Whitley Strieber And The Toronto Experience
by Sean Casteel

Whitley Strieber, the renowned abductee and author of the groundbreaking bestseller Communion (1987) and its sequels, Transformation (1988), Breakthrough (1995), The Secret School (1996), The Communion Letters (1997, which Strieber edited along with his wife Anne) and Confirmation (1998), manages to just keep those hits coming. In the story of his ongoing experiences with the Visitors and other strangers, a new chapter has been written that Strieber feels is the most important so far.

Strieber had an experience on June 6, 1998, while he was on tour promoting his latest book Confirmation, that he feels is extraordinary enough to build an entire book around-an encounter with a mysterious figure who knocked on his hotel room door and then gave Strieber the total blueprint for mankind's evolution. There was so much crucial information packed into a half hour of discussion with the odd visitor that Strieber has no doubt that his memory of the encounter will yield sufficient material to sustain a book-length telling of the story.

In the Personal Journal section of his “Communion Foundation” web site, Strieber has written a brief summary of the hotel room encounter in which he talked about how his encounters with the Visitors had slowed down to nothing for a long period of time.

“It had been twenty months since my last encounter,” he wrote. “When we lost our cabin in upstate New York, my thrilling life of weekly and even daily encounters ended. I grew angry. I became bereft.

“Then I pulled myself together and went on with my work,” he continued. “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. What an extraordinary event.”

When a source like Strieber speaks in those kinds of superlatives, there surely must have been some kind of significant event that merits the use of words such as “incredible” and “stupendous.” We spoke to Strieber by phone about this June 6 visitation that so fills him with wonder and awe, and, as usual, we did not come away disappointed. This most recent story Strieber has to tell involves not only the future physical and mental evolution of mankind, but the salvation of our souls as well.

Q. What had happened was that you were in a hotel room in Canada?
Strieber: In Toronto.

Q. And you were awakened in the middle of the night?
Strieber: By someone knocking on the door.

Q. Do you want to just tell me the story? Start from the beginning-

Strieber: Yeah. It's a really simple story just in terms of factual material. I was totally asleep. It was the last night of my author's tour. And in the middle of the night, it was about three, there was a knocking on the door. It woke me up. And for some reason, what popped into my head was the thought that I had fallen asleep leaving the room service man standing at the door for hours. Why I thought that, I just cannot imagine.

It's like the thought was planted in my head by somebody because it was such an exceptionally stupid thought. I mean, why would that ever cross my mind? I rushed to the door. I said, “I'm terribly sorry. I fell asleep.” I threw the door open and this man walked into the room. He was smaller than I was by a significant amount, to where the first thought that might have even crossed my mind was that he was a child. He looked old. He was maybe four foot eight to five feet tall at most. I then had a remarkable conversation with this man. I've put some information about it in the journal part of my web site. And I'm going to write a whole book based on this. The time we were together, it was just incredible. I didn't have the impression at all that he was an alien, although I don't know what that really means anymore. He certainly didn't look like anything except a human being.

But the things he said were just extraordinary and said with such authority and knowledge. There were also words that he would use that now, looking back, I don't know those words. I just remember them as kind of gravely sounds. I don't know what they were. But these words contained huge amounts of information.
     It was a really strange experience. And an extraordinary one. After he left, I still didn't know who he was. But I do know that he was a person in possession of the most incredible knowledge that I've ever encountered in my life about the meaning of mankind. Where we came from, where we're going, what's happening to us and why.

Q. Yeah, that's what I was told - that he imparted to you a great deal of meaningful information.

Strieber: Yes, he did. The thing is that every word he said seemed to have attached to it thousands of ideas. And I have in my head now the contents. I mean, it's like having the contents of somebody else's mind in your own mind. Or at least part of it. It's amazing stuff. It's about a totally new way of living, a whole new way of being human. And how we can reach this, and how the conditions of the future are going to be such that we will be able to reach this.
     It wasn't a pleasant experience because the conditions under which the changes are going to take place in us are very hard conditions. But I did have the impression, and this was very powerful, that the present time is as important in terms of the evolution of consciousness and life on this planet as was the moment when living creatures first walked up out of the sea. This is a moment of equal or greater importance in the history of the Earth.

