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on 11 December 1999
Passport to the Cosmos explores a spiritual terrain that I would not have expected to find in a book that on the surface appears to be about something "alien." What is discovered is a profound reconnection with the sacred, provoked by something as yet unknown.
Dr. John Mack compares the reactions of people in the West who have faced these experiences to a trio of experiencers from indigenous cultures - Native American, Brazillian, and African. The reactions and interpretations are compared and contrasted, and the value of some indigenous perspectives is considered.
In view of his years of clinical work with over 200 people reporting these experiences, Dr. Mack feels that the West suffers deeply when faced with something drastically unknown. But he suggests that if the terror of these experiences is fully faced, even embraced, an expansion of consciousness may take place.
"When these phenomena show up in our world in a way that we cannot deny, this powerfully shatters our worldview, and when you shatter a worldview, then new possibilities for human identity and experience emerge. One of the elements that occur when that worldview is shattered is then the earth and everything in the earth and every human relation becomes sacred. And that kind of consciousness, that return of the sacred, of the reverent sense of connection that emerges from this experience transforms our whole relationship to one another and to the planet itself. And it seems to me that's a good thing."
How the terror of being provoked by these experiences can transform into something truly grand is the journey of the book, told in the words of Dr. Mack and several particularly articulate experiencers (from the over 200 interviewed), so I leave that journey for the reader to discover. It is a journey worth taking.
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As Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard University Medical School, John Mack had the highest possible academic credentials. He was also a Purlitzer Prize-winning author for his biography of T. E. Lawrence, `A Prince of our Disorder.'
`Passport to the Cosmos' (PTTC) was Mack's second and final book on the alien abduction issue, before his death in September 2004. It's a thoughtful, coherent and readable essay; a more absorbing narrative than his earlier 1994 book `Abductions: Human Encounters with Aliens'. Whereas the earlier book episodically recounted the experiences of 13 different abductees in their own words but seemed reluctant to draw conclusions - beyond the obvious fact that the phenomenon was not psychiatric but (in some way) external to the experiencer and physically real - PTTC explores what it all might mean in terms of human consciousness and why our accepted "ontological notions of consensus reality" need to be expanded to accommodate this subversive intrusion into our world.

The author writes in Chapter One:

"...marshalling evidence that might conceivably satisfy the physical sciences `on their own turf' has proved to be an elusive task. I will document experiencers' reports with physical evidence where applicable, but my principal interest is in their pattern, meaning and potential implications for our understanding of reality and knowledge of ourselves in the universe."

There you have John's fundamental attitude and the thesis of the book, in a nutshell.

All researchers into this phenomenon uncover common narratives and themes: the physical body passing through walls, ceilings, car roofs and solid structures; the duration of the abduction usually of 1-2 hours leaving a period of seamless missing time; the quasi-medical procedures on identically-described examination tables; the workmanlike attitudes of the abductors; what the abductors look like; the telepathic communication; the genetic/breeding-focussed tasks, sperm and ova harvesting; interactions with hybrid children; mind-scanning; explorative "staging" procedures; a preoccupation with planetary environmental issues; the repeat-nature of the process; the fact that the abducting entities seem to focus on specific family bloodlines and the children of abductees are themselves usually abducted. John was no different in that he uncovered the same narratives, memories and reports as everyone else. Whether these narratives are recalled from normal conscious memory or assisted by hypnosis makes no difference: the stories are generally the same down to small, quirky and eccentric details.

So the data is universal, ubiquitous, global. Where researchers differ is in their emphasis, and in the interpretation of this common data. Tellingly, on p13 the author writes:

"The orientation and ideology of the investigator, and the questions he or she asks or does not ask, will determine to some degree what data can be enabled or allowed to come forth and will affect profoundly the interpretation of the experiences."

Mack was trained as a therapist, and his approach is less critical than that of a researcher with a more investigative academic mind-set. John's engagement with the issue focussed on two areas. First, from his clinical training he focussed on assisting the 200 or so different abductees with whom he personally worked over the years to come to terms with their experiences, to see the whole thing in a "positive" and "transformative" way. Second, he worked to convince his peer-academic community of the empirical reality of this phenomenon and to consider current clinical consensus-paradigms might be insufficient to contain or understand it.

