Alien Abductions and the Passion of John Mack with Ralph Blumenthal
Published on 19 Apr 2021
Ralph Blumenthal, a staff reporter for The New York Times from 1964 to 2009, is the author of The Believer: Alien Encounters, Hard Science, and the Passion of John Mack.
Here he presents an overview of John Mack's remarkable career. Mack won the Pulitzer Prize for his biography of T. E. Lawrence (i.e., Lawrence of Arabia). He was chair of the psychiatry department at Harvard University. His interest in alien abductions generated international media attention – as well as an investigation/inquisition at Harvard. Prior to his 2004 accidental death in London, Mack was preparing a book on survival after death.
New Thinking Allowed host, Jeffrey Mishlove, PhD, is author of The Roots of Consciousness, Psi Development Systems, and The PK Man. Between 1986 and 2002 he hosted and co-produced the original Thinking Allowed public television series. He is the recipient of the only doctoral diploma in "parapsychology" ever awarded by an accredited university (University of California, Berkeley, 1980).
(Recorded on April 6, 2021)
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Invisible Thread – Feysand Urban Fantasy AU
Word Count: 2,825
Feyre’s entire body seemed to hum with the pulsing music as she twisted and twirled on the dance floor. Under the cool neon lights of Velaris, the city’s newest night club, she could pretend she was another person entirely. She didn’t know where Tamlin, her boyfriend, had gone and, at the moment, she didn’t really care. She’d recently been far happier when Tamlin wasn’t around. Feyre grimaced as the thought crossed her mind and she pushed it back down before all of her relationship issues bubbled up to the surface. She didn’t want to think about where her and Tamlin’s relationship was headed. Tonight, she just wanted to feel alive.
In order to do that, she needed more alcohol in her system. Feyre ordered another shot of tequila from the bartender and did a quick survey of the nearby club-goers while she waited for her drink. Velaris was filled to the brim tonight with magical creatures from all walks of life; fairies and nymphs dominated the dance floor, a beautiful fawn and a horned demon were locked in an intense makeout session at the end of the bar, vampires congregated in the dark corners of the club, and Feyre thought she’d even glimpsed a rare mermaid or two in human form. The entire club oozed with magic that called to her own; Feyre could feel it in her bones, in her bloodstream. Places like this are the reason she and her sisters had moved to Prythian in the first place; to experience magic in all of its many forms and faces. They’d wanted to explore the cities where humans and magical beings coexisted; where they could be themselves and be accepted. Maybe even loved. And Feyre had found love. Hadn’t she?
The bartender set her shot down on the bar, pulling Feyre from her own musings. She smiled at the young warlock before downing the shot and making her way back to the dance floor. She’d only made it a few steps when a large form knocked into her. Feyre locked eyes with a tall blonde man and a quick apology fell from her lips as she took a step around him.
Suddenly the man was in front of her again, blocking her path. “Hey baby, where ya goin’?” he slurred.
Feyre tipped her head up to glare at the man and noticed the distinct reflection of light in his bloodshot eyes, the telltale sign of a shifter. An extremely drunk and apparently rude shifter. Feyre could feel her magic stirring within her, sensing a threat, but she willed it away
“Anywhere but here.” Feyre said evenly, turning on her heel to find another man crowding in behind her.
“Well, what do we have here?” drawled the newcomer, another shifter with greasy brown hair and a five o’clock shadow that was well on its way to become a scraggly beard. He had the same hungry, animalistic glint in his eyes, and looked at her like she was his next meal. It made her stomach turn.
“I’m not looking for any trouble and my boyfriend is waiting for me.” Tamlin was not waiting for her, but these men didn’t need to know that. “So, if you’ll excuse me.” Neither man moved and only crowded her further when she tried to push past them.
“Well who said we weren’t looking for a little trouble?”
Feyre felt a hand on her ass from behind and this time she didn’t bother to keep her magic from rearing to the surface. With just a twitch of her fingers she pulled the water from a nearby glass and flung it into the eyes of both men, momentarily blinding them. The shifters howled, backing away slightly which gave her the perfect opportunity to grab the blonde man who’d touched her by the shoulders and knee him in the groin. Hard.
Feyre moved to sidestep him, but the second shifter recovered faster and grabbed her roughly by the tops of her arms. His eyes flashed and she heard his beast growl from within as his canines lengthened. Oh shit.
“That was a nasty trick you little witch.” he snarled in her face. Feyre readied her magic again when the shifter’s eyes locked onto something behind her and he paled.
A deep, delicious male voice spoke up from behind her, “There you are.”
Rhys took a long sip of the whiskey he’d been nursing for the past hour as he surveyed his club from the upper-level VIP section. Mor was twenty minutes late for their meeting at Velaris, but he supposed that was to be expected. His cousin had been busy trying to smooth out relations between their company and a few concerned investors, one of which is her estranged and toxic father. Their meetings always left her drained.
