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Ralph Blumenthal, is a veteran NYT journalist and has written the ultimate biography of John Mack.

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His new book: The Believer: Alien Encounters, Hard Science, and the Passion of John Mack 

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Audio Clip: [00:00:00] Getting in the truck. You put this shit on the accelerator, then when I yell go, you go Nick.

Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:12] That’s from the movie, The Signal, where Nick and Haley, along with another MIT student whose name I can’t remember, are on a cross country trip to kind of work on some issues with Haley and his relationship, but what they don’t realize is that the hacking, they did it MIT is following them because actually, it was part of an alien abduction government sponsored program, really alternative reality simulation kind of thing.

Ralph Blumenthal: [00:00:39] How about last year?

Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:42] I hope not. Because as wacky as that might sound in the sci-fi movie reality or in, it might be a lot closer to the non reality we’re all in. And at the end of the day, that’s really what this amazing book by today’s guest and author Ralph Blumenthal, who’s written a biography about John Mack. Well, that’s what it’s really all about. Here’s a clip from the interview.

Audio Clip: [00:01:14] What John Mack has done, along with a bunch of other people has shifted the burden of proof. These experiences that people are having are not the way that we’d normally talk about them real, because my read of it is they are real, we just don’t know what real is anymore. What are your thoughts? Right, absolutely, you could not, I couldn’t have said it better. Now John often said, if anyone has a better explanation, I’m willing to hear it. So it’s not mental illness, it’s not a mass delusion because these people don’t get together. It’s not publicity seeking because they shy away from publicity. They don’t want to be known, they’re questioning, they wish it wasn’t true. It’s not books they read or movies they’ve seen cause kids two years old tell these same stories. So he’s eliminated all these other things that it’s not. So then he says, Okay so as far as I know, nothing has happened to these people other than what they said…

Alex Tsakiris: [00:02:11] Welcome to Skeptiko, where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. I’m your host Alex Tsakiris and today we welcome Ralph Blumenthal to Skeptiko. Ralph is the author of The Believer, Alien Encounters, Hard Science and The Passion of John Mack. I really love the title by the way Ralph, it captures so much to anyone who reads the book you know, there’s some kind of, you’ve done a lot with just a few words there, even with the end, The Passion of John Mack I thought was great.

Ralph Blumenthal: [00:02:46] Thank you, thank you. Well a lot of work went into that title.

Alex Tsakiris:[00:02:50] You know, titles are important, I know they are , and you just got to admire someone who’s done it. And I also just admire this book so much but let me tell folks for a minute you know, Ralph is the author of many books, several books. But he’s also a very well respected journalist having written many years for the New York Times, he is the real deal and he’s done some of his best work with this amazing biography of John Mack who, if you don’t know who John Mack is, we’re going to talk a little bit about it. But a lot of this interview, we’re gonna kind of assume that you know who John Mack is. But you know before we get started one thing I want to say is, I thought the book was terrific and it had just so much information about this important part of history that, you know, go buy this book, I bought the book, even though the publisher sent it to me, buy this book, support this guy, I can’t imagine, we’re going to ask him in a minute, how much time and effort he spent in researching all the interviews he put together to do this. And then if you feel so inclined, and I did write a review, mine hasn’t come through yet, but write a review of the book. So, Ralph it’s great to have you here and again, congratulations on an important, important book because it’s such an important part of history.

Ralph Blumenthal: [00:04:14] Thank you, Alex. It’s a real pleasure to be here with you.

Alex Tsakiris: [00:04:17] So, enough with the accolades who is John Mack?

Ralph Blumenthal: [00:04:22] Speaking of accolades, John Mack was alkylated in his lifetime, as well as vilified. He was a Harvard psychiatrist, very eminent in his field, a hole through a series of circumstances that I outline in the book. I got interested in the phenomenon of alien abduction, people, ordinary people from all walks of life, including young children who remembered or had images of or thought that they remembered being abducted by alien beings taken to some kind of craft for strange bizarre suit medical experiments, including reproductive procedures…

Alex Tsakiris: [00:05:03] Put this in a time perspective and in a cultural perspective, what year is this? what else is happening around him?