Q. So he spoke to you with a dense sort of language-

Strieber: Well, it was English, most of it. He had no particular accent. He could have been American or Canadian. He didn't sound English or have a foreign accent of any kind.

Q. And the information was compressed somehow.

Strieber: Well, it was like every word had ideas attached to it that are now in my head.

Q. Like he subliminally fed you information or something?

Strieber: Well, I don't know how to express it. Like the words were words that somehow unlocked something in my mind. I'm not real sure what that all means. But there's just vast amounts of information. I've been waiting, sort of having it kind of percolate around in my head.

Q. Are you writing it out as it occurs to you?

Strieber: No. I'm getting ready to write it. I wrote notes that night, and I have the notes. I have some other notes I wrote and sent to my editor a few days later. And since then, I've been sort of waiting. Because I've found that waiting is important in dealing with this kind of experience properly. You can't jump on it, because if you do jump on it, then you get all mixed up. At least I do. And I get into the problem of having my imagination fill in the blanks, and I don't want that. So I've just been waiting. I'm getting ready to start writing soon.

Q. Well, he was telling you that this is an unusually critical time in human evolution, in human history?

Strieber: Extremely critical.

Q. Does that accord with the apocalyptic view?

Strieber: Yeah, it does. It's not exactly an apocalyptic view, but mankind is in a crucible and it's getting heated up. We're going to go through something quite fierce over the next fifty to one hundred years. The new millennium is going to begin hard. I didn't have any impression that we were going to go extinct or anything, but I think we're going to get bruised. We're going to get knocked about the head and shoulders by the laws of nature.

Q. Do you remember telling me at one point that being in the Visitors' presence in a conscious waking state is simply awful?

Strieber: Yeah. That's why I say at the beginning of this that I didn't have the impression that he was an alien. Because I didn't feel that sense at all. It was a very normal conversation, except toward the end when he said some things that took me back to when I was a child. And I guess I must have had a conversation with him or someone like him at that time. Because I felt like I was nine-years-old again, sitting on the foot of my bed with my legs crossed and talking to somebody. That was really startling because it was very vivid.
     This happened to me once before. On the morning when I went down into my woods ten years ago. You probably know this story. As I came back up, there were these cries that came out of the woods. I couldn't go all the way down. Because I knew they were down there and I mean by this the regular Visitors. There was this horrible voice going off in my head saying, “C'mon, c'mon.” It was so mean and tough that it scared me. I felt like I was going to be kidnapped and never brought back. So I returned to the house and when I put my hand on the door knob, there were these three cries from down in the woods that were the most extraordinary sounds I've ever heard in my life to this day.
     They were the richest and most incredibly ambiguous sounds. They were either full of love – either the longing of a disappointed lover – or a disappointed predator. I couldn't tell which. But then I went back up into my room, and this spirit seemed to sweep in with me. It took me back to the moment in my childhood when I first walked. So vividly, it was as if I relived it.

Q. I remember reading that in the Communion Foundation newsletter. You could smell your mother's sheets and the ironing.

Strieber: Everything. It was like being in the room again. It was just extraordinary. And with this being, it felt like I was nine again during my last few seconds of talking to this man.
But you know, I thought to myself later, could I have been talking to a member of some sort of secret society who had a lot of knowledge, some sort of inner-world person or something? He was as human as you and me. Very obviously. He could maybe be a human being who lived in other worlds, or higher realms or something. Or maybe he was an angel or something. I don't know. But I do know that he gave me the task of producing this document. And I can do it. I am definitely able to do it. And will it be my last book? I don't know. But it would certainly be a fitting book to end my career with, that's for sure.

