27 January 2012


Whitley Strieber. Solving the Communion Enigma: What is to Come? Tarcher/Penguin, 2011.

If the book by Maloney was redolent of the 1960s, and that by Torres and Uriate was about a case from the 1960s (reviewed HERE), the latest contribution by ufology’s answer to Carlos Casteneda is redolent of the 1990s. In fact it looks very much as though it is some manuscript or WPS script from that time, taken down, tarted up a bit with some more recent references and sent in to the publisher. 
It is full of the fringe ufolore of the 1990s, implants (Strieber has one, but his is introduced by mysterious humans and not the grey meanies), tales of childhood abuse on military bases (Whitley now has vague memories of this), complete with swipes at the False Memory Association, crop circles and their amazing messages, as well as animal mutilations and the like. There are also hints at the hybrids (not yet fully developed, that will come I presume), along with one new motif, the dead alongside the visitors/fairies. I remember predicting that this would be a coming motif back in the late 1980s, and indeed being told of some actual cases, by Bertrand Meheurst at a conference in Leeds in 1991.

If taken at face value, Strieber’s stories suggest he is having so many anomalous experiences that it is difficult to know how he has the time to eat his breakfast let alone write books. It is not surprising then that the more cynical among the UFO community suggest he is nothing more than a bandwagon jumper, leaping on one fashion after another. If this is the case, on this occasion not only has the bandwagon long departed, but has now crashed and is lying in a heap of twisted metal.

Perhaps there is another way of looking at Strieber, that as a trickster figure and that the Communion series are a form of postmodernist fiction, in which the novelist Whitley Strieber has created a fictional character of the same name (as he did in his post nuclear apocalyptic novel Warday) who is given many of the experiences reported in the UFO literature and in the many letters sent to him; this being a way to promote his spiritual and religious beliefs.

Perhaps in some sense he is all three and perhaps more, someone who has so blurred the realms of real life, dream and fiction that there are no boundaries at all between them. Perhaps his ‘real’ self is now completely taken over by a character of his own creation, a sort of online avatar in the head. 
  • Peter Rogerson.


Ross said...

You misspell his first name in the text of your review.

Kandinsky said...

The 'ifs' and the 'perhaps' are generous caveats in respect to many of the US worker-bees of the UFO industry.

Whitley is the champion by dint of his financial success. One book follows another and his popular interviews allow him to gauge the direction his next narrative will follow. In the midst of the 'drone' excitement, he was recounting how the exact object had appeared to him through his bedroom window.

The images have long been consigned to the trash as the 'Drone Hoax' and so he moved on and never mentioned it again. With a canny eye for her market, Moulton-Howe has resurrected the hoax and reinvented it as a real event concealed within a conspiracy.

In this way, Howe and Strieber become two cogs turning as one in a greater machine. They validate each other and perpetuate the errant nonsense of the populist belief-system of spiritual visitors and the shady doings of the supposedly omniscient US government.

The 'ifs' and 'perhaps' are the only obstacles between Strieber et al being perceived as cynical panderers or *maybe* (as you suggest) post-modern advocates of urban mythology.

Mr Barnum would probably appreciate the splitting of this hair...

Terry the Censor said...

Is he jumping on bandwagons or casting around for increased market share?

Magonia said...

Now corrected, thank you. JR.

Whitley Strieber said...

The idea that Linda and I do it for the money is vicious, insensitive and stupid. Where is that money, except in somebody else's imagination? Not in our pockets, for sure. If I'm so damn rich, then why was I forced into bankruptcy, lost my home, all of it. It's because of creeps like this, perpetuating brain-dead lies. And the drones were not a hoax, as I am sure you know very well. But what does it matter anymore? The liars have the high ground in this crazy world.

Anonymous said...

Over a period of years Strieber kept announcing that he had finally decided that the visitors are "real," that is, physical entities, then that he had decided they aren't, then that they are, and so on, back and forth. At one point, years after publication of "The Key," his book about his supposed chat with a knowledgeable stranger who turned up in his Toronto hotel room, he let it slip, in writing, that he might actually have imagined the whole thing. It's a pity, because it doesn't mean something real didn't happen to him at some time. He reminds me of stage psychics who probably started out with a modicum of talent, but who succumb to the pressure to perform, and start making stuff up. Except that in his case he started out making up stuff, as a writer of fiction.

Kandinsky said...

