All Work and No Play: “Pain” & Strieber’s Missing Summer of ‘68 (Prisoner of Infinity VII)


“The most blessed are those who suffer the most.”
—Whitley Strieber, “Pain”

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

All work and no play makes Whitley a dull boy.

All work and no play makes Ray a dull boy.

All work and no play make Jake a dull boy.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.[1]

My own father was all work and no play. He had no “time” for children. He did play tennis until his late thirties, but a crippling genetic disease slowly robbed him of the use of his legs, thus ending his play. By the time my memories of him begin (when I was around seven, after he’d left us), he was walking with a cane. Later came crutches, and much later he succumbed to the necessity of a wheelchair. He suffered from an extremely rare genetic disorder, which only one of his siblings, his younger sister, contracted (his two brothers and older sister didn’t, nor did either of his parents or his children). When he could no longer play tennis, he played Bridge instead. He played for money, and as a child I helped empty ashtrays and refill the players’ glasses in return for tips. I was a mercenary child, and regularly stole from my father’s suit pockets, where he kept a pound for emergency cab fare. He had many suits. Like him, I took money seriously.

My father didn’t believe in God, aliens, conspiracies, psychic powers or human potentialities. He didn’t believe in the soul or the afterlife. He was a “proud individualist” who saw himself (and was seen by others) as unconventional, a rule-breaker and social iconoclast. I didn’t see him that way. I hardly saw him at all: when I spent the weekend with him, he would mostly hide behind a newspaper, and having a conversation with him was practically impossible. I do remember one time, probably when I was a teenager, asking him how he could stand to believe there was nothing after death. “If there’s nothing, I won’t know it,” he replied. “So why should I care?”

He was an advocate of equality and believed that the rights of the individual were more important than the needs of the collective. Yet he was a socialist, with an oft-expressed sympathy for minorities and a loathing of any sort of prejudice. At the same time, he was an intellectual who looked down on the lower classes for their ignorance and lack of education or artistic refinement. He admired social reformers (I can imagine Gandhi or Martin Luther King among the people he respected—though he didn’t believe in “heroes”); he also admired artists and pioneers. He respected anyone out of the ordinary, who forged their own path away from the herd and who he saw as “different.” That wouldn’t have included spiritual or religious pioneers, however, and he would have dismissed Whitley Strieber without a second glance. He was a pacifist who loathed all forms of violence and was unable to watch violent movies. (He once told me that he “hid under the seat” during Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange.) In contrast, I became obsessed with violent movies as a teenager, and eventually wrote two books about them. I tended to see my father’s pacifism as squeamishness more than sensitivity. One of his favorite refutations of religion was that it had caused more killing than anything else in history, hardly an original opinion, but one he expressed a dozen times or more to me.

Until he retired he put most of his energy into three things: work, sex, and drinking. He didn’t believe in family values any more than religious ones, and he showed no interest in being a father. But he didn’t seem to believe in the work ethic or have a high opinion of his own achievements either (though other people did). The company he ran was started by his father, Alec, whom he professed to have always disliked (even in his final years). He took over Northern Dairies, the family business, in 1969, when I was two, and after Alec retired. By replacing his father, he became what he most despised. No doubt this was Alec’s wish for his son (and for his family and the business), and my father probably felt like he had no choice. He only joined the company after he met my mother and they had their first child. Before that, he’d been bumming around Canada failing to write “the great English novel.” It’s tempting to say he sold his soul to gain the world, but I don’t think my father was especially interested in worldly power (unlike my grandfather). I think he was running from something and that he jumped down the first rabbit hole he could find. It didn’t go to wonderland.

In A Most Accursed Religion: When God Becomes a Trauma, Greg Mogenson writes:

Traumatic events are not all painful. Frequently, the imagination is fixated by events, which stop it from imagining on but do not cause pain. The birth of a child, for instance, may be as overwhelming for the new father as for the mother. The sudden appearance of the new life immediately cancels the conventions of its parents’ old life, temporarily bankrupting their previous soul-making. We should not be surprised, therefore, that new parents often admit to being afraid of their children and sometimes even suffer depression or psychosis following a birth they may have joyously anticipated. It is a tremendous responsibility to be the parent of an overwhelming event, the mother or father of God (p. 51).

