A retrospective on John Mack by his stepdaughter

  • Thread starter Sciborg_S_Patel
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Growing up alien: John Mack was a Harvard scientist who took extra-terrestrial abduction seriously. Is he the reason I like misfits?

...To his enemies, he was a crackpot, fraud, and a cheat. And to his patients, and many of his friends, he was a source of support, an open listener, a sage and protector.

Dr John E Mack was many things to many people. A Harvard-trained psychiatrist, tenured professor, and one of the founders of the Cambridge Hospital Department of Psychiatry (a teaching hospital affiliated with Harvard University), John held an impressive command and was respected in his field. After an early career spent working on issues of child development and identity formation, he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1977 for his psychoanalytic biography of Lawrence of Arabia, entitled A Prince of Our Disorder (1976). Then, in the late 1980s, John put his reputation on the line when he started investigating the phenomenon of alien abduction...
...But if I reflect on the impact of my childhood experience, I think it left me with a profound openness, and a generous ear. John taught me the power of listening; really hearing people out and having the courage and resilience to question established orthodoxies. I still remain entirely agnostic about the existence of aliens. I have a commitment to preserving unknowns, and I thrive on ambiguity and complexity in my work and my relationships. John’s legacy has also left me with a certain reverence for misfits, for outliers and challengers of the status quo: for the type of person who walks the line between delusion and insight.

John, too, remains immortalised in my mind as someone with great courage and empathy...

I hereby nominate you for the Skeptiko Forum MVP (Most Valuable Poster) Award ;-)

Lots of great posts and great info. Thanks! Now I just need to find the time to read/watch all of it! (Really looking forward to the Tollaksen interview you posted in the other thread.)


Thanks! - I know lots of people exploring these topics so I'm lucky enough to encounter lots of cool stuff. :)

One thing to note among this group of eclectics is that mental health professionals in NYC are very interested in exploring more about psychedelic treatment. If a paradigm shift were to happen I think it'll come out of psychology/psychiatry as compassion and trust between doctors and patients in the tradition of Mack seems to engender some advocacy.