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COMMUNION WITH WHITLEY STRIEBER

Interview by Leigh Blackmore and Keith Curtis


First published in Terror Australis No 2 (1988)

Introduction

A warm Sunday evening in Sydney. We are


walking along Elizabeth St on the way to an
interview with Whitley Strieber. As we move
slowly across the intersection of Elizabeth and
Martin Place, a bus shelter hoarding lights up
and blazes the face from COMMUNION. A portent
of the shape of the conversation to come.

A relaxed cup of coffee down at the Quay and


then a brief walk back up the street past the
new Police Museum and to the Intercontinental
Hotel. Whitley greets us himself at the door to
his 11th floor room and we enter to meet also the friendly face of Cathy
Szentkuti from Century Hutchinson who has arranged the interview.

Originally it had been planned to dine somewhere, but Whitley was tired
after a thirty hour flight from Stockholm and declined going out. An
interview was fine, given certain restrictions of time available.

From Whitley Strieber's initial remarks it was clear without further


elaboration that he considered his earlier "horror thrillers" past history and
relevant only as previous credit.

We talked of lost luggage, airlines, air safety, P.D. James and, briefly, the
forthcoming movie of COMMUNION. Then Cathy left us to interview
Streiber.

From the beginning it was obvious that it would be neither a formal nor a
commonplace interview. Whitley Strieber is a haunted man, driven to talk,
often at length, about his experiences in an attempt to increase
understanding of the question that the 'visitors' raise. At one stage of this
remarkable conversation Whitley refers to his accounts, COMMUNION and
TRANSFORMATION by saying "bearing mysteries is really what (they) are
about..."

At the time we did not pick up immediately that bearing those mysteries
had, besides the obvious psychic and emotional pain, had a very real
physical effect. Whitley's tiredness was not only from an exhausting
schedule of publishing promotion but also from the compulsion to
disseminate his experience globally in a quest, however futile, for people
to stop and think, to relate and to begin to unravel answers to what
Streiber sees as an urgent and important question.
STRIEBER: I'm telling you that you can't imagine how I'm doing this,
because I'm not a person who travels or who sees many people, and ever
since this happened i feel an obligation to deal with it in some kind of a
public way, because nothing is known. I mean, these people, whoever they
are, are here and they are quite real and extremely strange -
extraordinary. Sometimes I really don't know what they're doing and I
don't know why they're so secretive, and yet I get the impression that I
know less about them than it seems is healthy and they know more about
us. It's a situation - sometimes I think it's a fine situation and it's
proceeding very well and very comfortably, but other times I just don't
know what to think, I don't know what to make of it. I cannot imagine why
it would be this way, I don't know who the hell they are, for example. In
the newspapers and so forth they constantly assume that it's spacemen.
But who the hell knows what it's about? I don't know what they are. I've
seen them and I've been with them and they're very much alive but as fas
as what they are, God only knows what they are. They're nothing I'd ever
imagined possible.

TA: The thing that was very noticeable in both books was that the more
you remembered, the more you remembered, because it triggered
memories.

STRIEBER: Yes! But there's a problem with that. Not only does it trigger
memories, it also triggers the imagination and you can't tell which is
which. Which is horrible; like fortunately there are a few things that have
happened that are very concrete and that's really fortunate. I think I
would've gone mad if they weren't but that's very fortunate, like I had the
good sense in December of 1986 to take the damn cat with me. If I had not
taken that cat I don't know...I don't think I would have known what to think
of what would happen, but I took the cat was as trashed out as I was, so I
mean the cat had something happen to it. In fact six weeks later she was
still in a state of shock about it, that people who know cats well would
notice. They would say "that's a shocked cat" and...which was interesting.

The other things that have been concrete have been - one of them, it's
only peripherally mentioned in TRANSFORMATION, took place last January
when they called me according to what can only be described as a
prearranged signal, and I went down into my meadow behind my house
and got quite close to them but I couldn't go any further because I was
afraid. Then in June another attempt to call them, because there were
three journalists coming to the house and six other people and I wanted
some verification of their existence and they came, interestingly enough.
They were careful - they left myself, my wife and my son alone but woke
up everyone else in the house, came into the house - created a
tremendous stir, of course, because a third of these people believed they
were spirits, a third of them believed they were of the imagination and a
third of them felt it was physical, but they didn't feel a sense of the
immediacy about it at all but it was a remarkable experience for these
people. What have I done? Have I conjured something, in effect by occult
means, by writing these books or...? I mean sometimes I have the feeling
they're like breaking through - that I've opened a door that is supposed to
remain closed, that they're just sort of coming through it like a bunch
of...you know, like they're hungry little monsters; and at other times I feel
like it's an absolutely wonderful thing that's happened. I just don't know
what exactly the direction to go.