I seriously doubt my father ever joyously anticipated the birth of his children—and certainly not me, the last to arrive. I think he let biology take its course and tried his best to keep his end up, so to speak. Mostly this was by bringing home the bacon (literally, once Northern Dairies took over Pork Farms). If the arrival of children bankrupted his “soul-making” with our mother—and more importantly, interfered with their sex—he may even have perceived us as “diabolic” interlopers. Certainly he refused to answer to the word “father.” Now I think about it, he probably despised religion as much for its puritanical attitude towards sex as for its justifications of violence. He would have had no time for de-eroticized spirituality, or de-eroticized anything, and if my father had any religious feelings at all, they probably centered on sex. Yet paradoxically, he once described to me falling in love with my mother as “a meeting of minds.” She in turn described his arrival in her life as akin to Pluto’s abduction of Persephone, and later referred to my father as “a sex addict.” Yet despite his sexual addiction, he lived a de-eroticized life, cut off from his own body. In fact, sexual addiction is really a symptom of de-eroticization, which causes a Jagger-esque perennial lack of satisfaction.

In the last years of his life, it would be hard to say what, if anything, my father believed in. Possibly it had to do with the power of human beings to create their own meanings, free from the guidance (or interference) of religious or political authorities. Just as he rejected his father (and his own fatherhood), he rejected God and all other forms of authority. It didn’t make him free; it made him groundless, weightless, disembodied. At some level, my father never grew past adolescence, presumably because his father didn’t hold the necessary space for him to step into his own authority, his own manhood, his own body.

When I asked him once if he thought his father had raised him well, he affirmed it by saying that Alec had insisted on a good education. In the same conversation, however (and in the same context), he described Alec as “a bully.” Besides the fact that he loved his mother and disliked his father, I know almost nothing about my father’s childhood. It seems likely Alec’s “bullying,” and his insistence that my father got “a good education,” started early on. My father was sent away to boarding school at the age of five, and his younger sister was sent away at three. Is there any relation between this and the fact it was these two who later succumbed to the crippling genetic disorder that took away their legs? Something happened in my father’s life, something that left him wounded beyond repair, unable to stand up straight or live the life he wanted to live. Perhaps, as in Strieber’s case, it related to that early induction?

At one point in his life, my father may have believed in the possibility of creating a system for people to live by without the crutch of religion or the interference of government (he was an anarchist at heart, or so he said). Yet, so far as I know, and besides his unconventional and innovative business methods, he didn’t bring about any kind of lasting change in the world or leave it a better place. Unlike Jimmy Savile, no buildings were named after him. He was a humanitarian who would have despised transhumanism with every fiber of his being. He disliked technology, and it took him years to admit he needed a wheelchair. That stubbornness combined with stoicism was part and parcel with his inability to admit that he was, after all, a cripple. I suspect he felt abandoned, not only by God and by his own father, but by his body. He was—in the fullest sense that I have experienced directly —a lost soul. And if you discount the sex and the alcohol, which were really evidence of addiction, of a desperate desire to escape the body, then he, like the other men described in this chapter, lived a life that was very much “all work and no play.”

When I think of my father as I knew him, it’s been hard for me to feel much. It’s as if he had already vacated the premises by the time I was old enough to have a conscious relationship with him. I have found it easier to connect to him emotionally when I imagine how he was before I was born, when he first met my mother: full of aspirations and a passionate belief in his own potential. I suspect that having children, the burden of that responsibility (which almost certainly led him to join his father’s business), broke his spirit, and that when he found he couldn’t carry the burden he’d assumed, his legs gave out and he gave up the ghost. He kept on living but no longer had anything substantial to live for, besides work and pleasure. There was no higher meaning he could believe in, not even the higher meaning of his own spirit. Especially not that.

I see my father’s life as a tragedy; but ironically, what makes it a tragedy in my eyes is that he was unable or unwilling to see it that way himself. He not only turned his back on his own spiritual potential (authenticity), he told himself that there was no such thing to turn away from, that it was just empty belief and social control. He turned his lack of faith into an intellectual position. I think that was what really crippled him. A spiritual potential that isn’t embodied becomes, by slow degrees, a spiritual disease, a soul sickness. It’s a fate that I have devoted my life to avoiding, and it’s probably what compelled me to write this account.



“You have not lived, my friend, until you have been waked up out of a dead sleep by an alien who seduces you with the precision of a computer and the cunning of a Geisha. Nor would you ever again entertain the idea that such an experience was a fantasy. If it was, and that was ever proved, I have to admit that it would break my heart.”
—Whitley Strieber, Thinking XXX

Whitley, another wounded soul, appears also to be very much “all work and no play.” He is a relentlessly driven worker-bee, a man whose world-saving, soul-rescuing mission consumes him and (arguably) threatens to drive him mad. Perhaps there is something about wounded souls that drives them into activity, into “work,” as the surest way of escaping their pain?

