Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Book Review for Communion: A True Story by Whitley Strieber

I would have to give Whitley Strieber's book Communion: A True Story, 1st edition (New York: Beech Tree Books, 1987) an absolute 4 stars.

I picked up the book Communion: A True Story (ISBN 0-688-07086-8), by Whitley Strieber (link to his website) for the simple fact that it is one of those often quoted or refered to books that is a must read when it comes to conspiracy research, particularly when dealing with UFOs or other worldly beings.

I must admit, the book is well written, which is a good thing considering the author, Whitley Strieber, is a professional writer. That said, it was this fact (which I did not know beforehand) which immediately set alarm bells off in my head. It set alarms off for the very simple reason that amazing stories make for amazing amounts of money (whether true or untrue). I am not saying that Mr. Strieber made the whole thing up to cash in on a specific target market, but it is something to consider, especially when one reads his book and learns a bit of his life, his tastes in lifestyle and living expenses, as well as a few of his ups and downs.

One need not get past the very first page of the very first chapter (pg 19) before they learn that the author, whose abduction experience is the focus of the book, has an apartment in New York (later learned to be in an upscale neighborhood), owns a cabin in upstate New York, and is a deeply involved and experienced writer of books designed to grab one's emotional attention. Do these facts mean anything? I do not think Mr. Strieber could fault us for thinking that they might.

As I read through the book and took in Whitley Strieber's story I began to feel that it was, at least in my mind, plausible to think that this man most likely believed he had experienced these things. For instance, the very first story which he related concerning his experience on the night of December 26, 1985 sounded a lot like night terrors and sleep paralysis (at least at first). However, as the book wore-on I began to think it a bit too much for me to believe, particularly when Mr. Strieber began stating he had so many false (or screen) memories and a whole plethora of abduction experiences.

I also found that Mr. Strieber took much more out of his own wife's testimony (which frankly stated absolutely nothing) than he should have. It seemed to me that he concluded his wife somehow collaborated his testimony, when in fact, I felt that his wife nearly negated the potential reality of his entire experience. His son's testimony was much more convincing, although it did lead one to think that perhaps "daddy" was trying a bit too hard to relate to and share his life with his son (perhaps even to the point of delusion) – a thought reinforced by the author's admission to circumstances surrounding his relationship with his own father.

What I did find interesting, besides the actual stories themselves, were the author's hypotheses concerning what may be the cause of his experiences and the experiences of others. I also found it interesting how he made several references to fairy-lore and the relationship it appears to have with the UFO and abduction phenomena. I would also be remiss to not mention the fact that the appendix of his book includes a statement concerning the mental health of the author as well as the results of a polygraph test. However, it is because of the intriguing thoughts of his (as well as his superb writing and story-telling skills) concerning what may be the cause of such phenomena that I must give the book Communion: A True Story an absolute and definitive 4 stars.

One final and crucial comment... although the author states he grew-up Catholic and claims that he has a love for Jesus and Mary, it is obvious to anyone who has any knowledge of the occult whatsoever that the author has serious occult ties. Specifically, the author claims: "I spent fifteen years involved with the Gurdjieff Foundation" (pg 274) – a cult which was begun by George Ivanovich Gurdjieff, an esoteric spiritual leader who claimed to have ties with the Sarmoung Brotherhood (he also roomed with Joseph Stalin at one time). The Sarmoung Brotherhood is said to be a very ancient occult order which was founded in Babylon between 3000 BCE and 2000 BCE, which may be directly related to the Yazidi (a Kurdish ethnoreligious group with Indo-Iranian roots) who, interestingly enough, venerate an angelic being known as Melek Taus (also called Shaytan), or the Peacock Angel.

Of course, this last bit of knowledge says absolutely nothing about the validity of Whitley Strieber's Communion: A True Story, but it does add an interesting angle for the researcher of conspiracy theories and alternative histories.

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