What if our visitors finally land? When I say 'land,' I do not mean that in any conventional way. I don't think that they are aliens from another planet--or, if such beings are a factor in what is happening in our world, they are not the major factor. What is happening is so vast and complex that it has never really been fully described. But certainly, we are not dealing with scientists from another planet here studying us. What is happening is deeply embedded in human experience, and has been, I would think, throughout our history.
So an argument can be made that nothing will ever change, and that might be the truth. However, I always got the impression that, if we reach a point of no return of some kind--if it becomes inevitable that the human race is facing extinction or a catastrophe so vast that it amounts to the same thing, then perhaps things would not remain the same here.
The question then is, what would happen if the visitors did change the way they manifest themselves? I very much doubt that a flying saucer will land on the White House lawn, or, in fact, that anything so straightforward will happen. I am not at all sure that we will like what does happen, but one thing I do feel sure of is, if we are to be included in the laws of physics as the govern the world of our visitors, we can expect extreme, profound change.
I think that it would probably happen quite suddenly--as suddenly and unexpectedly as the close encounters seem to happen. Even though I'd apparently had a lifetime of experience with the visitors, when I found myself confronting them on the night of December 26, 1985, it came as a complete and utter suprise. On that night, I was not aware of any change in the way the reality around me was working, but that did not remain true.
After Anne and I had moved from upstate New York to Texas, I found myself having an experience that I think is much closer to what is apt to happen to all of us if our visitors' reality is ever extended to include our own.
On this occasion, I was for some little while, with a person similar to the one depicted on the cover of Communion. I was fully conscious, but as I moved through our apartment with her--or him, or it, for that matter--I began to see the rooms, nicely redecorated by Anne and very clean--much more as I might an animal's burrow. Not a single line was straight. The walls were soiled. There were strange insects racing around in patterned movement. Even at the time, I thought that I was seeing our condo the way I might see an animal's nest in a zoo. The little vole or whatever sees the nest as comfortable and appealing. A human observer, looking through a glass wall to which the animal is entirely oblivious, sees the nest as a filthy flea-ridden mess.
As I have reported elsewhere, I became unstuck in space and time, and also unable to discern clear lines of reality. I could not tell even what time I was in. I thought that I went to the garden of a friend's house nearby and also entered the future. But now I think that I may have gone into a version of the garden that exists in a parallel universe. But one thing is clear: I had become unmoored in reality as we understand it.
When I came back from this period of contact, which lasted about fifteen minutes, I believe, I found that the voice of a reporter on the radio sounded like gibberish. In just that short time in this other reality, I had lost my knowledge of the English language. It returned, but only slowly. About eight-thirty in the morning, it was time to go to church. Without realizing it, I had lost my internal map of San Antonio, the city I grew up in. When we started out, all seemed fine. It wasn't until I found myself driving out near a runway on a disused road behind the San Antonio airport that I realized that I had not the slightest idea of how the streets worked.
I eventually found my way home, and spent the rest of the day feeling a profound sense of dissociation. I no longer felt real or whole or coherent. More than that, I felt as if I'd left part of myself behind.
To my mind, if the visitors ever come, it will not be a landing at all, but something more like the removal of a wall that now exists between our worlds. What will happen to us then is that we will suddenly start living by new laws of reality. I suspect that many, many of us will not survive the transition in anything like a normal or coherent mental state. A lot of people will not be able to cope with this. But some few will, and it is on their shoulders that the rest of us will have to climb, if we are to surivve with our sanity intact.
Do I think that this will happen tomorrow? Obviously, I don't know. All I do know is that it CAN happen, and I can assure you, if it does, none of us will be prepared to face it, except on the most visceral, instinctive level.
But then again, what infant, upon being drawn from his mother's womb into the impossible light and terror of a new world, feels in any way prepared for it? Every baby begins the same way: frightened and astonished.