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John E. Mack – 2
very secular, rational, empirical, materialist– whatever you want to call it– view, and the only thing that led me to take this seriously is I just couldn’t place it clinically. It just didn’t fall into anything. It acted like it was real, but if this was real, then– good heavens– what’s going on?
David: Is the abduction ever more than one person’s experience?
John: Oh yeah. Budd Hopkins, myself, and others have had cases where people have been independently examined, and they all report identical experiences in the craft. In two of of John Carpenter’s cases, hypnotized independently, over forty memories were identical to one another. The people had been discouraged from talking with each other beforehand. I mean, sure it’s real. My struggle around this is not around that question, because how we define reality is something far beyond simply the manifest material world. My struggle is, in what sense is it real? In other words, how material? From what domain does it emanate? That it manifests in the physical world is what has caused all the fuss. If this phenomenon was not manifesting in the physical world it wouldn’t attract so much attention. After all, native peoples all over the world are experiencing as altogether real the spirits of dead ancestors and all kinds of otherworldly beings. But nobody worries about that, because, as far as we have perceived, they haven’t manifested in a way that disturbs the Western world view.
David: What type of relationship do you see between the abduction experience and altered states of consciousness?
John: For reasons that are interesting, but not altogether clear, people in altered states of consciousness seem to be able to access these experiences more easily. But sometimes the experiences occur and create an altered state of consciousness. Someone will be in bed, and then there will be a blue light or a humming, and they will suddenly find themselves in a new reality, as one man put it. It’s like this reality is a kind of theater screen, and the beings come through, and they experience a new reality– an underlying or a different reality, which is just as real as the one they were already experiencing before, but it’s another one. Now, you can say they’re in an altered state at that point, because they’re experiencing another reality.
David: Do you think that there is any relationship between the abduction phenomenon and the extraterrestrial contact that some people– like Terence McKenna and John Lilly– have written about in regard to their experience with psychedelic drugs or shamanic plants?
John: I find that interesting. It’s very mysterious. I’ve seen this too, and it does seem that when some people take psychedelics they may open themselves up to something that seems similar. Terence McKenna talks about taking DMT and then suddenly finding all kinds of alien beings around him. What does this mean? Obviously it didn’t cause something to materialize physically, so it suggests that, in a certain sense, the person has become pro-active in discovering another realm. Those cases may be experienced quite similarly to the cases where there’s actual physical evidence that some material UFO has actually appeared in somebody’s backyard, but that doesn’t help me with the situation I face. I have cases where a neighbor or the media report a UFO close to somebody’s home, or where they were driving their car, and independently the person will tell me about a UFO abduction experience. They don’t know that the media has tracked the UFO. So there is a physical dimension to this. And it’s that aspect of it that has created so much distress in the Western culture, because we felt we were safely cornered off in our material sanctity.
The idea that some kind of entities, beings, or energies from some other dimension can cross over and find us here, in a way that no missile-defense is going to help, is– I guess– scary to most people. It doesn’t scare me particularly. But I guess that’s scary if you’ve been raised with the notion that we’re the preeminent bosses of the cosmos, and nobody can get us, and all we have to do is create better technologically-controlled atmospheres, astrodomes, and that kind of thing, and no one will ever reach us. I mean, think about what the military’s Star Wars project is. The Strategic Defense Initiative is part of that kind of effort that is based upon the belief that somehow technology can make us secure and inviolate from ourselves and the powers and energies of the cosmos. I’ve read most of Terence Mckenna’s books, and I find they’re very compatible with what I’m about. But I don’t think he quite realizes how robust the abduction phenomenon itself is because his access to it has been so much through psychedelics. I don’t think he realizes how