For many years, I have been curious about my story Pain. I have seen that it contained much unconscious knowledge of the close encounter experience. It was the last piece of creative writing I did before I became conscious of what had happened to me on December 26, 1985. In fact, the experience actually happened while I was in the middle of writing the story. On the surface, it is a story about a very difficult, painful relationship, but beneath that, it is about finding freedom from the most basic of all human fears, which is the fear of death.

Over these past thirty years, I feel that I have become able to see inside the story and shine some light on its secrets. What did my unconscious mind think of the close encounter experience? What did I know that I could not tell myself? I believe that I can now answer those questions, and this discussion contains that answer. The secrets of Pain are secret no more.

In a sense, my life has taken me through the rigors described in the story, and freed me. I think it ranks among the most useful of all the things I have written, in that it reveals what might be the deepest truth of the close encounter experience, and functions as a blueprint for understanding it in a very clear way.

This commentary has become possible for me to do only after many years of contact, of thinking about contact, and of exploring the sense and purpose of life. Right now, it is my definitive statement on the experience, what it means, why it is happening now, and how it is unfolding.



  1. Two words came to me as I
    Two words came to me as I finished this. Crystaline…gold. Whatever that means. Holy moley. Holy moley and jeez. Haha. Wow thats… Amazing. I’m full and frightened or is that awe-full. God, well, this is going to take some time, isnt it. Yowsa. I shutup now.

  2. Good Friday indeed!! Wowser.
    Good Friday indeed!! Wowser. Okay, quiet now.

  3. Amazing insights Whitley.
    Amazing insights Whitley. There are deep truths here.

  4. Troubling stuff to absorb in
    Troubling stuff to absorb in many ways. It’s as if we now live with half of our necessary conscious existence closed off from us. Perhaps that is how you domesticate a species.

  5. Sweet lord almighty, there
    Sweet lord almighty, there was a storm the entire width of the Atlantic on Friday. Is there to be a pdf of the commentary? I’m typing the damn thing out if there isn’t. The power of this piece is still there. Expect it will be for some time.

  6. Whitley, thank you for this
    Whitley, thank you for this and for the poem “The Hound of Heaven” at the end, also one that has haunted me since I first read it. My upbringing was Catholic, but I have expanded my beliefs so that for the first time I realize that they are too large for what I was brought up with. My only recollection of an encounter was when I was a teenager back in the 40’s. I suppose I have blocked out all the rest until I had a child who was an experiencer. She has seen the visitors and her experiences have made me look at life in ways I never thought of. We all experience a certain amount of loss and pain in life, but looking back at mine recently (on my 80th birthday), I wondered why I had to experience so much of it. But as you say, we are to experience the new world, which without the honing as it were, we could not ascend to the new vibration. Thanks.

  7. We are participants in
    We are participants in Whitley’s Secret School. He is the cloaked being that he once described. He and Ann are our Sisters of Mercy. I lay my apple on your desk symbolizing my pain of ecstasy. Thank You.

  8. How may I help Me stop
    How may I help Me stop screaming ?…. Teehee! The whole commentary was totally absorbing and enjoyable!

  9. Interesting, the story of
    Interesting, the story of your execution triggered a memory for me of a dream where I was standing in front of executioners as well except they held a drill to my spine inflicting the most intense pain I have every experienced, worse even than childbirth. After awakening with new intense pain in my back and in a full sweat I was left with the understanding that the purpose of the pain was so that I could remember! Sounds very similar to your experience. Thank you for sharing, it has reminded me.

  10. Whitley, what a truly
    Whitley, what a truly fascinating talk–& one of great significance. It’s perhaps the most interesting commentary you’ve ever put forth.
    You are a brave man to tell the truth as you have, even the aspects that are not entirely clear to you. By living your life as you have, you are bringing about a change in the field that determines what a human being can be.
    Thank you and Anne for being who you are.

  11. I’ve listened to Pain and
    I’ve listened to Pain and this commentary three times so far. They still leave me breathless and in tears. A raw nerve is touched that, while painful, makes me realize it needs to be touched many times and in other ways throughout my life until I understand. Slowly, I get glimpses of parts of the “picture” (if I am smart enough to realize what they are.)

    I have a pre-birth or pre-speech memory I’ve thought about for years. A voice asked me, “Do you want to take the easy way or the hard way?” My reply was, “The hard way.”

    Bless you and thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

  12. As I listened to this, I
    As I listened to this, I found myself thinking how painful it was to listen to! Emotionally, that is. There is pain on two levels here: one is the actual pain that Whitley is describing that we must all endure in this dimension, and then there is the pain of hearing it and realizing that this is indeed the Truth.