Rhys was about to call and check in on Mor when his gaze snagged on a flash of silver. His attention was pulled to the dance floor, to a brunette dancing under the neon lights. Her silver dress accentuated every curve of her lithe body as her generous hips moved expertly to the beat. As she turned, Rhys caught a glimpse of her face and found that he couldn’t look away. He was enthralled by the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. Fucking hell. Rhys was too far away to see the color of her eyes, but it was suddenly all he could think about. A content smile graced her full pink lips as she twirled again and Rhys swore he could hear her lilting laugh over top of the music. When was the last time he’d enjoyed anything so much?
He’d been content to watch the silver beauty from the rafters until two shifters cornered her near the back of the club. She’d been on her way back from the bar when the first shifter stepped into her path on purpose. Before Rhys had even made a conscious decision to move, he found himself down the stairs, across the dance floor and heading for the back of the club. His heartbeat thudded in his ear as he got closer and saw the blonde shifter grab the woman’s ass.
Rage exploded within him and he saw the brunette’s eyes flash a bright blue just before giving a quick flick of her fingers. Almost faster than Rhys’s eyes could track, she summoned water from a nearby glass and propelled it into the eyes of the unsuspecting shifters. So, she was a witch. A powerful elemental if he had to guess. Rhys watched as both men howled at the unexpected attack just before the brunette twirled to knee the blonde man in the balls. He almost laughed until the second man grabbed the woman roughly by the arms. A growl erupted from Rhys’s chest as he approached, and the shifters locked eyes with him over the brunette’s shoulder. The lesser men paled as Rhys found himself sidling up to the woman.
“There you are.” he crooned, sliding his hand lightly around her waist. The woman’s head snapped up to look at him and their eyes collided for the first time. Her stormy blue gaze nearly knocked the breath out of him as he said, “I’ve been looking for you.” And it was true. Why did he suddenly feel as if he’d waited an eternity to gaze into the eyes of this exquisite creature? Maybe he had.
Rhys quickly took note of the smattering of freckles across her nose, the highlight of her cheekbones, and the graceful sweep of her chin before dropping his gaze to the elegant curve of her neck. The pulse point there beat quickly, beckoning him, and Rhys felt his fangs lengthen in his mouth. He was normally in complete control of his animalistic cravings, but one glance at this woman’s neck had him aching to feel her pulse under his mouth, to taste her blood. And suddenly he sounded like the raving mad vampire from every bad horror movie ever. Gods what was wrong with him?
The woman blinked twice and must’ve realized what he was trying to do because she covered his hand with her own and pushed in closer to him. The feel of her body against his was pure ecstasy.
“Is there something we can help you with?” Rhys sneered, turning his attention back to the two men who were slowly inching away from them.
“N-no sir.” The blonde man stuttered.
“I didn’t think so. Enjoy the rest of your night.” Rhys said, gently steering the woman back into the club.
He threw one last glance at the shifters behind him and let his true face show through for just a moment, a silent reminder of the fate that awaited them if they ever set foot in his club again. The men shuddered and stumbled towards the exit.
Feyre’s heart thumped so hard she was certain it would smash through her rib cage and leap out of her chest completely. With his large hand placed lightly on the small of her back, the handsome stranger escorted her back towards the bar. She’d only locked eyes with the stranger briefly, but Feyre was sure he was the most beautiful man she’d ever seen. Dark hair, tanned skin, and intense violet eyes with a mischievous glint that made her want to giggle like a schoolgirl. What was wrong with her?
As they approached the bar, Feyre pulled away from his touch and whirled to face him. She took in his full form, noting his expensive looking black dress clothes that encased his long legs and stretched across his broad chest. The dark-haired man seemed to falter for a moment as their gazes locked again and one of his hands flew to his chest. Strange.
“Are you alright?” she asked.
The man blinked at her for a moment and then barked out a laugh. “You were just cornered by two large shifters intent on causing you harm and you’re asking if I’m alright?” Feyre couldn’t stop the blush from staining her cheeks.
He took a few steps closer to her. “I’m fine, darling, are you?” When she didn’t say anything, his smile slipped, and his voice lowered dangerously. “They didn’t hurt you, did they?” Those violet eyes roamed her body for injuries, leaving a trail of heat in their wake.
“No.” Feyre managed to say, hating how breathless her voice sounded. “And thank you. For getting me out of there.”
His head tilted to the side as his eyes flicked to her hands. “It hardly seemed like you needed my help given those impressive powers of yours.” So, he’d seen her magic. Tamlin wouldn’t be happy about that. Then again, it’s not as if she planned to tell him about any of this.
Feyre brushed off the comment about her powers by introducing herself. “I’m Feyre.” She said, extending her hand between them. The man’s eyes narrowed briefly before he slid his hand into hers. Electricity sparked throughout her body at the feel of his rough fingers against her own.
“Rhys.” he said, flashing her a crooked grin. Feyre caught a glimpse of a fang amongst his perfect white teeth. Vampire. Rhys.
