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Dr. John Mack, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, rocked the academic world when he released a groundbreaking study that concluded alien abductions are real!

Before that, the prevailing assumption was that people who claimed to have been abducted were simply crazy. But after probing scores of cases, and subjecting abductees to psychological tests, he found they are perfectly ordinary folks -- who had suffered a genuine, traumatic ordeal.

The top shrink, who outlined his findings in the best-selling 1994 book Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens, ruled out psychosis or childhood abuse as explanations for victims' hairraising memories.

"There's no mental condition that could explain it," he said in an interview.

The theory that victims are merely dreaming doesn't correspond to accounts.

"The person may be in their bedroom quite wide awake. The beings show up. And there they are and the experiences begin," Dr. Mack notes. "They're not occurring in any dreamlike state."

The expert also rejects the notion that abductees are lying to obtain fame. To the contrary, most dread public exposure.

"The greater the stake a person has in this society, the more reluctant they are to admit they've had an abduction experience," he notes. "A woman that worked for the federal government, who was an abductee, was threatened with loss of her job."

Plus, there's a mountain of physical evidence to back up the stories.

"UFOs are in fact observed, filmed on camera at the same time that people are having their abduction experiences," reveals Dr. Mack, director of the Program for Extraordinary Experience Research.

Although Dr. Mack's research has made him the subject of ridicule, he has no regrets.

Such attacks are outweighed, he says, by "many people who are saying: 'Yeah, I always suspected something like this was going on.' "

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