Whitley Strieber:
Toronto Encounter Alters His Perspective On “Visitors” and Coming Catastrophe

Michael Lindemann, CNI News
August 5, 1998

Famed author and self-professed abductee Whitley Strieber was just wrapping up the book tour for his latest book, Confirmation: The Hard Evidence of Aliens Among Us. He was in a hotel in Toronto, Canada, the night of June 6, 1998. As recounted in a journal entry recently posted to his web site, he had a strange encounter with an apparently human being that night that changed his perspective on many things. CNI News editor Michael Lindemann interviewed Strieber on August 5 regarding the Toronto encounter. This text includes excerpts from Strieber's journal posting, followed by excerpts from the interview.

From Whitley Strieber's Journal
Encounter of June 6, 1998

It had been twenty months since my last encounter. When we lost our cabin in upstate New York, my thrilling life of weekly and even daily encounters ended. In the years in the little condo in Texas – hard years of poverty and struggling to make ends meet – I had only two encounters. For the whole first year, I would meditate night after night. I grew angry, I became bereft. I would wake myself and my wife up crying in my sleep.

Then I pulled myself together and went on with my work. I had completely given up the idea of ever having another encounter when I had the best, the most incredible, the most stupendous encounter of my life. It was truly a marvel, and it has left me in a kind of spiritual whirlwind.

I was in a hotel room in Toronto, on the very last night of my Confirmation author tour, when I was awakened at three a.m. by a knock at the door. Absurdly, I leaped out of bed thinking that I had fallen asleep and left the room service waiter at the door! I rushed over yelling, “I'm terribly sorry."

When I threw the door open, a man in a dark colored suit came hurrying in. He was short-- maybe four and a half feet tall-- and had a rather pointed face. But he was a man, a human being, by anything that I could see. I rushed along behind him, totally astonished. I was completely normal. No altered state.

We talked for about half an hour. When I asked him where he was from, he said, “Toronto.” I asked him if he was a human being. He said that he was, but that he did not pay taxes. I asked him if he had ever lived off planet. He said that there is a higher world, and we can sometimes gain the right to enter it in life.

Gently, he told me that our world is “irretrievably lost.” He said, “the ones to whom you pay your taxes will be dragged in the streets before this suffering is ended.” What suffering? “You will see the signs in fire. Your planet's life has turned in its path. There will be a great extinction here."

Every word he uttered contained whole vast oceans of other words and meanings that came flying into my mind as he spoke. I grabbed a yellow pad and took notes.

I asked if the visitors would intervene. No. If they would take anybody off the planet. He only stared silently at me. His face seemed-- hungry? Sad? I really do not know how to interpret it.

There emerged an incredible promise: that an ancient path would again emerge. And suddenly I knew who this man was. Since I met one of them in 1971, I have known that there was an incredible secret group in this world, who knew the true path of the human soul. He told me then I would one day play a part in inducing this hidden path to resurface. He taught it to me, and I committed it to memory. I asked what I should do with it? He only shook his head.

I met this man on a path in Central Park. I was an innocent young man, just 27 and newly married.

Just before he left, the man in Toronto had me drink a fluid. He reminded me that I had taken this same drink as a child. He said that it contained the structures of my life, up until that night. He was here to give me the second cup, which would contain everything from June 6 until my death. He told me when and how I am to die, but he also said, “if you value your sanity, you will never utter this.” I can certainly see that. But I sense the truth of what he said, and I think that I have gained the peace of a dying man.

I have also gained a mission: our world is going to go through a time of great agony. I can tell you this: many of the people who now hold sway over us are going to end up despised by a thousand future generations.

At the same time, there is going to be a path found through the maelstrom, and the ones on the path will bear children, and the children will survive, and mankind will go on. But barely. Just barely.

I have always been too arrogant to believe in the coming of “the millennium.” I have always fallen back on elegant theories about a “change of mind” masquerading as visions of coming doom.