TA: I was talking to Leigh earlier and we actually mentioned this. I mean I
don't know, I do not categorically believe in UFO's...

STRIEBER: Neither do I!

TA: As alien beings, as aliens...

STRIEBER: Neither do I! I don't believe in any of that because I am not


capable of believing in it. It doesn't make sense in that, if there alien
beings then we've had the bad luck to be contacted by crazies. It's a big
universe and I just refuse to believe our luck was that bad. If this has to be
it, maybe that's part of the answer but that's not the whole answer about
this, is it? Because, well, for example, there are too many historical
precedents for it to have been a recent appearance by alien beings. If
these people are aliens, they've been here for so long that they are in
effect part of this place as well.

TA: That's one point, 'cause in history I mean, as you have actually pointed
out, particularly in TRANSFORMATION, and so had Jacques Vallee -

STRIEBER: DIMENSIONS?

TA: in DIMENSIONS.

STRIEBER: Yeah. The appearances of these beings are interpreted or


realised in the cultural icons of the period, in the context of the culture.

TA: Is it possible for us to disappear into our own imaginations?

STREIBER: It is possible to near disappear into it, certainly - most assuredly


it is, and it's possible even that there was a famous case here with a young
pilot.

TA: Fred Valentich?

STRIEBER: Valentich, yes. That's a strange business that Fred Valentich


business. It's been explained by sceptics half-a-dozen different ways but
the problem remains that Valentich was fascinated by UFO's and for some
unknown reason took his album of pictures and clippings about UFO's with
him on his flight that night and encountered, apparently encountered a
UFO. Had he decided to commit suicide and to cover his tracks by making
it appear as if he had been abducted aboard a UFO? But then why take the
album? Because that almost gives the whole thing away, gives the lie to
the whole thing. Did he take the album because he was in the same sort of
strange obsessive state that I have been in when these people, this
manifestation, seems to be directing me to do something? I become
almost...well, I lose my sense of free will, I begin to act without really
understanding or realising what I'm doing.

My wife has seen me in this state many times, has seen me over the years.
I will get up from her bed, go out of the bedroom and then not be
anywhere in the house. And she lived with that for years without knowing
what it meant or where I had gone in my pyjamas in the middle of the
night and never said a word about it because she says that she didn't think
she was supposed to. But what force was restraining her? I mean what is
controlling this situation? You know, one wonders what actually happened
to Valentich? IS it possible for us to actually disappear into our own
imagination? You know, another thought is 'what is the final limit of the
real?' Have we defined 'reality' correctly or is the physical world only part
of a continuum which doesn't necessarily all have the same answers, the
same meanings that physical reality answers?

TA: Disappearing into the world of your own imagination conjures up a


literal Alice in Wonderland world.

STRIEBER: Exactly. It's not a world where I think I would like to go to


without a good bit of preparation.

TA: I don't know [but] I think you've...

STRIEBER: Visited the world of CAT MAGIC, the world that she disappears
into when she's dying.

TA: It could be because one thing I think could be a path, if I could put it
that way, is the comment you make in TRANSFORMATION about it not
being out there but it is actually another dimension here - literally...do you
know the Robert Heinlein story?

STRIEBER: Which one?

TA: "He Built a Crooked House"

STRIEBER: No.

TA: Heinlein wrote a story about a house that was built, which was normal
on the outside but if you went inside it you could wander...you could just
simply keep going into room after room after room...it was continuous.

STRIEBER: I might know that story, it sounds familiar.

TA: Now and again when reading TRANSFORMATION I've got that
impression that -

STRIEBER [laughing] I was in a crooked house?


TA: You were in a crooked house, but the crooked house is not your own,
it's everybody on this planet; and most of them for one reason or another
(be it the old Charles Fort theory: some of us are blinkered and some of us
are not)...that a lot of us just can't go into it.

