Overview of an Ignored Reality:
a report on Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens
by John E. Mack, M.D. Ph.D., Harvard Psychologist
Book review by Jean Eisenhower
for my certification as a Transpersonal Hypnotherapist ™
Of his first meeting with Bud Hopkins, an artist who was counseling these people, and painting their descriptions of the aliens, Mack later wrote:
Nothing in my then nearly forty years of familiarity with the field of psychiatry prepared me for what Hopkins had to say. I was impressed with his warmth, sincerity, intelligence, and caring for the people with whom he’d been working. …[H]e told me of people all over the United States who had come forth to tell him about their experiences…. These corresponded, sometimes in minute detail, to those of other “abductees”….
After Mack himself had worked with more than 100 individuals over three and a half years, he had found 76, ranging in age from 3 to 57, which “fulfill my quite strict criteria for an abduction case: conscious recall, or recall with the help of hypnosis, of being taken by alien beings into a strange craft, reported with emotion appropriate to the experience being described and no apparent mental condition that could account for the story.”
After these years of considering the psychiatric, psychological, philosophical and spiritual aspects, he concluded,
I was dealing with a phenomenon that I felt could not be explained psychiatrically, yet was simply not possible within the framework of the Western scientific worldview. My choices then were either to stretch and twist psychology beyond reasonable limits, overlooking aspects of the phenomenon that could not be explained psychologically, such as the physical findings, the occurrence in small children and even infants, and the association with UFOs – i.e., to keep insisting upon a psychosocial explanation consistent with the prevailing Western scientific ideology. Or, I might open to the possibility that our consensus framework of reality is too limited and that a phenomenon such as this cannot be explained within its ontological parameters. In other words, a new scientific paradigm might be necessary in order to understand what was going on.
As if to address the cynic, Mack places this phenomenon in the scope of world history, which includes:
contact with a multitude of gods, spirits, angels, fairies, demons, ghouls, vampires and sea monsters. All have been said to instruct, direct, harass, or befriend humans with varying dispositions, motives, and purposes. While many of these beings have seemed quite at home on Earth, the majority made their visits from other habitats or dimensions.
He cites cultures around the world with stories of such contact, including the Hopis who were taught by Kachinas who visited from other planets, Irish fairies who originated on other planets and travel the skies in cloud-like boats, the Koryaks of Siberia and Bakairi of Brazil whose cosmology includes a heavenly dimension easily accessible to their shamans, Ezekiel’s wheel, etc. And the Dali Lama is quoted:
“The mind or consciousness produced by grosser matter cannot communicate with these subtle things. In some [individuals], you witness the grosser level of mind subdued and the more subtle mind become active. Then there’s an opportunity, a chance to communicate with or sometimes see another being who is more subtle than our mind or body.”
Mack also cites Jacques Vallee, perhaps the most comprehensive cross-cultural “ufology” investigator, who described in his books hundreds of sightings of strange sky-born objects and their occupants across time, continents and societies, including the presence of disks in the symbology of various civilizations. For instance, both the Phoenicians and early Christians associated disks with communication between humans and god. Vallee wrote in 1988,
I believe that the UFO phenomenon represents evidence for other dimensions beyond spacetime; the UFOs may not come from ordinary space, but from a multiverse which is all around us, and of which we have stubbornly refused to consider the disturbing reality of in spite of the evidence available to us for centuries.
OVERVIEW OF CLIENTS
Mack writes (and documents), “None of the efforts to characterize abductees as a group have been successful.” He also documents that no research has found any pattern of psychopathology or personality type associated with abductees. He has found, however, “that abductees as a group are unusually open and intuitive individuals, less tolerant than usual of societal authoritarianism, and more flexible in accepting diversity and the unusual experiences of other people. Some of my cases report a variety of psychic experiences, which has been noted by other researchers.”
The UFO abduction experience Mack compares to other “transformative experiences undergone by shamans, mystics, and ordinary citizens who have had encounters with the paranormal…which results, ultimately, in a reintegration of the self, an immersion or entrenchment into states and/or knowledge not previously accessible.” Before the integration, though, comes disintegration. He writes, “The abductee is a modern Dante, whose ontological underpinnings are unraveled. Returned to his bed or his car after his time with aliens, he struggles to reassemble his worldview.”
