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Communion: A True Story

Communion: A True Story

by Whitley Strieber, Morw (Other)

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On December 26, 1985, at a secluded cabin in upstate New York, Whitley Strieber went siding with his wife and son, ate Christmas dinner leftovers, and went to bed early.

Six hours later, he found himself suddenly awake...and forever changed.

Thus begins the most astonishing true-life odyssey ever recorded — one man's riveting account of his extraordinary


On December 26, 1985, at a secluded cabin in upstate New York, Whitley Strieber went siding with his wife and son, ate Christmas dinner leftovers, and went to bed early.

Six hours later, he found himself suddenly awake...and forever changed.

Thus begins the most astonishing true-life odyssey ever recorded — one man's riveting account of his extraordinary experiences with visitors from"elsewhere"... how they found him, where they took him, what they did to him and why...

Believe it. Or don't believe it. But read it — for this gripping story will move you like no other... will fascinate you, terrify you, and alter the way you experience your world.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times
“Powerfully written and involving!”
Detroit News
“A fascinating story...And it certainly could be true.”
Rocky Mountain News
“...COMMUNION is surely the most throught-provoking book on UFOs and alien visitation published so far.”
Houston Chronicle
“A convincing case.”
Seattle Times
“Powerful...Strieber’s storytelling ability makes his own terror and confusion feel real to the reader...Compelling reading.”
Boston Herald
“Strieber comes through as both sensible and sincere...His book deserves to be taken seriously.”
Vermont Sunday Magazine
“Patently honest...There is no doubt this man has endured experiences of compelling realism.”
New York Tribune
“Vividness of detail and depth of feeling...Convincing!”
Dow Jones News
“Should give second thoughts to even the most hardened skeptic!”
In the mid-1980s, Whitley Strieber wrote Communion: A True Story, an account of his disturbing personal encounter with strange-looking nonhumans he called "The Visitors." When published in 1986, the book became a bestseller, topping nonfiction lists nationwide. Its gripping story and vivid writing have also made it a favorite source for science fiction writers and filmmakers. This edition of the classic alien abduction story carries a new foreword by Strieber.
School Library Journal
YA Strieber has a reputation for writing well-researched nonfiction. Were it not for this reputation, readers would be more tempted to dismiss as fantasy this account of visits he has received from a non-human group. In the winter of 198586, the visits became both more frequent and more visible. Strieber sought the help of a counselor/hypnotist, who did not accept the alien hypothesis. Eventually Strieber's wife was also hypnotized. The accounts both Striebers gave under hypnosis and the memories that surfaced after hynosis, as well as several witnesses to aspects of the visitations all corroborate that something abnormal occurred. Strieber is careful not to jump to any conclusions; in fact, he philosophizes at length about the possibilities which include aliens, an as yet unidentified aspect of the human mind, or some generally invisible earth inhabitant such as fairies. The book is fascinating as long as it sticks to the basic account, and the ways in which the Striebers chose to research the phenomena. The passages of hypothesizing are more longwinded and will be of less interest to young adults, but they do remind readers that the Striebers have not accepted a single answer to the puzzle even now. Any readers who have interest in the unexplained will appreciate this book. Dorcas Hand, Episcopal High School, Bellaire

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.80(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

December 26, 1985

My wife and I own a log cabin in a secluded corner of upstate New York. It is in this cabin that our primary experiences have taken place. I will deal first with what I remember of December 26, 1985, and then with what was subsequently jogged into memory concerning October 4, 1985. Until I sought help, I remembered only that there was a strange disturbance on October 4. An interviewer asked if I could recall any other unusual experiences in my past. The night of October 4 had also been one of turmoil, but it took discussions with the other people who had been in the cabin at the time to help me reconstruct it.

This part of my narrative, covering December 26, is derived from journal material I had written before undergoing any hypnosis or even discussing my situation with anybody.

When I was alone, this is what it was like.

