICOP when they planted a fake abductee in his study and he failed to ferret her out; in fact, Mack held up her story as exemplary.
About 2330 hours a Marine chopper over a nearby bay reported a huge harshly glaring orange colored light which appeared to be coming from beneath the water.
They were ordered to keep it in sight. About 10 minutes after they first saw it a large object semi-circular in appearance emerged from the water and shot up to an altitude of approx 8000 feet (in seconds)
The chopper followed the bogey NW toward the air base in question where for over 25 minutes it hovered over a road next to the base fence. A few minutes after it appeared around the base there was a power failure which affected most of the hangars and living quarters at the base area- closest to where the object was. It was captured on radar and the Marine chopper was consistently within 1/4 mile of it the entire time. When the object finally disappeared it appeared to blink out like a bulb although it still showed on radar for a few more minutes. As you can imagine there was very little sleep on the base that night. There were photos taken of the object and weapons were issued to extra sentries nearest to the object. I would imagine the best chance to get some information on this incident would be to question some of the Japanese civilians who were present that night.
A day later about 30 marines at the base were questioned by several men wearing civilian clothes (Not my brother)
When the chopper first saw the object they reported that the water in the area of it actually appeared to be boiling and there was what appeared to be steam coming from the surface.
Very interesting story!
I am coming more and more to the conclusion that it’s Biblical.
In the New Testament one of the Apostles asks Jesus how will we know when we are in the End Times. He responds that we will know because the Jews will return to their homeland and like in the time of Noah...the Nephlim (sp?)will return to Earth.
I think it may be them.
Thanks RoosterRedux. I’ve never been convinced of this, but unlike some in that field, Mack always struck me as a thorough and honest thinker.
Since he was studying in good faith, and had already published about it, the fascist hate group CSICOP didn’t have to do much to claim another victory in their war on reason.
If it was manmade then we, as a human race, are being ripped off to support a petroleum based energy infrastructure, and the people ripping us off deserve to be lined up against a wall.
I haven't drawn any final conclusions either.
I knew Mack from his writings to be an intellectually honest searcher for the truth...he was also unsure of what was going on.
That said, he concluded that something was going on. Something real was traumatizing these folks who were his patients.
If a patient had memories of an abduction which were the product of dreams or stories which were unconsciously created as covers for ritual sexual abuse or other trauma...Mack would have been qualified to identify such.
But a planted liar whose sole purpose was to discredit Mack would be undetectable by a well-meaning psychiatrist.
Amazing stuff, great for a getting a new girlfriend to sit in your lap...even if you are driving. But not to be confused with a UFO or alien abduction.
There is a condition called "sleep paralysis" which can account for many of the experiences of "abductees." It causes people to get stuck between sleeping and waking, where they cannot move but they can see. This state is often accompanied by vivid hallucinations and even out-of-body experiences. The hallucinations seem to take the form of popular culture; sleep paralysis sufferers hundreds of years ago would see demons and succubi, while modern sufferers might see aliens.
I would bet that the majority of people describing abductions actually had an episode of sleep paralysis.
I've had bouts of sleep paralysis for as long as I can remember, though the frequency has dropped since I reached adulthood. I always hallucinated ghosts. I won't go into details, but the hallucinations are very vivid and terrifying.
I think the memories of abduction can be explained by sleep paralysis. A person having sleep paralysis can experience extremely vivid hallucinations, and even think they are getting up and moving around--which is known as out-of-body experience. If you reconcile the physical symptoms of "abductees" (they describe being paralyzed), with the knowledge of the hallucinations, then "alien abduction" becomes very explainable.
In past times, people hallucinated succubi and other forms of supernatural beings. People in other cultures have hallucinations consistent with their culture.
Sleep paralysis is not the symptom of a neurological disorder. I think it is genetic... it has affected every member of my family. About 6% of people are susceptible to it.
Since we don’t have such technology, we don’t need to do any such thing.
And I agree — anyone who’s seen one up close knows it isn’t anything from around here. :’)
NOVA: You and others have said that there is no other psychological explanation. But that there is some reality to it. What do you think of the work of people like Michael Persinger and Robert Baker who have these complicated theories about neurology or they charge that hypnogogic hallucinations being at the root of these perceivedthese experiences?
MACK: These experiences often occur in literal consciousness. Not in a hypnogogic or dreamlike state. The person may be in their bedroom quite wide awake. The beings show up. And there they are and the experience begins. That they're not occurring in any dreamlike state. Now sometimes they do occur when a person is dozing off or in a hypnogogic state. But very frequently not.
Sleep paralysis is neither dreamlike nor hypnagogic. The hypnagogic state occurs when a person is drifting off to sleep; it feels different than sleep paralysis, in my experience.
All people enter a state of paralysis when they sleep. Sleep paralysis occurs when a person becomes conscious after sleep, but they remain in the paralyzed state.
Typically, I will wake up. I can see the room around me; I am perfectly aware. I should point out that I do not know whether I really see the room, or if I hallucinate it, since I don’t know if my eyes open or not. It takes only an instant to realize that I cannot move, and then I start to panic. I know that if I could only move a tiny bit, I could break the paralysis, but I can’t, and the panic deepens.
The last time I had this happen, my husband heard me whimpering and woke me up... wrong words, because I was already awake, in a fashion.
Without outside interference, however, things that should not be there begin to appear. In my case, it’s ghosts and phantoms. Once, I actually broke the paralysis, got out of bed, and started walking down the hall before the ghosts and phantoms started appearing. And they frightened me so badly that I snapped back into bed (for lack of better description). It was then that I realized that the paralysis still had me in its grip.
Sleep paralysis hallucinations tend to take a form consistent with the culture of the sufferer. Ghost stories were a bigger part of my life than alien abduction stories; no doubt, if I had been raised with stories of UFOs and such, I would have had hallucinations consistent with alien abduction. Let me point out that the hallucinations seem absolutely real. I *did* see ghosts and phantoms. I *did* leave my body completely once, and partially on other occasions. Those were real experiences that I only know were the products of a particular genetic condition because I am a rational person.
Everything I’ve read about alien abduction experiences tells me that I’m reading the experiences of other people with this condition.
Other than sleep paralysis, we’re completely normal. This is not a mental illness.
There is quite a bit of information about sleep paralysis on the internet.
I don't think I have ever experienced sleep paralysis, but I have lucid dreams almost every night.
I somehow have come to realize they are dreams, but I certainly wish I could have some peaceful sleep instead of these bizarre dreams.
Your descriptions helps me understand the sleep paralysis state. I think that might explain many UFO experiences.
I have many UFO dreams in my lucid state (and I wonder where they are coming from).
That said, John Mack tried to focus on folks who were unlike you and me (if only because our experiences might be tainted by paralysis or lucidity of dreams).
He focused (as much as he could) on those who were wide awake.
Thx again for your wonderful comments. Helps me to broaden my understanding greatly of all our incredible human differences and experiences.
Stay in touch!
I certainly find the subject interesting. I searched for answers for years to figure out what was going on.
Best of luck, and thx for your informative comments.
Your friend, Rooster.