While Mack believes experiencers can’t be psychologically characterized, except by their unusual openness, he writes that “the alien beings seem interested in human woundedness and may play some sort of healing or restorative role.”
Since other writers have suggested that the alien abduction experience may simply be a ‘mask’ for a history of sexual abuse, Mack pursued this possibility and concluded, “the reverse has frequently occurred…an abduction history has been revealed in cases investigated for sexual or other traumatic abuse. Sexual abuse appears to be one of the forms of human woundedness that, at least from the experiencer’s viewpoint, has led the aliens to intervene in a protective or healing manner.”
Mack also notes that other researchers have sought to relate abduction experiences to Satanic ritual abuse and multiple personality disorder. He notes, “Abductees will use dissociation as a way of dealing with their threatening experiences, i.e., to keep them out of consciousness, and it may even be a prevalent coping device among abductees. But the fact that they employ this defense mechanism does not tell us anything about the nature of the original traumatic experience.”
WORKING WITH EXPERIENCERS
To understand how to work with clients while negotiating a paradigm shift, Mack consulted Thomas Kuhn, author of the scientific classic The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, which analyzes how scientific paradigms change. Kuhn recommended Mack suspend, to the degree he was able, language forms such as real/unreal, exist/does not exist, happened/did not happen, intra-psychic/external world, objective/subjective, etc, “and simply collect raw information, putting aside whether or not what I was learning fit any particular worldview. Later I would see what I had found and whether any coherent theoretical formulation would be possible. When a possible abductee comes to see me, either referred through the UFO network, by another mental health professional, or self-referred upon learning of my work through the media, I explain that I regard him or her as a co-investigator. Although abductees understand that I am engaged in research about the phenomenon, I explain that my first responsibility is to their health and well-being.”
Mack’s initial screening interviews took about an hour and a half, and included a history of possible abduction-related phenomena, and as much about the person and their family as possible. Sometimes he interviewed family members as well. Many abductees had a great deal of conscious recall of their experiences without hypnosis, but many said there were vast areas of their lives they felt were outside of conscious recall, but powerfully affecting them day to day. Even though they knew recollecting them would be disturbing, the majority elected to investigate.
Mack induced a non-ordinary state of consciousness through “a modified form of hypnosis,” which he said seemed highly effective in bringing abductees’ walled off experiences into consciousness while discharging their traumatic impact. He also noted that abductees seem to move readily into trance with the “simplest or most modest of relaxation techniques.” He hypothesized that his technique is a reverse mirror-imaging of the original repression of memory imposed in the abduction.
An interesting philosophical issue resides in the fact that many experiencers have felt that they were disobeying a command to remain amnesiac about their meeting with the aliens. Many have also felt more empowered, however, to do the work planned with the aliens after they remembered, and so it has also been hypothesized that individuals will not seek hypnosis or other means of remembering until the time is right and the aliens approve.
Mack reassures his clients that to his knowledge, no harm has ever come from recalling these experiences “when done in an appropriately supportive context.”
Mack’s modified hypnosis technique utilizes soothing imagery, a systematic relaxation of the parts of the body, and frequent return of attention to the breath, and the direction to envision a comforting and relaxing place, to which they may return at any time during the session. He feels it is best not to use the word “safe” in describing the imagined refuge. “For many experiencers, especially in the early stages of uncovering, there is no such thing as ‘safety,’ and to suggest it is to deny the full power of the experience,” thereby losing credibility and rapport with the client.
Mack notes that “Sometimes there is a danger that the unfolding of the narrative, the recall of the abduction events, will run ahead of the abductees’ defenses once again, resulting in their becoming overwhelmed and traumatized [again]. … I explain to the abductee at the beginning of the session that I am more interested in their integration [my emphasis] of their recalled experiences as we go along than in ‘getting the [whole] story.’ The story, I explain, will take care of itself in due time. …[A] return to the focus on the breath in difficult moments often reduces fear by grounding the memory in raw perception and quieting the interpretive mind. In addition, at moments of special distress during the session, I may place my hand gently on the abductee’s shoulder to assure him or her of my presence. But in providing this reassurance one must be careful not to create a confusing replication of the original intrusion….”
Mack also discovered that some experiencers may feel powerful tension or cramping in certain muscle groups, “especially for some reason in the hands.”, He uses “a tension-exaggerating approach” to discharge the tightness.
