A Conversation With Whitley Strieber by Ed Conroy
New Dawn No. 38 (Australia)
Famous 'alien abduction' author Whitley Strieber talks to Ed Conroy about UFOs, implants, his ongoing research and latest thoughts about the 'visitors'.
Be patient toward all that
is unsolved in your heart...
Try to love the questions themselves...
Do no seek the answers which cannot be given, because you would not be able to live them.
And the point is, to live everything.
Live the questions now.
Perhaps you will then, gradually, without knowing it
Live along some distant day into the answers.
Rainer Maria Rilke
The story of Whitley Strieber begins in the dark.
As a former gothic horror novelist who has become one of the world's leading authors on the UFO phenomenon, that beginning has more than its share of poetic justice.
For the author of The Wolfen, The Hunger, and Warday, there could have been no better way to meet the ultimate in horror: creatures who spirited him from his bed at night and subjected him to a seemingly tortuous series of tests.
Yet, as much of the English-speaking world came to learn in 1987, this was one story that Strieber says he did not set out to write as fiction. This account of abductions by apparently intelligent non-human beings (whom Strieber initially admitted might be mental phenomena) was, to quote the author, a true story, as true as I know how to describe it.
In terms of the publishing industry, what happened with first UFO-related book, Communion not to mention his subsequent non-fiction books Transformation and Breakthrough was without precedent. A successful American man of letters was asking his readers to explore, with him, a series of experiences that appeared to be nothing less than encounters with the occupants of unidentified flying objects.
Given the assumptions still prevalent in the American mind, that interpretation was widely interpreted to mean that Whitley Strieber had actually survived an encounter with extraterrestrial beings.
In actuality, though, Strieber did not begin his tale with any direct assertion to the effect that he had been taken to meet beings whom he definitely knew to be extraterrestrials. While he admitted it was a possibility they had come from other planets, perhaps even from the future, he said he reserved judgment as to the identity of the visitors.
Even his choice of terms reflected that observation, rejecting the common term alien as too charged with undesirable science fiction connotations.
I refuse to be shoehorned into the debate over whether or not UFOs are real, he told me in an interview in April, 1987.
He put his attention, instead, to the task of attempting to describe a series of experiences so bizarre and extraordinary in character that they provoked the full spectrum of human response, from utter fascination to disgusted disbelief.
That response, as varied as it may have been, was massive. Communion, released in January of 1987, quickly rose to occupy the number 1 position on the New York Times best-seller list, and hovered at the heights of that list for nearly the entire year. It became the most successful UFO-related book in American publishing history.
In a media blitz that made Communion a household word, Strieber set the nation abuzz with talk of his story, evoking a tidal wave of letters from people claiming similar experiences. That wave has continued as a steady stream of correspondence with thousands of readers, now aplified via the Internet and Strieber's home page (www.strieber.com).
In the years that followed Communion, Strieber narrated stories of his developing relationship with his visitors in Transformation, published in 1988. In that book, he continued to ask the question concerning the reality and possible nature of his visitors, trying to expand the way in which this phenomenon is viewed both by the skeptical community and among UFO believers.
At that book's heart was a fierce commitment to recognize the profound psychic and spiritual effects that Strieber's visitor experiences had realised in his life. He described out-of-body experiences and levitation as sequelae of his contacts, leading him to hypothesise that the visitors are interested in nothing more than the expansion of human consciousness.
Lest anyone think that Whitley Strieber has been content to muse about his visitors in a solely poetic manner, it must be said that he is an ardent student of the politics of the human-visitor/alien contact, beginning with an in-depth study of the Roswell case in 1988. He fictionalised the Roswell saucer crash story in a 1989 novel entitled Majestic, and has continued to closely monitor the power dynamics of both individuals and governments in regard to the question of lifting UFO secrecy.
Yet while success crowned Strieber's initial forays into writing about the UFO phenomenon and his own encounters, life post-Communion has not exactly been easy for Strieber or his family.
In fact, in the fall of 1989 Strieber gave a speech at the Young Men's Hebrew Association in New York City announcing his withdrawal from doing any public work on the questions of UFO and visitor contact. He was clearly tired of the contentiousness he found within the ufological community itself. Throwing himself back into fiction writing, he re-entered the literary marketplace as a novelist but without the success that he hoped for.
After writing such novels as The Wild, Billy, and The Forbidden Zone, Strieber broke years of silence in 1994-95 through writing and publishing Breakthrough. In that book, significantly, he finally came forward to say that his visitors are indeed real, and that the UFO phenomenon is not only real but of serious political importance.
