Arizona Central Chat
Whitley Strieber on (May 20, 1998)

AzCentral: Thanks for coming to tonight's chat with Whitley Strieber. He is the author of Communion and his newest book Confirmation. Whitley is in Phoenix promoting his book and talking about his experiences with aliens. He will be at Barnes and Nobel in Scottsdale tonight signing books at 7 p.m. So when you get done with the chat, you can go see him in person. Let's get this show on the road.

Whitley_Strieber: Hello everyone.

Ibelieve presents a question:
I know you talked about the greys in Communion. What other types of alien races do you think are out there?

Whitley_Strieber: I have never been certain even that there are any alien races out there. What I can prove is something unknown is happening. I can't prove anything else so therefore I can't be certain.

Abducted presents a question:
I am sure you've heard about the mysterious lights over Phoenix. What do you think they were?

Whitley_Strieber: The Phoenix lights are two different cases. The first one involved a triangular object videoed at 8:30 in the evening. I don't think anyone has ever explained this object. The claims that it was a secret military aircraft seem farfetched. Why would it be flying over a large city? The objects taped descending behind the mountains at 10:30 p.m. are more questionable. The Air Force has claimed they were flares. But the pattern of descent seems too even. The Air Force will not repeat the maneuver, therefore, it seems possible that the claim is not true.

Abducted presents a question:
Why do you think aliens have been so prevalent in the media lately? Look at the movies and TV shows: The X-Files, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Men in Black, Contact, Alien 1,2,3, Species 1,2 etc. What do you think that is saying about our culture?

Whitley_Strieber: The public suspects there may be aliens here. Officially, this is denied. So it is entering popular culture through the means of the imagination.

slp presents a question:
What happened when you were abducted?

Whitley_Strieber: Read Communion.

Mesa Mom presents a question:
were you scared?

Whitley_Strieber: Yes. At first. Later, when they began to come back, I became less scared.

Ibelieve presents a question:
What is their purpose for being here. Why are they abducting people -- is it to learn how our anatomy works, to learn our weaknesses?Are they hostile?

Whitley_Strieber: We don't know what they are. We don't know their motives. We only know that they represent – a provable but unexplained phenomenon. Beyond saying that, it is simply too early to draw conclusions.

MIB presents a question:
What is it that is being surgically removed from people who have been abducted? What is its purpose?

Whitley_Strieber: Implants have been removed. We do not know their purpose.

Silly presents a question:
Do you have scars as a result of your abduction?

Whitley_Strieber: No I do not.

monalisa presents a question:
Is there more extra terrestrial activity in the southwest, and if so, why?

Whitley_Strieber: Right now there are extensive UFO sighting in New England, Florida and the Southwest. Historically, a great deal of activity has been observed in the Southwest, possibly because of all of the open sky, possibly because of all the secret military bases.

Mesa Mom presents a question:
People make fun of people who believe in alien abductions. Why?

Whitley_Strieber: They laugh at what they fear.

slp presents a question:
Do you think segments of the popular culture, such as the Xfiles, are increasing discussion of alien sightings?

Whitley_Strieber: Yes very definitely. The presence of this subject in the entertainment medium reflects a high level of real interest. But people remain much more willing to take this as entertainment than to consider the idea that it might be real. That's hard to do. It's going to take courage on the part of the whole society to do that.

slp presents a question:
Did you ever doubt your own story or memories?

Whitley_Strieber: For me, everything about my experience is always in question. And will remain in question until evidence evolves into proof.

Mesa Mom presents a question:
What can parents do to protect their kids?

Whitley_Strieber: When children report this, the best response may be to be supportive and loving and not make a big deal out of it. We do not have letters suggesting that anyone is being hurt by this. So it would seem better to let children say what they want to without questioning them or implying to high a level of interest. Hopefully, they will not be frightened by it. Some children are, but most are not. Because we don't know what causes this experience there is no way to say how to protect someone from it. However, if it appears that the stress is involved the help of a mental health professional should be considered.

Silly presents a question:
I think it's fun to entertain the idea of aliens but where is the hard core proof?

Whitley_Strieber: There isn't any proof. We have hard evidence.
It is explored in detail in Confirmation.

hiflyer presents a question:
Do the visits occur more often in the winter, is there a seasonal or weather relationship?

Whitley_Strieber: In my own experience there seems to be a slight seasonal bias toward autumn and winter and less activity when there was snow on the ground.

hudsucker presents a question:
Have you considered that a cultural embrace of “alien” life is possibly escapist?

Whitley_Strieber: I discuss this in Communion to an extent concentration on something like this can be an attempt to escape difficult realities. At the same time, things like implant evidence suggests that this is extremely provocative and should be carefully addressed by science and society.

hiflyer presents a question:
You say a 'provable phenomenon', how do you mean that?