He did not give me visions. He read me chapter and verse... So my next, and quite possibly last, book will be based on this encounter. As soon as I finish The Edge, I will start writing it. A book about the hidden meaning of mankind. Oh, what a meaning we have. [end of journal entry]

Michael Lindemann: Can you elaborate on what this man looked like?

Whitley Strieber: He seemed short and slight to me. He was not a stocky man... He wore black clothing. I thought it was a military type outfit. It was unusual clothing, more like a leisure suit but not military enough to say this was a uniform. He had rather sparse gray hair and an elongated face, a sharp nose and chin. His eyelashes were very white. He looked like a small elderly man. Not an unkind face. The face didn't disturb me in any way. What did disturb me was that I realized this wasn't room service, and the next thought that crossed my mind was that I had let some lunatic into the room. I sort of rushed in behind him, thinking that I would lift him up and physically carry him out of the room. He was small enough that it looked like I could do that. In other words, I didn't feel threatened so much as like an idiot for letting this total stranger into my room.

ML: Once he was in the room, what happened next?

WS: He just began speaking. He was extremely frank. He said that we had passed something along the lines of a point of no return, and the environment would disintegrate around us – I'm not quoting, I'm just remembering the gist of it... I had the impression that he was trying to deliver a message quickly, out of fear that I would react in some negative way, like order him out or something. In other words, he started talking in order to disarm me. And when he did start talking, it was riveting. Because the way he sounded, he talked in a voice that I have really never heard before. It had an absolute sense of conviction and truth about it that was quite amazing to hear. If this man had been trying to sell me a car, I would have a car right now. He was very extraordinary.

ML: Did you recognize this man from the past?

WS: Yes. The children used to see him around the cabin back in the old days. All the kids did. I think the same man. That was what next crossed my mind. As soon as he started talking, I thought, “Oh my god, it's the little man who used to be at the cabin.” I never saw him, but some workmen who were there quit because he walked across the road in front of them, and they came up to the house and said, “There's an alien out in the woods, and we're not going to be pulling those vines down.” I was having them pull some poison ivy out of a tree. And they left.

ML: In your journal entry, you mentioned a meeting with “one of them” in 1971. Where does that fit in?

WS: It's very hard to put it together. I had some kind of interaction with him then, and I got some information from him then, also, that has become intelligible to me recently after all these years. It was intelligible before, but I didn't understand it deeply enough. And now I do. I understand all about it and I'm ready to write it down.... The thing that happened in 1971 was a meeting. But this man, or someone like him, has been in my life for a while. Because when I was in Toronto, I ended up sitting at the foot of the bed cross-legged and for a minute I thought I actually was in my bedroom at home, as a little boy. It was that vivid. And there was something about him that took me back to that time, because he was part of my life at that time too. I must say I can't remember any details from my childhood except that there was something I drank that I didn't want to drink. It was kind of like “taking the cup of your life” – as if you take something that contains the pattern of the future in it, things I must do.

ML: Is it possible that this “man” was some kind of alien visitor?

WS: I don't feel the sense of an alien presence in this at all. I feel that this is much more like a member of some secret society that has extraordinary skills and capabilities, and extraordinary knowledge. There might be people out there who really are living very differently from those of us on the outside, and I might be – fortunately or unfortunately – somehow of interest to them as a kind of conduit. I would caution anybody to take it all with a grain of salt. Because without being able to identify their origins or their motives, how can I tell you that what they say is good? But I'm certainly going to repeat it.

ML: You mentioned that he communicated in a very strange and powerful way. Can you elaborate? Was it telepathic?

WS: He had access to my mind in ways that were really unusual. It wasn't exactly like telepathy, but some of the words he said, I can't repeat. I don't know how. He would say a sentence like, “There is going to be a series of events that take place,” and then this other word would come out. And this word seemed to contain enormous amounts of information. It was not like an ordinary word. It had a rough kind of garbled sound to it, like he was choking. Fantastic words. They gave meaning, to me, to the phrase “words of power,” because I'm telling you, I've never heard the like, and I could never make sounds like that. If that involved telepathy, then he was telepathic as well.

