As part of a documentary that our filmmaker friend Timothy Greenfield-Sanders is making about Whitley, we recently visited the “Communion” cabin in upstate New York where we were menaced by one of the locals. On the way back to New York City, we received a call from a dear friend that we were very worried about, who had almost died from an asthma attack. This trip was “Deliverance” in more ways than one.
First the cabin: It’s along a private road, so we were concerned about entering, but it’s not in a gated community, so we figured we could do a quick shoot of Whitley walking around in the woods near the cabin, then drive out again. Also, while we lived there, we deeded a lot of the land to be conserved in perpetuity, in order to protect the wildlife, so the part of the woods that Whitley was filmed in was actually Federal land.
We had bad luck at the start: A very aggressive neighbor, who was maintaining his road with his tractor, spotted Whitley in the car as we drove up. The tractor had a loud motor, and as we drove down the hill to the cabin, we could hear him roaring along behind us.
Because he was so much slower than our car, Whitley and Tim were already filming in the woods before he reached us. I was standing in the road by the parked car with a nice young man who was one of the producers. When we hear the roar of the tractor engine coming our way, I hid the clapper- loader behind the tire so that this man wouldn’t see it.
Our neighbor on the tractor drove up to us and asked aggressively, “Was that Whitley Strieber?” I didn’t see any reason to lie, so I confessed it was and explained that he was doing a little filming at the site of his old home. I don’t think he recognized me, so I didn’t identify myself. He didn’t say anything else, just turned the tractor around and headed back up the hill.
The scene reminded me of the 1972 film “Deliverance,” in which a group of Atlanta businessmen take a hunting trip into the remote Georgia wilderness, where they meet up with some unsavory local characters. I was becoming uneasy (was this man going to go and fetch some sort of armed local posse?) and kept hoping the filming would be over soon. I chattered away with the producer, the way you always do when you’re nervous, and I suspected he was just as uneasy as I was.
When Tim, his sound man and Whitley finally emerged from the woods, we told them to hurry up and jump in the car, that we had to get out of there NOW. We peeled rubber, and as we drove out onto the main road, we saw a white car quickly driving in. Tim said, “Did you see that? That was a Sheriff’s car!” Our neighbor on the tractor had called the cops on us.
On the way back to New York City, we received a call on our cell from a friend who had been suddenly been taken to the ICU the previous week due to a serious asthma attack. Mutual friends had informed us about this by email.
It was “Deliverance” for her too, since she was now out of the hospital and staying with her sister. I know she almost died, however, because she was visited by her dead grandparents in the 4 days manner. She told us they were wearing heavy overcoats as if they were going on a long trip (they had obviously come to take her back with them!)
When I told Dr. John Lerma (the hospice physician who is also one of her friends) about this, he wrote her an email that said, “You are one of a special group of souls, which has had the honor to look into a dimension of infinite dimensions (God’s mansion has many rooms, or dimensions) while still within your body. This is both a near death and pre-death experience. It is called non-local conscious awareness or NLCA. Non-local is a quantum physics term that describes another dimension. You saw this dimension while you were conscious. You have been anointed.”
A lucky escape from the physical danger that could have been brought to us by locals who were scared by the Communion experience and a friend’s escape from death: both were cases of deliverance!
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