At the end, he also spends time discussing the material that emerged. “This conversation helps to bring the material more fully into normal consciousness and to further the process of integration. It is at this time that many experiencers begin to struggle deeply with questions of accuracy and meaning, and they often ask me how they should regard their hypnotically recovered memories.”
Mack next addresses the accusations of therapist-induced imaginative events. He cites research by Daniel Brown, in which he reviewed “the literature on recall among trauma sufferers and discovered that there are simply no studies of the accuracy of memory in this population, i.e., among individuals for whom the events in question are of core meaning or central importance. Rather, conclusions regarding the inaccuracy of recall under hypnosis have been based on studies in which an environmental context was created and memory was tested in relation to events that were of peripheral significance to the subject. These studies, therefore, may not apply to abduction experiencers, who are highly motivated to remember accurately intense occurrences that are of the most vital importance to them.” This piece of information, I believe, could be highly important to share with our regression clients.
As for matters of “reality,” Mack reintroduces the philosophical conundrum about a phenomenon that might manifest in our physical space/time world, but not be itself of it literally, and how this might challenge an experiencer to parse issues of real and not real. In support of experiencers’ subjective sensations, he cites findings of researcher John Carpenter, who hypnotized separately abductees who’d been abducted together, and found accounts that consistently corresponded in minute detail.
Mack concludes this question with an anecdote of great relevance for those of us concerned about the veracity of regression work. He wrote, “it is my impression that the reports provided under hypnosis are generally more accurate than those consciously recalled. We see, for example, in the case of Ed (chapter 3) how his conscious memory of an abduction that occurred when he was a teenager contained bravado and pleasurable happenings consistent with his adolescent self-esteem. The same experience recalled in more detail with difficulty under hypnosis was humiliating and altogether uncongenial to his teenage self-regard.”
As for the accusations that clients are trying to please the therapist by making up the whole story, Mack says the thesis “fails to take into account how disturbing abductions are to the experiencers and how intense the resistance is to bringing what they have gone through back into consciousness, or to accepting the reality of the phenomenon at all.” He concludes with a personal note, to reinforce his argument that he did not help bring these scenes to light: “I sometimes need to invoke every morsel of alliance and cooperation to enable the abductee to go forward into the depths of the forgotten experience…” – instructive to those of us beginning in this field.
Mack finds abductees “particularly un-suggestible,” and recounted how he and other researchers repeatedly tried to trick experiencers by suggesting specific elements – corners of rooms, hair on aliens – only to be directly contradicted. “Proponents of the controversial ‘false memory syndrome’ as an explanation for abduction memories need to account for this as well as the points outlined on page 43.”
“Consciousness as an instrument of knowing,” Mack writes, “will be a constant theme throughout this book. The means of gaining knowledge in his field, he explains, is through an interaction of the consciousnesses of the client and the clinician. This information is “non-dualistic,” absent the physical verification or “proof” required by Western science, though some circumstantial proofs exist, which Mack calls “always quite subtle.”
When clients ask him about the reliability of their memories, he writes, “I can only say that the elements of their story have appeared again and again in the stories of other individuals who are not crazy. I note that the feelings and emotions they have shown me seem quite real to me, and I ask them if they can find any explanation for feelings that intense. Finally, I tell them that I have no answers, and I ask them to rate the reality of their ‘memories’.”
Follow-up phone calls are to learn how the experiencer is dealing with the powerful feelings, to learn of any additional feelings that might have surfaced, and how they are managing what he calls “ontological shock” (the shock of having one’s idea of being in upheaval). This shock often happens because, until the hypnosis recall, many clients had clung to the idea that their pre-existing memories may have been a result of mental illness (which, though an unpleasant idea, still conforms to their pre-existing reality). He finds that their denial never disappears altogether, and shock can recur even after several hypnosis sessions, for example if another abductee should report independently corroborating evidence.
Support groups help clients deal with their shock, but Mack emphasizes that abductees are not generally mentally disturbed individuals. Rather, “they have undergone powerfully traumatic or confusing experiences, feel isolated from the mainstream belief structures of society, and often need a great deal of support from people who know about or are familiar with the abduction phenomenon.
Finally, what Mack thinks “most important” in doing a regression with this type of client is “the way of holding the energies of these experiences. This includes a degree of warmth and empathy, a belief in the ability of the individual to integrate these confusing experiences and make meaning of them for him- or herself, and a willingness to enter into the co-investigative process and risk being changed by the information. These are, of course, qualities that are important in any relationship, and they become critical in this work, where we are all pushed to our edge, experiencer, investigator, and therapist alike.”
