Whitley's Journal

The Death of John Mack

A moment ago, we received the shocking and tragic news that Dr. John Mack had been knocked over by a car in London and killed.

This is a tremendous personal loss for me and Anne, and for all who this sacred man helped. He was truly a man of courage, who put his reputation, his career and his livelihood on the line for the most scorned and derided group of people in the world: the close encounter witnesses.

I well remember the first moment I heard of John--Budd Hopkins told me that a Harvard psychiatrist had become interested in the abductee phenomenon. I said something like, "Oh, God, he's going to kill us." Budd said, to the contrary, he's open-minded and taking the whole matter quite seriously.

There followed one of the most courageous and noble things I have ever been privileged to witness: the life of a great man who was willing to stand up for the scorned, at the cost of his own impeccable reputation.

He was the most important scientist ever to dare to admit the truth about the abduction phenomenon: that it involves normal people describing true experiences, not neurotics, idiots and publicity seeking liars making up nonsense. In a world that has dismissed this most important of all human experiences with sneering laughter, John Mack stood up and, with great skill and exemplary good humor, spoke out on behalf of the wonder and the value of close encounter.

He was a leader in the best sense of that word: his presence in this world helped people and lifted them and inspired them. He lifted me out of black despondency, not by any particular help he gave me personally, but by the way he fought for his findings and the people he had studied, and the way he never lost his sense of humor or his perspective, despite brutal treatment in the media and serious attempts on the part of well-connected skeptics to utterly destroy him by revoking his tenure at Harvard and getting his license to practice medicine cancelled.

He beat back his accusers with the sheer excellence of his work and his elegant, effective efforts to preserve his standing. John did not fight dirty, and, in the end, actually won the grudging acceptance of some of his worst detractors. They could not deny the superb quality of his work, or the fact that the people he had gathered in his studies were, by any standard that could be applied, normal human beings who appeared to be reporting actual experiences.

We have lost so many allies recently. Congressman Steven Schiff, Laurance Rockefeller, engineer Jim Fueling, Dr. William Mallow, the materials scientist who was so helpful in studying implants, Constance Clear who was a help and an inspiration to every abductee whose life she touched, UFO publisher and investigator Graham Birdsall, and now John.

I only wish that there was more depth in our ranks. But with the loss of John, the scientific community will quickly close ranks behind the lies by which it prefers to live, that the close encounter experience is without value and certainly not worth study.

And mankind's best chance to advance in knowledge--in fact, the best chance we have ever had in all our history--will continue to be squandered.

John said no to this waste, and he put his thoughts into superb books that opened at least a few minds in the scientific community--opened them a little, anyway. What they did, though, for us abductees, was incredible. I can very well remember reading the wonderful prose and superb ideas in his first book, with tears running down my face because, at last, somebody who had a high reputation had attempted to grapple with this great wonder that is the close encounter phenomenon.

He leaves behind his work, the lives he touched, but above all the knowledge that science CAN address the issues of close encounter intelligently and productively, in a manner that advances human understanding of this world.

He also leaves behind a great unanswered question: what IS close encounter? What's happening, here? How is it that perfectly sane people are suddenly deciding that they are having often elaborate secret relationships with non-human beings?

John has shown the scientific community that the witness testimony can be studied usefully. It is up to future scientists to take up the challenge he left behind, and find the answers to the questions he asked with such honesty, fervor and eloquence.

NOTE: This Journal entry, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.


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