At 4:53 in the morning on Friday, December 7, I saw a strange object over Santa Monica, California. This was fantastic enough, but the events that preceded the sighting may have been some sort of contact experience. If so, it was the first I have had in years.
I'm going to begin with the sighting, and then go back to the beginning of the previous evening, and describe what I think was one of the more interesting perceptual experiences I've had in years.
My wife and I were in a friend's apartment that we borrow in Santa Monica when we are having meetings in Hollywood. We were the only two people in the apartment that night. I had an unusually disturbed night. Almost every night, I wake up between three and four in a state of fear, something that has now been happening to me since my close encounter in December of 1985. But this was special, and it was powerful, and very unusual, as you will see.
We went to bed at about 11:30. I was up again shortly thereafter, struck with a powerful need to meditate. Then I went back to bed, but soon woke up once more. At 2:17 I was writing business emails. Shortly thereafter, I went back to bed. There followed something that may or may not have been a dream. I'll get to that in a moment.
I woke up at 4:53 because somebody was clutching two fingers of my right hand, which had been dangling off the bed. Anne was asleep on the other side of the bed.
I opened my eyes and saw the lit clock on my wife's side of the bed, and beyond it the window. I had a view of the sky through the window on the far side of the bed. The vertical blinds were three quarters open.
Gliding straight toward the house at what appeared to be a low altitude was a very complex object that must have been very similar to the 'drones' that were photographed by a number of people last summer. The thing was moving right under and in the cloud cover. It was stormy and the clouds were racing, but the object had a stately, gliding motion that was totally unaffected by the weather.
My immediate thought was that it was a drone. I could not see any of the upper structures that are visible in some of the pictures, but only the body of the thing as it glided toward me. It was not far away at all, maybe just a few hundred feet.
As I got out of bed, I said to Anne, "there's a drone outside the window." We both got up. As I crossed the room to the windows, I grabbed my cellphone in hope of taking a picture. But when we looked out, we could see only the low, rushing clouds.
After a couple of minutes staring at a thickening in the clouds and wondering if that was the object, I went back to bed.
As soon as I put my head on the pillow, and was therefore looking out the window at the same angle, I could see the object again, this time moving west toward the ocean. I grabbed the cellphone and woke Anne up again. We rushed to the window and saw nothing.
When I lay down again, I could see the object. I finally realized that it was the angle that was enabling me to see the thing, and I went for the cellphone while still lying in the bed. But at that moment, the thing moved beyond the edge of the window, and I never saw it again at any angle.
The most prominent thing that I saw was a white circle on a rectangular object heading directly toward me. It looked exactly like part of one of the pictures taken over Big Basin in Northern California last summer. I have included a clip of one of the drones showing the part I may have seen. The only difference is that the circle was facing directly toward me.
That evening, I had felt a compulsion to read the Key. I don't often read it, so this was unusual. But I couldn't seem to put it down, and kept reading and re-reading the same passage. The next morning, I opened the book again, and found that the passage had a great deal of meaning in view of what had taken place.
In the first two hours past midnight, I slept fitfully. I kept thinking that there was somebody in the apartment, and got up to check a number of times. But there was nobody there except the two of us. (To be frank, I was certain, once or twice, that somebody was there. I didn't see anybody, though.)
At about two, I started awake and felt as if I was not going to be able to get back to sleep. So I got up and decided to work. I wrote a few emails, then decided to meditate. I don't often do this in the middle of the night. But this time, when I did it, the sensation was remarkably powerful. I felt as if I could sense much more than my physical body, as if my nerves didn't end in my skin, but extended around me like a living electric field. It was a delightful, wonderful sensation and I stayed there until about three.
This time, the moment my head hit the pillow, I was asleep. At once, I found myself in a really, really peculiar state. The moment I fell asleep, I had a dream that Anne had inexplicably, but out of the kindness of her heart, let a pack of feral dogs into the house, and they were all under the bed.
I was startled awake by this, and went back toward the living room--and was confronted with what was just about the surprise of my life. It almost beat waking up among the visitors on December 26, 1985.
What I saw was a completely different living room. I was in another house, and it was a very strange one, with four large artificial trees in it, of all things. I turned around to go back to the bedroom, only to find that there was a wall there, and a hallway leading off in the opposite direction.
I was shocked, to put it mildly. Then horrified. I couldn't get out of there. I couldn't get back where I belonged.
Then I was in bed again, and aware that I was asleep, and not only that but I was dreaming about the lives of five different Whitley Striebers unfolding in five parallel universes at the same time, one of which was the one I was in.
