Yesterday I re-read a series of essays by Dream’s End (Ty Brown) written in 2007, called “Whitley Strieber & the Paradigm of Doom.” The last time I read this material was in 2008. The second place I posted my Strieber article after Rigorous Intuition was the Dreamsend forum (I met my wife there!). From what I’ve gathered, Ty Brown started out as a “believer” in alien abduction lore, but by the time he wrote his piece on Strieber, he had abandoned such beliefs and succumbed to the powerful evidence for a non-alien interpretation of Strieber’s experiences. In light of my own recent insights into the Strieber enigma, I decided it was time to revisit Brown’s work. The only place I found it still on line (besides Way Back machine) was at Alex Constantine’s site. I collected the pieces into a word doc and did some cleaning up and correcting of typos. The full document is here.
One of the first things that stood out for me was Brown’s mention of Strieber’s description of his father’s powerlessness to help him when, as a child, Whitley was being subjected to strange procedures, either at the hands of alien beings or human ones, or both. Brown cites Strieber’s “confused memory of my father crouched at the back of an upper berth in our drawing room, his eyes bulging, his lips twisted back from his teeth.” He also quotes (from Communion) the time young Whitley was on a train, apparently with the visitors, and he tries to comfort his father, who is terrified: “’Daddy!’ I’m scared now. They’ve — ‘Daddy! Don’t be so scared, Daddy! Dad, don’t be so scared! . . . Daddy, it’s all right!’ He says, ‘Whitty, it’s not all right! It’s not all right!’”
This reminded me of a vision Strieber had, I think during or soon after his first encounter with the visitors in 1985, of his mother watching coldly on while his father died. Strieber found the vision horrifying, and was positive it didn’t represent any kind of reality. His mother had loved his father, he said. If memory serves me, Strieber decided the visitors had given him this vision, of something that never happened, or that it had been created by his unconscious mind, like a waking dream. So far as I know he never came up with a reason.
When my mother died, in 2010, I was hit by the sudden conviction that she had not been a good person. This was triggered in part by the manner of her death: she wasted away in the final months to an almost skeletal being, and fell into a coma in the last days. When I first flew back to see her, I found her alone in the hospice room and for those first few moments, I thought she was already dead. With her bulging eyes and gaping, bare-toothed mouth, she resembled a hungry ghoul or a mummified corpse—like something out of the Hammer horror films I grew up on. For a day or so after she died, I was swept up with the fierce conviction she had not been a good person (good people had good deaths). I wondered if she had been an old seer or vampiric being. I quickly reigned in these grotesque thoughts and reached a more balanced view. She had not been the person I’d thought she was, but that didn’t mean she was a monster, only that she had a hidden side which I had not been able to let myself to see until after she died.
One, perhaps the primary, aspect to this was her complicity in my brother’s treatment of me. I had seen my brother as my enemy (although I loved him), and my mother as my best friend (though she infuriated me). But my brother wouldn’t have been able (or even wanted) to abuse me if it weren’t for my mother. Allowing myself to see her culpability fully was something that only happened once it was entirely “safe” for me to do so, i.e., once they had both died.
Strieber’s view of the visitors, specifically the female “master” featured on the cover of Communion, seems to have been similarly skewed. Mostly, and despite the “body terror,” the “rape,” and the obvious trauma which the visitors caused him, he persisted in describing them as agents of spiritual transformation, and as essentially benevolent. In the early 2000s, at his website, he began reporting memories of being part of an MK-ULTRA secret intelligence program of systematized abuse, the traumatic effects of which opened him up psychically to the intervention of the visitors. In other words: government bad, aliens good. And yet, not only do the alien visitors and the MKULTRA agents appear to work together (or at least their activities overlap in his memory), they also seem to use similar methods.
As Dream’s End wrote in 2007:
What a horrific tale this is becoming, despite Strieber’s exhortations to see the process as one of guided spiritual awakening. We see evidence of likely sexual abuse at the hands of military and perhaps adults from his Catholic school and we see invasive procedures very much resembling sexual abuse at the hands of aliens. We see the aliens inducing hallucinations, and we also see evidence of hallucinations induced by his Randolph AFB abusers. Somehow, Strieber is able to see the treatment by the aliens as benign while acknowledging the treatment by human abusers as malicious.
What if Brown is largely correct? What if Strieber’s interpretation of his experience is largely “off” due to an unconscious need to see his “mother” (the alien presence) in a good light because it is only this belief (in the absence/powerlessness of his father) that allowed him to survive his experiences?
What if this is the secret which he has kept from himself, and therefore from his readers?
This would account for his ongoing struggle to decide whether “they” are good or evil. Of course, as with my mother, the answer is that they are neither. They are simply human.
What if, while Strieber’s accounts are honest so far as he is able, there are no aliens, at all?
What if there is only an all-too human interference for which Strieber has created an elaborate and necessary fantasy as a cover story, a screen memory to protect himself from the truth?
One of my earliest memories of going to the movies was in 1977 (I would have been ten), watching Close Encounters of the Third Kind with my family. I only remember one moment clearly: the climax when the mother ship lands and the alien beings come out, suffused in bluish light. I remember how my mouth fell open in childlike wonder, and how, in that moment, I saw out of the corner of my eye my mother lean forward and look at me (I was on her left). I felt annoyed, embarrassed, exposed. It was as if my private awe had been violated by her motherly gaze. I knew that she had been feeling the same sense of wonder, and merely wanted to see my own reaction. But my make-believe bubble was immediately burst by her attention, the experience of being seen.
My own response to Strieber’s accounts from the start has always been to believe them. As I said to Gefunden recently, they have “the whiff of the real.” I have until now always stood by this, the certainty that I can identify an otherworldly, imaginal, or numinous element when I see (or read about) it.
But what if I have the same bias as Whitley? What if we share the same Moon-Pluto blind spot? What am I going on besides a strong feeling that his accounts are real? Just because that feeling is itself real doesn’t mean it is accurate. It might be real because it’s necessary, an essential part of my own survival-based fantasy projection, an unconscious subterfuge that placed all the “evil” onto one party, in order to continue to perceive the other as good.
I am not arguing that nonhuman intelligent beings, similar to those described by Strieber, do not exist, or that we don’t ever interact with them. I am not even arguing that some of Strieber’s impressions and memories may not relate to genuine encounters with divine-infernal (Imaginal) beings. They may very well. What I am suggesting, or wondering, is whether the narrative he reports, and sincerely believes, might have been cunningly manufactured by human agencies to trigger just such deeper associations (in both Strieber and his readers), so they would then be projected onto the manufactured narrative, imbuing it with a richness, depth, and authenticity which it otherwise lacks?
Just like I imagined my mother as a cosmic-angelic super-being in the sky—and was eventually confronted with the terrifying truth of a starved, skeletal corpse?
It is the absence of the father that gives the mother sole care of, and dominance over, the child. It’s that same absence that eventually, inevitably, turns her into a mother-strangler, a monstrous, devouring, alien creature whose lessons are ruthless and cruel.
All this points to a desperate need—in Strieber, Heinrich, Gefunden, myself, humanity— for a wise, powerful, benevolent father figure to come barging through the door in the dead of night and make sense of it all—to provide “the key” to everything.
A figure of supreme authority. A representative of God—or of Government?