Dr. John E. Mack, Psychiatrist, Dies at 74
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of New York Times
Posted: May 30th, 2008
Dr. John E. Mack, a Pulitzer Prize winner and Harvard psychiatrist who studied people who said they had encounters with alien beings, died in London on Monday. Dr. Mack was struck by a driver suspected of being drunk and evidently died on impact, according to the John E. Mack Institute, formerly the Center for Psychology and Social Change. He was drawn to psychoanalytic analysis of the misunderstood or vulnerable, including children contemplating suicide, teenagers troubled by the threat of nuclear war and finally, people plagued by what they believed to be recurrent alien encounters. In the 1990s, Dr. Mack studied dozens of people who said they had had such contact with aliens, culminating in his book Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens in 1994. In it, he focused less on whether aliens were real than on the spiritual effects of perceived encounters, arguing that "the abduction phenomenon has important philosophical, spiritual and social implications" for everyone. The book led Harvard Medical School, where Dr. Mack had been a tenured professor for several years, to appoint a committee to review his research methods and consider censuring him. After 14 months of investigation, it released a statement saying that it "reaffirmed Dr. Mack's academic freedom to study what he wishes and to state his opinion without impediment." His work was the subject of the 2003 documentary film "Touched," made by Laurel Chiten. A second book for general readers, Passport to the Cosmos: Human Transformation and Alien Encounters, was published in 1999.