ML: You said this will result in another book...

WS: We wrote a book together that night. A whole book came out of it, title and everything. I even took notes. I'm working on it right now, like a demon. I was writing something called The Edge, but this other book has gotten in its way. I started the new book a couple of days ago. I can't work on the The Edge any more.

ML: What's the new book called?

WS: That will come later. I won't say that now. Also, I'm feeling very constrained in terms of time.

ML: It seems from your journal entry that you now believe in a physical apocalypse, some kind of coming global catastrophe. Is that right?

WS: There's one coming. In my opinion, it's now absolutely certain and unavoidable. It is a change in the way the oceans circulate, that results in a catastrophic change in climate. It's already well underway; we just haven't realized it yet. It's coming down on us like a freight train.

ML: Are these changes of human making, as many environmentalists say?

WS: We will blame ourselves, but it's very complicated. I'm going to try to express the whole meaning of this [in the book], because the thing that's so horrific and shocking about it is that it's like all evolutionary movements in the planet's history: it's for the good. The problem is, convince the dinosaurs of that.

ML: You said a remnant of humanity will survive and carry on. Must human beings become fundamentally different in order to be a part of the post-apocalypse?

WS: That's not all that clear. But I did have the impression that hidden among us... there is already a new species living among us. Mankind has changed. We are raising children, and already there are young adults that are very different from us. I've come across five or six children in my travels that are quite incredible. I once had a conversation with a child who could speak inside my mind while he was speaking verbally, as clearly as you and I are speaking now. I looked up at this parents, and his mother simply nodded. It was amazing. If there are even a few thousand children like this around, this planet is going to change.

ML: What about those people whose names will be infamous? What did the little man tell you about that?

WS: He said that the names of certain people will be despised for many generations to come. He named some of them. I won't name them now, but I might in the book. The anger that I felt toward them when he named them was quite amazing. It was like he was in touch with the anger of God. You don't want that in your life. Some of the people who have lied about the condition of the environment – the commentators who say there's no such thing as global warming, for example – what they're really saying is the message of the alien in “Independence Day.” Just, “Die.” And I guess some thought like that passed through my mind, because one of those words that he uttered contained the whole essence of the death wish that is inside every human being. I understood and felt compassion for those people. They feel like they are on top of the world right now. But they are not going to be on top of the world for long. They're going to be in an extraordinarily unpleasant place pretty soon.

ML: Can you say when all this will happen?

WS: No particular timeframe, but the impression was that it's already underway. It had started some years ago, in the mid-1980s, and it was unstoppable.

ML: Did his message contain any specific suggestions about how human beings are to live in this transition time, and beyond?

WS: There is a very specific and detailed recommendation, not only for how to live now, but also specific details about what is going to happen. It has nothing to do with survivalism. It has more to do with learning a new way of being human. I'm going to end up in the position of being able to transmit this information, while I myself will freely admit that it is not something I understand well enough to say I can do. But I think that it's like – this is the part that's hard to talk about – it's a path, a way of being, that has been laid out in detail at the beginning of the last millennium, and has been kept until this time for use, and is now going to be usable. But it's been in our society and our culture for a thousand years. We just didn't notice it. The whole thing is there, and it's incredibly detailed – a whole new way of living.

ML: Where do the “visitors” fit in to all this?

WS: They never came into it. It was like... I asked him if he was a human being, and I felt incredibly silly asking him that, because [he obviously was]. I have to tell you, I came away from this not really knowing whether anyone has ever really had an experience with an alien. This man and his ilk would easily be able, I think, to use hypnosis or drugs or other things to make us believe that we were face to face with aliens when we were not – when we were actually face to face with them. I even wondered it he was dead; if the dead are again walking in the world.

ML: You mentioned a “higher world” in your journal entry. Can you elaborate?

