October 13, 2004 by

John Mack


Categories: Education, Medicine, Scientists, Writers/Editors

jmack.jpgDr. John Edward Mack, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and a leading authority on alien abductions, died on Sept. 27. He was 74.
The New York native earned a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and a medical degree from Harvard University. Mack spent two years in the U.S. Air Force after interning at Massachusetts General Hospital and doing his residency at Massachusetts Mental Health Center. He later graduated from the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute and became a certified practitioner of child and adult psychoanalysis.
Mack joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School in 1964 and was named a full professor of psychiatry eight years later. He started the psych unit at Cambridge Hospital, then founded the Center for Psychology and Social Change; the center was later renamed the John E. Mack Institute, in his honor. He also wrote or collaborated on 11 books, including “A Prince of Our Disorder: The Life of T.E. Lawrence,” which won the 1977 Pulitzer Prize for biography.
In the final years of his life, Mack earned a worldwide reputation for studying people who claimed to have been kidnapped by aliens. With a grant from Laurance Rockefeller, Mack became the founding director of the now-defunct Program for Extraordinary Experience Research, a project that examined how alien abductions affected people’s lives.
Although his work was criticized in scientific and media circles, Mack found researching abductees a fascinating endeavor. After a decade of study and about 200 interviews with “experiencers,” he marveled at the consistency of their stories and noted that such otherworldly encounters often resulted in a heightened sense of spirituality and environmentalism. Mack penned two books on the subject: “Abduction: Human Encounters With Aliens” and “Passport to the Cosmos: Human Transformation and Alien Encounters.” His controversial work served as the subject of the 2003 documentary “Touched.”
Mack was attending the T.E. Lawrence Society Symposium in Oxford, England, when he was struck by a car while walking across a street. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Listen to a Tribute From NPR
Listen to a Short Interview From the Film “Touched”

2 Responses to John Mack

  1. Trish Lewis

    Dr. Mack’s biography of T.E. Lawrence brought Lawrence into my life. His compassionate and comprehensive biography gave a depth to TEL that no other writer had done before him. I later learned more about Mack himself and his extraordinary life he led himself. He cared deeply for people and tried to balance an open mind with a scientific method. He will be remembered – and greatly missed – by many…

  2. dan d. farcas

    I am vice-president of ASFAN, the Romanian association for unidentified aero-space phenomena and I am greatly interested in UFO abduction. I know very well the American literature on this subject. John Mack was the best. In some of my books, and in many articles, all for Romanian readers, I emphasized this. Also I posted this summer a digest about his works on our site
    It is in Romanian but you will understand what it is about. He was the only person I did so for. I had not the privilege to know him personaly; our president, Mr. Ion Hobana met him in San Marino two years ago and was impressed.
    It is a great loss. I hope he has now some answers to his questions.

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