Aliens: A Positive Experience

by Deborah Warren

What do people really want when they think about UFOs?

According to John Mack’s newest book Passport to the Cosmos, the first thing they want is for their experiences to stop. Only after they realize they have no power to stop the experience do they begin to accept a process that is informative and transformative — a process that propels them out of their narcissistic concerns and towards active involvement with environmental values, the survival of humanity and an exploration of spiritually-based consciousness. The Harvard psychiatrist also includes three other perspectives of contact with the “Star People.” These perspectives include those of a Native-American healer, a South African shaman, and an indiginous anthropologist from South America. The same themes continue to resonate through all perspectives.

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Contact Experience and Ancient Traditions

by Veronica Goodchild, Ph.D.

One of the difficulties of the alien encounter experience is trying to convey to others the kind of “place” or “landscape” of these anomalous visitations. Because in the West we are so used to restricting our experience within an empirical scientific worldview, things either happen in a world outside, or we have thoughts or feelings in an interior world.

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Remembering the Eternal: Plato’s View of Education in Anomalous Experiences

by Michael E. Zimmerman, Ph.D.

People describing the alien encounter experience often say that they receive information of some sort, as if they were being educated about complex topics that may seem crystal clear during the experience, but that may become cloudy or may even seem trivial afterward. The topics are frequently momentous, such as impending environmental calamity, whether brought about by human behavior or by some other cause, perhaps unknown.

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Alien Abduction? Reductionists Call It Sleep Paralysis

Roberta Colasanti, LICSW
Clinical Director, PEER

The recent article by Nicholas D. Kristof[1] suggesting that science implicates sleep paralysis as the main reason for reports of alien abductions demonstrates how threatening data, like reports of alien abduction or contact, can only be tolerated by fitting them into a reductionistic worldview. The fact that the only symptoms of alien abductions which “fit” the theory of sleep paralysis were offered is evidence of this cultural bias.

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Integrating Extraordinary Experiences

by Roberta L. Colasanti, LICSW

At a mutidisciplinary meeting of academicians convened by the Center’s Program for Extraordinary Experience Research (PEER) in April 1999 at the Harvard Divinity School, PEER’s former clinical director Roberta Colasanti, LICSW, spoke about the people who seek clinical assistance in dealing with life-long alien encounter experiences. This transcript is excerpted from her presentation.

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Science is Humbled

by Reverend Jeffrey L. Brown and Janis A. Pryor

The Reverend Jeffrey Brown is pastor of the Union Baptist Church, Central Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Janis A. Pryor is an author who lives in Cambridge.

Perhaps the most significant consequence of John Mack’s work with abductees (those who believe they have had an encounter or encounters with alien beings) is forcing the scientific community to grudgingly accept that there may be a reality that cannot be measured in the material world; a reality that transcends the scientific process. Mack says that “the [west believes] that the only intelligence that exists in the universe comes out of the human brain, not God.” [But] this phenomenon, according to Mack, “opens us to a different sense of ourselves,” and “gets the western mind right where it lives.”

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Faces of the Visitors: Stranger Than Fiction

by Michael Lindemann

Given the incredible diversity of reported human experiences with alleged [alien] visitors, is it possible to say who or what we are dealing with? Perhaps the closest we can get to the truth is an idea that confounds and infuriates literalists everywhere: the nature of the visitors is in the eye of the beholder. They are real, but their perceived character is dependent upon the quality of individual perception.

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The Moral Truth is Out There

by Theodore Roszak

By definition, folklore is that which cannot be destroyed by mere facts. So it is unlikely that the Air Force’s latest effort to convince UFO enthusiasts that aliens did not crash at Roswell, NM, in 1947 will have any effect beyond feeding the voracious paranoia that now surrounds the story. As the public is leaning from The X-Files, the truth may be “out there,” but the main purpose of the United States government is to cover it up.

I began regarding the UFO fascination as something between a hoax and a fad the first time I was told the “truth” about Roswell by members of my own family in the late 1940s. I continued to view the matter with perfect skepticism until about four years ago, when I developed a rather different perspective.

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The Alien Abduction Phenomenon: Trauma or Transformation?

by John E. Mack, M.D.

The majority of “abductees” report some degree of trauma in connection with their experiences. The intrusive events themselves may be terrifying. Experiencers feel afraid to talk about what they have undergone lest they be ridiculed and further isolated. The experiences shock their ideas of reality. Finally, they feel helpless to predict or control when the experiences will occur again or befall their children and other loved ones whom they cannot protect.

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A Science of Not Knowing

by John E. Mack, M.D.

Despite official skepticism and even cynicism in media, government, and scientific circles, it must be evident to many Americans that something extraordinary – at least from the standpoint of the Western worldview – is going on. No conventional explanation for the thousands of reported cases of encounters with alien beings has been sufficient, and this remains true in spite of the fact that the experiencers themselves would, with rare exceptions, welcome any explanation other than that they are being visited without their permission by humanoid creatures from another place.

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Studying Intrusions from the Subtle Realm: How Can We Deepen Our Knowledge?

by John E. Mack, M.D.

Developed from a talk given at the International Association for New Science Conference, Fort Collins, Colorado, September 16, 1995

I want to talk with you about what I have been finding over the past now nearly six years in studying the alien abduction phenomenon. In the context of this meeting I wish to talk particularly about the ways that we know, how we actually know anything. What is the appropriate epistemology for a particular subject? It seems to me that all science, all knowledge really, is about the discovery of patterns, and that includes patterns of meaning. But how we know, the approach that we use, depends on what the matter at hand happens to be. For the sake of clarity, I would divide the realms that we are considering here between what has been called the gross material world on the one hand and the subtle realms on the other, or, in [psychiatrist] Stanislav Grof’s language, the hylotropic versus the holotropic world, or in [physicist] David Bohm’s terms, the explicate or manifest order or the implicate, or hidden, order, by which he means the structures, deeper reality and meaning in the universe.

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Are Aliens Trying to Save Planet Earth?

By A. Robert Smith

A half dozen years ago, Harvard psychiatrist John Mack thought anyone who worked with people who claimed they’d been abducted by aliens from outer space must be crazy. A year later his whole frame of reference changed when he met Budd Hopkins, a pioneer in alien research who had worked with some 200 “abductees.”

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Exploring African and Other Alien Encounters

by Dominique Callimanopulos

John Mack and I were at the Ariel School, a small elementary school outside Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, listening to Elsa (not her real name) describe her encounter last September 16 [1994] with an “alien” being. In all, sixty children, ages six through twelve, reported seeing one large and several smaller “spaceships” land – hover, really – over the scrubby bushland adjoining their playground.

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