UFO Conjectures

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Dr. John Mack explained alien abductions in 1970 but forgot he did so...

Copyright 2012, InterAmerica, Inc.

John E. Mack M.D. [Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Boston], who was killed by a drunk driver in London, September 27th, 2004, became entranced by alleged alien (extraterrestrial) abductions of human beings.
His works dealing with the topic include Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens (1994) and Passport to the Cosmos: Human Transformation and Alien Encounters (1999).

Shortly before his trip to London and his subsequent death, I received an e-mail from Dr. Mack, who contacted me to see if our MediaWatch group was the one that savaged his book or appearance on a panel about alien abductions.

I assured him that it wasn’t our MediaWatch group and we exchanged phone numbers to discuss the matter (media) and alien abductions.

Dr. Mack was, as he remained over they years, noncommittal about the reality of alien abductions, even though his friend and cohort, Will Bueche, a board member of the John E Mack Institute, had an abduction experience – one that I find hard to dismiss.

And while Dr. Mack was intrigued by and nonplussed, somewhat, by alien abductions, he provided the answer to the psychic-like phenomenon, years before, in his book, Nightmares and Human Conflict [Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1970].

Nightmares, later in life, are triggered by factors associated with earlier traumatic or traumatic-like events in childhood:

“Disturbing memories may exert a continuing influence, contributing to the production of nightmares long after the occurrence of the events with which they are associated.” [Nightmares….Page 44]

“The role of actual events that are perceived as threatening to the ego appear to play a particularly important role in…nightmares…Panic or overwhelming anxiety in nightmares…seems often to follow upon a single traumatic event….Losses of important persons, separations from love objects…moves to strange surroundings, hospitalization, a particularly important role in…nightmares…Panic or overwhelming anxiety in nightmares…seems often to follow upon a single traumatic event….Losses of important persons, separations from love objects…moves to strange surroundings, hospitalization, surgery or other bodily injury, and deaths of relatives or acquaintances -- all seem to be the most frequent disturbing events that overly burden the defensive capacities of the ego and give rise to nightmares. It seems possible that a threat to survival can be perceived in these events… [Ibid, Page 56 ff.]

“Threatening figures…incorporated into the personality from the time of earliest childhood, may confront the dreamer once again in nightmares, often decades later….[Ibid, Page 59]

And abductions, like dreams, mimic insanity:

“Similarities between dreams and certain forms of insanity have long been observed. Henry More, an English theologian and philosopher, noted in 1656 a “Melancholy Symptome, which Physitians call Extasie,” caused by natural sleep an the effect of which is “the deliration of the party after he awakes; for he takes his dreams for true Histories and real Transactions.” {Emphasis mine] Immanuel Kant believed that the mad person was a dreamer awake. The subject seems particularly to have fascinated nineteenth-century writers. Hughlings Jackson, for example, called dreams “the physiological insanity”…The famous nineteenth-century German psychiatrist, William Griesinger…regarded insanity “analogous” to dreaming, “especially to dreams in the half-waking state.” [Ibid, Page 158]

The dream or nightmare, which I’m equating with abduction phenomena, is related to psychotic behavior…

“An examination of the manifest features of a nightmare of and adult or child and of an acute schizophrenic psychosis or turmoil state readily yields several significant [Emphasis mine] points of similarity. [Ibid, Page 163].

But what about nightmares (or abductions) that occur outside of normal sleep periods?

“Any attempt to establish the time at which nightmares are most likely to occur in the sleep cycle meet familiar difficulties of definition and of the interpretations of findings….to confound the matter further, there is little agreement between laboratories about some stages of sleep. [Ibid, Page 189]

Nightmares and alien abductions are seen, superficially, as traumatic, but Dr. Mack writes this:

“…if the traumatic response is limited to to the sleep situation…does not invade waking consciousness, and is not accompanied by other symptoms, signs of ego regression, or developmental difficulties, it is reasonable to say either that this is a “successful” handling of the traumatic situation or that the traumatic experience has been well circumscribed.” [Ibid, Page 215]

Dr, Mack closes his book with this:

“…the nightmare may not only be made up of memories and other aspects of mental functioning that originated in early childhood, but may be linked with neurophysiological mechanisms subserving self-preservation and survival that are phylogenetically older than those that are the exclusive possession of the human species.” [Ibid, Page 241]

That Dr. Mack chose to set aside his 1970 observations about dreams, nightmares, and psychoses, and go off into new territory for an explanation of alien abductions is troublesome, for me.

The answer – the explanation – for alien abduction experiences can be found in Dr, Mack’s book and other books dealing with neurological psychoses I believe.

To persist in trying to “prove” or “disprove” the alien abduction experience from the extraterrestrial template is gilding the lily, as it were….gilding it with an overlay that is not needed, nor authentic.

Are all UFO reports and cases neurologically induced? No. Are all alien abduction scenarios neurologically or psychotically induced? Yes.

Dr. Mack knew this in 1970 but chose to forget his findings.


NIck Redfern gets it right, again and again...

Nick Redfern's latest musings on UFOs can be read by clicking HERE

Nick always presents a stable, rational view of he UFO phenomenon. And in this Part One piece, he does just that.

Check it out.