Q. Something that lays out the total plan and accurately foretells what's up there?

Strieber: Yeah. Well, I'm pretty confident in my ability to foretell things. My prognostications have been pretty on the money for a long time now. So I'm confident that when I do do that, that it has a level of accuracy.

Q. So you don't want to give us any details at this point? Are you saving that for-

Strieber: Well, it's not a question of saving it. I know it's in my head but I couldn't access it at the moment. I have to start writing it out from the beginning, and then it will come out in order. But I couldn't dip into it now. I wouldn't be able to do that. It's not possible. But I do know it's there.
     I can say one thing. That the book is primarily about a new kind of human self and a new way of being human. And the context in which it begins is a retelling of the past that is true, that enables us to begin by knowing who we were and who we have been. And to therefore be able to make steps into the future with a clear understanding of where we have come from. An understanding we do not presently possess.

Q. So it's like a detailed blueprint of the transformation that we're all going through? Strieber: Exactly. And it's a very physical thing. In the end of this, the body of man is going to be transformed. Not just the mind of man or the spirit of man. It's not a mind/body or spirit/body-there's no spirit/body bifurcation. This looks upon the body and mind and spirit as all one thing. So that instead of an out-of-body experience, you might be able to just plain fly, as far as I can tell.

Q. Well, you also talk about that concept in “The Wolfen,” the idea that the mind changes the body. The force of the soul acting on the body allows you to-

Strieber: Yes, well it's something similar to that. I didn't realize that I'd talked about that in “The Wolfen,” but now that you mention it, I guess I must have.

Q. So is there more to the story?

Strieber: This was about the most exciting thing that ever happened to me in my life that I can ever remember. It was more incredible than any close encounter I've ever had. There was no sense of chaos, and it wasn't too brief. It was prolonged.

Q. A prolonged discussion-

Strieber: A discussion, yeah.

Q. Where you were physically comfortable-

Strieber: Yes. I was sitting on the foot of my bed and-

Q. Mentally alert?

Strieber: Absolutely. And there was none of the physical and mental weirdness that's connected with being with the Visitors at all. He was part of our world, let me put it that way. Whether he flies around in a spaceship or not, I don't know. But he certainly was part of our world.

Q. Are you familiar with the Shaver mysteries at all? Richard Shaver's claim back in the 50s about people living inside the Earth?

Strieber: Not specifically, but I am familiar with that idea. There was a book I saw about that some years ago. That's a theory that's been around. There was a little bit of my early experiences that involved caves and going underground. There's a whole subculture of conspiracy theorists who believe there's a kind of government living underground. So I'm very familiar with that.

Q. The idea is that these people, the Dero or the Terot or whatever name Shaver-

Strieber: Dero? That word rings a faint bell. Yes, I guess I am familiar with that.

Q. That they would come out of their hiding place inside the Earth from time to time and interact with people.

Strieber: It would be depressing as hell. It would be so depressing to me to be down there all the time. I don't know if that sounds very believable. This guy, he was an ordinary man. He was just rather compact. He wasn't huge.

Q. Could you describe his clothing?

Strieber: Yeah. It was black, dark clothing. A suit with a jacket that was buttoned up to the collar and a pair of dark pants. He was sort of normal. I can't remember too much detail about the style of his clothing because I was really riveted to what he was saying and by interacting with him. And the fun of it. It was terribly fun. It wasn't a pleasant conversation, but it was exhilarating to have this happening. I was very well aware at the time of how extremely unusual the whole experience was. And he kept sort of giggling almost because he was, too. He was almost laughing at the idea that I was obviously so excited. And yet at the same time, the things he was talking about were really intense.
     There was one thing that was fairly extraordinary. He told me the date of my death. And he said, “But you must keep this a secret, because if you tell anyone, then it is possible that it will change.” And that is very true. Because if I told that and it became public knowledge, maybe someone would decide to change it just to prove me wrong. You know, and blow my brains out. So it was a very interesting thing. But I've had that happen before. I was told the day of my death by the Visitors sometime ago and the day came and passed and I didn't die. So whether that is something to be believed or not, I don't know.
     In other words, when he told me the day of my death, he really told me nothing. Because I've been told that, and it turned out not to be true. I lived for years expecting to die on that day and it came and went and was a perfectly ordinary day. I didn't even skip a beat.