OVERVIEW OF ABDUCTIONS
“It generally turns out that encounters have been occurring from early childhood and even infancy,” so experiencers may have memories of strange childhood playmates.
Abductions also runs in families, sometimes over three or more generations.
The pattern and timing of these encounters is not clear, and the unpredictability of its recurrence leads often to a sense of vulnerability and stress, with common symptoms of insomnia and fear of the dark.
“Odd rashes, cuts, scoop marks, or other lesions may appear overnight, or unexplained bleeding may occur from the nose, ear, or rectum.” Other symptoms include “sinus pain, urological-gynecological complains, including unexplained difficulty during pregnancy, and persistent gastrointestinal symptoms.”
“The temptation is to accept some experiences, especially those that appear to make some sort of sense within our space/time paradigm, and reject others as too ‘far out,’ i.e., too far from what we know as possible from a physical standpoint. I suspect such discriminations are not wise or useful. For the whole phenomenon is so bizarre from a Western ontological standpoint that to credit some experiences because they appear, at least superficially, familiar to us and reject others on the grounds of their strangeness seems quite illogical. My criterion for including or crediting an observation by an abductee is simply whether what has been reported was felt to be real by the experiencer and was communicated sincerely and authentically to me.”
Mack distinguishes between three classes or levels of information: First, what he calls “nuts and bolts,” such as sightings of UFOs or lights, sound phenomenon, burned patches of earth, aborted pregnancies, lesions, implants, things that Western science might study [though clearly it resists]. “Second, are phenomena that look like they could be understood within our space/time universe if only we had the scientific and technological knowledge and ability to do so,” such as information regarding propulsion systems, people “floating” through walls, switching off memory, alien/hybrid fetuses, etc.
Finally, there are phenomena and experiences reported by abductees for which we can conceive of no explanation within a Newtonian/Cartesian or even Einsteinian space/time ontology. These include the apparent mastery of thought travel by the aliens and sometimes by the abductees themselves…; abductees’ sense that their experiences are not occurring in our space/time universe, or that space and time have “collapsed”; a consciousness abductees experience of vast other realities beyond the screen of this one, beyond the “veil” (a word they frequently use); the deeply felt sense of opening up to or returning to the source of being and creation or cosmic consciousness, experienced by abductees as an inexpressibly divine light or “Home” (another word they commonly use); the experience by abductees of a dual human/alien identity, i.e., that they are themselves of alien origins…; and the powerful reliving of past life experiences, including great cycles of birth and death. In addition, the aliens appear to be consummate shape-shifters, often appearing initially to the abductees as animals – owls, eagles, raccoons, and deer …. This shamanic dimension needs further study.”
WHAT DO EXPERIENCERS TELL US?
“Abduction encounters begin most commonly in homes or when abductees are driving automobiles.”
“The first indication that an abduction is about to occur might be an unexplained intense blue or white light that floods the bedroom, an odd buzzing or humming sound, unexplained apprehension, the sense of an unusual presence or even the direct sighting of one or more humanoid beings in the rooms, and, of course, the close-up sighting of a strange craft.
The experiencer may first call what is happening a dream, though careful questioning will reveal that they had not fallen asleep, but had experienced a subtle shift in consciousness. They may then experience shock or sadness that what they’d held to be a dream was actually some sort of bizarre experience which they may then recall has occurred repeatedly.
After initial contact, the abductee is commonly astounded to remember being “floated” down the hall, or through solid objects such as a wall or windows or the roof of their car, experiencing only a slight vibratory sensation. Usually they are accompanied, while paralyzed, by one or more humanoid beings who guide them to a ship.
The UFOs provide a light source which is generally remembered afterward. The ships’ sizes range from a few feet across to several hundred yards wide. They are described as silvery or metallic, and cigar-shaped, saucer- or dome-shaped, and often stand on long legs. Lights may be strong white, blue, orange or red, and emanate from the bottom of the craft and from porthole-like openings around the outer edge. The abductees may be taken to a second, larger “mother” ship, or may be taken directly there through the sky. If the abductee struggles, it does little good.
