Ariel Phenomenon documentary announcement!

JANUARY 1, 2019 – On New Year’s morning, the documentary filmmakers sent out a long-awaited special announcement to their subscribers:

Happy New Year from Ariel Phenomenon!

What a year we’ve had! The film is completed, mixed and mastered. It is looking absolutely beautiful, and sounding great. We are so honored to have had the chance to give this incredible archival footage, and this unique story, the attention it deserves.

We have found a wonderful composer (whose work can be heard in the recent film Fault in Our Stars, among others) to create some original music; meanwhile, we are beginning to screen it for potential distributors.

This fall we released our newest 2-minute trailer on our website!

Those who have seen the film are incredibly excited about its quality and are helping get it in front of the right people. We just can’t wait to share it with you all as soon as possible!

As we approach the 25th anniversary of the event (coming up this September), we are wishing you the happiest of 2019!

Sending our thanks and appreciation to you, our supporters.

The Ariel Phenomenon Team
Randall, Rebecca, Anne, Chris & Rikk (and many other helpers and volunteers!)

New Trailer for “Ariel Phenomenon” released

AUGUST 2017 – A new trailer for the documentary has been released along with a statement from the filmmaker:

Randy Nickerson, Filmmaker, String Theory Films

Now with seeing somewhat the light of day on this extensive project, it brings me back to the beginning when I first received the BetaCam footage from the Dr John Mack family members. After seeing this footage, I could understand what Mack saw in the testimony of these children and the events around the Ariel School sightings. That was in 2007. This film was supposed to be just a DVD project with John Mack’s material for online sales but I had so many questions that his interviews did not answer. That began the quest to find the school in 2008. I was told it had burnt down, that it no longer existed, and then I found the name of the reporter who helped out John Mack in 1994. She informed me the school was still there and so were some of the original teachers. I booked the flight to South Africa within days. Landed in Johannesburg, South Africa and was shuttled to where I was staying. There was an armed guard with an M4 in front of the 12 foot wall that surrounded the building. I was definitely not in Kansas anymore. Went into Zimbabwe a week later with a reporter with warnings from our US State Department not to do so. Zimbabwe was in civil unrest due to the elections and the dictatorships actions against its own people. People were starving. It left an impression on me that changed me fundamentally. To be in Zimbabwe covering a story and there being another big story happening at the same time, was overwhelming. I stayed in a shack about 7 miles from the Ariel school with no electricity, no hot water. I had to charge batteries and do everything from generator power when it was running. It was a humbling and I had to buck up and face the music in ways that I was not prepared for.

Seeing the school for the first time was a moment I will never forget and meeting the teachers and those that were there in 1994 was fascinating. The school and the Head Mistress were so gracious and accommodating given the circumstances that they were under.

The Headmistress shared with me photos, drawings, and the story of the 1994 incident.

My question was “ Do you really believe it happened?” Her and the 2 other teachers I spoke with and interviewed were convinced that it did. I walked the playground for days and the site where the witnesses said this silver disc was. I met with parents of the some of the children and people from Ruwa that also witnessed unusual things in the sky the day before. A paramedic who met with some of the children who were traumatized after the event. It became more and more apparent that there was an incredible story here.

I noticed on a tiled brick wall and on the walkway were the names of the children that attended Ariel School in 1994. That was the moment when I said to myself, I can find them. I didn’t know how but I was determined to do it. A woman in Johannesburg helped me set up a Facebook page. It was the advent of Facebook and social media that made it possible to find these now adult kids.

It was in 2008 that I interviewed the first witness who was in grade 7 in 1994.It began a long journey of tracking people down.It was not my intention to be an investigative reporter but that is what I had to become in order to tell this story. Locating the BBC reporter who was first on scene was a big moment. I had been looking for him for years and when I heard from him, out of the blue, I flew to England to interview him. He had kept everything from covering that event in 94. Every piece of video and even his paper scratch notes, I found other reporters and investigators had done the same thing. Whatever happened there was important enough for people to make a special place in their homes to save everything from that time.