Q. I've heard of that kind of thing before. I remember reading an advertisement by a psychic who claimed he could tell you the day of your death. That was all he could tell you. That was his one little talent for making psychic predictions.

Strieber: Oh, man.

Q. I tend to hope that if we're going through a transformation, it's one that involves physical immortality.

Strieber: I don't know about that, but I do know that it's a transformation of the body. It's physical.

Q. But it's all coming out eventually in a new book?

Strieber: Yes. It was very specific. He even gave me the title. I can't give it to you, but he gave me the title and he made me write it down.

Q. I'm sure you're familiar with George Adamski.

Strieber: Vaguely. I'm not terribly interested in that stuff. I've always assumed he was a charlatan until I read Michael Hesseman's book, which has not yet been published, about the history of UFOs. And he points out some things about Adamski which suggest that he may not have been entirely a charlatan. But did something similar happen to him?

Q. Well, he claims to have met some beautiful blonde Venusians, both male and female, pretty much the Nordic type aliens, who gave him dire warnings about the future of mankind, especially about nuclear warfare and so forth. It was always debated whether or not Adamksi was telling the truth, but he was the first real contactee.

Strieber: Yeah, I have read that. And I feel this whole thing is a very uneasy thing to do because of that stuff. And there's always, always, in the back of my mind, now that it's a memory, and it's not really happening at this moment, did it happen at all? That is something that never, ever leaves me. Because when you're dealing with something this strange, and this intense, could it be that I had an extremely intense dream? But if I did, then the material imparted to me seems to have still come from a really sterling source. Because of its vitality and its excellence and its newness.
     So even if that's the case, I think it's still valid. That's why I felt I would begin to talk about it. Because whether the guy was really there or not – I mean, it's a memory right now, just like my last memory of being in my apartment in Texas. It seems no more or less valid than any ordinary memory. But the strangeness of what happened makes me keep it in question anyway. Do you see what I mean?

Q. Yeah, right. I guess you'll always have to second-guess yourself to some extent.

Strieber: To some extent, you have to, yes.

Q. Until the phenomenon comes out in the open.

Strieber: Yeah. I'll tell you another interesting thing about this man. He was often seen in the woods around our house in upstate New York. Both by the kids, and by some workmen who actually left the job they were on there, because they saw him and they perceived him as an alien. And the foreman of the group came up and said, “Mr. Strieber, look, one of those aliens was just out there with us. He was watching us and he just ran past us across the driveway there. We're leaving. We don't want anything to do with that.”
     And I said, “Could you describe this?” And he described the same thing. A small man with a very angular face dressed in dark clothes running through the woods. And when the kids saw him, he used to carry a little black briefcase. The kids would see him all the time. Andrew, my son, remembers it very well. In other words, he was not a figure of the imagination. He was someone who was there a lot, running around in the woods.

Q. You were saying that even if the experience was not real, somehow the information imparted to you was still valid?

Strieber: I feel so, yes. I feel the information comes from a higher level even if the experience wasn't a physically real one.

Q. Dreams are often used as a medium to communicate with mortals, I suppose.

Strieber: Yeah, I think often. Anyway, the fact that it's so similar to the person in the room, I think it probably was a physical experience. But I still have to second-guess that whole experience. I think it's my responsibility to do that.

Q. Well, Hynek said that at one point too, that after all his years of study and devotion to the subject, he still had to leave a little space in his mind for the possible unreality of it.