Ralph Blumenthal: [00:05:10] Okay, John Mack, stumbled across this phenomenon in 1990. So you know, basically the modern era. He had been a psychiatrist since the 50s. So he’d already been eminent his field for 40 years. He had written other books before ever coming across alien abduction. He was an expert in nightmares. So no one could ever say he you know, he didn’t know what a nightmare was. He was an expert in childhood development, he had written about a girl who committed suicide, a teenager, had written about a Holocaust survivor. So he had a wide ranging interests again before he ever came across alien abduction. So you know, he was very eminent field, which is what you know, what provided I guess, the shock value to me when I happened upon his story for the book that he was the least likely guy to be investigating alien abduction.

Alex Tsakiris: [00:06:07] And then you know, the other thing is always included with John Mack, right there in the second sentence is he he’s a Pulitzer Prize winner, which is really interesting and I love the way you kind of explain that in the story, because it kind of speaks to this passion and then almost evangelical kind of part of him.

Ralph Blumenthal: [00:06:28] He won a Pulitzer for a psycho biography really of Lawrence of Arabia, T.E Lawrence. I mean as I say in the book, he went to the movies like everyone else in 1963, to see this long, long movie which won all kinds of every prize you could imagine, Best Picture I believe. But unlike us, when he came out, he didn’t just say, wow yeah, what a great movie. He decided he was going to investigate T.E Lawrence, and spent the next 12 years in Oxford and England and in the Middle East, really delving into his life.

Alex Tsakiris: [00:07:03] And then this leads to some other amazing chapters in this amazing life, he becomes this kind of peace emissary. He’s Jewish, he kind of has, it’s kind of interesting too about his background, he kind of comes from this very kind of trust fund, rich kid, East Coast, Jewish kind of society. And then next thing you know, he does this, he makes all these fantastic accomplishments and then he’s becomes kind of this peace emissary between Israel and Egypt. And he kind of has that, he kind of knows the Arab thing a little bit from writing this book. I mean it’s a again an amazing chapter in his life as well.

Ralph Blumenthal: [00:07:45] Yeah, I mean, I outlined all the steps, It was a series of progressions really, that took him ultimately into alien abduction and finally into life after death. But the result of the Lawrence biography which as you say, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1977, he was suddenly considered an expert on the Middle East you know, that’s how things work. You write one book and suddenly you’re an expert. So there, he was called to the Middle East to mediate the Arab Israeli conflict. He had an introduction through a colleague at Harvard to Yasser Arafat. And he met with Yasser Arafat gave him a copy of his book on on T.E Lawrence, called A Prince of all disorder and so he was an expert on the Middle East. And that you know, led to other things. He traveled widely around the world. He was you know, book fellow and lectures. He also became an ardent proponent of nuclear weapons and he demonstrated against the nuclear weapons stockpile, he went to Arizona got arrested with his whole family, his wife and three sons for you know, for protesting. So I think it’s very important in the development of his book to outline all the steps he took before he became interested in alien abduction. First of all, it outlines his bona fides, that he was a serious guy and he’d achieved a lot. And he knew you know, the human mind, insofar as it’s ever able to know, the human mind. So again, he couldn’t be accused later of not knowing what he was talking about, that these people have psychological aberrations of that crazy. And I think was very important to establish that.

Alex Tsakiris: [00:09:25] I agree and to establish that, just as you just said, I mean he’s accomplished. I mean, so he gets thrown in the Middle East thing, but he immediately excels at it you know, he’s well respected by the people he meets and you know, he’s Harvard, I mean, he’s well respected at Harvard. He’s well respected within the psychological community in the psychiatry community in general, very accomplished guy and then as you describe, I mean I think it’s hard for people even to wrap their head around this topic today. We know it is. But he just goes headlong into it, this kind of passion to John Mack goes, Hey, you know, there’s, this seems to be happening and I want you to explain for a minute why he comes to believe that this might be happening because he is a little bit scared, not a little bit, he is skeptical at the beginning.

Ralph Blumenthal: [00:10:18] Right, should also say Alex that he was immensely charismatic, a tall, really good looking cobalt blue eyes magnetic to men and women, which got him into a little bit of trouble.