Whitley_Strieber: There is hard evidence. More could be gathered. In Confirmation I outline specific methods available now that science could use to do this. If it was done in an organized way, the answer to the question of what is going on could be found. Whether the proof would turn out to be of an alien presence or not, I do not know. But certainly, the mystery is solvable.

toadlily presents a question:
Some schizophrenics claim to have some kind of tracking device implanted. Do you think there is a connection with abductions?

Whitley_Strieber: As long as this phenomena remains clouded in mystery it's effect are going to be part of the delusional background with the result that paranoids, schizophrenics and other people suffering from mental illnesses will co-opt the phenomena and integrate it into their fantasies.

Ibelieve presents a question:
How did you handle the pressure when you first started telling people about your experiences? I am sure people thought you were nuts. How did you handle that?

Whitley_Strieber: I handled it badly. When people thought I was crazy, I got mad. When they called me a Liar, I got even madder. I was not expecting the intensity of the response. For a number of years it was like being a hunted animal.

MIB presents a question:
I read your book when I was a teenager. It really frightened me. I plan to buy and read your new book. But I am still scared. Am I being unreasonable?

Whitley_Strieber: I think that caution is a more appropriate response that fear given that the experience is very powerful and disturbing. But there is a singular lack of cases in which any real harm can be shown to have come to anybody. Although rumors about this are frequently spread, when they are tracked down, they are almost always proven to be groundless.

Philly presents a question:
How many people do you think have been abducted and do they all remember it?

Whitley_Strieber: It is very difficult to remember 17:21:24 Whitley_Strieber: Undoubtedly, many people have more or less total amnesia. How many total people are involved is anyone's guess, but it certainly must be in the millions.

hudsucker presents a question:
Do the aliens announce their intentions before their visit, or it is all spontaneous?

Whitley_Strieber: Sometimes, there is warning. It can come in a straightforward way as UFOs appearing beforehand or as subtly as a kind of focused dream. Other times, the experience presents itself as a total surprise.

thomas ropp presents a question:
Have you stayed in contact with Dr. Mack? Does he still support you and other alleged abductees?

Whitley_Strieber: Dr. Mack remains as supportive as ever.

MIB presents a question:
Do you think the coming of the next millennium means anything for us in terms of possible contact with aliens?

Whitley_Strieber: If this phenomenon represents the approach of aliens then the way it is developing would suggest that open contact is not far off. I discuss this in Confirmation. How far off, I believe, is primarily dependent on the way we react and the depth of our understanding. A gap is slowly being closed. At some point there will be a spark.

Philly presents a question:
How do people know you're telling the truth?

Whitley_Strieber: Prior to Confirmation, I always asked people to keep everything, including my own statements, in question. Confirmation details the degree of hard evidence that is involved. Close encounter stories like mine are not yet provable. While there is other evidence that is pretty hard, I believe these stories at least for the present should remain in question. In this, I include my own.

hudsucker presents a question:
Do you ever wonder whether many alien abducts are in fact traumatized, and using the abduction as a vent?

Whitley_Strieber: I feel that there must be a good number of people concealing things like traumatic memories of childhood abuse behind a veil of supposed alien contact. We need to learn more about the way the experience is actually structured before we can tell the difference between that sort of an account and a real one.

Abducted presents a question:
When did you write your first book? How long did it take you to write your second one, Confirmation?

Whitley_Strieber: I have been writing books for 20 years. Confirmation was 10 years in the making, 18 months in the writing. It is probably my most important book. Certainly, if I am remembered at all, it will be for Communion and Confirmation.

slp presents a question:
What sort of response did you get from your family and friends?

Whitley_Strieber: Very mixed. My wife and son drew closer to me. Many of our friends drifted away.

Philly presents a question:
But what evidence do you have?

Whitley_Strieber: The most extraordinary evidence involved implants, including my own, this is detailed in the book.

slp presents a question:
What long-term impact has this had on your life?

Whitley_Strieber: It has changed my life completely. It has made my life more difficult, also more interesting. I think it has opened me in every way – intellectually, spiritually, even psychically.

toadlily presents a question:
When you say implant removal, so you mean breast implants?

Whitley_Strieber: question is fairly silly. I would suggest reading my book.

hiflyer presents a question:
Are you organizing to find the evidence to confirm these events? are you interested? for others' sake, i mean, obviously you have your own proof. are there others who are following your suggestions to gather this evidence and see what it leads to??

Whitley_Strieber: There needs to be more evidence gathered before really confirming interpretations can be achieved. This evidence must be gathered by science. I believe that there will be sufficient interest in the scientific community to eventually do this. I am hoping that my foundation, the Communion Foundation, will be able to start some key pilot programs at I detail in Confirmation.

hudsucker presents a question:
Has your mission to inform become easier with time, or more frustrating.

