“Don’t beam me up, aliens”. That’s what William Shatner – the man who played Captain James T. Kirk in the original series of Star Trek – might be saying each night after researching the topic of alien abductions for a novel he is currently working on. In a conversation with Larry King (embedded below), the original captain of the Enterprise noted the work of Harvard professor John E. Mack on the topic, before veering into other fringish topics such as the mysteries of quantum physics.
When King first asks Shatner whether he is writing a sci-fi novel involving UFOs, the 83-year-old actor hesitates, then answers “yes”. King then asks him to explain why he paused before answering, and Shatner’s reply references John Mack’s troubles after delving into the subject:
The hesitation is this: do you remember a man by the name of John E. Mack? John E. Mack was a psychiatrist, a tenured professor at Harvard. Was given by a friend of his, an opportunity to interview some of the people who said “we’ve been abducted by UFOs”. After 200 interviews he concluded they were right…
He almost lost his tenure at Harvard. He lost his wife and children over it. And he walks out of the door not too long after that, and he’s hit by a hit-and-run driver and killed.
There’s a bit of hyperbole in there (e.g. John Mack was killed by a drunk driver in 2004, some ten years after the publication of his book Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens), but that’s part of the package with good old Bill. Great to see him still producing quotes that are sure to make rationalist geeks froth at the mouth (he’s previously hosted shows looking into paranormal mysteries, such as Weird or What).