My father rarely ever mentioned his physical condition, and many people around him saw this as stoicism, a brave refusal to complain. But he drank heavily every day of his life and died in a state of insensibility from drugs, and avoidance is not stoicism. In contrast, Strieber appears to be obsessed with pain, primarily his own, and to like nothing better than to talk about it, often in a shrill and lamenting tone, sometimes (as more recently) in a creepily orgiastic way. Where my father was an atheist and saw nothing ennobling about suffering, Strieber is a “secular” (lapsed) Catholic who has created a veritable philosophy out of the transcendental power of pain, of ecstasy through agony. He even named a story after it. “Pain” is the story Strieber was working on in December 1985, when the memories of his alien encounters first began to surface. It was published in 1987 (and was nominated for a World Fantasy best short story award) as part of a horror anthology called Cutting Edge, roughly around the time Communion came out. I had heard about it (he mentions it in Communion), but I knew almost nothing about it until recently. This is how he describes it at his website:

Pain was written between mid-December 1985 and mid-January 1986. It is the last thing I wrote before becoming conscious of the close encounter experience I had on December 26, 1985. While I was writing it, uneasy and confused memories of that experience were flowing through my mind, and I was beginning the process of research that would eventually lead to recollection of the close encounter and the writing of Communion. The story contains a great deal of unconscious material about the experience. In fact, my entire unconscious understanding of close encounter [sic] and its connection to the dangerous sacred is contained in the story. . . . It is among the most important things I have ever written about the visitors, because it contains so much truth coming straight out of my unconscious recollections of what happened to me.

In the spoken introduction to his reading of “Pain,” Strieber states emphatically: “this is not a personal narrative.” He adds that, when he first released it, “sleazy people” tried to claim that he “was somehow involved in sadomasochistic sex,” and that this disturbed him so much that he put the story “on ice” for twenty-five years. He insists, somewhat indignantly, “It is not a sex story. It is about the dangerous sacred” (Jeffrey Kripal’s pet subject, please note). After twenty-five years of silence, Strieber made “Pain” available as an audio reading at his website; as it happened, I was working on this present chapter, and it was two days after I re-subscribed to Unknown Country after more than a year’s absence. The timing was so exact, it felt as if Strieber was co-operating with my exploration.

The story reads exactly like Strieber’s non-fiction narratives (which he invariably dramatizes), complete with commentary on the nature of the aliens and occult-religious-philosophical asides. As Strieber acknowledges, it is a sort of symbolic retelling (or foretelling) of his “close encounter” experiences, while also invoking childhood memories of “initiation-by-trauma” government abuse and/or psychic training under the “Sisters of Mercy” at the Secret School. In “Pain,” Strieber’s surrogate character is researching a piece about prostitution (Sisters of Mercy) by interviewing working girls when he falls under the spell of “Janet O’Reilly.” By the end of the story, the dominatrix has been revealed as a supernatural being—or alien?

Since I know better than to take Strieber at his word when he insists the piece is not a personal narrative, I did some online research and turned up a host of curious facts (or factoids, much of this is anecdotal and difficult to verify). First off, in the bio notes on the inside back cover flap of the first edition (1981) of The Hunger, I found this:

[Strieber] has traveled through many parts of the world, working in fields as diverse as intelligence and filmmaking. His underground films were shown frequently in England in the late sixties. His other work includes a documentary on the Process Church of Final Judgment, an unusual religious group that has been connected with satanism.


Strieber is on record as stating that he didn’t write this bio and that his publisher had “sensationalized some parts of his life . . . particularly the part about having worked in fields ‘as diverse as intelligence.’” It’s likely they also exaggerated his reputation as an underground filmmaker—particularly since Strieber claims to have only spent a year in London studying film (he graduated from the University of Texas in 1967), a year in which he was apparently also studying at the (Fabian) London School of Economics!

Going back a year or two, to 1966, there is a great deal of confusion around the question of whether or not Strieber witnessed the infamous Charles Whitman shooting at Texas University in Austin. In Communion, he wrote how for years he had told of being present at the shooting. “But I wasn’t there. Then where was I?” In Transformation, he changes his mind again, but he remains unsure of what he is saying:

For years I’d remembered being there but hadn’t been able to find witnesses who could place me. At the time I was writing Communion I concluded that this must be another screen memory [so] I carefully reported that I hadn’t been there even though the memory was so realistic that I had actually given interviews describing the event in detail (p. 92).

Having concluded he was there after all, Strieber describes the incident in detail, including spotting someone he knew (who later confirmed their presence). He describes leaving the scene at once and driving back to San Antonio, hanging his head out of the car window and screaming. Why, with memories as vivid as this, did Strieber ever doubt his memory? If he could be unclear in his mind about something of such profound personal significance, how are we supposed to know what to believe about his accounts?