I would find that these children were scattered all across the globe now due to the situation in Zimbabwe.

Funds were an issue and the credits will be filled with so many people who helped me. Getting to these kids was difficult. It took time, lots of effort and I was learning how to make a feature documentary all at the same time. It was gorilla film making at its core.

I had made several short films with the longest being 18 minutes but a feature documentary was an entirely different animal. The further I went and the more I found out about this story, the more I was convinced that this had to be a done properly no matter what.

There is so much more to this story, John Mack’s story, and the whole issue of life outside this planet. As I get closer to the end of this film I can finally start to talk about the journey and all the things I have kept close to the chest for so long. I look forward to that time and it is near. Thank God! It is indeed time to tell the story and bring the facts around this event to screen.

In Memory of Richmond Mayo-Smith

September 3, 2015 — We are sadly overdue in honoring John Mack’s friend and colleague, renowned educator Richmond Mayo-Smith, who died at the age of 92 in Boston on January 10th, 2015. Ever the thoughtful teacher, Richmond wrote some thoughts that were shared at his own memorial service.

“Life is more beautiful than I ever imagined.
Life on earth is a school.
Don’t be confused by what you have been taught,
rather close your eyes and listen deeply to your
inner resonance. There you come to know what is
true. Everyone must be courageous to follow a
deeper calling than societies’ prescription.
I am no longer worried, for I now see a deeper
truth.”

Richmond’s complete remarks are available here (click for pdf, 4 pages)

We can do little more at this moment than say that Richmond was among the wisest people who John knew.

Those of us who met Richmond through John’s work would all say that it was a privilege and honor.

Dr. John Mack’s book Passport to the Cosmos to be released in Italian in January 2016

For our Italian readers, an announcement regarding the first-ever Italian translation of Passport to the Cosmos by John E. Mack, M.D..

Coming in January 2016: Dr. John Mack’s book, Passport to the Cosmos: Human Transformation and Alien Encounters, in Italian!

Venexia Editrice says: “It is with great pleasure that Venexia presents a new series of books devoted to ufology. Many of our readers have asked us to explain this choice, as most know our publishing house for its selection of texts about esotericism and spirituality rather than for other topics. Here’s a quick response.

The mysteries of the universe are endless. We don’t know what may be occurring; if there may exist extraterrestrial beings who inhabit our galaxy, creatures who may dwell in a multiverse, entities who may be close to us yet whom our senses prevent us from perceiving, or who knows what else. All we can be sure of at this time is that something is going on that is at once psychic, mythical, imaginary and tangible. Too many people have had experiences with unfamiliar beings for the phenomenon of UFOs to be ignored and – most importantly from our perspective – all are transformed with the certitude that the way we interpret the world is limited, if not downright harmful to life on Earth.

Venexia is happy to offer its readers important books that deal with these topics, such as Passport to the Cosmos by John E. Mack, a Harvard psychiatry professor, Pulitzer Prize-winner and highest authority on the phenomenon of abductions by alien beings. In all these books, the personal experiences and professional research lead towards a renewed sense of the sacred and of reverence for nature that can make us reflect upon, and be delighted by, possibilities of extraordinary beauty.”

Read More

Ariel Phenomenon – Trailer Debuts and Website Launches!

February 1, 2015 – The Ariel Phenomenon website has been launched by String Theory Films – ArielPhenomenon.com – and a trailer has been released, offering the first-ever look at this definitive documentary about the Ariel School sighting.

Donations in support of the film may be made directly to String Theory Films on their website.

All decisions regarding any additional interviews with former Ariel School students or other last-minute production additions are being made at the discretion of the filmmakers; the John E. Mack Institute trusts their judgement and encourages your support. Ariel Phenomenon will be released this year (2015).

Producer Randall Nickerson says, “This film has been a labor of love for many years. There has never been a lack of effort or time; it’s just been a struggle to get the production funded. Nevertheless, we’re close to completion and it will be done this year. This will be the definitive documentary on this incident and will introduce a new audience to John Mack’s heartfelt approach to the subject. Most importantly, it will give a voice to all those who experienced something profound. This is the final push and we could use any help possible.

