The Whitley Enigma: Many Voices, One Song


What follows is a series of quotes from several disparate sources: my article on Strieber, Heinrich & Gefunden’s mother.strangled audios, and (on one occasion) Whitley Strieber himself. I have changed the quotes slightly to improve the flow, and in the case of Strieber, I have changed it from first to third person. Yet nowhere have I interfered with the meaning. I invite the reader to distinguish between these disparate voices – bearing in mind that for, the most part, the individuals in question are, or have been perceived and perceived themselves to be, in staunch disagreement.

Strieber is under all these stresses. On the one hand there’s the stress between this image of himself as the objective arbitrator of his own experience versus the vessel or prophet of the visitors; there’s the stress of the visitors as angels vs. the visitors as demons. There’s the need to fight secrecy vs. the possibility that something terrible will be loosed into the world if he should confirm the presence of these beings. (1)

He’s obviously under an enormous amount of pressure and an enormous number of competing pressures. Strieber’s relationship to this other level of reality is fragmenting him in a pretty straightforward way. And of course he adopts this narrative of having been the victim of a program that would split the personality somehow via the induction of some sort of trauma. But I think we could also take the view that his personality has been split, fragmented, rendered pathological by the dual stresses to which it’s subjected in the contact experience. (2)

Maybe Strieber created a parallel self by which to enter his conjectured “parallel universe”? Not that the psychological theory explains away the mystical one—on the contrary—both versions may be equally accurate. Psychotherapy would say that Strieber’s psyche splintered into multiple selves and that he fled into fantasy to escape an unpleasant reality. Strieber would argue that his soul journeyed into other worlds and encountered nonhuman intelligences there. The two interpretations—while apparently at odds—may simply be two ways of describing the same event. (3)

Strieber is in a double-bind, or a Catch 22. He knows certain things, or is in the possession of knowledge, but he is unable to allow himself to believe it because, as soon as he believes it, any benefits that might have been gained by believing it will be destroyed when he himself is primarily transformed by believing what he actually already knows. So he’s stuck. He can’t go this way, he can’t go that way. All he can do is persist and endure. And yet we find these slip-ups, these instances where the fragmentation shows through. There are processes taking place underneath the level of processes that Strieber’s preoccupied with, the level of consciousness, observation, and bringing things into “reality.” (4)

Maybe this is the foundation of Strieber’s life at the edge of reality? Perhaps he is presently in the process of rediscovering, and learning how to link his various lives in different realities so that he can have a single, integrated set of memories that includes everything he has done and known? (5)

Whether Strieber is an enlightened soul-traveler or a paranoid schizophrenic would depend on whether or not he succeeded in integrating the various fragmented aspects of his psyche, and in claiming the knowledge and power which his experiences made available to him. (6)

Strieber’s caught between surrender, as what we might think of as a more authentic mode of spiritual response, and a sort self-aggrandizement that envisions him as playing a part in world history. We can draw a contrast between authentic surrender and self-aggrandizement, and the duality and the interplay between those, and how they are achieved or not. How he is moving between those modalities could account for some of the discrepancies that we see in his character and in his literary output. (7)

His mission as ambassador to otherworldly beings is to help humanity prepare for contact. As such, he is obliged to present these beings as actual, concrete, literal fact. That such a view is at odds with the nature of the contact experience is testified by the glaring inconsistencies of his descriptions, and his own almost constant see-sawing as to whether the beings are benevolent or not. Strieber seems caught in a mental conundrum, trying to talk his way out of it and rarely, if ever, willing to admit that he doesn’t what is going on. (8)

Strieber’s discourse is authentic because it shows the limitations of his own interpretation. There’s such an abundance of detail that it puts the lie to his own attempts to sum up or to interpret for everyone else just what the hell has been going on. (9)

(Key: 1: Gefunden 2: Heinrich 3: Kephas 4: Heinrich 5: Strieber 6: Kephas 7: Gefunden 8: Kephas 9: Heinrich)

(Cont later today)

3 thoughts on “The Whitley Enigma: Many Voices, One Song

  1. His mission as ambassador to otherworldly beings is to help humanity prepare for contact.

    I wonder how many times you went over that in your mind to prepare this piece. Theres seems more detail in all this than the actual books which brings writing into its own art form.



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