At the same time, Strieber as a 1960s underground London filmmaker hanging out with The Process Church seems supremely unlikely, in light of his known history and personality (Strieber is about as far from a ‘60s swinger as it is possible to imagine). As for The Process Church, any researcher into conspiracy and occult lore will tell you that this shadowy group is like a “strange attractor” for weirdness, and its brief history overlaps with everything from Scientology to the Son of Sam. This isn’t the only unexpected overlap with other areas of my research either: William Sims Bainbridge, the transhumanist who had such a strong influence on Ray Kurzweil, did a five-year ethnographic study of The Process. He even took some pages out of their book when he adopted the term “religious engineering.”[2]

The Process Church was founded by two Scientology “apostates,” Mary Ann McLean and Robert de Grimston Moor. Moor and most of the other founding members—just like Charles Whitman—were architecture students. Mary Ann McLean was born in Scotland and worked as a dominatrix and prostitute.[ref]


The Church established their headquarters in London in 1966 (when Strieber was in Texas witnessing the Whitman shooting—if he was). In late 1968, the senior members of the Church, including McLean, left London and traveled around Europe, eventually settling in a basement in Rome.[ref] In the summer of 1968, Strieber had a series of strange experiences of missing time, starting in London, and leading to a collection of bizarre and fragmented memories traveling around Europe with a young woman, ending up in the catacombs of the Vatican, in Rome. In Communion, Strieber first mentions this period of his life in a typically mysterious terms:

In 1968 I ended up with four to six weeks of “missing time” after a desperate and inexplicable chase across Europe. This is associated with a perfectly terrible memory of eating what I have always thought was a rotten pomegranate, which was so bitter that it almost split my head apart (p. 119).

Pomegranates are associated with Persephone’s “rape” and her journey to the underworld. Various winding roads converge in Strieber’s narrative at an already strange and perplexing juncture in his life, the summer of 1968. It may be time to pause to reorientate.



A few days after listening to “Pain” and discovering these peculiar facts, while reworking this current chapter, I listened to a 1986 recording of a hypnosis session between Strieber and UFO-researcher Budd Hopkins. The focus was on Strieber’s missing time experience in the summer of 1968. During the session, Strieber remembers traveling to Rome with a mysterious woman and being joined by some other people. He is able to remember these people only peripherally, as shadowy figures at the edge of the scenes. He remembers telling his “life story” in great detail to the woman, “twice or three times.” He recalls that the woman told him she grew up in Ireland (McLean was Scottish, the fictional Janet is given an Irish name), and describes having sex with her more than once. On at least one occasion, he remembers other people in the room, directing the sex act and manipulating his body! One of the rooms he finds himself in was reportedly an “operating theater that was supposedly a bedroom.”[3]

In a line that would be quite at home in “Pain,” she asks him, “What would you do if I told you I wanted to cut you in half?” Strieber describes a feeling of being under the “absolute control” of these people. He recalls visiting an apartment with skulls lined up on shelves (as well as art books), and being shown off by one of the group, “like a prize.” He recounts being interrogated by a man with a New York accent about New York, and being terrified. He and the woman (whom he calls “Róisín”—an Irish name meaning Rose) go to the Vatican, where Róisín gives him a history lesson. They go down into the catacombs and Róisín disappears into the shadows. He encounters another woman who tells him he will find Róisín “on a street corner.”  While he is in the Vatican basement, Strieber recalls looking up at some glowing lights and seeing “the face of the devil . . . a red face.” A red “Baphomet” head with goat’s horns was part of the Process iconography.[4] The imagery also, quite tellingly, echoes the “trigger” of 1984 or 1985, the supposed “face on Mars.”

Strieber stares into the face’s deep, dark eyes. As he recalls this part of the experience, his voice becomes progressively quieter and more trancelike. “This is so secret . . . you would hurt yourself so much, if you knew this . . . sssshhh shhhhh . . . . [inaudible] close the door . . . . ” Although his voice has been quite normal until this point, it here becomes almost inaudible, very much like someone going into a deep hypnotic state. After about half a minute, his voice grows strong again and he describes hearing someone telling him to go back up to the main floor. (Imagining climbing steps is a standard way to bring someone out of a trance state.)