STRIEBER: Or we choose not to acknowledge it, which is well for the


purposes of getting on with the business at hand.

TA: Does it bother you that, shall we say, in a mundane bookstore they are
going to COMMUNION and shelve you next to Shirley Maclaine.

STRIEBER: Hell yes! I've met Shirley Maclaine, in 1987 I think, and I must
tell you that I felt she's an egotist. I gave her plenty of opportunities, when
I saw that seemed to be very self-involved, to enjoy her ego. I became
very - not servile and flattering, but very obsequious and awed on
purpose. I acted that way and she just knew it. The more I did that the
more she enjoyed herself and I think that if I'd been kneeling at her feet,
kneeling down, she'd have been in high heaven and I don't think that of
many people. I think it's, you know, just a big ego trip...the rather illicit
pleasure, pretending to be a star on the one hand. On the other hand she's
done a fair amount of good. I think you know she's started this institute in
Colorado, she has been quite forthcoming with the money and so forth and
it's certainly not the money she's doing this for and I don't feel I can really
be too critical of her, because she's also (like the channellers) trying to
grope the way of expressing the manner in which this force manifests itself
just like I am. The only difference between us is, I am very welded to what
is real; I'm not comfortable like that. I can't channel because it's not
reliable enough; it's not convincing to me and the visitors that I contend
with are just as authoritarian in some respects as Shirley Maclaine's higher
beings - the only difference is that I ignore that aspect. I won't buy it. I
mean, like the business of eating sweets, which is so stupid. How dare they
do that? And yet it became finally so terrifying that I was sort of forced into
doing something about it because of my child and now as time has passed
what happens when I eat sweets is that I...I go into a decline. I mean I just
can't do it and it's because I'm convinced it's psychosomatic but still
it's...I've just lost that ability. I can't do it because of what happened, and I
don't understand why it happened; there isn't any explanation for that
anywhere in my understanding of what I've experienced. It's almost as if
by forcing me to do something that was apparently difficult for me in the
physical world, this force gained strength.

TA: The thing is very noticeable in your books (COMMUNION and


TRANSFORMATION) is that unlike the art of the novelist you do not attempt
to tie up loose ends. They're left there, particularly the chocolate. I mean I
think it's there in TRANSFORMATION and suddenly you do not refer to it
anymore.

STRIEBER: Because that's how far I took it in my actual experience.


TA: Also one thing I would say; none out of ten other writers or people who
have experienced this would have attempted to mythologise it.

STRIEBER: I tried in TRANSFORMATION to relate it to past mythologies


mostly or the historical equivalent because I wanted it to be seen in that
context.

TA: In that context you didn't attempt to make it a separate mythology?

STRIEBER: No, because that's exactly what I don't want to do. I would like
to see it neutralised, to see it objectified, to see it no longer attach itself to
mythologising. It's so easy to mythologise, it's so tempting. I'll give you an
example of what I mean. In June one of the reporter journalists who was in
the house was very sure that the visitor experience was essentially a
spiritual experience and that what was happening was he was going to, if
they came (and he very much doubted that they would), he was going to
come into contact with higher beings or a higher level of beings. This is
what his impression was. And what happened was this, there were three
people sleeping together in the living room on three separate cots, well
one was on a convertible sofa bed, the other two on cots, because the
house held nine people and in a small house everything was full; and I
called the visitors that night about eleven, with the way I usually call them
when I want them to come and when I think I have a good reason to call
them. See as I talk about this you'll find that contextually it fits quite
seamlessly into ordinary physical reality only I'm not sure that's exactly
where it emerges from. In any case I called them and at about 2am I woke
briefly and there was a big light around the house, a huge light, and I
thought 'Oh good, they've come' and then I thought 'I'll get up and see
about this' and the next thing I knew it was morning.