The title PTTC is an oblique reference to Jacques Vallee's classic 1970 book "Passport to Magonia", in which Vallee argued that modern abduction accounts have echoes in traditional folklore through the ages and episodes of missing time, being abducted to "another realm" to assist in the interbreeding of mixed-species children and then returned to normal life was nothing new, but an old and persistent human experience. In the third section of PTTC, the "Magonia" theme is explored as Mack transcribes personal interviews he conducted with three acknowledged living shamans: Bernardo Peixoto, Sequoyah Trueblood and Vusumazulu Credo Mutwa, who explain that in their various preserved indigenous cultures, shamanic interaction with the "visitors" is taken for granted and understood, and it is the western scientific paradigm which has moved us modern folks away from such knowledge. This is classic Mack territory.

Where PTTC falls short is in its failure to confront the phenomenon head-on and draw conclusions about what might be going on against the available data. A large quantity of mutually corroborating evidence exists which demands answers to these questions: Who exactly are these abducting entities, what are they doing and why? This looks like a sustained program of interbreeding - but what for? Where is it going and what is the objective? These hard questions are more effectively addressed by other researchers, contemporaries and friends of John, and his "it's-consciousness-expanding-and-potentially-beneficial-and-transformative" mind-set somehow persuaded him to skirt around the core issue.

The reader would be well advised to investigate the field widely: PTTC is best read not in isolation but together with the instructive and scholarly works of Budd Hopkins, Dr. David Jacobs, Raymond Fowler and other eminent researchers into this subject. Other writers uncover the same data (the sure sign of a real empirical phenomenon, not a fantasy or cultural artefact) but emphasise different faces of the prism.

John Mack was a fine writer, with a great mind. However his writing style does not always make for easy reading, and his perspective proves too vague and new-agey for many, so PTTC is read less often than some works by other researchers on the abduction subject. It is however one of the better-written books on the issue and definitely worth reading. It's a pity John felt unable to place his cards on the table and conclude what the objectives of the abducting entities might be: the astute reader will see that the data he uncovered leads inevitably in only one direction, and that the works of other academics more clearly demonstrate the obvious but not altogether comforting conclusions about this phenomenon which John refused to face.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 September 2010
Initially, the author's academic and seemingly critical approach to the subject of alien abduction irritated me. It appeared to me that the most important factor for him was the presentation of material evidence of the existence of these aliens and the veracity of the "experiencers'" accounts in the sense that it could be proven that these abductions had actually taken place on the physical plane in some way or another, which of course is hardly possible. It was as though what mattered most was what his peers thought. The author was new to me, since I hadn't read his previous book "Abduction".

Later in the book Mack convinced me of his belief in the various accounts of the abductees he'd worked with, owing to the depth of their experiences, perhaps particularly their emotional response to them, even though these may not actually have occurred or be occurring on the physical plane - which in fact is of no significance (my comment).

As opposed to Dolores Cannon, for instance, who presents us with the experiences of individual abductees and the like, one at a time, by interviewing them under deep regression, Mack gifts us with an overview of the various aspects of abductee experiences, collating and comparing the individual experiences.

This is the first book I've read in which the author availed himself/herself of an academic, professional and ontological approach to the subject, and I ended by deeply appreciating his modus operandi.

We're offered the information that these experiences, though often physically invasive, occasionally to the point of torture, and thus terrifying, have as a potential end result great spiritual development, in fact total transformation. Actually, as far as I understand, it is precisely owing to the terrifying nature of the abductees' experiences that their total belief system and world view are "shattered", transformation practically being forced upon them.

New to me was the implication that despite the negative factors of these experiences, the true meaning or aim of the aliens' behaviour towards us is their desire to provide us with advanced knowledge and to aid us in raising our vibration/consciousness so we better can survive the challenging times ahead culminating in the earth changes at the end of 2012. The matter is somewhat unclear, but it appears that the aliens come not only to help us but to help themselves. Some abductees report that the aliens may have breeding problems and need humans for their long-term survival. hence their use of us to create hybrids to "replenish their stock." These hybrids are more highly developed than us, while having emotional qualities which the aliens seem to lack, Others report that we humans, who are in the process of destroying our own planet. may need a new planet to live on, and it might be easier for these hybrids to exist in another world. (And the aliens themselves may stand in need of a new planet.)