Strieber returns to his pensione and there, in his room, he finds a black, box-like piece of luggage belonging to Róisín. He opens it and sees a “liquid eye” looking up at him. He describes it to Hopkins, in stunned tones, as a living being folded up, as if made of paper. Hopkins suggests (leadingly) that it may be a costume and Strieber agrees (as if the idea hadn’t occurred to him until then). Whatever it was, it was apparently so lifelike that Strieber mistook it, even in folded up form, for a living being. The impossibility of what he was seeing (and the thought that his female companion was carrying such a thing around with her) frightened him so badly that he fled Rome the following day.[5]

The similarities of this fractured account with the story in “Pain” are striking, to say the least.[6]


The first thing that struck me when I heard Strieber’s 2013 reading, however, was that it contained a very clear description of government secrecy around UFOs, along with an elaborate hypothesis about the nature of the inhabitants. Once again, this gives the lie to Strieber’s statement that he had dismissed the whole subject of UFOs before his close encounter experience of 1985. And while Strieber insisted in his preamble that “Pain” was “not a personal narrative,” the rest of the audio clearly suggests otherwise. For one thing, he recounts an experience of finding a photograph of his “uncle” lying in a coffin in North Africa and his uncle’s reaction when he showed him the photograph. Besides the switching of father with uncle, it’s an exact replica of the experience recounted, twenty-five years later, in Solving the Communion Enigma. Strieber goes on to make explicit what is only implied in the later work: that the photo is a documentation of his “uncle’s” initiation into the Vril society, adding a lurid detail about “raising a demon” to take possession of Hitler, alchemical rituals, and the atomic bomb.

“Pain” goes on to describe the nature of the otherworldly beings in more baldly horrific (and also more religious) terms than probably anything Strieber has written since (not counting his novel 2012). He refers to “something higher than man [that] fed on human souls.” He describes “the prime aesthetic of death,” an alien culture “designed for the purpose of causing us suffering,” for which human beings are the “prime energy source.”

Perhaps there is a burst of very fine energy as the soul explodes from the body, an energy which can be used for the most subtle and powerful purposes? Or perhaps the soul is simply food for finer bellies? Our suffering does not benefit them directly but rather the growth our suffering brings us. To reap mayhem in the world is not the responsibility of demons but of angels. It is their greatest and most painful duty. . . This is a slaughterhouse. But we the victims are not gainsayed [sic] the blessing of a quick club to the head or the slitting of the throat. The greater our learning, the happier the angels.[7]

So let’s take a step back. In a story he allegedly began before he even suspected their existence, Strieber describes the visitors in unequivocally maleficent terms, while simultaneously identifying them as “angels.” In the same context, he describes himself— the character who is emphatically not Strieber, that is—as “ear-marked for special suffering,” and recounts how, in the end, he comes “to love [his] tormentors and share with them their own sorrow.” The rest of “Pain” recounts how the central character (not Whitley!) meets a beautiful and enigmatic woman and is initiated, through pain, into a higher understanding of reality. “Pain breaks down the barriers of the ego, of personality, of false self,” Strieber’s alter-ego realizes. “It separates ourselves from ourselves and allows us to see deep. Witness the Book of Job, which in the secret texts which Janet used is called ‘the Book of Man.’”

Listening to Strieber’s reading of “Pain” is reminiscent of Whitley’s experience of the ruby-crusted book on Mars: it is a bit like being sucked into a dark well. One thing I found myself wondering, while considering the strange mixture of religious imagery with sadomasochism and thinly-veiled occult teachings: was this part of what Whitley learned in the Vatican basement, while he was hanging out with The Process Church in the summer of 1968? And what does any of this have to do with nonhuman beings?


To read more, order Prisoner of Infinity: UFOs, Social Engineering, and the Psychology of Fragmentation

2013 MP3 conversation downloads: “The Human Factor,” “A Dangerous Perspective.”

[1] This line was perhaps most memorably used in Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining, in which Jack Torrance, a writer, takes a job of caretaker during the winter for the Overlook Hotel, with his wife and (psychic) son, and slowly goes insane. At one point, sensing something is wrong his wife looks at the “novel” Jack is working on, and finds pages and pages with this one line typed, over and over. Jay Weidner made a documentary, Kubrick’s Odyssey, offering the imaginative theory that The Shining was actually Kubrick’s coded confession for his part in faking the Moon landing footage. “All work,” Weidner suggests, was Kubrick-code for “A11 work,” that is, Apollo 11.