Our cabin is very hidden and quiet, part of a small group of cabins scattered across an area served by a private dirt road, which itself branches off a little-used country road that leads to an old town that isn't even mentioned on many maps. We spend more than half of our time at the cabin, because I do most of my work there. We also have an apartment in New York City.

Ours is a very sedate life. We don't go out much, we rarely drink more than wine, and neither of us has ever used drugs. From 1977 until 1983 1 wrote imaginative thrillers, but in recent years I had been concentrating on much more serious fiction about peace and the environment, books that were firmly grounded in fact. Thus, at this time in my life, I wasn't even working on horror stories, and at no time had I everbeen in danger of being deluded by them.

We were having a lovely Christmas at the cabin in late December 1985. On Christmas Eve there was snow, which continued for two more days. My son had discovered to his delight that the snow would fall in perfect crystalline flakes on his gloves if he stood still with his hands out.

On December 26 we spent a happy morning breaking in his new sled, then went cross-country skiing in the afternoon. For supper we had leftover Christmas goose, cranberry sauce, and cold sweet potatoes. We drank seltzer with fresh lime in it. After our son went to bed, Anne and I sat quietly together listening to some music and reading.

At about eight-thirty I turned on the bur I alarm, which covers every accessible window an all the doors. For no reason then apparent, I haddeveloped an unusual habit the previous fall. As secretly as ever I made a tour of the house, peering in closets and even looking under the guest-room bed for hidden intruders. I did this immediately after setting the alarm. By ten o'clock we were in bed, and eleven both of us were asleep.

The night of the twenty-sixth was cold and cloudy. There were perhaps eight inches of snow on the ground, and it was still falling lightly.

I do not recall any dreams or disturbances at all. There was apparently a large unknown object seen in the immediate vicinity at approximately this time of month, but a report of it would not be published for another week. Even when I read that report, though, I did not relate it in any way to my experience. Why should I? The report attributed the sightings to a practical joke. Only much later, when I researched it myself, did I discover how inaccurate that report was.

I have never seen an unidentified flying object. I thought that the whole subject had been explained by science. It took me a couple of months to establish the connection between what had happened to me and possible nonhuman visitors, so unlikely did such a connection seem.

In the middle of the night of December 26 -- 1 do not know the exact time -- I abruptly found myself awake. And I knew why: I heard a peculiar whooshing, swirling noise coming from the living room downstairs. This was no random creak, no settling of the house, but a sound as if a large number of people were moving rapidly around in the room.

I listened carefully. The noise just didn't make sense. I sat up in bed, shocked and very curious. There was an edge of fear. The night was dead still, windless. My eyes went, straight to the burglar-alarm panel beside the bed. The system was armed and working perfectly. Not a covered window or door was opened, and nobody had entered -- at least according to the row of glowing lights.

What I did next may seem peculiar. I settled back in bed. For some reason the extreme strangeness of what I was hearing did not rouse me to action. Over the course of this narrative this sort of inappropriate response will be repeated many times. If something is strange enough, the reaction is very different from what one would think. The mind seems to tune it out as if by some sort of instinct.

No sooner had I settled back than I noticed that one of the double doors leading into our bedroom was moving closed. As they close outward, this meant that the opening was getting smaller, concealing whatever was behind that door. I sat. up again. My mind was sharp. I was not asleep, nor in ahypnopompic state between sleep and waking. I wish to be clear that I felt, at that moment, wide awake and in full possession of all my faculties. I could easily have gotten up and read a book or listened to the radio or gone for a midnight walk in the snow.

I could not imagine what could be going on, and I got very uneasy.

Meet the Author

Whitley Strieber is the bestselling author of the horror novels The Wolfen and The Hunger, and this memoir, Communion—all of which were made into feature films. His books The Grays and 2012: The War for Souls are both being made into films, and his Web site, unknowncountry.com, is the largest of its kind in the world. Strieber was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas.

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