@ Whitley - You're welcome to your success and have earned it through hard work and diligent attention to popular myths. The drone images were certainly a hoax and pretending they weren't is about as disingenuous as I suggested in the earlier post. LMH has access to the internet and was once a decent investigative journalist; it's absurd to imagine she has no knowledge that they were CGI...or you, for that matter.

Your audience is not interested in whether your elaborate, ever-changing stories are real or otherwise. As such, it's peculiar to see you posting on a rather sceptical site and particularly bandying terms like 'liars' about.

I haven't accused you of lying, but suggested you pander to an audience. Given the scale, variety and frequency of your extraordinary accounts, one can only hope you *are* pandering. Otherwise, you must find all the endless attention you receive from 'erstwhile guests' utterly exhausting.

purrlgurrl said...

Having seen and heard Strieber up close and personal when he was on the bookstore circuit hyping one of his fiction works, I didn't find him to have any credibility talking about his own "experiences". After giving his "canned" presentation, he opened up the floor to Q&A. None of the questions were about the book; all were about his experiences as an abductee. It was fascinating watching him verbally dance around, tailoring his answers to the questioner's apparent belief system as well as the subtle changes occurring in the paranormal zeitgeist. My conclusion; Strieber is a talented creator of fictions, and in his most compelling works he casts himself as the star protagonist.

Anonymous said...

I think it likely that Mr. Streiber is an 'experiencer' (ie. 'alien abductee' and all the high strangeness that entails which none of us really understand).

However I also think Mr. Streiber was pressured to write more alien abduction type books to make a living(seeing how Communion was on the NYT Best Sellers List) and he delivered - mixing some of his truths with fiction. His claims of time traveling, meditating with a "visitor" who sucked on candies and threw the wrappers on the floor (why not collect them for dna evidence?) and the "master of the key" guy - again a great opportunity to collect dna evidence by scratching him or taking a hair.....just a few of Mr. Streiber's tales that don't ring true.

Anonymous said...

what a useless review,typical lizard brain review..fact is whitley as many have,witnessed something amazing,MAGNOIA couldnt review a hair on a dead ape,

fact is abduction and ufos are real..astronaughts..policemen,military,civilians, drs,you name it have all come foward and said its real..they are seen on radar, photographed,touched,documented..u name it...

are they aliens..multidimensional...time travelers...who knows..atleast whitely puts his passion into trying to find the truth...

Anonymous said...

Whatever Whitley is, he certainly isn't alone in his experiences. The strangeness of it all doesn't make it less real, except to the uninitiated. This is to be expected.

Jeff Ritzmann said...

I think it unfair to label someone essentially unable to discern fact from fiction in a case such as this. To describe these experience in unvarnished truth, and raw emotion, is after all, to be thought a fool. I fully concur with Strieber in the way he relates his experiences - they are not the typical admittances or accounts you'll hear from many expeiencers, because it doesn't fit the preconceived and often over popularized "scenario" of the alien encounter. To date, Whitley is one of the few willing to cast aside the nonsense and relate the experiences with open clarity and without outlier omissions that don't fit the popular view. The experience is FAR stranger than any "UFOlogist" has ever written about as far as I'm concerned.

However, Whitely, I can say having examined the "drone" photos at length that have been made available - that they are computer generated fakes. I have two decades+ in digital manipulation and I've worked since 1989 in the professional imaging field.

This however does not dismiss that you saw one. This is where the clue comes in: much like McKenna's eyes-on sighting of the obviously fake Adamski disc - it's a clue. It negates itself (a common paranormal trait), and therefore poses a question: if you know this is fake, then what is the nature of the real form? The preliminary answer to things such as this, could be that manifestations appear as you expect, or are perceived through a cultural or media filter of some sort.

I don't think I have to tell you of all people that we cannot latch onto the face value of any experience or sighting of odd "craft" (if that's even what this represents). There's more, and your sighting of a "drone" craft clearly poses the aggravating question, of what exactly are we perceiving - because it's presentation can be misleading to say the least.

-Jeff Ritzmann

cda said...

I suggest that next time Whitley, Whitely or whoever, is abducted he asks his abductor whether he (the abductor) is a real 3-D flesh and blood humanoid from elsewhere (and determine if it is Zeta Reticuli or somewhere else), or whether he is a time-traveller, a multi-dimensional being (and how many dimensions), an ethereal being, or some other possible variation. At least we can then settle one question - what this UFO can of worms is all about, finally.