[2] “During his examination of the Processeans, Bainbridge developed a great deal of affinity for the cultists’ penchant for re-conceptualizing the roles of God and Satan in accordance with their Hegelian theology. This case of Biblical revisionism inspired Bainbridge and, since then, he has encouraged sociologists to take an active part in the re-conceptualizing of traditional religious concepts. It is his hope that such religious experimentation will eventually result in the creation of a ‘Church of God Galactic.’” Bainbridge wrote about The Process, in “New Religions, Science, and Secularization, in Religion and the Social Order” (1993): “Members of The Process, founded mainly by students from an architecture school, referred to the creation of their cult as religious engineering, the conscious, systematic, skilled creation of a new religion.” In “Social Construction from Within: Satan’s Process” (1991), Bainbridge writes: “For Processeans, Satan was no crude beast but an intellectual principle by which God could be unfolded into several parts, accomplishing the repaganization of religion and the remystification of the world.” “Social Construction from Within: Satan’s Process,” by William Sims Bainbridge. (Pages 297-310 of The Satanism Scare edited by James T. Richardson, Joel Best, and David G. Bromley. New York: Aldine de Gruyter, 1991.)

[3] In the introduction to the audio recording, Strieber suggests that he was supposed to impregnate the woman. Conversely, during his recall of the events, he describes withdrawing from her in order to ejaculate, and seems puzzled why he would do such a thing.

[4] “Popular consensus held that [Process members] were dangerous Satanists, and their black cloaks and the red man-goat heads they wore on their chests gave no lie to this image. An antisatanic book claimed to know the truth about the group: ‘Savage and indiscriminate sex is forced on the entrants into the cult not as a means of religious communion but as a means of purging any residue of Grey Forces that might be latent in them.’” “Social Construction from Within: Satan’s Process,” by William Sims Bainbridge.

[5] In Transformation, Strieber writes that he no longer credits his recollection of what he saw in the room. In The Super Natural (with Jeffrey Kripal), Strieber retells the story, replacing the staring eye “costume” with a nun’s habit!

[6] The afore-cited essay by Thomas Ditsch, “The Village Alien,” also explores the similarities between the material in Communion and “Pain.” The essay is a curious artifact in itself: the writer starts out sympathetic to Strieber, before he becomes curious about the story and contacts Dennis Etchison, the editor of Cutting Edge, to ask him about it and check the dates Strieber gave regarding its composition. Etchison evidently contacts Strieber, because Ditsch receives a call from him, convinced that Ditsch is doing a “vicious hatchet job” on Communion and telling him that it’s “an awful, ugly, terrible thing to do.” As Ditsch recounts it (in the essay), Strieber is deaf to his reassurances. At this point, Ditsch’s essay changes tone dramatically with these words: “What Whitley could not have imagined at that moment (and what I certainly was not going to tell him after so many minutes of vituperation) was that I was no longer a skeptic about UFOs, that, in fact, in the course of writing this essay have been in contact with alien beings . . .” The rest of the article is a spoof on Strieber, a pastiche of his ideas in a first person narrative. Apparently Ditsch was triggered by Strieber’s excessive reaction and turned himself into exactly what Strieber accused him of being, whereupon the essay became just what Strieber feared it would be. It is like an eerie, acute demonstration of how the secret guards itself. Apparently “Pain” is intimately connected to Strieber’s “secret,” hence it was shelved for 25 years.

[7] Compare this to literature from The Process Church, supposedly channeled from “the Gods”: “Every just tear and honest drop of sweat will be rewarded: that is the covenant. For every tear and drop of sweat set up treasure in a place where ‘moth and dust’ do not corrupt. Relish this time of penance. See and praise the justice and wisdom of GOD in His Universal Law. Know that the sufferings of our bodies, the anguish and torment of our minds, the imprisonment of our souls is our salvation.”



24 thoughts on “All Work and No Play: “Pain” & Strieber’s Missing Summer of ‘68 (Prisoner of Infinity VII)

  1. It’s too bad Dr Colin Ross has been silenced because his work with trauma survivors was important and relevant: (see especially “Signs of Unresolved Trauma”).. As I read about Streiber, and your attempts to decode his work, the more it appears he was inducted into a vast trauma-generating machine when he was a child. How many symptoms of early abuse does he present? And what is “the truth” – apart from the fact that we’re discovering what we’re all part of? Streiber’s “lost time” re: the Process Church and visit to the Vatican (and Mary Anne McLean) is somehow deeply disturbing — I think you’re right to focus in on that period and its unanswered contradictions…

    • Strieber is a casebook study for DID/MKULTRA, it gives him and his work, ironically, a new currency & relevance that it would otherwise not have, despite all his attempts to stay current/relevant.

      How has Ross been silenced? He was on Red Ice Radio not so long ago. He didnt reply to my invitation.

