In “Communion,” Strieber tells us a tale that is both terrifying and powerfully imaginative. What was behind those nightly visitations? Many common explanations for his encounters with the visitors are, at first glance, merely psychological: sleep-paralysis, temporal lobe epilepsy, hallucinogenic visualizations. Yet, after reading through the encounters in detail, many things do not add up. What sticks out the most, arguably, is the fact that Strieber did not have temporal lobe epilepsy. The blinding white light, followed by visual hallucinations – is a common order of symptoms. That would be a psychologist’s first choice. Another possibility might be some sort of childhood trauma resurfacing through elaborate pathologies.
While this is still on the table, the experiences illicit such strange patterns and archetypes, they seem to transcend any known mental disorder, and instead go into the realm which better resembles psychotropic experiences.
Dissociation with the body, intense visual and profoundly supernatural encounters plague Strieber’s experiences. Whatever these beings are, they appear to be most interested in psycho-emotional tests, and whatever experimentation is done resembles more a dark shaman’s work than a doctor’s. With strange needles that go up the nose and prod particular areas associated with consciousness, these beings appear to be some sort of phenomenon of consciousness, some strange dream-like state which cannot be easily discounted by sleep-paralysis, epilepsy or other disorders, but somehow includes and transcends them, slipping through the cracks of what we know today about the mind. Are they true, conscious beings, existing in an alternative reality – one that is more based upon consciousness then physical presence? Or are they a bizarre creation of our own minds? If they are our own minds, then a strange, continuous story seems to be playing over in people much like Strieber. A bizarre process by which these beings seem to come through into our world, changing and transforming the “spiritual” and mental self into something- different.
If they are real beings, then the story is the same, but it’s not just us playing with ourselves. It’s something more. The experiences appear to be “triggered,” in which people can go through trance like, dissociative states. There is little physical evidence for their presence, save witnessing them appear in the house, and occasionally moving the bedroom door. What seems most abundant for us to study is their subjective presence. What people claim to see, sometimes together, usually alone, and what they undergo. This, if anything, is the most telling, and can help us dissect the disorders from true abduction encounters. A “true” encounter, by definition is not claiming to be an extra-terrestrial abduction, but the experience of something like one. Whether this is a psychic abduction, where these beings are psycho-spiritual kidnappers and experimenters, or a bizarre disorder which creates the experience of a psychic-abduction- this is yet to be determined with any confidence by the current knowledge of the human mind.
I just received my copy of Communion by Whitley Strieber. I read this book a while ago, but misplaced it over time and decided to purchase another copy. In between the great feasts we’ve been having over the holiday weekend, I’ve been giving my mind a heaping portion of Strieber’s bizarre experiences with alien abduction.
I don’t know what to think of Whitley in 2009, but in 1987, he seemed to have a healthier dose of skepticism about his own experiences. While intense, unusual and somewhat unbelievable, he remains ambiguous throughout the book, not sure if his encounters with the strange night time entities were fabrications of his mind, or actual beings, out there. I appreciated this skeptical outlook in the book. To me, it helps keep my mind grounded while I go through his frightening trips. It also makes things weirder: If he’s crazy, how can he be so clear and present, skeptical? If he’s a liar – well, it doesn’t seem disingenuous. Not one bit. His writing style may be dramatic at certain points, but he was a fiction author, before and after writing Communion. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, and consider he may very well believe, or want to believe a lot of what he is describing.
To go into the analysis more heavily, I’d like to explore his accounts in detail. During his hypnosis, Strieber and his psychologist work carefully to explore 1) strange memories which seem to “mask” hidden traumatic encounters and 2) missing time. During his hypnosis, the experience begins with something odd, sounding even schizophrenic – He is standing by the window, sees a meteor or a spark – and feels it is there for him to see, like a special message. He tells his wife, he thinks someone is coming to see him after witnessing that light in the sky. This reminds me very much of the type of experiences schizophrenics have; the experiences are often personal. Yet, Strieber appears to have no other symptoms of schizophrenia. Strange.
The actual abduction experiences often begin with him in bed, paralyzed, and unable to move. In one account, he awakens to an intense sense of presence in the room, and seeing multiple beings surrounding his bed. He is unable to move or shake his wife at first. His dog is sleeping on the ground, seemingly unaware of the intruders. He looks to his wife, then back to the intruders, they are moving closer every time he turns his head. He refers to them as “blue babies” – strange, mushroom colored beings with circular mouths, dark blue robes and rounder, thicker bodies than the grays. He can’t move through any of this. He just watches, and begins to hear voices command him: Your wife won’t wake up.