Neither of them moved to end the handshake. In fact, Rhys seemed to be drifting closer. Or maybe she was? It didn’t matter because in the next moment, a hand closed around her arm, jerking her away from Rhys. Feyre stumbled into the large blonde man to her right as the familiar scent of roses filled her nose. Tamlin.
“Get the hell away from her.” Tamlin growled at Rhys who’d tensed at the intrusion.
Those violet eyes fell to where Tamlin held Feyre by the arm and briefly flashed red. Vampire indeed. “I suggest you let go of her arm, Tamlin.” Rhys said in a voice that made Feyre shiver.
Wait…they knew each other? Tamlin did let her go only to move further between Feyre and Rhys.
“Don’t you dare tell me how to behave towards my fiancé, Rhysand.”
“Fiancé?” Rhys’s eyes slid to hers at the mention of what she was to Tamlin. He didn’t sound angry; more curious if anything. It struck her then how wrong all of this was. She shouldn’t feel embarrassed to be Tamlin’s fiancé; shouldn’t be ashamed to stand next to him.
“Stay away from her Rhys. I don’t ever want to see your sullied hands on her again.” Feyre’s temper flared at Tamlin’s words. She wasn’t a child he could boss around.
“Would you stop it with the macho bullshit, Tamlin?” she spat, moving out from behind him. “We were just shaking hands. Rhys wasn’t accosting me.”
“She’s right.” Rhys interjected, eyes shifting back to Tamlin. “I wasn’t. But tell us, Tamlin, where were you when your fiancé was being cornered in the back of the club by two shifters?” Tamlin’s head swiveled to Feyre, pinning her with an accusatory look as if he was certain it was somehow her fault that she’d gotten into trouble. “If you’d been there to protect your woman, I wouldn’t have had to step in. Not that I minded, Feyre darling.” Rhys mused, flashing Feyre another grin that did funny things to her heart.
Tamlin, however, looked like he was going to explode. “Stay away from Feyre. She is mine.” Feyre inwardly cringed at those words. Mine. Was she really Tamlin’s woman? Or was she just an accessory?
With a final glare at Rhys, Tamlin pivoted, gripping Feyre’s arm again as he ushered her towards the exit. Rage clouded her vision, and she tugged her arm from his grip with a glare. She’d certainly been manhandled enough for one night. His green eyes widened as he looked at her with confusion.
“What’s wrong Feyre?”
She almost laughed. “Tamlin, you haven’t once asked if I’m okay. You’re more worried about what Rhys did or didn’t say to me than you are about whether I’m alright after being attacked. Which I am, by the way. In case you were wondering.”
“Fucking Rhys.” Tamlin bared his teeth, eyes flashing gold at the mention of his apparent adversary. Had he even heard a word she’d said? “You say his name like you know him. But you don’t. You have no idea what kind of man he is or what he’s capable of.” His gaze shifted to her again and his features softened slightly. “I just couldn’t stand the sight of his hands on you Feyre. I…lost my temper. I’m sorry.” Feyre leveled him with a withering look. “Will you forgive me? Can we go home?” he asked, green eyes pleading with her.
She was still angry with Tamlin, but supposed the apology would do for now. “Yeah. We can go.” She said quietly as his arm wrapped gently around her waist. It didn’t feel nearly as comforting as Rhys’s arm had.
Even now, Feyre was certain she could feel his eyes on her. She fought the urge to look back at Rhys, but her own curiosity won out in the end. As she let Tamlin urge her closer to the door, Feyre looked over her shoulder to find Rhys already watching her, an intense look in those strange violet eyes. His sinfully sculpted lips immediately turned up into a small grin as he dipped his head towards her in a silent farewell. Her traitorous heart fluttered wildly in her chest again as she forced herself to look away.
They’d finally made it out onto the street, but the cool night air barely did a thing to calm the flush Feyre felt throughout her entire body. She felt lightheaded and warm and so confused. How could one man have such an effect on her? For Cauldron’s sake, they’d only said a few words to each other and Tamlin was right, she knew next to nothing about Rhys. But she did know that he’d made her feel more alive and seen than Tamlin had in…well…ever. Even as guilt clawed at her chest, Feyre couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to be loved by a man like Rhys.
As Rhys watched her go, he realized what the pain in his chest meant. He could practically see the invisible thread that tethered he and Feyre together; a bond that defied all logic and obeyed only the rules of the cosmos. Feyre had glanced at him one last time before disappearing from his sight and the curiosity in her grey-blue eyes gave him hope that she’d felt even a fraction of the intense need roaring inside of him. He needed to know Feyre; what she liked, what she despised, what she dreamt of.
This wasn’t goodbye. One day she would realize she was far too good for a waste of space like Tamlin Rose and Rhys was willing to wait. He’d wait a millennium if he had to. Nothing would stand in the way of Rhys getting to know his mate.
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