By STEFAN FATSIS Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK (AP) – What angers Whitley Strieber most is the attitude of UFO debunkers who outright reject his claims in the best-selling book Communion that he was abducted by short, stocky, big-eyed humanoids.
     Strieber, the 42-year-old author of pop thrillers-turned-movies The Wolfen and The Hunger, resolutely denies inventing his 299-page account of bright lights and midnight visits by alien beings to his remote cabin in upstate New York.
     “I believe I am telling the truth,” Strieber said in a telephone interview.
     Communion never demands that you believe in UFOs or that you believe that the visitors are physically real.
     “All it asks you to do is place into question some of the paradigms about reality and the nature of the mind," he said. “I'm not asking more than that.”
     Communion, which has sold more than 250,000 copies and was No. 1 on the New York Times non-fiction best-seller list for three weeks, details Strieber's reported contacts with alien visitors in 1985–86.
     In the book, Strieber says on one occasion humanoids wearing gray body-suits carried him to a small depression in the woods and later to a messy chamber. The visitors, he says, physically assaulted him, inserting a “shiny, hair-thin needle” in his head and a long, scaly object in his rectum.
     “It wasn't dreamlike in any way – you don't get a needle mark in your head from a dream,” Strieber said. “I felt like I was being raped. ... It just didn't strike me as being hallucinatory or dreamlike in nature.”
     Co-author of two books about nuclear war and the environment, Warday and Nature's End, Strieber said he has received more than 2,000 letters from readers, over half of whom claim some kind of alien contact.
     He is forming a referral service network of doctors and counselors – not UFO investigators – for people who have written to him claiming paranormal experiences.
     “People know that something is going on and it's not understood by science,” Strieber said. “The result of this is they're just simply not going to buy the debunkers. They shouldn't believe them. The real problem we have now is that the debunkers are frightening the scientific community into not taking a clear-headed look at this.
     Communion has been done with a lot of care and a lot of attention to candor,” he added. “There's no reason that someone with a good reputation can't take it seriously and study it seriously.”
     Many details of Strieber's alleged encounters emerged during hypnosis sessions with a New York City psychiatrist, transcripts of which are included in the book.
     Strieber says he underwent a battery of physical and psychological tests that showed him to be normal, and also passed two polygraphs. The bottom of each page of Communion asserts that Strieber's is “A True Story.”
     “I believe it so completely that I can take a lie detector test and pass,” he said. “I cannot be convinced – not by myself, not by a psychiatrist, not by anybody – that there is the slightest doubt this is real.”
     Strieber, who includes his wife and 8-year-old son among witnesses to the paranormal happenings, is writing a sequel entitled Transformation about subsequent visits.
     The author received a $1 million advance from the publisher for Communion but said negotiations haven't been completed for the new book, which details his struggle to come to terms with being the apparent subject of alien experiments.
     Transformation includes one “major” encounter and three minor ones with the same humanoids, Strieber said. The sequel is about his “transformation” from a frightened victim to someone who is “going to tell it like it was, damn the consequences.”
     He said he no longer fears when he will be “visited” again.
     “I just live my life,” Strieber said. “When these happen it's always a little startling. But I don't think in terms of when it will happen again.”
     The author said he had no interest in UFOs until his first encounters.
     “It just didn't seem to matter very much,” he said. “My concerns were peace and the environment.”
     “When I was 11 or 12 there were (outer space) movies ... but it wasn't something that we thought was particularly real. It was science fiction, but you don't expect science fiction to be real.”

(Communion is published by William Morrow) ~

AP 08/07 0818
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