What, No Aliens? Manufactured Narratives, Imaginal Beings, & Strieber’s Necessary Fantasy?


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?

21 thoughts on “What, No Aliens? Manufactured Narratives, Imaginal Beings, & Strieber’s Necessary Fantasy?

  1. Oops. I posted this in the middle of a sleep-interrupted night (what, aliens?) and found a bunch of typos in the morning (esp in the passage relating to my mother’s death – no surprise there).

    I also meant to add this line from Ty’s piece as a footnote, coming after the above quoted “Somehow, Strieber is able to see the treatment by the aliens as benign while acknowledging the treatment by human abusers as malicious. [Brown continues] It’s a tricky balancing act and frankly I’m not very happy about making that balancing act more difficult for him. But this is happening to other people and the truth needs to be explored.”

    That perfectly echoes my own feelings about delving into this.

  2. Your line near the end, about a “benevolent father figure to come barging through the door in the dead of night and make sense of it all” strikes a personal chord. My father literally “burst through the door in the dead of night” a great many times, only he made complete NONSENSE of everything.

  3. “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?”

    That illusory need is the weakness in people that has been exploited against us through the ages by all kinds of tyrants.

  4. I don’t read those lines on god and government literally in the common understanding of the words but rather metaphorically and psychologically. the need is not illusory. only a need this real can be exploited to the degree that it has.

    • I could not agree more, Sweatyk. I also read it metaphorically. The need for men with a natural, intuitive sense of the appropriate use of masculine energy and power that shines light on our darkness. Perhaps only then can humanity feel safe, with peace of mind, and peace on earth. A counterbalance to the feminine, not as partriarchy/matriarchy, but as something new, or least at least, something that has not lived on earth in a very, very long time.

  5. ‘only a need this real can be exploited to the degree that it has.’

    As with anything, there are infinite interpretations/filtrations. Our need for a leader feels real to us only because we don’t have a strong centre of independent will/intent. Or maybe we are only exploited to the extent that we have illusory needs? I took God/government as meaning basically any father-figure, leader, guru or protector as well as government and our own conceptions of God. My motive for my last post was to try and point out in a subtle way that we can be exploited when we look towards god or government instead of standing on our own feet. We need a father, a leader when we are young, but adults should not. I bring it up because in general, the population could benefit from being more self-sufficient.

  6. the need is both real and illusory – because when it was real, as children, it was unmet, and so it stays real into adulthood, even tho as adults we don’t need, and in fact will only come even further off balance by having, an external authority to guide us.

    A propos of this, case in point: I just read over my interactions at the old stormy weather forum with the man i refer to as Gefunden. I was appalled by my smugly conceited tone, meant to pass for spiritual authority when I was only parroting the words of my chosen surrogate father figure & guru, JdR.

    So it’s little wonder Gefunden decided I was untrustworthy (just as i did about WS).

    • JH, nice clarification, you are definitely a man of the written word. And yeah, the honest self-criticism is one of the main things I’ve liked about your work. It’s fine to make mistakes. You shouldn’t judge people for their past flaws so long as they have learned from them. If someone shows they have learned their lesson and change their ways, then that is good. If they keep tripping over the same rock then there’s something wrong with them. It takes balls to admit you’re wrong. A lot of people can’t, I think because they are afraid to step out of the safe confines of their established, defensive personality/ego. I can be stubborn as hell so I know lol. Sometimes I catch myself ‘sticking to my guns’ for no reason, except to be self-important or because I’m half-awake.

  7. I always saw a bit of a lier in Strieber, though I did enjoy “The Key.” I’m not convinced his memories of allegedly being abused by aliens and/or humans are repressed unclear memories. I think more likely he is cognizant of manufacturing his fabricated sales pitch universe of being traumatized by “something.” Once in character it is easy to stay in character; and it also sells a lot of books.

  8. Hey Steve – glad you popped up (I listened to your 42 min episode two nights ago – the Pope stuff was on-point for this current topic – tho we haven’t got there yet. You also hinted that you believe in ET contact?)

    For the first time recently I have considered the possibility of conscious deception on the part of WS, of how it might co-exist with his evident sincerity (which even someone as rigorous as Ty Brown concedes). Having a “sales pitch” definitely wouldn’t reconcile those aspects – WS is very obvious AS a salesman (ie, when he plugs his stuff); someone who were merely lying as a way to boost sales (i.e., someone with that degree of cunning) would be less obvious about it. When he pushes ideas, beliefs, and narratives, he seems just as transparent and ingenuous as when he plugs his books.

    So if he were lying, I strongly doubt it would be for the reasons you suggest, but for much higher ones.

    As for WS staying in character, that’s exactly what he fails to do. Would this enigma have remained so for so long if the answer were as simple as you’re suggesting? Or maybe I’m misreading your “diagnosis”?

  9. Perhaps it isn’t so clear cut as I described it with WS. I trust you have some good intuition here as a writer and someone that has followed his work more in depth than I. Maybe I’ve become jaded to ET contact and abuse stories because I’ve worked for Rense radio for the past 6 years now, and listen to what I believe to be complete inventions of the mind on a daily basis. I understand the psychology of the phenomenon though and I’ve even dated someone who fused with alternative ghost/ET narratives after being raped and possibly sexually abused as a teen. As far as what I believe concerning ET contact? I’m in Timothy Leary’s boat:

    “Higher Intelligence, located in interstellar quantum-information structures, has already sent a message to this planet. The U.F.O. message is in the form of the DNA code and of electro-atomic signals which can be transceived by the nervous system.”

    I also think it’s weird that Vatican City is a star map to Orion, Sirius, and the Pleiades and is shaped like a key, just saying…

  10. “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.”
    Our children are sometimes ruthless and cruel too

  11. It’s important not to lay blame; the spiritual view says that an effect can often be a cause, that a child is responsible for a parent as much as vice versa; the psychological view is one I can understand and discuss more easily, however, and it says that we reap what we sow, and a child’s behavior is invariably a reflection of and response to the parent(s) (even, indirectly, when they are absent).

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  14. Actually Jason, the phenomenon Streiber discusses about being psychically opened up to “alien forces” due to trauma is not totally unique and is discussed(although briefly) in the book “Archetypal Defenses of the Personal Spirit” by Jungian psycho-analyst Donald Kalshed in what he calls a supradimensional entity named “Orpha” that shows up to rescue the child as it’s on the verge of “soul murder” and can no longer protect itself through splitting.


    Oddly enough, the patients that had experienced this phenomena called her the “Blessed Mother”.

    With that being said, I’m not discounting that “alien forces” can be malevolent nor that they can take possession of a human host what Streiber seems to be describing has been recounted elsewhere and by people who suffered systematic abuse of one kind or another.

    With that being said, take from my post what you will in drawing any kind of a conclusion.

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