Alex Tsakiris: [00:10:29] I mean, he is Hollywood all the way. There’s photos in the book, I mean he looks like an actor, he’s stunning, he jumps off the page. They’re like, is this guy a movie star.

Ralph Blumenthal: [00:10:36] And he knew it too, I mean that’s what gave him sort of the confidence. He was, Budd Hopkins thought he had too much confidence, that he was really, that was almost a shortcoming that he didn’t think he could fail. But as you said, sure when he first heard about the phenomenon from from Budd Hopkins and I tell the story in detail in my book. He was very skeptical, he didn’t even want to meet with Budd Hopkins after he heard that Budd Hopkins was investigating alien abduction. He thought I was completely crazy. So he was skeptical in the beginning and everything in his upbringing is, he said he was born in a scientific materialistic, German Jewish household, very secular, non observant really, and very open to the world and science etc. and non superstitious. So he really was a very unlikely person to be captivated by this, as I say was captured but not by aliens. He was captured by the phenomenon. But what happened is, he was introduced to this phenomenon by Budd Hopkins and he collects a group of so called experiencers, abductees around..

Alex Tsakiris: [00:11:46] Can we pause for one second, I don’t want to do this too much, but Budd Hopkins, remind people who he is people might know, but then remind them who he is in terms of the UFO community, but then also he’s a well known artist in New York, he is kind of a guy with a certain you know, a social weight as well right?

Ralph Blumenthal: [00:12:08] Right, well one I mean, in the course of this book, I deal with a lot of interesting characters and Budd Hopkins was certainly one of them. He was an artist on Cape Cod and New York. He was a non objective artist, he’d been written up in the New York Times he had really some artistic credentials and on the way to a party one day in Cape Cod in 1964, he and the other people in the car spotted a UFO over the ocean. And they thought that was cool and they followed it for a while and I got to the party. And they told people, Hey, we saw a UFO and they all said, Oh we’ve seen UFOs Oh sure we saw you know, so he suddenly wow, you know, what is this phenomenon? So he starts to study it, Budd Hopkins and he teaches himself hypnosis. He said, I’m an artist and nobody cares what an artist does, it couldn’t suffer any loss of reputation. Budd Hopkins, research these people and wrote a book long before John Mack ever got involved called Missing Time, where he identified the phenomenon of people who remember spying a UFO and then sort of losing track and then later in hypnotic regression or even unconscious memories, recapture memories of having been taken aboard aircraft and subject as pseudo medical experiments and meeting you know, short, grey being so called the greys and all that. So Budd Hopkins was already well into this when John Mack meets him and as I said, John was very skeptical in the beginning, but then he gathered his own group around him and was absolutely enthralled and bewildered and captivated by their stories. He could not believe this is happening and any kind of recognizable reality.

Alex Tsakiris: [00:13:55] Let me interject something here Ralph, because as this story is told and is repeated over and over again, there’s kind of a couple of different ways to interpret it. I think anyone who encountered such a kind of incredible paradigm shifting experience would be evangelical. So I think sometimes when we talk about Budd Hopkins and we go, Wow, Budd Hopkins just jumped on this thing. Hell yes, he jumped on his thing. He was living in one reality, the reality that we all live in and then suddenly that reality is turned upside down and then suddenly, he starts talking to these people who were all confirming it over and over again. And then when we talk about the evangelism of John Mack, as you said, a guy who’s supremely accomplished, supremely confident and he is basically confirming, top to bottom, everything that Budd Hopkins is finding and you want to say Budd Hopkins is self taught in hypnosis. John Mack, sure shit ain’t self taught and he’s not getting the same thing and he’s not even putting these people a lot of times under deep hypnosis. He just sang relax a little bit and start telling me what you believe. So you’re not shading that one way or another I just want to make, there’s a difference between you know, just kind of reporting this matter of factly, but also kind of putting a spin on it, you know that there’s a reason that these guys were so excited…