What had actually happened was, at 3.30 am all three people in the living
room were simultaneously awakened, in fact from what I can tell
practically everyone else in the house was awakened with a start. The
three people in the living room discovered they were all awake when one
of them said she was trying to get to move and she couldn't move a
muscle. As she said "I can't move", and the other two, who had both been
silently struggling with the same problem, also said "Yes, I can't either";
you know, they realised they were all awake and they were all paralysed;
none of them could move a muscle. AS soon as they had established that,
they heard the front door open and footsteps came tromping into the
room, accompanied by a certain type of babbling that I had not mentioned
and won't describe here because of the fact that I've heard it many times.
It even has a certain amount of historical precedent but I don't want to
describe it because it's interesting to see other people spontaneously
mention and what they describe as 'giggling'. A number of people came
tromping into the room whilst the livingroom door was open - loud, you
know, feet banging on the floor - and there was the general impression
among the three of them, the three people, that it was like children had
come in, and there was something very giggly and very ordinary about the
whole experience. It didn't have the context that this man was expecting
(a sort of a higher experience). It was very...it had a tremendous amount
of ordinariness. They heard voices say the usual, "be calm we won't hurt
you" kind of thing and then the reported, the journalist who had wanted to
know whether or not they were physically real, found that they lifted up
the end of his bed three times. Now as far as seeing them is concerned,
one of the people in the room could see them when they were clustered at
the end of his bed, and they were dark figures about four feet tall and
stocky. She couldn't make out any features of any kind, just this very dark
uniform of dark coloured cloth, and the other two never actually got to see
them, except perhaps a glimpse of a shadowy figure. Then they left and
immediately after they left there was a phenomenon which I have
recorded at the cabin a number of times but which I didn't report in
TRANSFORMATION precisely because I was eager to see if anyone else
spontaneously reported this same phenomenon and these people all
reported it. And what it was, was you feel a wave of heat coming down
from above and you hear sound that sounds like a downpour falling on the
roof immediately over your head and then a moment later all the birds in
the area start singing and they sing for three to five minutes and then they
stop. This phenomenon has been repeated many times immediately after
the appearance of visitors in the past, just after they've withdrawn. Almost
as if they were literally getting into something and it was accelerating
directly up away from the house and the heat and the sound had to do
with that; and then it also wakes the birds, as of course, there's this
intermittent light. So that was what happened in the living room. Every
other person in the house except myself, my wife and my son had
experiences of visitors that night. All in the context of the, about the thirty
to forty five second period that they were also in the living room.

TA: I think it's one of the most frightening things about your experiences
that so many people around you are experiencing them as well.

STRIEBER: MMHMM. Yeah. One thing I didn't know when I wrote


TRANSFORMATION is that the people who have had this experience of
seeing me - the ones I've been able to go to in this sort of other state -
with only one exception, afterwards they all went in to this sort of subtle
psychological tailspin that got tighter and tighter. Only one of them is now
emotionally well and that's terrifying. It's not something I'm going to try to
do again. [Pause]. I don't know if it had anything to do with it, maybe it
was just coincidence, but it scared me, bothered me, made me think I was
maybe playing with something I shouldn't do.

TA: Maybe there is, with this other space or dimension, maybe there is an
amount of unknown energy being used.

STREIBER: Yeah.

TA: Which you may be unaware of causing...

STRIEBER: Maybe.
TA: It's certainly an area I don't think anyone has understood.

STRIEBER: No.

TA: There have been many studied attempts at understanding the many
energies that we are capable of...

STREIBER: yes.

TA:...whether it's psychic, intellectual, emotional, whatever and they've


tried many times to categorise it or least measure it and I don't think it's
possible. I mean look at all the nine-day-wonder of Kirlian energy.

STRIEBER: Which faded from interest because nobody knows what to make
of it.

TA: Exactly! and in some respects it's the same with your books, I mean...

STRIEBER: I know they are. Absolutely!

TA: I admire your courage in putting them out, I mean I really do.

STRIEBER: I've gotten myself into so much trouble over these books. There
are people - writers and such - who are just convinced that it's fake, which
any intelligent person looking at it by now can know it isn't, simply
because of the energy that I've been able to put into it and the consistency
with which I've attacked all of the issues over the years. I mean I've been
in the media 300 times in the United States to talk about this stuff as it
happens, but they want to believe that because it's more comfortable than
believing the truth; and the truth is that I've gotten publicly stuck in some
kind of appalling enigma; that's the truth and I can't get out of it. Yes, it's
also true that it has the nine-day-wonder quality of Kirlian photography for
everybody else but for me it's no nine-day wonder. I'm about here and
wondering whether or not I'm even that safe. I feel an obligation: I didn't
want to come here. This is a beautiful place but getting here is hell.
TA: I've seen your schedule. I mean I've got a copy of your [author tour]
schedule in Australia - two days in Sydney, two days in Melbourne and so
forth - that's a killing schedule.

