Date: Wed Jun 01 1994 22:00:12
From: Sheldon Wernikoff
Review of Mack's book From The Atlantic, May 1994
Dr. Mack is a professor of psychiatry at the Cambridge Hospital,
Harvard Medical School. For the past several years he has
conducted interviews, reinforced by recollections induced through
hypnotism, with people who believe that they have been
abducted by nonhuman creatures, subjected to experiments
(usually sexual), and advised that humanity is destroying the
earth through greedy exploitation of the environment and had
better stop doing that. Dr. Mack has been unable to detect any
signs of mental derangement in his interviewees, and because
their reports have so much in common, he has come to his own
surprise-to believe that what they say happened really did. This
is hardly what one expects from the Harvard Medical School.
The author provides little peripheral information about his
abductees, but what there is reveals that most of them come
from religious denominations with reputations-deserved or not-for
sexual severity and emotional enthusiasm, and their ages range
from twenty-two to fifty-five, which means that all of them grew up
in the age of the UFO. Readers with even a superficial
acquaintance with science fiction in any medium will experience
spasms of deja vu in the descriptions of the abductees'
adventures. It is also notable that concern for the environment
was a preoccupation of Dr. Mack's before he undertook to
investigate abductions, and that he is not entirely certain what
influence he, as hypnotist, may have exercised on his subjects.
Whatever one may think of his report as a whole, one can hardly
quarrel with the author's claim that something happened to these
people and that it would be well to discover, if possible, what that
was. The book certainly offers the enticing possibility of debate
unencumbered by fact.