Aliens, Predictions & the Secret School: Decoding the Work of Whitley Strieber
By LOUIS PROUD—
Anyone who knows anything about the subject of UFOs and alien abduction would have heard of Louis Whitley Strieber, the successful horror novelist, who, in 1987, published a book called Communion which still stands as one of the most terrifying, factual and powerful accounts of alien abduction ever written.
But far from being just an abductee and author, Strieber is also something of an undeclared mystic and prophet. It seems he has much to say about humanity’s spiritual, political and environmental future. Is he, as some have claimed, nothing but a prophet of doom, or do his words contain genuine wisdom and an important message?
Now a host of the online radio program Dreamland, which covers the latest news in paranormal phenomena, Strieber continues to write about the mysterious non-human beings he calls the ‘visitors’, and has recently been doing so in a fictional way. Within the last two years Strieber has published two new novels, The Grays and 2012: The War for Souls, both of which are soon to be made into big budget films.
The grays, says Strieber, are just one of the many different types of non-human being, or visitor, that he has been in close contact with. “These people were not androids or robots. They were complex, richly alive beings who were obviously incredibly and totally different from us,” he says. The grays feature commonly in accounts of alien abduction, and are believed to be behind much of the UFO phenomena witnessed in our skies. Strieber says he decided to write The Grays because the truth about these beings “is too elusive to bring to genuinely sharp focus in factual narrative.”
Strieber came up with the term ‘visitor’ to replace ‘alien’ because he does not necessarily believe that aliens, in the true sense of the word, are behind the close encounter phenomenon, preferring instead to leave the question of their origin open until further evidence comes to light. Plus, he considers the word ‘alien’ to have a negative connotation. The word ‘visitor’, on the other hand, could not be more neutral, and was chosen for this very reason.
Strieber was already a successful author before he decided to risk his reputation by publishing Communion. His previous books, of which there are many, deal with issues like nuclear war and environmental catastrophe. Along with childhood friend James Kunetka, Strieber wrote the 1984 New York Times bestselling novel Warday, which concerns the subject of nuclear holocaust. He also wrote a number of highly acclaimed horror novels, such as The Hunger and The Wolfen, both of which were adapted into films.
When Communion was first published, it quickly shot to number 1 on the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list. It then went on to become an international bestseller. Although Strieber allegedly received six figures from publishing company William Morrow (now an imprint of HarperCollins), it seems unlikely that Communion was a hoax, and that he wrote it for the money – which is what some critics have claimed. In a 1987 interview for the San Francisco Examiner, Strieber said: “I didn’t need to write it. I could have written another novel… Why would I hold myself up to the ridicule that a book like Communion brings? I felt that I had to write this book.”
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