STRIEBER: It's more than that! I mean it's sitting right there! Look at that
schedule if you want to look at a schedule. It's horrible! But it's typical of
what I do. I mean - a week before last I was doing days that started at six
in the morning and ended at two in the morning in the States, and they're
gruelling because of the fact they involve programme after programme
with people who are just sure they're going to notch their gun with me and
trick me somehow or another into saying that this is all false, or its a hoax
or something like that, and I get incredibly tired of it, because the horror of
it is that as long as people stay at that level of contending with it, the
visitors (whatever they are) are in complete control of the situation
because we haven't dealt with them at all.
TA: Do you ever regret the fact that you've put it into the public domain?

STRIEBER: Yep, but well look at it this way though. If you look at Paul on
the road to Damascus; Mohammed in the cave; Buddha under the Bo-tree
to a lesser extent; Joseph Smith, his angels and their golden tablets,
golden coins or whatever; the appearances of the Madonna and many
many other things in the context on this experience and say that all this
material is related to this experience - that all the fairy lands are related to
it, the manifestations that were called the gods in the far distant past; and
that shamanism is the shattered remnant of mankind's early attempts to
control this phenomenon- then it's quite clear that it's the most important
and misunderstood of all phenomena in history and it remains to this day
doing what it has always done which is (like we were discussing earlier) -
emerging into culture through the medium of whatever a given culture's
expectations of it are like. In the 16th century it was the fairies, in the 20th
century it's the UFO's and/or spacemen but until it is demythologised and
understood from a scientific standpoint it's going to remain just as
powerful a force and not necessarily for human good. It's very hard to
contend that it's a force for human good when you go to St Peters' Basilica
in Rome. I mean that's a great obscenity; it's a travesty of monstrous
injustice against people. I mean, think of the wealth poured into that, the
expense of the generation of diminished lives in Italy. You know, the
concentration of wealth in the church and to a lesser extent in the
aristocracy throughout the whole Middle Ages meant, the average
individual's life was short and worthless and it's happening now.

TA: Yes, I think that you're getting people today that are (I'm just trying to
think where it was) - they built this massive centre for the Pan African
Congress in a country where the average wage is about an Australian
dollar a day and it cost them about 200-300 million dollars.

STRIEBER: Yeah.

TA: And it was just taking all the money and they have this centre which is
only used for about a week once in ten years.

STRIEBER: And I'm sure it's just deteriorating...'

TA: It's a very difficult thing to grapple with a lot of the concepts that you
are talking about in COMMUNION...

STRIEBER: Yeah.

TA: And TRANSFORMATION. I mean for me personally I find them very


intriguing and incredibly brave. I was fascinated in reading COMMUNION...

STRIEBER: You managed to read it?

TA: From beginning to end - thinking about the questions that it raised -
although I am personally sceptical about some of the conclusions, perhaps,
I have to admit -

STRIEBER: I wasn't aware I had made any conclusions.

TA: Well, let me put it a different way, and say that perhaps some of the
options you suggested as solutions -

STRIEBER: That's logical.

TA: Yeah. James Randi made a comment in TWILIGHT ZONE a couple of


months after your interview by Stanley Wiater there, and he said that
COMMUNION was not presenting evidence but was a collection of
anecdotes. Would you agree with that?

STRIEBER: Er - what a question. Evidence is a...I have no interest in


presenting evidence. I am not trying to prove anything, so why would I
present evidence?

TA: Don't you think there's a risk of people taking the book, or both books
even, as presenting an answer or a belief system? Is it something that
worries you? Because if you're not attempting to do that, people taking
you out of context and so forth.

STRIEBER: What worries me is finding fifty years from now those books
have created some kind of grim religion. That worries me, yeah. Many
people have amazingly useless minds and ones who would try to turn such
a thing into a religion are among the people with such hopeless wasted
minds - weak.

