Notice: As a rule, this website does not reproduce materials from Whitley's World. However, since our intention is to archive the writing process, the following excerpt appears here in that context.


Whitley Strieber
Wednesday, 11 October 2000
(posted on Whitley's World message board)

I have gone through many different phases regarding the seeking of contact. The first phase was very compulsive. Toward the end of February, 1986, I realized that the visitors were probably real. This was because all my tests kept coming up normal. At that point a sort of sense of wonder overlaid the fear. What was compulsive was my need to go out in the woods in the middle of the night alone. I could not live with such a terror. I had to face it, even if it meant my total destruction.

A teacher of mine, Bill Segal, who was then head of the Gurdjieff Foundation in New York, said to me, after hearing my story: fifteen seconds with them, fifteen years of meditation.

I learned to function and remain objective even in a state of terror greater than any I had known existed. I was at times so afraid that I had to almost drag myself by consciously forcing one foot to go down in front of the other. I can certainly see why people had to be carried to the gallows.

Then there came a morning a year later that changed everything. On this morning, I was awakened by a call. I threw on my slippers and robe and started down to the spot where I meditated. It was barely light. Partway there, I could see a gray object hanging above the meadow where I meditated then, through the snowy trees. I could see figures. In my head I heard a tough, awful voice saying, 'come on, come on,' with great impatience. Like a hunter might sound, waiting in a freezing blind for an annoyingly cautious deer.

I could not go farther. I had reached my limit. I turned around to go back to the house, and I was aware of a huge invisible presence coming after me up the path, or above the path. When I put my hand on the door handle, three exquisitely beautiful and gentle cries echoed up from the meadow. They were the most wonderful, complex and sensitive sounds I have ever heard. Deeply sad, disconsolate, and disappointed, even hurt, as in a hurt to the heart.

I went in and went back to bed, wanting to hold my wife. But the presence came into the room with me. A second later, I was suddenly back in my mother's bedroom when I was a tiny tot. Her desk and bed soared up above me. I was floating, it felt like, because what was happening was that I was reliving the first moment I walked. It was so vivid, it was as if my adult consciousness had gone back in time and re-entered my baby's body.

After this experience, my approach to the visitors changed again. By this time, I had heard dozens of horror stories, of rape stories, of scare stories, including my own. But I had also thought long on what goodness actually is, and what compassion is. I could not forget Rilke's second elegy – in the Duino Elegies, which he wrote in contemplation of angels – but real angels, not the fairy-tale pretties of modern thought – where he said, “every angel is terrible. And still, alas knowing all that, I serenade you, almost deadly birds of the soul.”

I knew then that the visitors were extremely complex beings, not only brilliant, but conscious in a way that I am myself striving to be conscious – to, for example, have the compassion to give what is really needed, not the pretty little gift of a pat on the cheek, but the terrifying gift that challenges your spirit and makes it grow.

And then I saw my first cattle mutilation. It stank, it was horrible beyond description, on a friend's farm not too far away, an animal neatly sliced up, it's teeth grinning horribly, the lips having been cut off with a surgeon's precision. It was lying in a mass of feces, which suggested to us that it had suffered its death while alive. Its eyes were gone, its vagina cored out.

And then my son began to report, at the age of seven, that he had alien visitors coming into his room.

I was so helpless then. Not even prayer seemed to matter. But, as my friend so succinctly asked me, when I bitched and moaned about the cow, had I ever visited a slaughterhouse?

The third level of relationship with the visitors came in 1993. We were in the process of losing the cabin, our life had become a hideous struggle, there were hidden forces actively seeking to destroy us, and we were terrified. And then there came seven thuds on the roof above my meditation room one night. There followed a review of my life, with special attention paid to my sins – which, incidentally, are not many, but there, just like anybody. Later that night, I opened my eyes and found seven small human faces staring down at me from above. Instead of the ceiling behind them, there was an unutterable, starless blackness. A moment later, I opened my eyes again, and found seven huge spiders clinging to the ceiling. These things were the size of big dogs, understand, gleaming black with yellow stripes like tigers, and they looked damn well ready to go. I leaped out of bed, wanting very badly to get out from under them – and then there was Anne, peacefully asleep with these monstrous things a couple of feet above her. I managed to go back and wake her up, and in that moment my heart was overcome with a love for her so great that I realized that it was greater than my own life. My sin had involved a temptation of infidelity. They had shown me the truth of my love for my wife. How should I take it – as the action of demons, or as the impeccable message of angels? I spent months going to meditate, and finding the thuds on the roof above, then one of the beings coming down into the room. Men, small, dressed in shabby little tunics. But true masters if ever there were such. I consider the time they spent with me the luckiest and best time of my life, a time given to me by a benevolent God.

In June of 1998, I met another man, in a hotel room in Toronto, who taught me some of the most phenomenal and wonderful things I have ever known. He told me, often in just a few words, some truly new things. He explained what the soul actually is and how death works. He dropped the curtain that hides the path to the unknown country, and enabled me to travel there. I've been working ever since on a book about this conversation. It's called The Key, because that's what he offered – a stunningly powerful and useful key. (It'll be out when I finish it. Don't ask, it's terribly hard. I black out some times working on it.)

Are the visitors good or evil? I don't know, but they certainly are not simple. This is no Walt Disney story of good guys vs. bad guys. Hating them and loving them are both the easy way out.

I have been privileged to meet many masters. But there was one, an old priest who I knew when I was a kid, who said to me “our trouble is that we are tame. God is wild, but we are tame.”

That probably sums it up for me right now: God is wild, and so is that dark universe out there that is getting ready to come in. ~

Many Masters
© 2000 Whitley Strieber
All Rights Reserved.
Excerpt presented under the terms and provisions of Fair Use.