Dr. John Mack’s Abduction returns to print in new edition using the author’s preferred text

November 2014 — The revised edition of Abduction, Dr. John Mack’s first book on the subject of alien encounters, is now available as an ebook from major retailers. A trade paperback will be released in late December or early January the first or second quarter of 2015.

Abduction was originally published on April 20, 1994. Though Abduction has remained in print for twenty years this is the first time since 1997 that the author’s revised edition has been available. There are subtle changes in the phrasing of many sentences throughout. More significantly, “in order to improve the book’s readability,” Dr. Mack wrote, “the historical and cross-cultural sections have been moved to the back, and the opening sections that contain my introduction and first reactions to learning about the abduction phenomenon have been streamlined.”

Abduction was the first of two books the acclaimed Harvard professor of psychiatry would write on the subject of “human transformation and alien encounters”.

Dr. Mack, who died in September 2004 at the age of 74, spent most of his illustrious career examining how a sense of “connection” develops across cultures and between individuals, and how these connections alter people’s worldviews. His best known book on this theme was the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Prince of Our Disorder, a biography of British officer T. E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”).

His interest in the “connection” that was reported between humans and aliens, and how that too transformed people’s worldviews, was an unexpected — if natural — continuation of his lifelong exploration of this theme.

Though largely a collection of case studies, less philosophically-oriented than Passport to the Cosmos (published several years later), Abduction began Dr. Mack’s consideration of the possibility that the relationship between humans and the so-called aliens may have benefits for both species, rather than being purely exploitative of humans as many at the time believed.

Publisher’s Weekly noted, “Where Mack’s report differs is in its emphasis on the purported spiritual aspects of the abduction experience. Many of his patients reported deep personal growth and heightened awareness of human destructiveness and of Earth’s ecological crisis. Some abductees seemed to relive past lives during therapy sessions; others became open to contact with spirit-entities; still others said they possessed a ‘dual identity’ as both alien and human. Unlike Hopkins and Jacobs, who tend to view such phenomena with skepticism … Mack wishfully embraces them as signs that a higher intelligence is attempting to intervene in humanities destructive course. Whether that intelligence involves extra-terrestrial humanoids or multidimensional spirits is a question Mack leaves open. His searching inquiry is among the most credible and thought-provoking of this genre.”

This return to print of Dr. Mack’s preferred edition of Abduction has been made possible by the John E. Mack Archives working hand-in-hand with Simon & Schuster. To prepare this version, the pages of a rare 1997 trade paperback were torn from its binding and scanned. Errors were manually corrected and the book was newly typeset. The preface, which had already been revised in 1995, has been further expanded by ten new paragraphs written in February 1997, sourced from the archives. All earlier editions of Abduction are now retired.


A commemorative edition of Passport to the Cosmos remains available from White Crow Publishing. This edition includes illustrations and photographs. Insights about the relationship between spiritual and physical energy; trauma’s role in transformation; information about the ecological crisis facing the planet; the possibility that human beings are participating in the creation of some sort of interdimensional hybrid race; and the expansion of human consciousness and our spiritual reawakening are the matters this book includes. More than a sequel to Abduction, this is Dr. Mack’s definitive statement on alien encounters and the state of humanity.

William Shatner writing novel inspired by John Mack’s research into alien encounters

May 7, 2014 — Actor and novelist William Shatner told Larry King (on Larry King Now, April 23, 2014) that he is writing a science fiction novel inspired in part by the research of the late Harvard psychiatrist Dr. John Mack.

Shatner told King, “[Mack’s] conclusion was UFOs are on another plane, another reality… So do UFOs exist? It depends on what you mean by ‘exist’!”

Shatner had recently learned about Mack’s research from a discussion with producer Denise David Williams, who is developing a motion picture based on the career of Dr. John Mack.

Dr. Mack’s explorations of his patients’ alien encounters earned him the scorn of his Harvard peers, and the admiration of thousands of “experiencers”.