TA: When I read Randi's comment it struck me that he was perhaps


pigeon-holing you with people like the channellers and -

STRIEBER: Well he's just...He wants to dismiss me but he's afraid. He's a
very frightened man, just like all of these sort of - they call themselves
sceptics but they actually are a religious group. They're indistinguishable
from any other religious group in that they believe that the prosaic is all
that's real, in fact that the universe has been explained - and it's absurd.
We're floating around here on a little speck of dust in the middle of
nowhere and we're extremely young in terms of the record of time that we
can perceive. We're almost just a bit of minutia and the universe on the
other hand is ancient, filled with obvious mysteries of enormous size. Not
the least of which is the mystery of time itself and why we perceive it as
we do. In order to understand some of the mysteries of the universe it's
necessary to at least know a little bit of mathematics, but I suspect James
Randi doesn't know anything of that.

TA: It's a very valid point about their making a religion out of their
atheism, or their pragmatism.
STREIBER: Yeah, and it strikes me as something that comes into the minds
of people who were raised in very matter-of-fact sort of households and
who want things to be simple. I always think of James Randi especially, as
classed in that group, of being people who've a terrible need to have
things simple and have them explained; but I live in the world in which
explanations are always suspect because I perceive that the world (and
this is before I wrote COMMUNION) - certainly there are too many
mysteries in the world - the mysteries for example of human behaviour
that I was coping with when Jim Kunetka and I discovered that the
WARDAY scenario was a real probability, it was something that could
happen, and that there were lots of circumstances that both superpowers
were leading each other toward
where one or the other of them would abruptly discover that it had to
strike first in order to survive; that if it didn't strike first it would certainly
lose World War III. In other words that in attempts to defend themselves
they were both doing lots of things that made a world war inevitable and
what was more interesting about it in a way was that there seemed to be
an edge in the minds of most of the defence analysts whose works we read
that suggested that they wanted this war. That they actually were
manoeuvring; and trying to trick themselves into fighting almost, and
because there was something about the mystery of being that they could
not stand. And I think in a more innocent sense that the ones who have
made scepticism a religion are also oppressed by the mystery of being, but
not to the extent that it has caused a hunger for death to emerge and to
begin to control the force of their thoughts as it has many of the people in
the defence industry.

TA: Yes, certainly, it seems to me there are people, and I imagine


especially in defence, who have the attitude "let's have a war" and find out
just how badly it does affect the earth.

STREIBER: Yes, well those are the people I'm talking about. They want to
kill being because they can't bear the mystery. Bearing mysteries is really
what COMMUNION and TRANSFORMATION are all about, both of them.
Bearing the question, enduring the question, because there can be no
progress of mind unless we take care of the question. This is my main
objection to the sceptics. It hasn't got anything to do with evidence and so
forth. I purposely threw the rules of evidence out the window when I wrote
these books so people could NOT point to them as evidence. The books are
a hall of mirrors - all you can do with these books is point to the question.
You cannot do anything else and even if at the end of TRANSFORMATION I
say the visitors are physically real, I have to say that because of my own
personal experiences. This is what I see, this is what I perceive but if it's
true, then where are they?

TA: What is noticeable is your books - unlike many of the recent UFO
books, with perhaps the exception of DIMENSIONS - leave it wide open -

STRIEBER: Wide open, of course.


TA: ...for the reader to form his own conclusions.

STREIBER: The reader can form his own question.

TA: I was going to ask: with the ecological concerns you express in
WARDAY and NATURE'S END - to some extent it seemed when I first read
COMMUNION that your approach there was a contradiction; or not a
contradiction exactly, but perhaps unhelpful, in that if you were trying to
draw peoples' attention to the welfare of what we do on the planet, the
role we should be playing in looking after each other and our...

STRIEBER: Yeah.

TA: ...existence on this planet - could the experiences described in


COMMUNION perhaps distract from that? But from what you were just
saying there it seems to me that COMMUNION is more of an extension of
what you were saying in WARDAY and NATURE'S END.