  13. Mr Strieber’s commentary
    Mr Strieber’s commentary contains a fascinating thesis that is well-reasoned and expertly argued from a lifetime of personal experience. What’s more, given the abundance of ‘high-strangeness’ data with which we’ve been confronted, it is believable as a solution to the Communion Enigma. I write this, by the way, as an interested subscriber who has never had a close encounter, at least not that I remember. However, I did have extremely vivid dreams as a young boy in which leering skulls hovered above me and chased me as I ran down these long bookshelf-lined hallways in what I took to be some sort of old mansion. When they caught me I woke up, but with such intense bodily sensations that I awoke laughing because I felt as though I was being tickled from head to toe. I also thought there were skeletons hiding in the shadows of my room, but my conviction was that they were there to protect me. Perhaps I was just a morbid little boy (whose morbid interests subsequently led him to Mr Strieber’s fiction as a young teenager), but I wonder if those skulls and skeletons were the presence of visitors in my childhood.

    If the Communion experience does involve the world of the dead, then it makes sense that our reality would be nested within a larger one. The Master of the Key said that our dead are not off wondering elsewhere but are right here with us. Ironically, what we call the world of the dead is more truly alive than our own.

    Like most of us, I eagerly awaited the commentary and downloaded it as soon as it was available. Yet I found I was reluctant to listen to it. “This could be dangerous,” I thought. Certainly I knew it would have consequences. Where occult or hidden knowledge is concerned, Gurdjieff said that knowledge is by no means hidden, but that its possessors are desperately trying to get it into the hands of those who can care for it. Having listened to the commentary several times now, I see that I can no longer plead ignorance. The challenge is to choose to become responsible for the reception of the sacrifice, to choose to become proactive and self-Empowered.

    Perhaps the most enigmatic comments involve the thesis statement itself; the idea that our goal is to use Ego as a tool to annihilate the Self so that we, as Magicians, may live in both worlds; Hanging in Personality yet Dancing in Essence in a sort of clever and cunning balancing act of stoic equipoise in the face of our suffering. Mr Strieber is fond of The Hanged Man and Card 21 for reasons upon which he has sufficiently elaborated elsewhere. As for myself, I have always been partial to The Chariot, for if we do not learn to tame our dragons (the wild horses) we will take Mr Toad’s wild ride straight to The Tower. The facts of Life – the conditions imposed upon us – guarantee that we will suffer. Let us then suffer consciously, intentionally. Let us suffer well.

    This may be a bit overlong for a comment, but as the Pain commentary essentially constitutes the Strieber’s summary statement of their life work I felt they deserved a thoughtful reply.

  14. I wanted to write to you
    I wanted to write to you after listening to Pain but then thought I would wait until I listened to the commentary to see if it changed my reaction to the story. It didn’t. I think Pain might be the most beautiful story I’ve ever read. I always enjoy your writing but this story struck me as more poetry than prose. Somehow, as I listened to the story, I knew where it was headed, I knew how worthwhile the journey was because of where it was going to end.

    I can’t thank you enough for sharing this amazingly personal story with those of us who feel like family here at Unknown Country. I truly appreciate the opportunity you make available to subscribers.

  15. I have also found myself
    I have also found myself listening to the Pain commentary several times. The most profound idea for me was that the physical body is a filter preventing us from seeing our whole true selves so we can explore freely before we go back. My god!! This is precisely the basis for over 2,000 years of philosophical debate over ‘free will.’ I kept backing up my audio over and over until I had heard it enough. It was freeing, yet at the same time I felt an odd pressure to hurry up! Above all, consider that every other human you know is also a drop-in explorer. What will you say to them now? What do you need from them?

  16. Whitley – strange for me to
    Whitley – strange for me to write to anyone to whom I expect no reply. Ego is a powerful thing, I suppose, and mine suggests I need expound to no man, yet I write for everybody. Go figure.

    I have led a very different life than you. I don’t remember my experiences consciously like you do, save one, but to me rather they are vivid dreams that haunt my waking existence. The PTSD bothers my wife more than me. I still get night terrors and talk in my “sleep” to archetypal beings who shuffle in the night surrounding me. I just integrated it. I suppose. And like you I wrote numerous short stories and two novels about it, and in my youth was represented by a good agent who couldn’t get but the smallest part of it sold. And then I realized I didn’t need to sell any of it.

    I could not listen to all of Pain, it was too vivid for me. Too much like surgery without anesthesia. But I did listen to your commentary and for the speck of value it may have to you, if ever this note gets to you, I can say that honestly, and in the same time frame as you (1980s/1990s) I came to exactly the same conclusion about the meaning of life on earth. And thats when I stopped fighting the pain and misfortune. That’s when the visitations stopped.

    Now I am alone every night, safe in the knowledge they will not come back. The work with me is finished. I did face my death once last year (medical mishap…). I got the benefit of a “trial run.”

    I don’t think I’ll ever be completely ready for death because I’m liking this carnival ride of life with its sunshine and children and breezy Sundays reading at the kitchen table, but I’m accepting of the end of it.

    Thanks for your clarity.


  17. ‘Comment redacted’
    ‘Comment redacted’

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