Independent witnessing is rare and limited in nature. Occasionally, observers may report a UFO sighting near an abduction scene, and sometimes family members will find others missing.
Abductees may remember being taken into the ship through its underside or through oval portholes along its edge, although often they cannot remember the moment when they entered the craft. Procedures take place in rooms with indirect light sources and atmosphere that may be dank or even foul. Walls and ceilings are curved. Computer-like instruments line the sides of the rooms, which may have balconies and various levels and alcoves. Furniture is sparse, limited generally to body-conforming chairs and tilt-able tables with single supports. The ambiance is cold and sterile, mechanistic, except when some sort of staging occurs.
The alien beings encountered are of various sorts. They may be luminous, translucent, reptilian, insect-like or human-like. The most common are the typical short “grays,” with the large black eyes. They may glide around, rather than walk, moving robotically about their tasks. A doctor-type may be a leader, and taller, and is usually felt to be male, though female leaders are also reported. Gender difference is not determined anatomically, but by an intuition of the abductees.
Procedures imposed on the abductee include being undressed and studied intensely. They may see other humans being studied on other tables. They may feel their minds have been totally known, or even taken over. Samples are taken of skin, hair, semen, etc. Instruments are used to penetrate virtually every part of the body. Abductees may experience being impregnated, or having a pregnancy removed. They may see little fetuses in containers, or hybrid babies, which they are told, or know intuitively, are theirs. Sometimes the abductees are given babies to hold and nurture (and children are told to play with them), though the hybrid babies and children seem listless. All this is disturbing to the abductees, and the aliens use technology to energetically diminish their anxiety.
Another important aspect of the phenomenon is the provision of information and the alteration of consciousness of the abductees. It is not purely cognitive, but reaches deeply into the emotions and spirit, profoundly changing their perceptions of themselves, the world and their place in it. The information concerns the fate of the earth and human ir/responsibility.
Physical aspects are significant in their corroboration of the experiences themselves. Common are cuts, scoop marks, “disappeared” pregnancies, implants, and the malfunctioning of electrical appliances when experiencers are around.
SCIENTIFIC THEORY REQUIREMENTS
Returning to his concern that science needs to find a theory, Mack presents the “five basic dimensions” that no theory (other than that abductions are happening) has yet to be articulated. He outlined the five elements that must be included in a theory:
1. The high degree of consistency of detailed abduction accounts, reported with emotion appropriate to actual experiences, told by apparently reliable observers.
2. The absence of psychiatric illness or other apparent psychological or emotional factors that could account for what is being reported.
3. The physical changes and lesions affecting the bodies of the experiencers, which follow no evident psychodynamic pattern.
4. The association with UFOs witnessed independently by others while abductions are taking place (which the abductee may not see).
5. The reports of abductions by children as young as two or three years of age.
IMPACT OF ABDUCTIONS
“The trauma aspect has four dimensions. First are the experiences themselves,” being paralyzed, taken again one’s will, into foreign enclosures and subjected to intrusive, rape-like procedures, some of which are especially humiliating to human dignity.
Second is the life-long sense of isolation and estrangement from the rest of one’s family and society if one cannot remember and tell the story, or ridicule if one does.
Third is the “ontological shock” of having one’s worldview abruptly ripped away, then lingering with the “hope” of mental illness, and drifting between the two belief systems.
Fourth is the vulnerability of not knowing when the experiences might recur.
“Besides these specifically traumatic long-term effects, abductees may also suffer from a number of long-term symptoms that, though subtle, relate to their abduction experiences. These include various fears….headaches, nasal sinus pains, limb pains, gastrointestinal and urological-gynecological symptoms, and disturbances of sexual functioning..”
Contrary to all these accounts of psychological, emotional and physical trauma, healings have also taken place. “[M]any abductees have also experienced or witnessed healing of conditions ranging from minor wounds to pneumonia, childhood leukemia, and even in one case reported to me first hand, the overcoming of muscular atrophy in a leg related to poliomyelitis.”
And not all abductees experience the intrusive procedures. Some seem to have been selected for instruction, enlightenment, or “reprogramming.”
Relationships may be harmed, Mack writes:
[A]n abduction history can place a great strain on a marital or other intimate relationship, especially when one member of the couple is an experiencer and the other is not and cannot accept the reality of the other’s experiences. Relationships are also disrupted when one member undergoes significant personal development, directly or indirectly resulting from their experiences, leaving the spouse more or less behind.