Strieber: Yeah, well, exactly. You have to leave some space in your mind for that.

Q. Your mind would just snap if you had to comprehend the total truth of it all at once.

Strieber: Yes. There's a similar pattern in a way. There was this person in the woods up there who I saw who used to-he was like a child. I mentioned him in “Breakthrough.” I saw him sitting under a tree, and I went up to him, and he made a growling sound. It scared me so bad that I ran all the way back to the house. And I've found places where I've found weird things in the woods. Like a little basket-type thing that had been made of twigs. It was so skillfully woven together, it looked like a woven basket, even though it was made of windfalls and twigs. It was just amazing. It had old, sort of discarded children's toys in it, and there were also lots of cigarette butts in it. This little creature or person used to smoke all the time. He was constantly smoking.
     Now you would think that that was all sort of strangely dreamlike. And it had a very dreamlike quality to it, but then we moved down to San Antonio. The neighbors began to complain that there was this strange, like eleven-year-old child who smoked constantly and was climbing up the walls of the condo and stuff. There were very strange complaints coming in about this kid, to where people called the Social Services in San Antonio to say that there was this child who was being left to run wild.
     Then we noticed there was someone standing in a little corner beside our condo. They would be standing about three feet from the head of my bed, but outside. We could see that they'd been standing there all night because we could see all these cigarette butts lying there. So we put in a motion sensitive light to drive them away from that corner, and everyone said it was this kid who used to stand out there and smoke. They used to see him standing there in the night. Then the condo behind us, it turned out, was being lived in by squatters who didn't belong there.
     So the lady who owned it got the sheriff to clean the squatters out. This kid apparently was involved with them, because the day the squatters left, I was working in my little garden there, and suddenly this person – I had never laid eyes on this kid before – comes bursting around the corner of the building and goes starting off down the street. It was the same person who had been in my woods. The same blonde kid. I mean the same exact person. Even walked the same. And he goes off down the street and has never been seen again. Then they went in to clean that condo out, and they found that the place was dirty and filthy and full of M&Ms and pennies. Now you put that in your pipe and smoke it. I'm telling you, that is a weird story.

Q. It is.

Strieber: But do you see how it turns out that something that I would have kept questioning because it was just so weird turned out to have a totally physical reference? In other words, there was really somebody there. And in this case, the person the kids used to see in the woods is sort of the reverse. I mean they just took it as a person. The thing I'm trying to get at here is that I keep these things in question because I think it's the responsible thing to do. But in this particular case, I would be very surprised if that man wasn't as real as you and me.
     There are things about this experience that imply that we don't see the complete world. That there are parts of the world that we're blind to, and that there are people living in those parts of the world that are not like us. They know more than we do. They live on a bigger scale than we do.
     But there's something about some of them that's completely sinister and terrible, like that supposed eleven-year-old kid. When I saw him up close in my woods, you know what he looked like? Not like a child, but like someone whose body had quit maturing when they were about eleven, but who was now fifty. In other words, it looked like a weathered child. It was real weird. That kid in those woods looked at up close was real weird.
     And what happened in San Antonio, although I never saw him that closely, so many other people saw him that it was weird, too. Very weird. The whole situation. He was kind of like an interloper. And the two men who lived in the condo with him, I talked to them. They chatted with me a couple of times. They must have known incredible secrets. They were living with someone from another dimension or something. That really creeps me out to think they were right behind me.
     You know, Sean, I wonder who the hell I am. I wonder who I am. If I went back across my life, I could spend hours telling you stories like this. There's many things that have happened that I've never even put into books. Just incredible. It's like I live with my two feet in two different worlds. And they're both equally real.

Q. I know what you're saying. If a voice were to ask me who I am, I think my answer would be “I don't know."

Strieber: Well, exactly. We're all in that position here, aren't we? ~

Whitley Strieber And The Toronto Experience
© 1998 Sean Casteel
Reprinted by permission of Sean Casteel