While this was happening, the five of them were distinct, and I was inside five different selves at once. There was no confusion, and I wasn't on the outside looking in. I was in these lives, living them, all at the same time. I wasn't in the least confused by this. It seemed extraordinary, of course, but also perfectly possible.
In four of these lives, Anne was also present, but not in the fifth, and that was a life I very much wanted to leave. In it, I was walking down a path with a small boy, toward a quay where there were a number of men. The quay was on a pellucid bay, its water an exquisite turquoise-green color. It was daytime in this universe, midday. In this universe, Anne had died of her stroke, and I was walking with my grandson, who was about three.
In another, Anne and I lived in my old family home in San Antonio. It was very worn and run down, and she was bravely trying to clean the kitchen. We were obviously very poor, and clinging to what once had been fine. Here, it was late afternoon.
In a third, we were living together and in an apartment. We were asleep in this universe, and the dogs were under the bed. It was in this universe that the fingers had grasped my hand and were tugging at it.
When I woke up and went to the window, it might well have been in this other universe, which was a close approximation to the one I am living in now. But, to tell the truth, since that night, I don't feel all that fixed anywhere. I am not sure where I am, only that my life is unfolding.
The fourth universe was the one where the trees were in the living room. They were decorative, and the fashion, I was aware, had been adopted from pictures from another world. What was so exciting here was that TV transmissions from another planet were being picked up and rebroadcast by SETI, and they were a gigantic sensation.
This all ended with the yanking on my hand, the awakening at 4:53 and the observation of the drone outside the window.
So this experience actually crossed waking and dream. The first time I got out of bed and walked into the living room and saw the trees, I was wide awake and actually moving across realities physically. Then, when I slept and dreamed, the realities unfolded around me. When I saw the drone, I was possibly in yet another universe, different from this one.
So the logical question, at least to me, is this: how could anyone even write such far-fetched nonsense, let alone believe that it really happened?
For two reasons. The first one is that I have experienced this before, and the last time it was in the company of another person who was also quite conscious of the fact that we were in a radically different world.
I refer to an incident I have described before, of turning off Route 17 in New Jersey with one of my son's friends in the car, and finding myself in a different world, an experience I describe in my book Breakthrough. As then, there was not the slightest sense of movement between worlds. Everything suddenly changed completely, without warning.
After I was drawn awake this time, I believe that I moved physically through at least three parallel universes, this one, the one where the drone was moving toward the building, and the one where the strange foliage was in the living room. I literally walked from universe to universe as I moved around the house, seamlessly traveling between realities.
The second reason is that there is a good bit of serious scientific work suggesting that they may be physically real. For Unknowncountry.com's stories, click here.
So their existence isn't at all far fetched, it turns out. However, could we really move among them? I think that my experiences show that we can. It would not be physical movement, though, not into universes where we also exist. I think that what was happening was that I was sharing consciousness between my various bodies, and I suspect that there was technology being applied that was enabling this, and that it was being controlled from the object in the sky outside.
So that leaves me with a question. Not 'where am I?' but 'am I anywhere, or should that be everywhere?' What happens to me in the other universes when I am not like I was early Friday morning? And could I be arbitrarily moved to another universe while remaining conscious of my life in this one--say, to one in which I didn't previously exist?
Burning questions. Also unanswerable.
Now to the part of the Key that I read with such eagerness the evening before, and pointed out to Anne the next morning.
The passage was this, from pps 34-35:
Have you traveled to other worlds? I belong to many worlds.
Are you from another planet that is like ours? I am human.
What's it like, going to another planet? The details from world to world can be very different, but the basic laws of reality remain the same.
I think that this passage is actually talking about being in a state that we have not realized even exists. When he says, 'I belong to many worlds,' I believe that he is really saying that he is conscious of many lives unfolding at the same time, and I find that concept remarkable. However, I know that it's possible because I have now done it.
As I said on my recent author tour and at Chet Snow's conference in Tempe, I think we are, each of us, more a wave front moving across time than a single individual. Each 'person' that we are exists in a single bubble in the foam of this wave, a bubble which reflects only its own reality.
However this extraordinary experience and the words of the Master of the Key reflect a much larger reality, one that is described very well by Meister Eckhart, when he admonishes us to "become as a clear glass through which God can shine."
When you do this, you cease to belong to the illusion of a single world, and become one with many.
Lest you think that the experiences related above are peculiar, or even a bit out of the ordinary, I suggest that you read this article, which appeared in the New York Times on January 14, 2008. Click here.
NOTE: This Journal entry, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.