Red Pill Junkie said...

So the caveat is that Strieber describes too many anomalous experiences, therefore they can't be true?

I wonder then, what is the normal quota of anomalous experiences one is allowed to have in order to be found credible?

And who is the one in charge of establishing that quota?

Tom Huston said...

The reviewer says: "There are also hints at the hybrids (not yet fully developed, that will come I presume), along with one new motif, the dead alongside the visitors/fairies. I remember predicting that this would be a coming motif back in the late 1980s, and indeed being told of some actual cases, by Bertrand Meheurst at a conference in Leeds in 1991."

But this is not a new motif in Strieber's work (and was referenced in John Mack's "Abduction" as well). "Breakthrough," for example, contains a chapter devoted to the story of the just-dead author Michael Talbot appearing in the company of aliens.

For a blog using the name "Magonia," I find the criticism of Strieber's "blurring the boundaries between dream and reality" odd, because that's precisely where Magonia is.

I just finished Strieber's latest book and enjoyed it considerably. This is the realm of Fort's "excluded middle," to a tee.

Red Pill Junkie said...

"At least we can then settle one question - what this UFO can of worms is all about, finally."

Well, from what I gathered after hearing an interview Strieber made recently, trying to come up with an easy cookie-cutter answer to the mystery is a waste of time, and a waste of an opportunity to allow *us* to be changed by the question.

Ross said...

Magonia blog postings do not usually stimulate extended discussion and debate of this sort. For better or worse, Strieber's work remains a kind of lightning rod for popular awareness of this subject (i. e., UFOs). Strieber is an important catalyst for the evolution of a phenomenon of which we are an inextricable part.

Tyler Kokjohn said...

Whether a story is purported fact or fiction, readers must decide if the narrator is reliable. In this instance Mr. Strieber has revealed a putative physical anchor to authenticity; that he harbors an implant exhibiting some extraordinary attributes.

The implant eluded an attempt to surgically extract it, but the video documentation of the operation is inconclusive. Simply demonstrating that this object is mobile within tissues and actively evades capture would be earthshaking. Accordingly, additional efforts to characterize this implant under controlled conditions seem obviously important and warranted. That this immensely significant aspect of the story did not generate a more persistent investigatory effort is both puzzling and disappointing.

Jeff Davis said...

As usual DR. Kokjohn, you are spot on. READ THIS PEOPLE: "Mr. Strieber has revealed a putative physical anchor to authenticity"

Obviously in the interest of the truth, lets dispense with the mystery by focusing on the FACTS that Whitley & Tyler have brought to our attention. Here we have an opportunity to accompany "incredible claims" with "incredible evidence". Let the facts speak for themselves.

In reply to Kandinsky, MR. Strieber basically HANGS himself upside down!

Whitley replies: "If I'm so damn rich, then why was I forced into bankruptcy, lost my home, all of it. It's because of creeps like this, perpetuating brain-dead lies."

Nothing like trying to put out the fire with gasoline eh Whitley?

First off Sir, we know you are NOT independently wealthy because you continue to do your best to earn a living like the rest of us. That's something that people that are "knowingly" well off, don't need to go on about like you did here. The other thing is Sir, when the subject of money comes up with respect to your motives, the thing to do is to NOT admit you're BROKE. The sad thing here Whitley is that you have openly admitted for all to see that you are presently harboring a bitter grudge. A grudge that has enabled you to self justify your bankruptcy and failed home ownership, due to what exactly? Oh, that' right, it was due to people like Kandinsky. Bad choice Sir, extremely bad. MR. K. might just be one of the best known and most respectfully admired figures on the Internet, with respect for what is contemporary Ufology. Although everyone knows as much, he is none of the things that you have accused him of here.

The one thing that REALLY bothers me with respect to Whitley's reply here, is whether the fact that his financials being in turmoil have motivated his new authorship. He made it sound like it is!

Once again, the following type of nonsense is NOT associated with the successful sale of ANYTHING, let alone a story whose sale is based on the person's experience that relates:

"If I'm so damn rich, then why was I forced into bankruptcy, lost my home, all of it. It's because of creeps like this, perpetuating brain-dead lies."

These are not words that inspire confidence MR. Strieber. Maybe you can do better underlining your authenticity with your implant. After all, that's all that ANY OF US really want. The substantiated truth and not just another unsupportable tale of high strangeness that we are to be entertained with.

Magonia said...

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