UFOs: Fact of Fiction with John Mack, M.D.

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We've all seen "Abducted by UFO!" headlines screaming from the covers of tabloids on supermarket racks. But when a Pulitzer Prize-winning Harvard psychiatrist speaks authoritatively on the accumulated reports of such abductions, we take note. Here John Mack presents the evidence pro and con, and various speculative explanations of many aspects of the phenomenon. Perhaps, he says, such experiences may be a warning against humans becoming "global locusts" on a path of self-extinction. Despite a lack of conclusive proof for or against the reality of abductions, says Mack, "If the mystery's there, we might as well embrace it rather than run from it.". (hosted by Michael Toms) 


John Mack, M.D. (1929-2004) was head of the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, founding director of the Center for Psychology and Social Change. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his book A Prince of Our Disorder a biography of British officer T. E. Lawrence (who became known as ''Lawrence of Arabia''). He also interviewed political leaders and citizens of the Soviet Union and Israel/Palestine in the study of ethno-national conflict and the Cold War. Mack’s clinical expertise was in child psychology, adolescent psychology, and the psychology of religion. He was also known as a leading researcher on the psychology of teenage suicide and drug addiction, and he later became a researcher in the psychology of alien abduction experiences. His interest in the transformational aspects of extraordinary experiences corresponded to his own belief that the Western world requires a shift away from a primarily materialist worldview. This worldview, he suggested in his many writings, was the root cause of the Cold War, regional conflict, and the global ecological crisis. He advocated a shift towards a transpersonal worldview that embraced some elements of Eastern spiritual and philosophical traditions which emphasized a sense of ''connection''; Mack believed such a shift could alter the path of the world towards a more sustainable future. 

John Mack’s books include: 

  • Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens (Scribner’s 1994)
  • Passport to the Cosmos (White Crow Books; commemorative edition 2010)

Topics explored in this dialogue include:

  • The common elements of UFO abduction stories
  • A psychiatric evaluation of their validity
  • The possibility that such memories are based on sexual abuse trauma
  • Evaluating bodily implants, pregnancies, electronic disturbances, etc.
  • Whether abductors may be “malevolent or transcendent” in motivation
  • The possibility of information exchanges being made
  • How alleged abductees are affected, both negatively and positively
  • What such abductions may teach us about humanity and the cosmos

Host: Michael Toms   Interview Date:9/4/1993   Program Number: 2467