STRIEBER: Well, in that to that extent COMMUNION of course and


TRANSFORMATION are very powerful statements about the value of man,
and certainly one thing is true of both books - the point in fact that man is
an enormous mystery and a quite undiscovered phenomenon. The most
powerful undiscovered phenomenon on the planet is the nature of man
and I think that one of the reasons we're so passive about the decline of
the environment and so passive about the way the military machine is
developing into something very similar to what was around before World
War I - the kind of machine which we will eventually be helpless to control.
We're very passive about these things because we have convinced
ourselves that we are somehow at fault - that the spread of human life into
the forests and across the plains is something that's wrong and that the
human context (the things we have done) are morally evil and that they
emerge out of some kind of core guilt or wrongness about us. This is
something that has been with us ever since the concept of sin was
invented and I think it's a TREMENDOUS mistake. I think it is the death-
wish; it is entropy in consciousness that the truth of the matter is that
everything that is wrong emerges, not out of something that mankind has
done due to weakness or moral lapse, but out of nature. Mankind's design
is what makes mankind the way mankind is. There are too many of us
here, and there are too many of us here because males wear their genitals
on the outside, and we don't have any sexual seasons, and we have very
excellent memories and so go around pistoning each other with furious
abandon and making babies like they were going out of style. That's the
problem; and why are we so obsessed with overturning the earth? We're
obsessed with overturning the earth simply and only because we're naked.
We're sitting here in this room in a controlled temperature environment
because we're damned naked. How did we get naked? Who made us this
way? Why are we like this? We didn't do it! We're not guilty, and therefore
we have the right and the power to change. So I mean - this is a long
answer to a short question - but this is the context in which I've been
writing ever since I started writing WARDAY - and it's certainly the contest
in which I wrote COMMUNION and TRANSFORMATION. I don't believe in
guilt. Well it's hard not to believe in historical documentation - things like
the Boxers and the Romans - I mean they were certainly no slouches as far
as cruelty was concerned. Civilisation must explore these feelings it
seems.

TA: Yet it seems that periodically that man as a species, as a nation, as the
entire world, goes through periods of gigantic depression which just sets
us back for a long while.

STRIEBER: Exactly; it's one of the things we're doing now. We are so
passive; the collapse of the atmosphere seems like such an enormous
problem the individual just ignores it because we can't...it's...you
know...how do you cope with it?

TA: Well, they're all talking about the destruction of the ozone layer. We're
hearing reports in Australia: "Ah well, we'll legislate so that we roughly
reduce the output of any product using fluorocarbons, so that we reduce it
by seventy five percent by the year whatever", which is ten or fifteen
years away, but there's this little state of Tasmania says "right, we've got
an ozone layer problem - no fluorocarbon products from now!" They just
legislate cold - bang! Which tickled me, because Tasmania has always
been the joke of Australia as a backward state because it's a small island,
inbred and everything, far away to the south.

STRIEBER: Yet you have the state in Colorado which in 1988, I mean 1987,
emitted 98 tons of raw fluorocarbons into the atmosphere of industrial
waste; and what's good about that is the state of Colorado knows how
much fluorocarbon it emitted into the atmosphere. The state of New Jersey
doesn't know because it doesn't want to, and the state of New Jersey is far
more industrialised than the state of Colorado. Look at the Asia rim - not
every country in the Asia rim is pouring fluorocarbons into the atmosphere
as industrial waste - not one country will deal with this issue in any real
way. In Japan people don't even know it exists as an issue. The Koreans
too; and yet these countries are pouring the stuff out. The United States;
it's just incredible what goes on...

Postscript

For a while we had shared honest time and conversation. We had come
with neither preconceptions of sensational exposure of deceit, nor ardent
discipleship for a new faith.

We begin the journey home with a confirmed belief in Streiber's integrity.

As we leave the Intercontinental a far-distant bus hoarding gleams with


the portrait of a visitor. It seems appropriate somehow...but as we leave
the city centre and the cab turns along Railway Square to head down
Broadway, we see in a row stretching before us bus hoarding after
hoarding with the visitor's face far into the distance. An extension of
thought that make s think we had just crossed over into the twilight zone.

Somewhere behind us Whitley Strieber was attempting to sleep. Would a


future spaceman find his face on extraterrestrial transport hoardings
somewhere out there? Or a future archaeologist discover a fragile book
and recognise a fellow investigator's portrait?

For the moment we do not know what passports the visitors carry nor, for
that matter, from which dimension. Lost race, time-travellers or extra-
terrestrials?

No matter what, the answer undoubtedly will be stranger than anyone has
imagined.

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