Ralph Blumenthal: [00: 15:17] Well everybody who has come across this phenomenon is completely blown away by it, their minds are blown, almost literally. So, Budd Hopkins was and John Mack was so yes, they become evangelistic, because they want to tell the world that they discovered this phenomenon you know and not many other people were out there you know, telling these stories, Budd was one of the few David Jacobs who came along, around the same time a professor at Temple University who studied UFOs and then became a ardent advocate of you know, the whole abduction phenomenon. But other than that, there weren’t many people spreading the word and evangelist is exactly right, John Mack. I couldn’t wait to tell people about this, including a Harvard audience before he was really ready to. I mean, he had almost only heard about it before he was you know, lecturing on it to him and that’s one of the his shortcomings as I point out in the book, he was a passionate, but passionate for sure overenthusiastic perhaps. So what convinced him? Well first of all, he noticed very quickly that the people he was talking to were not insane. I mean, he was a psychiatrist and as he often said, that’s what I do if you’re not you know, evaluator or to conservator you know, when a Rembrandt is a Rembrandt and he said, I’m a psychiatrist, these people come to me, I know they’re not crazy. He also said that they were not diluted, they were not you know, reading off some playbook. So the stories were basically consistent. But different enough so that they’re not you know, told by rote. These people came from a wide variety of backgrounds. They were young and old, both genders, different ages and children as young as two, who said you know, little man take me into the sky, I fly in the sky and these kids were not reading books on UFOs. You know, they were not you know, playing back movies that they had seen. So this all convinced John also, he found that there was a very often a place outside the house where they remembered a UFO coming down where the grass was sort of tamped down or branches were broken. And sometimes they had marks on their bodies afterwards that they couldn’t explain. And in one case, it was a quadriplegic who could not have inflicted the marks on him so he’s totally paralyzed. So all these things, what sort of fragmentary evidence, and yet they convinced john that he was onto something that was happening in some kind of reality, it wasn’t just all make believe. And it wasn’t easily provable. It was somewhere in between, it was in some, you know, liminal world. But it was true enough, so that he thought that people were telling the truth.

Alex Tsakiris: [00: 18:07] So let’s talk some more about two things about Harvard and about Naivete you know, because before we even rolled tape I, one of the things I really appreciated about the book, although it kind of was a little bit hard to get over is, it’s a warts and all kind of honest telling of the account. So if you just kind of like, I was not aware of some of these things you know, you don’t come off seeing John Mack as quite the hero you might have if you didn’t know everything, but I want to know everything. So I appreciate that in the book. I particularly want to focus on the fact that he’s naive, because I think that he has a couple of really, really important elements to play in the overall story as well.

Ralph Blumenthal: [00:18:55] Right. He, as I said, he couldn’t wait to tell the world about this thing he had discovered, thought he had discovered and he was naive about the reaction that there would be you know, a very negative reaction from parts of Harvard, which came back to bite him when they investigated him. But for example, he told a woman friend of his, as soon as he you know, was it started looking at their phenomenon? This is what I’m doing, I’m all excited and she said, well John you know, I know you’re excited about this, but the rest of the world you know, may not be right there with you on this, so he didn’t see that and when he gave interviews on the subject to you know, newspaper people. He was very incautious he would say, I don’t know, should I talk about astrology now? maybe I won’t, but you know, or he just spoke too much sometimes he should have said less until he knew more and he’d been warned about this. But that was his nature and you know if we’re talking about his character and warts or so this is not necessarily a character failure, but it’s an important element of the story. As I point out, his mother died when he was eight and a half months old, she died of appendicitis her penicillin had you know, already been discovered, but wasn’t really in use. And so suddenly, eight and a half months old he loses his mother and he never gets over it, he spends his whole life searching for this absent figure in his life. And I and other people I quote in the book, make the point that this was part of his search for what’s missing in the cosmos, some intelligent life or some missing entity or God or whatever you want to call it, intelligent life in the cosmos. So that’s also part of his character.

Alex Tsakiris:[ 00:20:50] Maybe I mean, that’s a little psychoanalytic and you can kind of go, take it or leave it if you want. But what is true is he kind of uses it for an excuse for a lot of bad behavior, in his marriage and in his relationships that most of us just don’t think is very honest, or what we’d expect from a guy of the standard or caliber that we say he just looks, he has frailties, he has human flaws, the way that the rest of us do. But I really only get off on that on the personal stuff, because who cares? The part that really interests me about the naive part is that I think it plays so well with so many of the things I’ve investigated here is, we kind of have a sense that a guy who is a Harvard psychiatrist, a world renowned psychiatrist, Pulitzer Prize winner, I think a lot of us are a little bit surprised to hear that he’s naive about kind of how the world works. And where that really comes through, is in the Harvard trial, I mean this guy, by the grace of God, well really not by the grace of God, by the grace of a couple of good attorneys that kind of turn up the heat, escapes what would probably be a career ending what they intended to be a career ending pride event, walk us through that I think it’s a real important part of this history.

