Excerpt from Charles Grodin Show
18 March 1997
Guests: Whitley Strieber (in-studio), John Mack (via satellite)
Charles Grodin: ...survey nearly half of all Americans think United States government is hiding information about UFOs. So do my next two guests.
From Boston is John Mack a Harvard Medical School psychiatrist. He studied over 100 people who claimed to have been abducted and is convinced they are telling the truth.
Also joining me is perhaps the most well-known alien abductee, Whitley Strieber. He says aliens have been abducting him for years and it's still going on today. He's written a number of popular books on UFOs. His recent one is The Secret School.
Dr. Mack what's the price of believing in this personally and professionally?
John Mack: Well, we're raised to believe that the human being is the preeminent intelligent creature in the cosmos - it's a point of view which is prevalent in Western society but is not shared around the Earth. So if you have the idea that there are beings coming from somewheres else into our world then that's automatically a source of a lot
Charles Grodin: And it gave you, it has given you problems personally as well as at Harvard, is that right?
John Mack: Well, problems are... it's a fight worth fighting. And I just document what I see as a clinician when people tell me about experiences that they have questioned about themselves and that they speak about appropriately. They have nothing to gain, and this is coming to me from all over this country and now in other countries around the world.
Then I try to say, "is this dream? Is it mental illness? what is it?" And it operates absolutely like people who are reporting something that really happened to them. Now the fact that what they're saying happened to them isn't possible in our view of the world is not my responsibility.
Charles Grodin: Right. Whitley, when was the last time that you feel you were abducted?
Whitley Strieber: Oh, well, I had only one real abduction that was in '85. I've had a lot of contact experiences since then. The last one that I would say was really face to face was in last October. And I had a cabin in upstate New York near Kingston for years and it used to happen a lot there. We've moved to Texas, to a city, to San Antonio and now it's very rare. It happens only once and [awhile].
Charles Grodin: Did you move for any reason, I mean, were you trying to avoid this?
Whitley Strieber: No, my wife was lonely and we have a lot of friends; I was born in San Antonio and we wanted to be where our friends were.
Charles Grodin: What was the experience in October?
Whitley Strieber: Very brief. And it had to do with - I was trying to create a video tape about how to meditate in a way that will facilitate the contact experience and they showed up for about two minutes and I was able to experiment on the relationship. I don't want to get into it in a lot of detail but it's become a kind of ordinary part of my life. It's not something that... I mean, I don't know what they are, I have to tell you.
Charles Grodin: You say they showed up in a physical form?
Whitley Strieber: Yeah.
Charles Grodin: And physically in the room with you?
Whitley Strieber: In the living room.
Charles Grodin: Just materialized?
Whitley Strieber: No, no, I was... they came in and then they were there for a few minutes. I knew they were coming. There are signs that happened beforehand and I get very agitated and when I'm around them, there's a big histamine reaction I get very allergic. I'm allergic to them, physically.
Charles Grodin: So if your eyes start watering right now you are not going to say that I am...
Whitley Strieber: Yeah I am. I've suspected you for a long time!
Charles Grodin: Doctor Mack, do you experience or deal at all with out-of-body experiences? I know it's not about abduction or aliens or anything like that but do other aspects of what people might call paranormal, does that come to your attention?
John Mack: Yes, the so-called alien abduction phenomenon really is a whole range of experiences from... what Whitley is saying is quite rare, which is to be actually physically taken outside of your home or car into some kind of enclosure and then subjected to a variety of procedures. For some people that's not rare. But then there are many other phenomenon like you mentioned, out-of-body experiences where the body stays behind, or just the sense of a presence or seeing the beings in the living room, or having some sort of relationship with them, or transfer of feeling or thought from them to us, there is a great number of experiences which are related to this phenomenon. But the so-called abductions are only the most dramatic element.
Charles Grodin: In the out-of-body, when they did these experiments at Duke University in a fellow named I think his name was Blue Harare who would travel a half a mile down campus while his body remained under under observation and then come back and report what he saw - are you familiar with those experiments?
John Mack: Experiments like that, yes.
Charles Grodin: Yes, so what do you think of that?
John Mack: I think the most interesting thing about out-of-body experiences is that it demonstrates that the consciousness of the person - that is what we feel to be ourselves - and our bodies are not the same thing and in the materialist worldview we're taught that consciousness is simply a phenomenon of the brain. So this shows that it's possible for the consciousness to have some life separately in the overall ground of being in the universe that isn't simply something that's occurring in the physical material of the brain.
Charles Grodin: Whitley do you ever, have you ever dealt with anything other than the alien and the abduction of which you which you've written about? You're familiar with what we're talking about, the out-of-body?
