Messengers from the Unseen

by John E. Mack, M.D., Class of ’51

Oberlin Alumni Magazine, Fall 2002
Vol. 98, No. 2

If someone out there is trying to warn us, shouldn’t we make an attempt to listen?

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DSM-IV Religious and Spiritual Problems

A coursebook by David Lukoff, Ph.D.

A new diagnostic category called “Religious or Spiritual Problem” was introduced in the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association) in 1994.

For the first time, there is acknowledgment of distressing religious and spiritual experiences as nonpathological problems.

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John Mack, Alien Abductions, and Harvard

by Keith Thompson

Occasionally a story in the news stirs me to reach for the phone to call someone whose Fifteen Minutes of Fame has captured my imagination. Usually I change my mind, but now and then I follow through. Like the day three years ago this month, when I came across a newspaper story that provoked me to dial up a Pulitzer Prize-winning psychiatrist whose research was getting a fair amount of national media attention.

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Space Station: A Breakfast with John Mack, M.D.

by Susan Downs, M.D., MPH

Imagine your patient tells you he was abducted by alien creatures with large eyes and teleported into a spacecraft for breeding and other scientific procedures. Imagine further that your patient tells you he/she has several alien offspring. Do you reach for your prescription pad or telephone to arrange a hospitalization? Not necessarily, according to Harvard psychiatrist John Mack, who spoke at the annual NCPS (Northern California Psychiatric Society) conference in March.

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Results from the PEER Extraordinary Experience Survey

by Caroline McLeod, Ph.D.

Findings from an analysis of the first 200 Extraordinary Experience Surveys returned to PEER by mail from a self-selected group who had contacted Dr. John Mack or his organization. The survey (conducted in late 1994 and 1995) reported demographics, categories of experiences, impact of experiences, gaps in memory, and the use of hypnosis and psychotherapy.

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Defining Academic Freedom

by Alan M. Dershowitz

Should a distinguished Harvard professor of psychiatry be subject to formal investigation and potential discipline for doing research on the possibility that people who clam that they were abducted by space aliens may not all be crazy after all? This question is dividing the academic community, which is watching carefully as Harvard Medical School completes its year-long investigation into the research of Dr. John Mack who wrote the controversial best-seller Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens.

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Harvard vs. the Space Aliens

by James Smart

A committee at Harvard Medical School is investigating a prominent professor because of his research about people who say they have been abducted now and again by little gray folks from outer space.

The medical school is part of Harvard University, which was founded in 1636 at Cambridge, Massachusetts. In those days they had their witch hunts farther north, up at Salem.

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NonOrdinary States of Consciousness and the Accessing of Feelings

by John E. Mack, M.D.

We are seeing lately an expanded interest in psychotherapies, human growth-promoting workshops, and spiritually focused methods of inner exploration, which have in common the use of nonordinary states of consciousness to access deeper and more intense experience and emotion. At first glance, these approaches may appear new, deviant, or even radical. In actuality, however, they represent means of rediscovering access to realms of the psyche that have been familiar to ancient peoples and non-Western societies from the beginning of recorded time. Shamanic healing, mysticism, kundalini yoga, naturally growing hallucinatory plants, meditation methods, and ecstatic religious experiences arc but a few of the ways that human beings throughout history have opened themselves to the deeper regions of the psyche.

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Paths Beyond Ego: The Transpersonal Vision

by Frances Vaughan, Roger Walsh et al.

By kind permission of the authors, presented are a pair of excerpts from the book Paths Beyond Ego: The Transpersonal Vision, a collection of fifty essays by a range of contributors who apply transpersonal thinking to individual growth, psychotherapy, meditation, dreams, psychedelics, science, ethics, philosophy, ecology and service. Edited by Roger Walsh, M.D., Ph.D. and Frances Vaughan, Ph.D., published Sept 1993.

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