Ralph Blumenthal: [00:22:12] Well let me also say that, you know, his naivete was also a strength. I mean, it was a freshness that he brought to the subject and everything he did and that was not just a negative, but it was a positive too, because people sense that in him, he was brimming with enthusiasm with confidence and he was it was a likeable person. So Harvard was not happy with what I was hearing about his appearance on Oprah to promote a book he had written, he had tried to get a peer review peer reviewed article several times, I was rebuffed.

Alex Tsakiris: [00:22:43] Let me set this up a little bit, just a little introduce, correct me if I’m wrong. John Mack writes a book abduction, human encounters with aliens as you mentioned, he’s already been on the circuit at Harvard in terms of making presentations doing this stuff, but now he really goes public. Oprah Winfrey, Larry King, he’s out there in this way that you’re talking about just open like, Hey, this is what happens. Aliens are abducting people and having sex with them in order to hybrid humans, you know that, that’s the news flash here from Harvard, you know. So Harvard doesn’t like that.

Ralph Blumenthal: [00:23:16] So Harvard doesn’t like that. Now I make the point in the book Alex, that Harvard is no stranger to anomalous research. I mean, William James you know, was talking about seances at Harvard 100 years ago and they were okay with that they don’t disown William James. But there was something about John Mack that rubbed them the wrong way and I think it was as you mentioned, his appearance on Oprah. He was all over the media and he was a kind of a open guy about it and maybe that disturb them, apart from the subject of alien abduction being associated with Harvard and a Harvard professor. So anyway, they convene the secret inquiry, which I call and they call it at one point, and they mentioned as an inquisition, now they said they had this is not an inquisition. But he’s a Harvard psychiatrist, he says, well if it’s not an inquisition, why do they use that word to describe what it isn’t?

Alex Tsakiris: [00:24:09 ] So it’s not about the money, this is not about the money, right?

Ralph Blumenthal: [00:24:12] Right. So it was an inquisition, it inquired into his finances and inquired into his mental processes that he believe in UFOs I mean, all these things that really should not be part of an inquiry of a professor you know, enjoying academic freedom at a major university. So they called in his experiencers, they call them his colleagues. A lot of people, they call them colleagues who were not particularly friendly to him because he took some of their patients and treated them when they’re caught, you know, fellow psychiatrists wouldn’t deal with the abductees. So there were some people who had an axe to grind and the committee spoke to them. And the committee was also a very weighted towards scientific materialists, if you can’t touch it, measure it, taste it and ain’t there, it doesn’t exist. And John Mack was trying to tell them that there are things that we don’t understand in the universe and even physics is beginning to grapple with these now, spooky action at a distance and all the things that are supposedly impossible. So he was trying to explain to them there are things we don’t understand. But it doesn’t mean that they’re not real. And they said, well what’s your proof? And he said, I don’t really have any proof because this phenomenon doesn’t lend itself to prove as we usually understand it. So they had this standoff but as you said, John Mack had the benefit of two outstanding lawyers. One was Danny Sheehan, a Jesuit lawyer who had investigated the you know, the Iran Contra on scandal of the Reagan administration, the Karen Silkwood case,he represented the family and that famous you know, plutonium poisoning case. And the other was Eric macleish, who had just exposed the priest abuse scandal in Boston.