WS: Thinking about this man, I get homesick. Let me put it that way. He was the kind of person that, I think, it would be such a wonder to spend a day talking with. What he could tell you would be amazing. I like talking about him. In a way I was reminded of the reports from the distant past, like the reports of Viracocha from the Peruvian people. There was a sense of being in the presence of a human being who was in some ways more than human. Very adept. I thought to myself afterward that maybe these people really exist.

ML: Did he tell you anything about yourself?

WS: I got a very careful evaluation of my life, frankly. I'm surprised to say that what I've done has been OK. You know, the terror of a situation like the one I'm in is: What if it's all just imagination and nonsense? Then what does my life mean? And what will happen to the people who believed me? That's the fear I live with, never being sure. Then something like this happens. And in a way, I'm also now on another plane, because I am quite sure that I did it right.

ML: How did the meeting end?

WS: There was something I had to drink. He had this drink. It was very, very unpleasant, not at all like something that anyone in their right mind would drink. I argued about it a lot. That's when I suddenly became a nine-year-old again, having the same argument – although I must admit that, as an adult, I was rather interested at what might happen. The whole thing was fascinating. I was wide awake – there was no question in my mind. So I did drink it, and it tasted like citrate of magnesia. It was thick and pale – it really looked horrible. There was not much of it, just the bottom of the glass. It wasn't liquid. It had a shape, like jello. It was so horrible it seemed utterly ridiculous. But I did eventually drink it, because he said if I did, a lot of memory would return. He tempted me with that, so I drank it. I have a feeling that I drank the book. That's what it seems like, anyway. Strangely, the next morning, the glass was gone. I definitely would have taken it back to Texas for testing, but it was nowhere to be found.

ML: So how did the meeting actually end? How did he leave?

WS: Well, that's not clear. Something must have happened. I don't quite know.

ML: What is your next memory?

WS: Waking up in the morning and calling Anne and telling her about it. And making sure I had the notes. I went and got them. They were there. I still have them. Maybe all [the drink] was was a sleeping potion to enable him to get away without having me rush down the hall behind him, yelling “No no, don't go. I want to find out where you came from. Can I see your driver's license?"

ML: Does this change your assessment of your relationship to the visitors?

WS: It brings it into question. I don't know what they are, but I feel much less of a sense of an alien presence. I'm beginning to think in terms more of a continuum, of which we are a part. He seemed so human, and he seemed to be someone I would identify as being in control of a lot of things. Like, I think he might be in control of the visitors. I don't know why I say that, really, but it just seems very believable. He had an air of authority about him that was very extraordinary.

ML: Will your life, the way you behave, change because of this?

WS: There were some things I saw about myself that night that were extremely painful to see. And some things I saw also gave me access to points of deep peace within me, that I did not know were there. In that sense, yes, my life will change. I am going to change, I think, fundamentally. Looking back across my life, it has been a life lived on a border, a point of transition, with one kind of humanity on one side of the border, and another kind of humanity on the other side, and me with a foot on each side, taking information from one side and delivering it to the other. It's a very strange place to be. Not a bad place, but kind of lonely. But there are things about myself that I feel like I have to work on. I want to learn to be more exact in my writing, more precise. I've been given the task of writing a book that I think seems an impossible thing to do – because it has to be clear and simple, so that anyone can understand it, but the things it has to discuss are on a scale of thought that I find very difficult to grasp. And there's a time element involved, because another thing he said that's very important is that as the terror of the situation rises, our ability to cope with it will decline. Therefore, it's urgently necessary that the book be gotten out fast. It's got to be written quickly. I was given a very specific time, not nearly as much time as I thought I would need. I thought I would finish the other book first, but when I really sat down and looked at the notes, the task just overwhelmed me, and I realized I don't have that time. I have to do this now.

Whitley Strieber:
Toronto Encounter Alters His Perspective
on “Visitors” and Coming Catastrophe
© 1998 Michael Lindemann, CNI News
All Rights Reserved. Reprinted by Permission.