In a 1994 interview with me he went so far as to express his concern for the survival of the U.S. federal government in its present form, should it not be able to deal honestly with its own history of involvement in the UFO phenomenon.
His present activities attest to his now full-time involvement in research work intended to provide useful information so that the average person can make an informed choice about what kind of relationship he or she is going to have with the UFO phenomenon.
In a recent interview, I asked him what he meant by useful information, and to talk about his latest research on the mysterious physical implants discovered in alien abductees.
I can say with assurance that there is an unknown phenomenon affecting us physically and I can give the average individual knowledge of how to respond to this by deciding whether implanted material can be removed. Hopefully it can be a simple procedure with no special requirements, but for the most part, the removal of a foreign body from under the skin, and in some cases the brain, may be impossible. Whether the removal of the object causes whoever put the object in to lose track of the implanted individual, it does send a message that the particular person doesn't want this. On the other hand, I am in the process of assembling a group of people who have had their objects removed, and they can describe the feeling before and after. In some cases they feel regret. The clear thing here is communicating the options and I don't want to propagandise any particular choice.
UFOs on Video
I have assembled videos from four or five countries with the
best of them coming from the U.S. and Mexico. I recently received
one from Argentina that is quite good and I'm getting some from
Australia that are supposed to be very good also.
UFOs on the videos range from the totally inexplicable from seemingly organic racing through the skies to more conventional flying craft. What we are doing with these videos is as follows. First we are categorising them as to whether the UFO is an object of organic nature or of technological origins. The objects that appear to be organic will be shown to biologists to determine if they can come up with an explanation. Try to replicate them. Try to make similar videos with professional cameras to get higher resolution video. And after that we will examine the atmosphere and gravity maps of the areas and precise atmospheric conditions in an attempt to gain some knowledge of how they relate. Our working hypothesis is that these are organic creatures and they represent a new type of creature only visible to camcorders.
We have a piece of video where a stunt parachutist jumps down into an ancient sacred well and these objects come racing up besides him as he falls. He did not perceive them in the well. It's the most extraordinary videotape and we have no idea what they are.
The second category of videos are of structured objects. We have enough information about these objects to make some educated guesses about them, and even build prototypes of propulsion systems. One object is emanating energies in a strange way, but that's all I want to say.
I've done research very secretly, and been very circumspect
about it. I can prove in a court of law and can name names of
individuals who have gone out among UFO witnesses and created
illegal acts of intimidation against these people.
We have a public witness project gathering together everyone who has ever gone public with a story about close encounters, and we are accumulating data about how they have been investigated and the eventual outcome. There are currently over 40 names of people on this list.
We have determined the name of a company that sent black helicopters over the homes of witnesses. This information will go on my web site The people who do this kind of harassment from now on will be exposed.
We have two specific types of implanted witnesses. One type
recall their implants in terms of alien contact, and others in
the course of government employment or by human beings. Once the
presence of the implant is identified by x-ray, the witness will
be asked to relate their story, then psychological and physical
tests will be used to switch on the implant. The implants will
also be obtained from the body. This is done by inducing certain
emotional states in the individual: it turns the implants on and
it begins to transmit. Tissue removed around the implant will
be studied, and then we will attempt to turn it on again. And
then tests will be run to determine its contents six months later,
and witnesses will be asked to relate, once again, their entire
history. I'm just now beginning to work out how certain sounds
affect the way memory works. We believe that we'll come to understand
how certain sounds alter the memories of implanted individuals.
We already have some implants. The days of skepticism are over. I am going to make a public announcement even before the final answers are at hand. In another month or so, we will be able to tell the public the symptoms of an implant. You don't need to know every detail. I don't know what they are but the people into whom they were put didn't have a choice.
What the Future Holds
I have two things to say about the future. First, it's become
fairly clear to me, from people who know why this secret is kept
by the government, that there is an element of coercion from the
Let's turn a hypothesis. Pretend its a million years in the future. Mankind has used up the novelty available in genetic material. The species has used itself up and we have found on another planet, another species which is full of rich material which would revitalise us and prevent us from going extinct. If we told them, they would never let us. So what are the ethical implications of this, if our future survival depends on this material? I think that we understand the function of the implants well enough to say they condition the body so that it continues to produce healthy sexual material, sperm and eggs.
Personally it gives me an enormous ethical problem. I feel that they have this need. My thoughts are that if it was us and it were our children, I would want to have whatever we needed. My thoughts are that they do have a right. However, I think that they should be open and free.
I think they are very afraid. Fear rules contact on both sides, and that has to end. I think some of them aren't involved in the implanting, some who apparently aren't thriving in their world and come among us for various reasons. I don't think that it's all biological. It leads beyond this. ~