Alex Tsakiris: [01:11:17] You know I was hesitant, I was hesitant even going there, but you brought it up December 18 2017. The day that will live in infamy. You guys broke that story in the New York Times. But this is the one I’ve gone back and forth with Leslie Kane on. I mean, to me, political psyop from the beginning. That’s how it plays, that’s how it plays out over time. Does it mean that it’s real? Does it mean that you guys didn’t report on it in the best possible way that you could, but this thing has such a political feel to it. It’s one side of the political spectrum talking as if there isn’t another side? You know, at that time Donald Trump was the president of the United States. He is nowhere to be found in that story and there is no, anyone in the administration is nowhere to be found, I think that’s very curious. I don’t know what you want to make of that but then the way they’ve spun that, I mean the whole thing of Lou Elizondo coming out and saying, Well it wasn’t really classified. Well, if this isn’t frickin classified, well why do we have a system of classified and top secret? So again, it just has this spin and these guys have lied about this shit for 60 years and now they’re going to roll it out and they’re going to roll it out in the New York Times, which has been especially hostile to this whole topic. And then the way that it’s played out on the History Channel with Lou Elizondo and the rest of those guys, it’s all Pentagon, Pentagon, Pentagon, this is the the great threat. This is the New World Order threat you know, we all have to join together as a family, you know, Verner von Braun you know, this is the last thing they’re gonna use kind of thing. I’m not saying that is true ,I’m just saying, you cannot go there, go to this topic and not start pulling apart what the agenda is here, because it doesn’t look like it’s what’s being presented on the surface to me, what are your thoughts on all that?

Ralph Blumenthal: [01:13:21] You handed me a lot to deal with Alex. But let me say first of all, that I know the way this story emerged and it was not fed to us, Leslie through her good…

Alex Tsakiris: [01:13:32] I get it, I get it.

Ralph Blumenthal: [01:13:34] You know, so she went down to Washington, she heard about, she sat in on the meeting when Lou Elizondo disclosed that he was quitting. We had the letter you know, he was quitting and they were afraid to show it to Mattis at the time. I mean you know, a lot of weird stuff there. But so that, I mean, the first thing is that we dug that story out, it wasn’t, we got no sense. This is a story that government wanted us to write for any reason of its own. We pulled it out. He had good connections and they didn’t hand feed us these videos that came out, the three Navy videos. I think what…

Alex Tsakiris: [01:14:13] However, I’m totally with you on all that, I would not question that in the least. But the video like the first video is lik what, 8 10 12 years old? It’s not like a new video. It was even on the YouTube. I interviewed you know, Kevin Day who was on the boat and the video, he saw it and then he had the video in his inbox you know, he was the he was the top gun navy kind of…

Ralph Blumenthal: [01:14:39]

Right.

Alex Tsakiris: [01:14:39] See and it, the video was in his thing the next day and he said yeah, it was on the internet and then they took it down kind of thing so.

Ralph Blumenthal: [01:14:47] Yeah, it was floating around. I mean, we didn’t have them all but the Pentagon later authenticated the videos and they were absolutely real and people did try to pick them apart and say oh, you’re looking at it from this angle and this is, but it’s not fabricated. These are real objects that were caught on. And and then we interviewed pilots themselves that’s another thing we did that, you know shows that we found these people, Dave Fraver and Ryan forgot his last name and Danielle Coyne. Pilots who told us that they eyeball these things and Dave Fraver said he watched this thing as it was underwater you know, and this is a highly decorated you know, Navy jet fighter pilot who’s saying these things. So they I don’t think they had a script written for them that they were supposed to tell us this stuff. So but I do think that the stories we wrote, convince the government to come out more and maybe they realize it’s not something that they can contain anymore, that people are demanding answers. So it’s it’s pushed the process. And you know, there are people in the government who want to see much more come out you know, we know that. But there’s also a lot of secrecy still involved, a lot of stuff is classified that may not need to be. VA tips as you point out wasn’t for some reason. It’s strange that the Navy videos were not classified because if they were, we wouldn’t have put them out. We couldn’t, we don’t want to go to jail and we wouldn’t be dealing with stolen you know, leaked classified material. That’s not that we’ve never been accused of that.

