Excerpt from Communion: A True Story
© 1987 Whitley Strieber. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
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Chapter One

December 26, 1985

My wife and I own a log cabin in a secluded corner of upstate New York. It is in this cabin that our primary experiences have taken place. I will deal first with what I remember of December 26, 1985, and then with what was subsequently jogged into memory concerning October 4, 1985. Until I sought help, I remembered only that there was a strange disturbance on October 4. An interviewer asked if I could recall any other unusual experiences in my past. The night of October 4 had also been one of turmoil, but it took discussions with the other people who had been in the cabin at the time to help me reconstruct it.

This part of my narrative, covering December 26, is derived from journal material I had written before undergoing any hypnosis or even discussing my situation with anybody.

When I was alone, this is what it was like.

Our cabin is very hidden and quiet, part of a small group of cabins scattered across an area served by a private dirt road, which itself branches off a little-used country road that leads to an old town that isn't even mentioned on many maps. We spend more than half of our time at the cabin, because I do most of my work there. We also have an apartment in New York City.

Ours is a very sedate life. We don't go out much, we rarely drink more than wine, and neither of us has ever used drugs. From 1977 until 1983 1 wrote imaginative thrillers, but in recent years I had been concentrating on much more serious fiction about peace and the environment, books that were firmly grounded in fact. Thus, at this time in my life, I wasn't even working on horror stories, and at no time had I ever been in danger of being deluded by them.

We were having a lovely Christmas at the cabin in late December 1985. On Christmas Eve there was snow, which continued for two more days. My son had discovered to his delight that the snow would fall in perfect crystalline flakes on his gloves if he stood still with his hands out.

On December 26 we spent a happy morning breaking in his new sled, then went cross-country skiing in the afternoon. For supper we had leftover Christmas goose, cranberry sauce, and cold sweet potatoes. We drank seltzer with fresh lime in it. After our son went to bed, Anne and I sat quietly together listening to some music and reading.

At about eight-thirty I turned on the burglar alarm, which covers every accessible window an all the doors. For no reason then apparent, I had developed an unusual habit the previous fall. As secretly as ever I made a tour of the house, peering in closets and even looking under the guest-room bed for hidden intruders. I did this immediately after setting the alarm. By ten o'clock we were in bed, and eleven both of us were asleep.

The night of the twenty-sixth was cold and cloudy. There were perhaps eight inches of snow on the ground, and it was still falling lightly.

I do not recall any dreams or disturbances at all. There was apparently a large unknown object seen in the immediate vicinity at approximately this time of month, but a report of it would not be published for another week. Even when I read that report, though, I did not relate it in any way to my experience. Why should I? The report attributed the sightings to a practical joke. Only much later, when I researched it myself, did I discover how inaccurate that report was.

I have never seen an unidentified flying object. I thought that the whole subject had been explained by science. It took me a couple of months to establish the connection between what had happened to me and possible nonhuman visitors, so unlikely did such a connection seem.

In the middle of the night of December 26 – 1 do not know the exact time – I abruptly found myself awake. And I knew why: I heard a peculiar whooshing, swirling noise coming from the living room downstairs. This was no random creak, no settling of the house, but a sound as if a large number of people were moving rapidly around in the room.

I listened carefully. The noise just didn't make sense. I sat up in bed, shocked and very curious. There was an edge of fear. The night was dead still, windless. My eyes went, straight to the burglar-alarm panel beside the bed. The system was armed and working perfectly. Not a covered window or door was opened, and nobody had entered – at least according to the row of glowing lights.

What I did next may seem peculiar. I settled back in bed. For some reason the extreme strangeness of what I was hearing did not rouse me to action. Over the course of this narrative this sort of inappropriate response will be repeated many times. If something is strange enough, the reaction is very different from what one would think. The mind seems to tune it out as if by some sort of instinct.

No sooner had I settled back than I noticed that one of the double doors leading into our bedroom was moving closed. As they close outward, this meant that the opening was getting smaller, concealing whatever was behind that door. I sat. up again. My mind was sharp. I was not asleep, nor in a hypnopompic state between sleep and waking. I wish to be clear that I felt, at that moment, wide awake and in full possession of all my faculties. I could easily have gotten up and read a book or listened to the radio or gone for a midnight walk in the snow.

I could not imagine what could be going on, and I got very uneasy. ~

The foregoing is excerpted from Communion by Whitley Strieber. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022

Communion: A True Story
© 1987 Whitley Strieber
All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers