'The Communion Letter' Farewell, Spring 1991;
Vol. 3, No.1. © 1991, Wilson and Neff, Inc.

by Whitley Strieber

This is the last issue of The Communion Letter. We have run it for two years, and have had a wonderful time doing so. But we never intended to continue indefinitely. Like the related books and the Communion groups, it had a definite and finite purpose. For the present, that purpose has been fulfilled Everybody whose subscription still has issues to run will be sent a cash refund for the balance. The letter ends its run in a state of excellent financial health and with a robust subscription list, so there will be no delay in returning money.
     The letter has been a tremendous success from the very first issue, and I would like to thank everybody who subscribed. Because we had so many more subscribers than expected, back issues are available only in limited quantities.

Now I would like to address the question of why I have terminated the letter. The reason is that I do not feel that it is productive to deal with the visitor question any further publicly until there is something more definite known. Should events warrant, I will send out periodic communications, but they will he in letter format, will be free, and will be sent to everybody who has written me.
     The presence of UFO's, at least, has already been proven. The problem is not one of whether or not they exist, but rather, what they are.
     I view the continued refusal of the scientific community to address the issue as slightly daft, but I understand it very well. I have gained the friendship of numerous scientists and some government officials who are certain that our observations and experiences represent a genuine unknown. To a man, however, they are afraid to address it openly because of their fear of public destruction in the press. They are horrified at the idea of being identified with the UFO community, whom they regard as a kooky backwater plagued by the fuzzy thinking of losers with poor academic credentials, who are motivated by superstition and insane jealousies.
     The press and the UFO community stand together against further progress in the field. Until organizations like MUFON and CUFOS disintegrate or become discredited, and the press is allowed to discover that there are people with strong and respected credentials working on the subject, further progress is unlikely.
     Before I sign off, I would like to address a few questions that have been bothering me. The first is that of the Communion groups. Because of these groups, I was falsely accused of being a cult leader. In fact, the groups were operating as an alternative to a very nasty little cult run by people so startlingly ignorant of what they are doing that they do not even understand that they are brainwashing their victims.
     During the course of a defamation suit I lodged against a particularly harsh critic, large numbers of his research papers were transmitted to me. I was disgusted to discover that no bona fide members of Communion groups had been extensively interviewed by this man. Instead, his primary source of information was the amateur hypnotists I had formed the Communion groups to fight!
     I was not attacked because there was any legitimate reason to do so. I was attacked because I was a large, publicly visible target and could thus afford my attackers more publicity.
     The Communion groups existed for two reasons: first, to provide a social forum free of charge to interested parties; second, to offer an alternative source of support where one did not need to by hypnotized, and where open-minded questioning replaced the looney certitudes offered by UFO fanatics. I even went so far as to require the group leaders to sign forms stating that they would not charge money, and that they would maintain the integrity of the question in their meetings.
     I found it quite shocking that groups formed to combat a cult would themselves he identified as cultic. But the media leaped to the breach, hungry as it always is to spread the lie, and I became identified on national television as a cult leader similar to Jim Jones. Only when the young man who had made this accusation stated in publicly available court papers that he did not really believe it, did I drop my suit against him. Because of the notoriety, members of UFO cults and reporters began to try to invade the Communion groups. For this reason, they were canceled. Because of this, witnesses wishing social contact with others like themselves must he denied the healthy alternative of the Communion groups. All that remains available is the UFO junk, with the attendant risk of being made into a hypnotized zombie.
     I would like now to move onto other subjects. Since this is my final statement on such matters, I would like to deny a few rumors. The fact that I am not denying all rumors does not mean that those I ignore are true. They are simply too stupid to be worthy of comment.

* I am not a government agent. There is some truth to the allegations that I have contact within the U.S. military and the government. I will not deny this. But all of my activities are pointed in one direction: disclosure.

* I am not a skinflint. The Communion Foundation has given away a lot of money, and I have tried hard to be financially generous in every way possible, and possess the records to prove it. Even Budd Hopkins has been generously treated, and I have the canceled checks to prove this.*

* The “white paper” Mr. Hopkins allegedly produced about me is a tissue of intentional distortions designed to portray me in a falsely negative light. But his apparent sending of this paper to dozens of UFO investigators, in an effort to discredit me, was effective. Such people are eager to believe negative information about those more successful than they. Jealousy is an illness, and it is highly contagious, and the UFO community is sick to death with it.

* There exist no legitimate audio tapes of me admitting to being an alien, a government agent, a sexual pervert, or the camp-follower of little grey men from Zeta Reticuli. I have never said anything of the kind. These tapes are no doubt the creations of people who have been playing games in a sound room. If you want to know what I think, read my books.

Now that I have finished with that, I would like to tell you, as clearly as I can, my present thinking on the subject of visitors and related phenomena.
     First, I am certain that we are not dealing with alien encounters as defined by the UFO community. This is a deeper and more subtle business. The Communion Foundation recorded over three thousand narratives of experience out of the nearly forty thousand I have so far received. The documented ones were chosen simply on the basis of the fullness of the narrative, not on its content. Only a very few of these spontaneously described anything remotely resembling the so-called “typical abduction experience” that has been concocted by the UFO community. And these, for the most part, were from people who had already been exposed to UFO literature. To have a “typical abduction encounter,” you must almost certainly he first he exposed to UFO stories and literature and/or he hypnotized by an “expert” who has himself been exposed to, or advocates, this belief system.
     Thus, I consider hypnosis to be almost worthless, except in cases where it is administered by a medical professional to a relatively uncorrupted individual. Hypnotism by UFO experts and the psychologists who support them does not open the door to truth. It opens the door to fantasies based on the modern folklore of the alien and the flying saucer – and it opens the door to fear.
     Most people who have had the visitor experience are not afraid; they are not angry. They are perplexed.
     We carefully researched some of the most spectacular UFO claims, and found many of them to he essentially fallacious. For example, the stories about alien bases hidden under the Archeluta Mesa in New Mexico probably derive from twisted tellings of the ghost stories and creation myths of the Jacarilla Apaches whose reservation surrounds the mesa.
     Most of the stories about crashed flying saucers are also unsubstantiated. Only one, the Roswell incident, stands out as demonstrably strange. I was able to do some research into this affair which must remain confidential, but it convinced me that the Air Force obtained, without a doubt, some material from the desert north of Roswell, New Mexico, that it could not explain at the time. It would be interesting to see if modern analysis might reveal more about this material. At the time, an elaborate cover-up was instituted to conceal the fact that the Air Force did not know what it had. Since the cover-up was never abandoned, it must still be in place. I can assert with the certainty of direct personal experience that elements of that very complex social organism known as the U.S. government possess some extremely strange information – at the very least – which is being methodically concealed not only from the public, but from the Congress as well.
     To keep these secrets, elements of the U.S., British, Australian and Brazilian governments have all at times taken extraordinary measures. U.S. government agencies appear to have engaged in the illegal propagandizing of the American people by spreading so-called “disinformation” about this subject. From the beginning, the agencies involved seem to have been willing to blatantly break the law in their effort to protect the secrets. They have almost certainly failed to provide Congress with information it deserves under the law.
     Everything I have ever done in regard to the government has been directed toward the goal of disclosure. But this is a sensitive, complicated situation, and it isn't going to he changed overnight. It has come about because the people within the government who are holding the secrets ill understand the nature of the issues involved. They think that they are hiding the fact that eerie aliens are present, that these supposed aliens engage in certain disturbing and enigmatic activities, and that they cannot be controlled in any way.
     This is not a true impression of the situation. If the secret intelligence agencies understood what they were dealing with, they would see that the secrecy is meaningless.
     In my three books about the visitor experience, I tried to maintain the position which I still hold today, and which is expressed in large type in the frontispiece of Communion:

“Instead of shunning the darkness, we can face straight into it with an open mind. 'When we do that, the unknown changes. Fearful things become understandable and a truth is suggested: the enigmatic presence of the human mind winks back from the dark.”

Unfortunately, this position did not please the UFO believers or the media. I do not accept most UFO doctrine, at least not as it is expressed by American believers. The media is even worse. They spent three years trying to cast me as a “self-proclaimed alien abductee." Almost without exception, their approach to what I was trying to communicate was beyond the stupid: it was intentionally irresponsible. They knew my position but chose to distort it in the interest of sensationalism.
     There is a very simple reason that we have made so little progress understanding UFOs and the visitors. We are a world in the process of going blind: We are blind to the existence of the soul, and thus also to the ancient and immensely conscious world from which it emerges.
     Ironically, if aliens are here, we are not going to find them in the sky. Our own minds are where we will find them, for the mind is the door to their world – a more real, more true, more alive world than ours.

Now I would like to approach, in an oblique manner, some ideas about the visitor experience, its origins and its nature.
     First, it is a natural phenomenon. The profound truth of this statement cannot be overemphasized. The moment you come face to face with the visitors, you cannot fail to be struck by the fact that they are not highly contrived technological presences, but simple, natural creatures – almost naked. Witnesses who have seen them up close and remembered the encounter will often say things like, “I thought he was a little animal at first,” or “it felt like part of me.” The same witness might say both things, and be right both times. The visitors are beings, natural objects, living things – at once separate from us, yet part of us – and they are also a message. I would like now to address the content of the message, insofar as I can understand it.
     Our cultures have, as the ages have progressed, desensitized us both to the soul and to our animal nature. They have made us more and more viewers and less and less doers. About two thousand years ago we began watching plays that demonstrated the acts of the Gods. The trouble was, these were inner dramas, and externalizing them was a mistake.
     When religion ceased to be the format for relationships between man and nature and became a means of deifying our internal yearnings and conflicts, we began the long process of going soul-blind.
     Even so, there is a sense of rightness to our present situation. We are failing in our attempt to subjugate nature – and that is as it should be. Despite all the trouble that we are to see, we will gain from this misadventure we call civilized life.
     Our whole moral order is flawed. We do not understand the requirements of the predator – not because we are prey, but for the opposite reason: we are predators ourselves, which is the real motive for so much of the destruction and unbalanced behavior that rocks our lives. We cannot accept what we are.
     Because we have no faith in ourselves, we have no faith in nature, and we cannot bear the discipline of trusting the dark. Faith is beyond religion. It has to do with loving one's own sinews and secrets. To do this one must face the fact that, inside ourselves, we are not alone. Every dark thing that any human being has ever done involves us all. It is terribly hard to face this. One must not forget that all the good in humanity is there too, shining in the murk of our souls.
     When I realized that the awful look I kept seeing in the eyes of the visitors actually reflected the terror of this situation, I understood that they were part of us. I was seeing the reflection of my own soul.
     When we look at the visitors, we look at ourselves. The lights in the sky at once deceive and inform: they suggest the presence of aliens; they portend the coming of man. For man has not yet been born. Earth is fat with flesh: she is aching for the days of harvest. Our aim, both collectively and individually, is to carry back into our timeless home a clear and objective impression of what we found here. We are the voyagers, our bodies and brains are the spaceship.
     But do not imagine that our home is figurative or imaginary. The lair of the visitors is real. I have gone deep into it, found that is has walls and trees and lights. You can lie down with them; indeed, you can even walk in places where new forms of man are being invented.
     When I first noticed the visitors, I would have encounters. Then these encounters focused into a relationship. The visitors accepted the role I laid out for them and became pilots for me in the night. They took me into the shoals of fear, and then left me to founder. Instead I struggled, at least at first. I have learned since that the point is not to subjugate fear, but to use it as a window into self-understanding. Taste your fear, taste your self. Now I see them as a higher level of mind, eager to spread transformative potential in our foundering societies. We have burdened our concept of the soul with myth and folklore, have made the dramas of the gods into entertainments. Now it is time to recover the soul's ancient potency, and begin to form a new relationship with the numinous. We must abandon myth, abandon folklore, abandon culture, abandon all the engines of deceit by which we have concealed our real natures from ourselves. The only way to proceed is to accept that the soul has an objective reality and – at the present moment – we haven't got the faintest idea what that means.
     I know what interests the visitors. It is not love and light; the heaving of desperate minds draws them. The reason that they first began to be visible on a large-scale basis alter World War II had to do with the tremendous shocks that assailed us then. We began to live in daily terror of the atomic bomb. Simultaneously we discovered that human beings were capable of anything: men had engineered the Holocaust, and men could most certainly drop the bomb.
     It was no accident that the visitors appeared in the middle of America's secret weapons testing areas and close by the world's only operational atomic bomber wing in 1947: this was where our desperation pointed them, this was the nexus of fear.
     But what are they? I cannot answer that question directly. I know what they are, and yet... I don't. To understand why this would be so, it is necessary to refer to the indeterminate laws that govern the movement and nature of electrons and to simultaneously consider the actual, physical nature of thought.
     Thought is an electronic event organized within the cells of a brain and mediated by their chemical condition. Since thought consists of electrons, it is in its essence as indeterminate as they are. And so are the visitors. It is perfectly possible that they are from the future, from within us and from another world all at once.
     This seems like a hopeless contradiction, a piece of intellectual posturing worthy only to be swept away by hardheaded engineers. But it's not. Unless one thinks indeterminately about the visitors, one cannot think about them usefully and correctly.
     I have gone deep into their world. The more subtle my understanding of them has become, the richer my relationship. I will go on, as deep as I can, daring everything. I will stop at nothing, go into every dark place, keep on until my breath is gone. Thank you for traveling with me a little while. Will we meet again?

