Thursday, May 04, 2006


"Alien Concepts: An Interview with Dr. John Mack" which appeared in New Age Journal in July 2001 offers the following question and answer:

Q. What kinds of standards do you envision for such a science?

A. We have an anomalous-experiences project at PEER, which came out of a 1999 workshop on the topic that included theologists, anthropologists, astrophysicists and philosophers. We are looking not just at the abduction phenomenon, but near-death experiences and other such phenomena that don't fall into a single discipline. And we want to explore traditions where there are, if not standards, witnessing and truth-telling traditions — that is, methods of how you decide who to take seriously. The Buddhist and Catholic traditions deal with this in detail, for example in determining what is a miracle and what is not.

Father Corrado Balducci, a retired gentleman close to the Vatican, once shocked me by saying that the Church takes very seriously these reports of UFOs and abduction encounters because there seem to be so many reliable witnesses. The Church has a tradition of determining who is a reliable witness. I began to think about this notion of the sacred witness, or the witness of the sacred. We don't want to take on, for example, Catholic or Buddhist standards wholesale, but they can be guides.

Catholic or Buddhist standards. As though they are similar. Yet we have evidence that shamanism is a part of Tibetan Buddhism, and Fr. Seraphim's conviction that shamanism is "a modern form of the devil's age-old religion of shamanistic paganism.

Who is Father Corrado Balducci? The interview doesn't specify.

There is a brief bio of Mack at the website as well. He won a Pulitzer Prize for his biography of T. E. Lawrence. He was born into a family of prosperous German Jewish academics in New York. His father read the Bible as literature, but the household is said to have been atheistic. He experimented with psychedelic drugs and was involved with Middle East politics, meeting with Arafat to discuss peace prospects. Holotropic breathwork led him to his interest in aliens.

The March/April 2003 issue of "Psychology Today" asks the question "Alien Abductions: The Real Deal?" Dr. Mack is central to the article. Here you can learn that

- Mack has been on the faculty of Harvard Medical School since 1955, and in 1982 he founded the Center for Psychology and Social Change....The Center aims in part to study anomalous experiences...

- Mack founded the department of psychiatry at Harvard's Cambridge Hospital in 1969; a program that has long attracted innovative, Eastern-oriented psychiatrists.

- Mack has embraced traditions from Freudian psychoanalysis to the guided meditation of Werner Erhard. In 1988 he began to practice Stanislav Grof's holotropic breathwork, a technique that induces an altered state by means of deep, rapid breathing and evocative music.

- Mack used hypnotic regression to retrieve detailed memories of 13 encounters with aliens... Mack defends the use of controversial techniques such as hypnotic regression because he prizes the experiential narrative over empirical data....he was jolted when his subjects reported receiving telepathic warnings about man's decimation of natural resources.

Perhaps that helps to explain why Mack's Center for Psychology and Social Change turns up on the website of The National Religious Partnership for the Environment, an interfaith engagement. The organization's statement, "Declaration of the 'Mission to Washington' Joint Appeal by Religion and Science for the Environment " is signed by Dr. Steven J. Zeitlin, of the Center for Psychology and Social Change, Harvard Medical School; and by Ms. Nancy Wisdo, Director, Office of Domestic Social Development, United States Catholic Conference.

In the Alien Concepts interview linked above Dr. Mack responds to the question "So do you personally believe in this phenomenon?"

A. It's a no-brainer. It can't be accounted for in purely interpsychic ways. Many people are having these experiences around the world, spontaneously. It has to come from somewhere, what William James called a "provocation from without." I see it in the context of the global ecological crisis. The Earth is a source of creation and life, and out of ignorance, greed and aggression, we are destroying it. I see an awakening of consciousness about this, a spiritual reconnection with the sacred, with the divine.

With that statement he links the work of his institute with the ecological movement. And it is out of the ecological movement that the push for population control has reached the United Nations, complete with approval of abortion.

Who in the spiritual realm would seek to arrange the murder of innocent life? A fallen angel appearing as an E.T. whispering in the ear of whoever will listen?

According to FOCUS, the bulletin of the Harvard Medical, Dental, and Public Health Schools, Dr. Mack died in a car accident on Sept. 25, 2004.


Another webpage at The John E. Mack Institute announces a BBCRadio4 half hour special about Dr. Mack and a Synopsis and Editorial Note from the John E. Mack Institute. According to the website one of the experiencers described himself as a "recovering Catholic".

The webpage also markets a DVD titled "Touched" which featurs in addition to Mack "Monsignor Corrado Balducci at the Vatican," among others.


Another webpage describes the "Spirituality & Global Affairs independent initiative affiliated with John E. Mack Institute. There you can read about the "integral approach to global awakening." Sounds Gurdjieffian. Mack's institute implemented the Balkans Trauma Project "to help relief workers in the Balkans deal with the stresses of operating in war ravaged regions with traumatized populations." Did they use Gurdjieffian techniques?


A cached version of a John E. Mack talk given at the International Association for New Science Conference, 1996, is interesting.

There you can read Mack's theories about alien abduction--not what you'd expect from someone on the Medical faculty at Harvard! According to the lecture Mack's work "has to do with phenomena that seem to come from another dimension: information obtained by [sic] telepathically; clairvoyance and the whole psi realm; out-of-body experiences; near-death experiences; telekinesis and the alien abduction phenomenon itself..."

He speaks of near-death experience, materializations, spaceships, abductions, implants, instruments, surgery, hybrids, babies, reproduction. He speaks in several places about the alien abduction reports dealing with ecology, with the earth as a living organism, with Mother Earth.

He uses Gurdjieff's language of "waking up" and "shocks". He speaks of evolution and shamanism.

He speaks of something else as well--love. One of the abductees he quotes talks extensively about the need for love, the aliens desire to obtain love. Speaking of this abductee he says:

She found that by emanating love towards them, the demonic or dark dimension of their being was affected. They seemed to pull back from the love she sent them, and at the same time, to thrive from it.

He speaks of love that "is at the core of the cosmos as its essential creative power." In fact he sounds a lot like John Paul II on the subject of love.

I can't help but note that we Catholics used to talk about "charity" much more often than we talked about love, and that today New Agers are very fond of talking about love, as do the progressive Christians. I'm not sure what conclusions can be drawn from that.

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