Alex Tsakiris: [01:16:29] One of the things that was super interesting, during my interview with Kevin Day and it relates back to your book and it relates back to what we’re just talking about in John Mack is so. Kevin Day again, he’s the guy who from aboard the ship is orchestrating all the communication so he’s telling where the pilot where to go and all the rest of this. Two interesting things come up from his story. One is that he says these objects like 2030, whatever were in the air had been trailing the ship for like seven days. And I said Kevin, do you find it strange that you didn’t report that to your CEO before that? And he paused and he goes, yeah, that is kind of weird, again mental aspect of this. But the real clincher is, he said finally on the day of the event, I decided to go up topside and I looked through the glass and I looked at it and it changed something in me. And he says he experiences what they call the le Davis effect from Jacques fillet and Davis, I don’t know who Davis was, but they have this kind of transcendent experience, similar to what you’re talking about in the John Mack stuff is that there’s some kind of extended realm in which he feels like he has some experience. For him it’s kind of traumatic, he has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but it’s not really Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, It is kind of textbook valet Davis effects. So I just think it’s interesting when we start talking about videos, and we start talking about encounters with the craft. Again, it’s this kind of huge soup of we don’t know how we’re being how we’re interacting, it’s really no different than the abduction thing, is it?

Ralph Blumenthal: [01:18:25] Yeah, it’s I say, I mean, I end where I began with the mystery. And we have to acknowledge that you know and what gets me again are the people who conform and say, Oh, it’s no mystery, I know what this is, this is you know, and then they spend some theory this is anthropological the you know, this is the same be a mythical stuff that, you know, people would do in Aboriginal societies have been dealing with its myth and now they have the answer. But as I say, you got to read all the material before you know, you offer the answer. So I guess we’re back at the starting point but it’s been a you know, it’s been a fun journey.

Alex Tsakiris: [01:19:07] It has been an awesome journey and again that required reading folks required reading it’s been absolutely terrific having you on Ralph. Best of luck with this book. I know it’s already been super successful and I know you’ll have more and more success with it. What’s next for you after this? I, you just said that you’re going to continue pursuing this field, any books that you’re working on that you’d like to talk about? Or I know you authors sometimes like to keep those close to the vest?

Ralph Blumenthal: [01:19:37] Well, I don’t want to talk about what’s next in line but there’s more to be done on this subject for sure. And considering that I spent 16 years, 17 till it came out on this I’m not so eager to plunge into another subject from scratch. But there’s so much to this story and the people I’ve continued to meet you know, I keep getting more information now that the book is out. And I heard the other day from a colleague of John Max, who said, I wish I’d had this for the book. He said you know, I was the last one or one of the last people he saw before he left for England where he was killed. And I asked him, you know, John well, where are you going? You know, what are you doing? And he went like this. He pointed to the ground, she said and she didn’t realize what that meant till afterwards and she found that he had been killed. I wish I’d had that story at the time. So I keep hearing from people you know, the subject is certainly endlessly fascinating. There’s more you know, coming out, obviously, on the on UFOs. There’s a lot more to be. People ask me all the time well, who’s continuing this research now? I mean well, who’s who’s John Mack today? I don’t know. There are groups of experiences who are meeting you know. But considering the wealth of scientific knowledge available today, and I end my book with the story of the Hadron Supercollider and the image of the black hole, 58 million light years away, that the you know, the scientists caught a picture of 58 million light years away, and they can’t figure out if people are being abducted. Because the science is not you know, the government is not giving money for that they’re only giving money for you know, SETI and you know, telescopes. Come on, there are serious questions here. There’s brain research as to what parts of the brain are activated when people go through abduction experiences. So you know, there’s a lot to be you know, research still clearly, it’s at the beginning, but it’s disreputable still. So we’ve got to get beyond that ridicule factor and try to figure out what the hell’s going on.

Alex Tsakiris: [01:22:00] Ralph, it’s been absolutely terrific. Thank you so much for joining me.

Ralph Blumenthal: [01:22:04] Alex. It’s been great to be on your program. Thank you.

Alex Tsakiris: [01:22:08] Thanks, again to Ralph Blumenthal, for joining me today on Skeptiko. The one question I tee up from this interview and it really, really is a fundamental question I keep bumping into in a bunch of different ways is, what do you make of our reality? It is in many ways, the only game in town in terms of rational, scientific logical approach. But what do we do with the fact that it may be a severely limited perspective from which we launch into all that logic and rational thinking. What do you think, let me know track me down. Plenty more to come. Stay with me for all of that. Until next time, take care and bye for now.

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