  2. amazing stuff. I guess Beethoven’s father proved that trauma based pedagogy can produce genius. not that strieber is genius ha ha, but still…it ain’t pravda. maybe biblical though…so now they have the trauma pedagogy distilled I guess. Strieber seems to be recovering some stuff but hanging on to the narrative fiction. Castenada also? that shit about him being a CIA hit man I saw in the companion article from 2013…o man…blew my mind. Is the shamanism thing here just to support the alien thing? methinks so. A reality sandwich indeed. Ross still in business but being sued for malpractice

  3. I haven’t had a chance to look more deeply into this, but I just realized the link I posted above (that includes an interview and complaints against Colin Ross by former patients — in the comments section — as well as a generalized dismissal of Ross’ work on trauma-based mind control and SRA — ‘conspiracy theories’ as they’re called) is from the Process Church website. I.e. the name is no coincidence. Note the spinning logo at their home page: So, they still exist, and their targets include psychiatrists and enemies of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation. Does this tell us anything we don’t already know?

    In their attack on Ross, they mention a doctor Merskey, based in London, Ontario, who has helped straighten out Ross’ ex-patients. Merskey’s name rang a bell so i wrote to a friend in London who is a MKULTRA survivor — I thought she had told me she went to see him at some point. She had also seen Ross, earlier on as she was recovering memories of extreme abuse and torture beginning in infancy and was testifying along with other survivors in the 1990s and early 2000s. Dr. Merskey is often called as an expert witness to testify in Ontario courts on child abuse cases, and is apparently connected to FMSF i,e, he debunks or disputes abuse, My friend went to see him and later recanted her recovered memories and now follows a regime of psychiatric drugging and medication for chronic pain. London, Ontario is a major mind control hub through its vast network of psychiatric hospitals, and is also the ‘serial killer capital of Canada.’

  4. I don’t think this is just a red herring. I only brought up Colin Ross in the first place because someone happened to send me an article on him and, skimming his site, I found it particularly relevant to what I’d just read here about Strieber. Then I stumbled on the link attacking him. Yesterday (also coincidentally) someone else has sent me a document “against-colin-ross.doc” from the late 1990s so I’ve ended up reading about him (mostly unintentionally) in a scattered way He seems to have gone overboard in his treatments in Winnipeg, but he also seems to have uncovered something that the FMF went overboard trying to obliterate and deny. The pressure on survivors and their therapists to retract, was enormous back then. But the denial extended to blanket denial of residential school abuse — for example — and we now know from the mountain of testimony that that abuse was real.

    It’s a minefield and you’re approaching it through Strieber’s work gives it a whole new life… I think…

    • It’s a minefield and you’re approaching it through Strieber’s work gives it a whole new life… I think…

      Gives Strieber’s work a whole new life, or the mine field? Both, I guess…

  5. I meant that you have found a new way into the minefield of mind control, SRA, DID — and its well-funded and well-organized deniers, that even include the Process Church who, you might think, would be disinclined to jump on the FMSF bandwagon — unless, of course, they were CIA all along. In this interview Colin Ross makes a penetrating comment on how the intelligence agencies like to fuel both sides of a debate, e.g. ETs

  6. The interview:

    “Dr. Ross: It’s a general pattern, so I started hearing stories from patients when I moved to Texas and I wasn’t really interested in this before 1991 and then patients started telling me: ‘I was taken to a military base when I was a kid. I was taken to some kind of hospital laboratory and all these experiments were done by doctors with lab coats and they created multiple personality parts.’ And so I thought, hhmm… and that’s how I got into this and started looking into it. I read quite a bit about history and the CIA and intelligence and so on. It’s a general pattern I think. If we look at multiple personality, when you look at paranormal extra sensory perception, remote viewing/psychic spying or we look at UFO’s. Those are the examples I use. I think that the intelligence strategy is to fuel both sides of the debate. So, in the UFO debate, it doesn’t really matter if we assume that there are in fact aliens piloting those aircraft, or we assume its all experimental military craft. It’s either way. I think the strategy is to fuel both the believer side and the disbeliever side, and have a whole great big debate, which is the whole thing… is the distraction and cover strategy. And it’s the same with the paranormal. There are people from a disinformation perspective who debunk the paranormal and there’s people who believe in and support the reality of the paranormal. And the whole debate distracts us from the fact that the CIA and military invested many millions of dollars in psychic spying, which was declassified and admitted to. The same with multiple personality, there’s all these guys from the false memory syndrome foundation, who are saying it’s all false memory, it’s just cooked up in therapy, it’s all iatrogenic multiple personality. {inaudible} Two of those guys are documented CIA mind control contractors in this Manchurian candidate programs.

