The Believer

The Believer: Alien Encounters, Hard Science, and the Passion of John Mack by Ralph Blumenthal 2021

About the Author
Ralph Blumenthal was an award-winning reporter for the New York Times. He coauthored the Times article in 2017 that broke the news of a secret Pentagon unit investigating UFOs, and he is the author of four nonfiction books including Miracle at Sing Sing: How One Man Transformed the Lives of America’s Most Dangerous Prisoners. A distinguished lecturer at Baruch College, he lives in New York City.

About the Book
The Believer is the weird and chilling true story of Dr. John Mack. This eminent Harvard psychiatrist and Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer risked his career to investigate the phenomenon of human encounters with aliens and to give credibility to the stupefying tales shared by people who were utterly convinced they had happened.

Nothing in Mack’s four decades of psychiatry had prepared him for the otherworldly accounts of a cross section of humanity including young children who reported being taken against their wills by alien beings. Over the course of his career his interest in alien abduction grew from curiosity to wonder, ultimately developing into a limitless, unwavering passion.

Based on exclusive access to Mack’s archives, journals, and psychiatric notes and interviews with his family and closest associates, The Believer reveals the life and work of a man who explored the deepest of scientific conundrums and further leads us to the hidden dimensions and alternate realities that captivated Mack until the end of his life.

“This extraordinary biography reads like a fast-paced thriller. It deftly weaves the detailed richness of John Mack’s genius and complex life through the historical backdrop of the alien-abduction phenomena. Ralph Blumenthal has so beautifully captured the essence of Mack’s soul and his relentless curiosity that by the end of the book I mourned that Mack is no longer with us.”–Trish MacGregor, coauthor of Aliens in the Backyard: UFO Encounters, Abductions, and Synchronicity

“As a person sane enough to hold a driver’s license, I say, what are we to make of Mack’s findings? Read this gripping, factual account of a mental-health pioneer and truth-seeker by a soundly accredited successful author, veteran New York Times foreign correspondent, and reporter. Decide for yourselves and then tell me!”–Dan Aykroyd

“Anyone who is intrigued by the involvement of John Mack, a psychiatrist on the faculty of Harvard, or by the interest of psychiatrists in the anomalous in general and UFOs in particular, should not miss reading this book! It is filled with details on the topic, both pro and con, that are not publicly available in any other place that I know.”–David J. Hufford, author of The Terror That Comes in the Night: An Experience-Centered Study of Supernatural Assault Traditions

“John Mack was one of the few prominent American intellectuals who saw and said what was, and still is, really at stake in the UFO phenomenon–reality itself. And Ralph Blumenthal is the perfect biographer to take up Mack and bring him to life, in all his humanity and complexity, on the page. A major achievement.”–Jeffrey J. Kripal, author of The Flip: Epiphanies of Mind and the Future of Knowledge

“Ralph Blumenthal’s definitive biography is beautifully written and impeccably researched, providing fascinating new insights into the professional and personal life of John Mack. What drove the Harvard psychiatrist to take alien abductions seriously? This question has never been addressed as brilliantly or as deeply as it is in The Believer–a must read!”–Leslie Kean, author of UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record

Summary of Chapter 1 (portion)
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has never really had an outdoors, not one that anyone uses, writes Robert Campbell of the Boston Globe. In 1992, an unlikely assembly convened for five days of secretive conferencing. The conference was a professional forum about humans who believed they were, at a minimum, taken against their will by nonhuman beings.

David E. Pritchard, a prize-winning MIT physicist, had long been intrigued by the abduction narratives. He saw them as more amenable to scientific investigation than sightings of flying saucers or, more accurately, unidentified flying objects—UFOs. He enlisted as his partner a noted Harvard psychiatrist named John E. Mack, who had begun his own abduction investigations.

Mack: “Some sort of intelligence seems to have entered our world, as if from another dimension of reality” Mack: “There is no evidence that anything other than what abductees are telling us has happened to them” Mack: The experiences were too personal, involving isolated individuals not caught up in any mass movement. The beings were commonly described at the conference as hairless and without ears or noses.

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