Shatner’s fiction will not be able to do more than skim the edges of Mack’s own story since Mack’s Life Story Rights are held by producer Williams. See her website at JohnMackMovie.com.

John E. Mack Institute ends association with Xperiencers television program

September 10, 2013 — The John E. Mack Institute (JEMI) is pleased to have offered guidance during the development of the Xperiencers television program. Our year-long affiliation with the production has concluded. As the program moves into production without our collaboration we wish it well. We’d particularly like to thank the co-producer with whom we worked most, who has since left the production, for her efforts to bring a refined tone to the program.

We believe there is much to be learned from extraordinary experiences; the experiences commonly referred to as “alien encounters” seem to reveal opportunities for humanity to expand beyond its current precarious state of affairs in bold and dramatic ways – opportunities that many (including the late Dr. John Mack) have feared we will fail to take. Presenting material of such import with the respect and sensitivity it deserves is an exceptionally difficult prospect, and one that we cannot yet say if this program, absent our collaboration, will achieve.

For updates on the program, please visit X Marks the Spot’s Xperiencers.com.

Vanity Fair feature article about Harvard’s Dr. John Mack is now online



At midnight on Thursday, May 9th, 2013, VANITY FAIR posts its online feature article about Harvard Psychiatry Professor and Pulitzer Prize-winner, Dr. John Mack, written by NY Times investigative journalist Ralph Blumenthal.

The article recounts Dr. Mack’s defense of alien abductees and the personal and academic price he paid for it.

Leslie Keane, New York Times bestselling author, says “Ralph Blumenthal has written an intelligent and insightful story; the best treatment on John Mack I have ever read.”

It is also the first public announcement of a partnership between Denise David Williams’ MakeMagic Productions and Robert Redford’s Wildwood Enterprises for the production of a major motion picture based on Dr. Mack’s extraordinary story.


Errata

  1. The Vanity Fair article initially describes “Elisabeth and Mark Before and After Death: The Power of a Field of Love” as an unpublished manuscript (“He left behind another unpublished manuscript, with another mystery he was seeking to unravel, a secret as dark as death itself”), before later correctly identifying this as a book proposal, not a manuscript. The materials for this project in actuality consist of a dozen-page single-spaced outline (the book proposal) and many interviews Dr. Mack conducted with friends and family of the late Dr. Elisabeth Targ.
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  3. The article fails to examine the Donna Bassett incident critically. The article presents her as a “Boston writer” who later told Time magazine that she “was a double agent out to expose Mack’s U.F.O. cult” through her “hoax”.
         However, neither Vanity Fair nor Time magazine presented any evidence that she was an undercover writer as she claimed. Materials from Mack’s archives (excerpted below) were provided to the writer of the Vanity Fair piece that suggest her motives were personal.
         The most damaging claim that she brought to Time magazine – as Time reporter James Willwerth credulously accepted and reported – was of a “lack of therapy following [the] traumatic hypnosis sessions”.
         But it seems that Bassett had in fact been advised to seek regular therapy, and took offense at the way in which the advice was presented, and may have been disappointed that Dr. Mack himself was not the resource to which she was being directed.
         A colleague of Dr. Mack’s explained that at a meeting with Ed Bassett and Donna Bassett, “I felt over my head and asked if it would be helpful to her to see a psychologist regularly who has an understanding of the phenomenon. This was exactly the wrong thing to say. She felt I was calling her crazy and that I was abandoning her just when she’d started to open up to me.”
         In March of 1994 she made her claim to Willwerth that she was an undercover writer whose false persona had not been directed into the therapy she felt she would have needed had her persona been real.
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  5. The concluding paragraph of the Vanity Fair article misrepresents a possible after-life communication from Dr. Mack. “It’s not what we thought”, is the message he is said to have related. The Vanity Fair article implies this was about alien encounters. The message was shared with his former assistant Roberta Colasanti by a psychic. Colasanti would like to clarify that “It’s not what we thought” was in regards to our sense of what death is. It was the second of two messages that two different psychics told her were being directed to her from the late Dr. Mack on the subject of life-after-life.