December 26, 1995 will be the tenth anniversary of my primary physical encounter with the visitors. In 1995, I am publishing another book about my experiences with them, entitled Beyond Communion. The primary reason that I waited this long is that I needed time to gain a better intellectual grasp and find a more consistent emotional focus.

This period has been rich with encounter, and during the time since Communion was published in 1987, a vast outpouring of letters from other people who have had the same experience, over a hundred and twenty thousand of them. There has also been much persecution, from the UFO community, fundamentalist Christians and possibly the Catholic Church, and intelligence organizations. Most of this has been carefully documented, and some of the governmental intervention amounts to proof positive that they care deeply about UFO issues and are willing to blatantly violate the law in order to bully people like me into silence, discredit us, or channel our public behavior into more acceptable directions.

So Beyond Communion will be about encounters and their meaning, about the people who have them and the vast difference between what is actually happening and what gets into the media, and about why the cover-up happened and how to end it.

Waiting has had a secondary effect of destroying the market value of the new book. As far as I'm concerned, this is all to the good, despite the serious personal problems this is obviously causing me. This time I cannot be accused of being a huckster. The publisher paid $125,000 for the new book, 12 1/2% of what I got for Communion, and I was lucky to find somebody who actually wanted to publish it.

I might also point out that the years I've spent away from the field are proof positive that I do not possess a cult, an accusation that was particularly stupid, given my preference for personal isolation.

The reason that I have fought so hard over these relatively trivial issues is that my credibility has become more important to me than ever. The visitors are real, and they are vital to our welfare. We've got to get this right, because if we don't we are going to follow our fossil predecessors. So people who deal with this have to apply unusually high standards of honesty and credibility to themselves. Anybody who wants to can call me a liar or spread calumnies about me. But there must not be the least suggestion in my lifestyle or statements that any of such nonsense could be true.

In Communion, I posed a list of eight questions about what the visitors might be. My experiences and my contact with so many other experiencers have convinced me that the visitors are entirely real, and the first and most important part of Beyond Communion is going to be about exactly how these contacts unfold and how to focus them into directions that are useful to the individual. The physical presence of the visitors appears to be only one part of a much larger continuum of being. It is this larger context that is most interesting to me, because this is where I have had my most extensive dialog with them. I am not talking here about channelling or dreams. It's something new, as far as I can see.

The second key thing in the book is the story of my long and very unpleasant relationship with the American intelligence community. This started in 1983, many years before I knew anything about the visitors, and has bascially been a matter of bullying and attempts to exploit a man who finds the whole concept of official secrecy revolting. As an adjuct to this, I am going to dicuss my involvement with the Mars Face. I financed some of the critical validational work associated with this project, and have had an interest in it for many years. There will be a detailed discussion of how NASA has almost completely destroyed our chance to understand this artifact, and why the planetary science community has so drastically narrowed its vision since the days of Apollo.

Thirdly, I'll write about my readers, the many thousands of people who have written me. With careful attention to legal issues and respect for privacy, I will discuss some of their reports. About them, I only have to say the following just now: 1. Spontaneous, unhypnotized reports that describe the “abduction scenario” that emerges when people are hypnotized by UFO experts are so rare as to be virtually non-existent. 2. The real experience is far more enigmatic, far stranger, and it is much too early to draw any conclusions about the visitors' physical motives, if any. 3. In recent years the number of reports from children has grown enormously.

As an aside, we have collected about 7,000 reports into computer files and have about 22,000 letters in paper files. The letters were selected simply on the basis of uniqueness or detail of report. We did not make an effort to verify any of the reports except those that I will discuss publicly. We did not do statistical analysis, because it is scientifically difficult to try to draw objective conclusions from a self-selected sample like a group of people who chose to write letters to a particular author. We have kept most of the stories very private, because we do not want the people who wrote them to be exploited or attacked, and if their names get out, both things will happen with absolute certainty.

I also want the writing of Beyond Communion to have a public element, and I will upload parts of the book from time to time for comment. But I also want the section to be a place for dialog, for exploration, an 'anything can happen' sort of a place. Above all, a place where we can have fun talking about our experiences. Maybe not too much an “issues” approach. There's another forum for that. Not arguing, but sharing of information. It's not that I dislike argument. But given that the issues so obscure, I wonder what sort of useful argument there can be? If nobody can prove anything one way or another, where is the point? What interests me now is the exchange of information. This is where the useful work is. Later, when the facts become clear, we can start the process of arguing about the issues that they imply. But first, what are the facts, please?

Here are some of my own current questions:

Given that the visitors are physical, what are they? Aliens? Some sort of new step in evolution? Beings from another reality? Demons or angels? Creatures out of time, either from the past or the future? Physical projections of mental states? Another level of the human species?

Given that they are involved with us, what are the dimensions of this involvement? Can they enter human bodies? Do they participate in our societies? Have they something to do with the soul? And how do people change after an encounter? What is the best stance to take if this is happening to you? And what about our kids, how are they handling it? (Note: so far in 1994 we have received more letters from people who announce themselves as being under the age of sixteen than in 1990–1993 combined. Why?)

So many questions, that maybe this ought to be called the Questions Section. Please, have fun with it. Adventures like this can be taken a lot of ways. One can project anger and retreat into a shell. I've done plenty of that. But opening is also possible. What if we make it, if contact occurs?

Which gets me to the last question: where is this thing going? Contact – what would it actually be? Is it even meaningful to use that word in the context of an experience that is already so vast, subtle and complex? We seem to be heading – or feel as if we are heading – toward some “moment.” Or is that a mirage? ~

Communion: Ten Years After
by Whitley Strieber
Presented on Compuserve, early to mid 1994
© 1994 Whitley Strieber