TRANSFORMATIONAL OR CONSCIOUSNESS-ALTERING ASPECTS
[A]s our work deepens, especially as the reality of the alien intelligence is acknowledged and the abductees come to accept their lack of control of the process, the frightening and adversarial quality of the relationship seems to give way to a more reciprocal one in which useful human-alien communication can take place and mutual benefit is derived. The abductees may even experience a profound love for the alien beings – in some ways more powerful than the love they experience in human relationships – and may feel that the love is returned. Connection through the eyes seems to play an important part in the evolution of this process. Whereas, for example, the abductees felt bitterly resentful about having their sperm and eggs used by the aliens in the hybridization project, they may come to feel that they are participating in a process that has value for the creation and evolution of life.
There are those who might argue that such a shift in stance by the abductees in the face of the ongoing helplessness of the abduction situation is in fact a defensive shift. …On the other hand, it is possible that working through the shattering experience of the abduction may give abductees access to experiences of transpersonal meaning, universal love, and connectedness that make such compassion possible.
…The fact that the relationship between the abductees and the aliens can evolve so dramatically over time makes me question categorizations of the beings into constructive, good, and loving ones and others that are deceptive and hostile, bent on taking over our planet…. This sort of taxonomy smacks suspiciously of the sorts of polarization that characterizes human group or ethno-national relationships and may have little to do with the way interspecies or inter-dimensional relationships work beyond earth.. Futhermore, it is common for abductees to experience, for example, both light beings and little grays or reptilian and other sorts of beings, during the same abduction. It is possible that we are dealing with interconnecting or reciprocal relationship processes that are evolutionary in nature and not comprehensible in the linear terms of our familiar polarities.
Types of experience during abductions that appear to be related to personal growth and transformation are as follows:
1. “Pushing through” reality leads to relationship
2. The aliens are recognized as intermediaries to God
3. Abductees experience “Home”
4. Abductees experience past lives
5. Past life experiences provide perspective on time and identity
6. Consciousness separate from body leads to consciousness with virtually endless kinds of beings and entities through space/time
7. Grappling with alien identity leads to “re-ensoulment” of one’s humanity
8. Beyond the veil leads to expansive being
The result of all these experiences for abductees is the discovery of a new and altered sense of their place in the cosmic design, one that is more modest, respectful, and harmonious in relation to the earth and its living systems. Emotions of awe, respect for the mystery of nature and a heightened sense of the sacredness of the natural world are experienced along with deep sadness about the apparent hopelessness of Earth’s environmental crisis. One of John Carpenter’s cases described herself as having become a “child of the universe” after she had become conscious of her abduction experiences.
John Mack’s thirteen case studies were selected from the seventy-six abductees on the following criteria:
1. Their stories seemed sufficiently clear to permit a coherent narrative.
2. Each case illustrated in depth one or more central aspects of the abduction phenomenon.
3. Each person was willing to have his or her story told, with or without their actual name.
4. He knew the individuals quite well.
Dr. Mack ends his two-chapter introduction with: “The sequence of cases reflects a progression from simpler to more complex multidimensional narratives. The last case suggests what the abduction phenomenon may hold for the transformation of our institutions and collective lives.”
Each case begins with a summary of the personal, family and abduction histories the client presented to Mack, segueing into the hypnotherapy sessions and follow-up. Each case ends with Mack’s “Discussion” of the implications or ideas that are illustrated by the case. For instance: Ed did not recall his experience until nearly thirty years later. Shiela’s case demonstrates how learning the truth about one’s abductions can make one more psychologically healthy. Eva’s case is about the evolutionary purpose of the alien/human relationship. Peter’s story is about the alien-human relationship being “far more complex and complete than a program of hybrid procreation. It appears to be a halting, difficult attempt on the part of an intelligence of which we know very little, to create a merger of two species who seem to need and long for something each has to offer the other.”
I choose not to summarize Dr. Mack’s concluding chapter. Reducing his ideas feels wrong, and fraught with obvious hazards. Further, it feels wise, especially for this purpose of offering a paper helpful to hypnotherapists, to follow Mack’s example and let go of personal mental constructs regarding this mysterious phenomenon, and open ourselves to our clients’ stories, with no agenda, including Dr. Mack’s conclusions. Then, we may have the greatest chance of truly advancing knowledge.