This book presents information about beings vastly more developed than ourselves, and many experiencers have attained remarkable, altered states, a higher vibration and virtual Samadhi-like states, They feel that they have been blasted into a total transformative experience.

It is as though the more terrifying the experience, the greater the capacity for personal growth, "a very deep heart opening" and "an incredible love for people", this being what Whitley Strieber experienced. Reptilian beings can be particularly frightening, and one woman responded by bombarding the beings with love energy. They began to "shriek", ran and "backed off through the wall". In short, the vile actions of these beings can "provoke" us into resorting to the power of love, the greatest force in the universe, and thus regaining contact with the Source. This is what engenders true healing.

Some abductees are aware that these negative beings reflect dark sides of their own nature, and it seems to me that it may not be everyone or anyone who is likely to experience abduction, but precisely those who have lacked a connection to Source, have not initially believed in the existence of aliens, and have in some way had a "need" to be "ripped from reality" in order to establish or re-establish this connection.

In the final end it is as though the whole point of the abduction experience, at least as regards the individual abductee, is to be provoked to return to Source. Some experience that they have always known the aliens, that they in fact have a deep, inner connection. In personal relationships with aliens, a deep love can arise, much deeper than is possible in human relationships.

There is much talk of Home, another word for Source, and the incredible love to be experienced there.

This book goes deeply into the spiritual experiences of the abductees and has given me an insight into the etiology of the phenomenon that I could not have imagined. I knew nothing of the spiritual side of the matter before. This is an important work which has expanded my world view, thus contributing to my own personal development. I strongly recommend that you read it.
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on 12 January 2013
I consider that "Abduction, Human Encounters with Aliens" written by John e.Mack is one of the best book ever writen in ufology fenomenon. Passport to the Cosmos, is more focused on the expansion of human consciousness and our spiritual reawakening, than the abduction fenomenon.
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on 12 January 2012
I give it 5 partly because of such refreshing erudition and fine writing in this genre. But watch out for what's coming through hypnotic regression. I haven't reeeeealy finished it 'cause I don't know if I want to go there.
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on 21 September 2016
A great book that takes a serious look at the E.T abduction phenomenon, this book lets the abductees tell their story without any patronising commentary. The correlation between shamanism and the E.T phenomenon is acknowledged which is important as both are intimately linked, I think a new mystical mythology is being born and I think that this book is a must read if one wants to get an understanding into this other realm of divinity 2.0. John E. Mack's work has brought gravitas to a strange subject and with great courage coming from a left brain lockdown paradigm that is Harvard University. Only those who are getting conscious E.T contact can only truly grasp the realness of this phenomenon, but it is important for others to get up to speed, or at least appreciate that there is more to life than this almost sub-human domain.
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on 25 January 2012
John Mack was ahead of his time, he took the alien abduction subject by the horns and delivered us a thought provoking look into life "out there", and has done it magnificently here. John Mack did another book, which i have also reviewed, he seemed to have gone further than alot of others in this field because he got past the fear of it all and showed us the real purpose of alien abduction, although i am an experiencer myself, i refuse to hold the word Abduction because its a negative phrase that does more harm than good. Since i opened my eyes ans seen the whole thing in all of its glory, i am now of the opinion that we all come from the same source, Despite different "costumes". And we are all participants one way or another...bravo
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on 2 February 2014
A very important book from a serious researcher - a Harvard Professor with an open mind, who had the courage to take seriously reports of uncommon experiences by apparently very sound-minded people.
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on 26 November 2001
Rather an academic paper which mellows with reading. John proposes some new aspects to the UFO phenomenon with a crossover to the spirit world and an expanded universe over many dimensions with time on a different scale. Where do we go from here in trying to understand what is going on beyond our simple four walls? As a UFOlogist you can't miss
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on 22 December 2014
A truly amazing book from a man has enlightened many on the whole UFO subject.
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