Whitley Strieber: Yeah, actually I have had one of those experiences. I, before this happened to me, I was - outside of this context, and so I haven't had like, you know, a life... I had things happened to me when I was a child but then I forgot about I just ignored it for years. I had one out of the body experience which I wrote about I believe in my second book, Transformation, that was really amazing - it was so clear. And I didn't go to another realm of
reality, I stayed like in and near the house we were living in, and it was just marvelous fun.
Charles Grodin: What did you do, did you float around?
Whitley Strieber: Yes sir, I went through a wall, I went outside, it was wonderful. And I ended up going back into my body because I got edgy about... I saw myself and my wife lying there and I thought, "Am I dead, have I died?", and I went sort of to see. And as soon as I got close to my body, poof, I was back in, I was like sucked into and I've never been out since.
Charles Grodin: Dr. Mack, as you know there's an experience of the near-death experience that many people have and it would particularly interest me that so many people who are near death report that they float above the operating table and report things that were said when they were ostensibly unconscious. I find that particularly interesting because if you can leave your body while you're still alive it seems to suggest that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
John Mack: Again, the near-death experience is another dramatic example of the fact that the body and the consciousness are separate, something which in my upbringing in the Western material science viewpoint was simply not possible.
Charles Grodin: Why do you think, Dr. Mack, that there would be a concealing of this? For example the Roswell event, where there's - theoretically - aliens were captured or their bodies. And there's even been video of things purported to be that. Why, if this were the case would the government want to conceal this?
John Mack: There are many levels in the resistance to acknowledging the truth of this phenomenon. First of all, as Whitley and others have documented, a number of people have broken the law in covering up something which they were not allowed to cover up. So you're dealing with a cover-up of a cover-up in many instances. But once we acknowledge that we're being visited by another intelligence the whole game changes. We're now - economically everything has changed. The whole notion that we have of ourselves as the preeminent intelligence of the cosmos undergoes a terrific sort of ego death blow. And I think the root of the resistance is the idea that we are no longer the preeminent intelligence in the universe. And that has very vast implications for us.
Charles Grodin: Does that disturb you, Whitley? It wouldn't disturb me that we weren't the preeminent intelligence, would it disturb you?
Whitley Strieber: Well my experience started out really scary. Now it's been fun for a long time; it's a terrific adventure. I don't really know what it's all about. And there's not much support, if the scientific community was working on it, and whatever the heck the government does know was public knowledge, I probably would be better. But it doesn't disturb me in the least. I think it's just tremendous fun. I mean, what a wonderful thing is happening here. It's crazy that it's all so secretive and the, you know, the New York Times of the world are so uptight about it. It's ridiculous. I mean why wouldn't they be here? There's a huge universe, of course they're here.
Charles Grodin: Dr. Mack, for the skeptics who may be watching, is there any evidence to point to? Aside from your personal experience in interviewing these people, what evidence would you offer a layman who might be wanting?
John Mack: the evidence is a combination of the clinical evidence of people of sound mind describing the presence of beings who come to them and they have nothing to gain and it is described altogether as real from every point of view and there's no psychological explanation that can allow us to dismiss it that goes along with actual physical evidence - sounds that these being make when they come into people's worlds, bright lights that are present, UFOs photographed at the same time the person is having their experiences, a whole variety of lesions which appear on their bodies which have been shown over and over again.
I think at this point the crucial question here: what is there about us, that something so evident, so powerful, we dismiss with the back of our hands, in terms of the official worldview of the culture. I think more attention needs to be looked at that, then trying to quibble about "are they really here, are they not here?", because clearly there is something extraordinary going on and as Whitley says - I totally agree with him - we need to welcome the fact that there is a mystery here of genuine proportions which has a lot to teach us, which has a potential for a great expansion of our sense of ourselves in the cosmos, and something we could ultimately welcome with great joy. There's nothing more fearful about these beings coming to is - in fact much less than what we do to one another every day of our lives.
Charles Grodin: Or to perceive life as having an end and then there's nothing, which so many people do. We've come to the end of this; thanks to Dr. Mack thanks to Whitley Strieber, author of The Secret School, his latest book on the subject. I find it all very exciting and I see there's no threat here. I mean, I would hope that there would be people brighter than we all are - I find that an exciting prospect, not a, not a troubling one.
How much time we got Wayne?
John Mack: Thanks to you for having us.
Charles Grodin: Aw, thank you doctor, thanks Whitley.
Whitley Strieber: Yeah, it's a pleasure.
Charles Grodin: I'll be back with a final word.
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[Grodin's final word of this program is not available]~