'The Communion Letter' Cover Letter, Spring 1991
Vol. 3, No.1. © 1991, Wilson and Neff, Inc.

Dear Reader:

     I would like to thank you for your patronage of the Communion Letter. Your subscription ends with this issue, and we are not taking new subscriptions or renewals. A list of available back issues is printed on the reverse of this letter for those who may he interested in collecting.
     I had always intended to run the newsletter about two years, and that amount of time has now passed. During this period the Communion Letter has gained a large circulation and, I believe, published some remarkable articles.
     But all good things must come to an end. I am not a UFO researcher and do not wish to endure the continued media attack that is associated with being involved in this field. In addition, the so-called “UFO-ologists” are probably the cruelest, nastiest and craziest people I have ever encountered. Their interpretation of the visitor experience is rubbish from beginning to end. The “abduction reports” that they generate are not real. They are artifacts of hypnosis and cultural conditioning.
     What we are experiencing is a perceptual anomaly that is sufficiently ambiguous and intense that it demands explanation. It is something that human beings have been experiencing for a long time. It is the cause of religion, of mythology, of folklore. Presently it is the cause of the “alien abduction” belief.
     What is *really* behind our experiences? We are. This is a human thing. However, I would also say that it indicates that we – and our world – are vastly different, and far more strange, than we have ever dreamed, or dared imagine.
     With that I leave you.

     Whitley Strieber

* A note from Budd Hopkins later wrote in an open letter published in the Sept 1991 issue of MUFON UFO Journal that of two checks he received from Whitley Strieber, one was in payment for one of Hopkins' artworks, and one was a loan. Hopkins concludes the open letter by noting that “despite the attacks so many have made on [Whitley's] truthfulness, I believe he has undergone harrowing UFO abduction experiences, and is not a deliberate self-aware liar. ... I believe that, like thousands of others, he has suffered profoundly at the hands of UFO occupants, and is perhaps coping less well than many (facts which may help explain his odd and misplaced fury at UFO investigators). Despite his subsequent behavior towards me and many dedicated fellow researchers, it is impossible not to feel compassion for him. His life and mine were intimately entangled for nearly a year as I helped him and his family begin the painful healing process of discovery and integration of their traumatic encounters. It has always been a matter of personal satisfaction that Whitley inscribed his book to me with these words: 'You saved my life.'

Please see An Open Letter from Whitley Strieber, Dec 1994,
for the seldom-presented thematic continuation of this letter
(Presented in the
Breakthrough section)