This to me sounds like a classic sleep paralysis, which has been studied quite thoroughly since the time this book was written. Even still, Strieber eventually recalls shaking his wife, and even running downstairs, seeing the “female gray” standing in his living room. Can a night terror turn into sleep-walking, or more like a walking-nightmare? He also remembers that a glass bottle explodes in the kitchen, with no trace of water inside, but glass everywhere. This, his wife Anne confirms. Although, neither of them remember seeing any creatures in the room. This was all confirmed after hypnosis. His son screams, he remembers picking him up and holding him, and Anne finally waking up, running to the kitchen to see them.
So, what happened exactly? Did something strange actually occur? Or was it a night terror that Strieber fought himself out of? If so, why did his son seem terrified too?
The ambiguity here is somewhat frustrating. It starts out like classic-sleep paralysis, defies many of the criteria for that, and becomes something …odd.
Since the time this book was written, authors have attempted to explain this bizarre experience. One such writer is Daniel Pinchbeck. Author of “2012” and “Breaking Open the Head,” Daniel has his own theories as to what the experiences may entail, and they don’t quite fit into the classical scientific paradigm, or the contemporary Strieber’s faith in the reality of extra-terrestrials.
Pinchbeck sees a world right beneath our own: of spirit, energy, and higher dimensions. Aspects of consciousness we don’t have access to in every-day life. This is the world of the shamans: an ecology not just of the physical, but metaphysical. Spiritual ecospheres, some parasitic, some not. To Pinchbeck, the Grays are a re-invention, and evolution of an ancient, Earth-based phenomenon: trolls, cave spirits and fairies. Why is this the case? Well, if you look at the abduction experience, it very much resembles a lot of the ancient myths and folklore, right down to the smell and look of the spaceships. Dark, grimy, cave-like. What do the mythical creatures do? The same thing the grays do – steal people away in the night, take them to their cave, perform sexual and physical “experiments” (though in ancient times it was not seen as experiments or tests, just as… well, them taking you and prodding you with painful objects).
These entities do not seem benevolent, but parasitic. The preyed upon negativity, dark energies, or in other words, Pinchbeck sees them as representing our planets “shadow” consciousness, our unconscious self. In terms of an eco-sphere, these beings are likened to the bacteria living in our intestines, living in the dark, grimy areas, feeding off metaphysical decay. Our fear, our trembling. Strangely, Whitley even describes points where the visitors forced him to eat rotten food – including a rotting pomegranate. He remembers vomiting it up, being given something like a pill, and then force-fed the pomegranate again. This all seems violent, forceful, as if they are forcing abductees to go through a transformation, but is it a benevolent one?
Pinchbeck doesn’t believe it’s mere psychology at work – these entities are real. They exist in realms that can only be accessed through dreams or visions, as the shamans are well acquainted with, and the best times that every-day folk can access these, of course, are in dream-like states. That is why, he argues, they occur during night-terrors. They attempt to do “something” to our spiritual bodies, and the more we believe in them, even out of fear, the more they become a reality. In other words, the host is giving what the parasite needs, so the parasite grows.
A telling tale in Strieber’s book that may actually confirm this is his own confirmation: throughout his experiences, the terror had not truly dimmed. He remained terrified during every experience. There was no “remembrance” of the past encounters. Instead, it was like a recurring nightmare in which you live through, once again, without knowing it happened before. This to me, at least, seems like something a parasitic entity would do, if it wanted to feast off of your fears.
Strieber also brings up similar points, even in 1987. He likens his experiences to old folklore tales, and raises the idea that these entities may have been here since time immemorial.
That’s all for now folks. Thanks for listening and stay tuned!
Last week, I took a drive to Mount Misery, a popular ghost hunting location on Long Island. We discovered a new trail leading up to to top of the mount – it’s more like a mountain. We could see the whole town lit up on the horizon. No ghosts, but a great view!
The audio recorder we were carrying picks up two notable sounds; a whispering voice and a strange sound. More on this later!
Just read a quick story here. Apparently the man claims to have been ordered to shoot down a UFO during the Cold War, and afterwards being ordered to keep his mouth shut.
“I shall never forget it,” he told the Times. “On that night I was ordered to open fire even before I had taken off. That had never happened before.”
More and more of these seem to keep popping up. Another confession by an Apollo astronaut, Edgar Mitchell, claims that UFO’s and extra terrestrials are a very real phenomenon. How should we be seeing these confessions? In 2001, a massive confession my multiple former members of NASA, the military and government came forward under the UFO Disclosure Project. In fact, that seems like a good story to cover. Stay tuned for more information and juicy details.