  7. Every new post I read Jasun I hear myself saying out loud, ” YES ! THIS! He HAS it!… So erm..Thank you.

    You revelations are also a bit eerie… My father is also a sex addict, alcoholic, a reluctant cripple, suffering from a rare form of arthritis but detached from feeling in his body in every way. His body has become more and more rigid over time even as he insisted he is neither in pain or anything really except virile and physically robust. Once, years ago, as he hobbled away from me I asked him why he was not using his cane. He was at this time perhaps 76. He replied, ” Oh I don’t like to use that thing. It makes me look old.” He lived his life as a spiritual seeker but only just at the very surface. He is a card carrying DSM V narcissist. I don’t use the term lightly either. He has a true sociopathic personality disorder. Persona and supplying the right image to get what he determined was his due was always his primary motivation to act.

    I should mention prior to his marriage to my mother he was an ordained Roman Catholic Priest. He entered the Jesuit seminary at 13. The math is all there for the adding.

  8. Also, just some free associating here but I think I’ve mentioned before that repeated vocabulary always makes sit up and pay attention. The Process Church figuring into WS’s narrative is awfully intriguing. The word and phrasing of ” Process” and ” It is ALL about Process” as well as, the word/phrase “Journey” and “It is ALL about the Journey” are peppering people’s every day conversations as well as pop culture programming. All of which contributes in my mind anyway to your idea that we are being guided to transform into prisoners of infinity.

  9. Has anybody seen any footage from his “underground films”? I’ve never heard his name come up in discussions of experimental filmmakers. Did he finish and show his documentary on the Process Church? Are than any discussions on what type of equipment he used? Strieber is not really in my wheelhouse (or “UFOs” for that matter) but my hunch is he carried around a Super 8 camera and was thus christened a filmmaker. Although I suppose he could get other equipment from the school if he really was in film school. Anyway, seems like there is more than enough evidence that he was intertwined with the Process Church in ways much more then just making an objective documentary about them. Pain sounds very much like a written account of this involvement.

    • There seems to be zero corroborative material on Strieber’s alleged film career. If at all true, maybe he was doing intel. work, hence the footage was never meant to be released? Just a thought. Jason Wilcox sent me some interesting connections around this, will share them once I get the OK.

  10. Some interesting connections:

    – I find that the Founder/Principal of the London Film School
    was a Bob Dunbar (ex-military intelligence?), whose son John
    introduced Lennon to Yoko Ono at the Indica Gallery on 9/11/66
    (at exactly the same time as Paul McCartney went “AWOL” and
    rumours started circulating in the press that he had somehow
    changed his identity) – Dunbar was also a friend of Peter Asher,
    (brother of Jane), who was best man at his wedding to Marianne
    Faithfull in 1965; their father, Dr Richard Asher, has been linked to
    MK-Ultra and was found dead (by apparent suicide) in 1969 – Asher’s
    friend/colleague Dr Maurice Pappworth (author of “Human Guinea
    Pigs”) was a friend of Dr Henry Beecher, the CIA-funded doctor
    who worked on Project Artichoke and was given the green light
    to extend his work to the UK in the early 1950s (possibly 1953?),
    where he was introduced to Dr William Sargant…

    Someone I know who studied at the School in the late ’60s wrote
    this piece about it – though he does not mention the fact that
    Marianne Faithfull (whose father, as you probably know, was also
    ex-military intelligence and lived in the same house as Ian Fleming)
    was the daughter-in-law of the Founder/Principal):

    + as you know, Marianne Faithfull was definitely aware of the Process
    Church around this time (she implied it had a sinister nature in an
    interview, in contrast to the “alternative” knowledge provided by
    John Michell, author of “The Flying Saucer Vision” and perhaps the
    main person responsible for setting up The Glastonbury Festival
    (with its pyramid stage) – who lived in Powis Gardens, just round the corner from
    where “Performance” was filmed, and whose family estate was later bought
    up by Mick Jagger….)

  11. “invoking childhood memories of “initiation-by-trauma” government abuse and/or psychic training \\TRAUMA BASED MIND CONTROL)//under the “Sisters of Mercy”\\\MOTHERS OF DARKNESS?/// at the Secret School.\\PROGRAMMING CENTER/// In “Pain,” \\ SATANIC’ RITUAL ABUSE// Strieber’s surrogate character\\\HIS ALTER/// is researching a piece about prostitution (Sisters of Mercy) by interviewing working girls when he falls under the spell \\PROGRAMMING// of “Janet O’Reilly.” By the end of the story, the dominatrix has been revealed as a supernatural being—or alien? \\HOW ABOUT HANDLER?//

  12. The MP3 link is down. Can’t find the recordings anywhere. Has Strieber had them scrubbed for copyright? I notice he advertises them for paying members on his site. Unusual I cant find a bootleg

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