Whitley_Strieber: It flows in cycles. Right now, it's easier. Later there will be a backlash against Confirmation. The implant stories, especially, will be debunked and dismissed in inappropriate ways. Whether this will result in a long-term set back, or just a brief one, I have no idea. It takes a lot of patience to work with material as difficult as this for society to absorb. You have to roll with the punches.

Philly presents a question:
I don't think you're crazy, I think you're full of it. You're speaking in platitudes. Can't you offer any specifics?

Whitley_Strieber: Do me the courtesy of at least paging through my book in a store. Then make whatever accusations you feel are appropriate.

Nynaeve presents a question:
What has frustrated you most while doing your research?

Whitley_Strieber: The most frustrating thing is the unwillingness of science to cooperate and the difficulty in finding goof scientists and doctors who will deal with this on an open, non-anonymous basis. It is going to be even harder to take it to a level where papers can appear in the peer-reviews scientific press. But that would seem to be the next step.

Silly presents a question:
Why did you write a book about your abduction?

Whitley_Strieber: I thought it was fascinating. If I had realize that a book of questions would be taken as a book of claims and so ferociously denounced, I might not have written it. But I am glad i did. It turned out to be an important book – one that needed to be written by somebody. Unfortunately, it turned out to be me.

MIB presents a question:
Have you ever considered writing science fiction novels?

Whitley_Strieber: I don't think anything I have written qualifies as science fiction. I used to read it when I was younger, but I haven't in years. I don't know if I could write such a novel. I would like to write more fiction though.

hiflyer presents a question:
It seems you have the luxury of answering only those questions you're ready for, that's a nice advantage to this mode of communication. is it possible to email you with more complex questions, or are you tiring of the constant questioning, maybe even the entire subject. i can sympathize that it must get old, it's just hard to present some questions in short blurbs like this...

Whitley_Strieber: I agree that the format is difficult. On the other hand I have written an entire book that contains quite complex and thorough answers to most of the questions I am capable of answering. I had to close my email to public access due to the fact that I was getting 500 messages a day. Not all of it was spam. :-)

hiflyer presents a question:
Have you come to the idea that we share a 'common consciousness' with these aliens, that we're actually related in that sense? What I mean is, you don't know their motives, can you feel any sense that they are motive-ated beings like ourselves, with goals and plans??

Whitley_Strieber: The phenomena has a structure of coming slowly more and more into focus. If there is indeed somebody here, this could quite possibly be the outcome of planning on their part.

seaveg presents a question:
From an “Alien” point of view, aren't we the dangerous ones. Like “Aliens R Us”?

Whitley_Strieber: If they found us dangerous, I wonder if they would be here at all. Sometimes, I have sensed a sardonic sense of humor. I have never gotten the impression that they thought of us as particularly dangerous except for the possibility of our lashing out at them within close proximity. What is happening to us is in some respects not unlike the process of familiarization that we undertake when taming a wild animal.

seaveg presents a question:
Why do you think “Aliens” are depicted as lizards, reptiles and dangerous killers in popular motion pictures?

Whitley_Strieber: Because it sells tickets. The cycle will change. In the 50s, such depictions were popular. By the time the 70s came along, the Close Encounters image was what was selling the tickets. This cycle has to do with us more than what is happening to us.

thomas ropp presents a question:
Do you think it's possible to communicate with aliens through remote viewing?

Whitley_Strieber: It is an interesting question. In a larger sense, if there are aliens here, how will we communicate with them. What methods will we use? Will we even be able to communicate? It is almost impossible for us to understand the meaning of the song of the whales. This is a complex earthly species. How will we ever communicate with an even more complex species from another world. This is going to be the greatest intellectual challenge in Human history.

thomas ropp presents a question:
Do you think your early novel WOLFEN, about phantasmagorical wolves in New York City, hurt your credibility in the field of alien abduction? some would argue you're still writing fiction.

Whitley_Strieber: I would argue back that the presence of this imagery in most of my earlier works suggests the presence of repressed memory.

Xenomorpheus presents a question:
I am very honored Mr. Strieber, and I have Confirmation. It was very intellectually stimulating. I must ask the question that has been posed to astronomers about the existence of other life. Why us? I mean we are next to a 3rd rate star, basically in the middle of nowhere and haven't developed the means necessary to travel beyond light speed. I do believe in ET-life and support S.E.T.I.

AZCentral: Hold on folks just on second. Mr. Strieber needed a quick break. We seem to be having technical difficulties.

AZCentral: Well folks, it looks like Mr. Strieber just got called away. He needs to get going for the book signing tonight and is unable to chat anymore. So, unfortunately, we are going to have to wrap up tonight's chat. But thanks for all your interesting questions. Thanks everyone for a great chat! ~