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John E. Mack - 2

David Jay Brown

Interviews John E. Mack


John E. Mack, M.D. is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He is the founder of the Department of Psychiatry at the Cambridge Hospital, and the founding director of the Center for Psychology & Social Change. He is also the author or co-author of eleven books, and more than one hundred and fifty scholarly articles, that explore how our perceptions shape our relationship with each other and with the world. In 1977 Dr. Mack won the Pulitzer Prize for his biography of T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)-A Prince of Our Disorder-but he is probably best known for his two bestselling books on the alien abduction phenomenon, Abduction(1995) and Passport to the Cosmos: Human Transformation and Alien Encounters (1999). 

Dr. Mack earned his medical degree at Harvard Medical School, and he is a graduate of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. He is Board certified in child and adult psychoanalysis, with over 40 years of clinical psychiatric education and experience. His early clinical work explored dreams, nightmares and teen suicide. Later Dr. Mack sought out the psychological roots of collective experiences such as the Cold War, the global ecological crisis, ethnonationalism and regional conflict. He testified before Congress in 1983 on the psychological impact of the nuclear arms race on children, and was arrested at the U.S. government’s nuclear weapons test site in Nevada.

In 1983 Dr. Mack founded The Center for Psychology & Social Change, a Cambridge-based nonprofit organization, whose goal is “to apply psychology to the process of healing and reshaping relationships in the social, ecological, political and spiritual realms”. The Center’s work is designed to “promote shifts in consciousness and behavior that invite sustainable, equitable, and peaceful ways of living”.

In 1992 Dr. Mack co-chaired the Abduction Study Conference held at MIT, the first scientific assembly on “alien encounters”. Then in 1993 he founded the Program for Extraordinary Experience Research (PEER), a Cambridge-based, research and education group dedicated to exploring and understanding the alien abduction phenomenon. Dr. Mack and his colleagues at PEER have worked with over 300 individuals from six continents who have experienced what they believe to be encounters with unknown intelligences. Dr. Mack’s twelve years of research into this controversial subject focused on “the consideration of the merits of an expanded notion of reality, one which allows for experiences that may not fit the Western materialist paradigm, yet deeply affect people’s lives.”

The alien abduction phenomenon is truly mysterious. There are hundreds of people who report experiences of having been abducted, studied, and experimented upon by aliens. In his books on this phenomenon, Dr. Mack describes how a substantial number of credible, and mentally-sound people report remarkably similar stories about having been taken aboard strange spacecrafts in a beam of light by otherworldly visitors, where they are subjected to intrusive medical exams, most frequently by small, spindly-limbed, grey-skinned beings, with large pear-shaped heads, and big black tear-shaped eyes. 

The evidence that Dr. Mack presents for this unexplained phenomenon is truly compelling. There is an astonishing similarity in the details that the “abductees” (or “experiencers”, as Dr. Mack refers to them) give when they recount their experiences, and these people appear to be truly traumatized by the event. Many of the people report uncanny similarities in how they are abducted, witnessing similar unusual instruments, and being subjected to similar invasive medical procedures. A significant number of these people say that their sperm or eggs are being used in genetic experiments to create human-alien hybrid offspring. For a large number of people, these alien encounters-which are often terrifying at first-become, over time, a catalyst for what is commonly described as a spiritual transformation. In this respect, the encounter phenomenon seems similar to transpersonal experiences like mystical encounters with the divine and near-death experiences. Since so many of the “experiencers” believe themselves to be spiritually transformed by the alien encounter, Dr. Mack has referred to the aliens as possibly being part of “an outreach program from the Cosmos to the consciously-impaired.” 

It is very difficult for a thoughtful person to examine the evidence that Dr. Mack offers, and not look up into the sky and wonder about the truth of these

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