In the first half, George Knapp welcomed filmmaker Denise David Williams, who discussed Dr. John Mack's story and her current attempts to turn his life into a major Hollywood film (Indiegogo Project). Mack was an esteemed Harvard psychiatrist who had been contacted by pioneering UFO abduction researcher Budd Hopkins for help with people who claimed to have been taken by aliens, Williams explained. Mack studied over 200 abductees from all over the world, who had never met each other, and became convinced they were neither lying about their experiences nor mentally ill, she added.
"He didn't go looking for this but once he found it he was not going to back down because, in his opinion, there was something truthful to the phenomenon... that had to do with our spiritual evolution," Williams continued. Mack's findings were met with hostility by Harvard Medical School faculty members, who formed a committee to investigate his work, she reported. Williams described the investigation of Mack's work as a 'witch hunt' that ultimately damaged his credibility as a scientist and made him an unwelcome person on campus.
Williams spoke of her sincerity with regards to protecting Dr. Mack's legacy and ensuring his story is told in an authentic way. "Really all he was saying was, 'Keep an open mind... Isn't it possible we're not alone in the universe? Isn't it possible that we're connected to something greater?'," she said.
Next, UFO film scholar and expert Robbie Graham talked about the history of UFOs in Hollywood movies, noting the extent to which these films have influenced our perceptions of UFOs (and potentially alien life) and whether this effect is the result of conspiratorial or cultural forces. Hollywood has produced 50 ufological-themed movies just since 2000, he reported. The first film to deal with 'flying saucers' came out in 1950 and got the attention of the Pentagon, Graham continued.
He detailed the history of government involvement in movies and how the Department of Defense would cooperate with filmmakers in exchange for the right to edit their scripts. According to Graham, the power of movies is that they become embedded into the popular consciousness and imprinted on our psyche. "UFO movies, although they don't directly influence UFO reports... they encourage a widespread acceptance not only of the idea of alien life but also of alien visitation," he said.