What new wine can be poured into the old bottle of the UFO? Or is it time to explode the bottle?

In a Universe of quantum uncertainty, are UFOs necessarily even objects? And if not, are they really flying? Maybe unidentified is putting it too mildly? I mean, what are we even talking about here? And why are we even talking about it, at all?

Marshall McLuhan said, "The medium is the message." OK. So what's the message of the UFO?

And how come we are still trying to figure it out?

The problem with 98% of UFO research, post Carl Jung at least (and with the important caveat that I haven't actually read 98%, or even 50%, of UFO research!), is that it tries to make sense out of a phenomenon that seems primarily concerned with undoing the illusion that we are capable of making sense — coherent meaning — out of anything.

It's a bit like trying to do ballistics on a moving bullet that's headed right between your eyes. To analyze the moving bullet, you first have to let it land. Only by the time it lands, th-th-that's all, folks.

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"Because human perception is literally incarnation . . . each of us must poet the world or fashion it within us as our primary and constant mode of awareness." –Marshall McLuhan

Why am I writing about Whitley Strieber again? Didn't I say, the last piece I did on him (featured at Reality Sandwich), "no more deconstruction pieces"? Yes I did. One of me did, anyway.

Someone, a well-respected and very diligent researcher in the alternate perceptions field (I won't name him), recently told me to leave Whitley alone and called my interest in him "creepy." The suggestion was that I was obsessed with Strieber at a personal level and, I presume, that what I was doing was the literary equivalent of stalking. Probably, it has to do with the fact that I've never tried to hide my personal identification with Strieber, or how writing about him (i.e., his body of work, since I've never met him) has been a way to explore my own psychological patterns and the like. I can see how that might seem "creepy" to someone who thinks that research should always be impartial, "objective," and conducted at a safe distance, and that it should never get too close to the line between research and a Paparazzi-style invasion into someone's privacy. This goes double if that someone is working in the same field as oneself. (Don't poop where you fry your onions, so to speak.)

What this other researcher overlooked, in my opinion, is the fact that Whitley Strieber has already presented his experience to the world for study, and that he is even frustrated that he, or it, isn't being taken seriously enough. What might be called creepy, I suppose, is being thorough and diligent enough to analyze the evidence in a forensical fashion, checking the metaphorical panties of Strieber's story for proverbial semen stains, and all that. In light of the recent David M. Jacobs scandal, this may be an unfortunate choice of metaphor, but I'll let the point stand: It's a dirty job, etc. . . .1

Strieber has presented accounts of an experience which he maintains is real and of profound significance to humanity. If we take him at his word, if this is real, in whatever sense, then it requires serious attention, also known as: examination and study.

Whitley wants us to take his experiences seriously? OK. Here we go.

It's a curious fact that Strieber and his experiences are not being studied as a case of alien contact, not really. The reason for this, I think, is that, by becoming a public spokesman for his own experiences, Strieber has defined the context and framed the debate for "the Whitley Strieber case." To question his version of things is seen as to challenge him at a personal level, a no-no in our civilized society, especially when that person has publically complained about all the "nasty, evil" people who have attacked him, scorned him, called him a liar and a loon, and so forth.

As a result of all this spin-doctoring, 90% of people who show a serious interest in Strieber take what he is saying at face value and accept him as the sole, or at least primary, judge of his experiences. And 90% of people who are skeptical about Strieber's experiences do not take him seriously at all. That leaves a very small margin for serious research and inquiry. Yet, if Strieber and his experiences are to be taken seriously at all, they need to be approached with an open mind, that is, open to all possible interpretations. Submitting his accounts to rigorous analysis must include applying psychology to them, as I have done. Not to do so is a failure to consider the possible consequences of not doing so, as evidenced by the seriously questionable treatment by abduction researcher David M. Jacobs of alleged "abductee," "Emma Woods" (a pseudonym), which Jeremy Vaeni and Jeff Ritzman helped to bring to public awareness via their Paratopia podcast in 2010, the overall meaning of which was that respected UFO-researchers have been found to be pressuring their witnesses into supporting their own fantasy narratives.

So what's really creepy here-subjecting a well-known UFO authority's methodology to scrutiny, or the lurking inconsistencies or out-and-out pathologies which such scrutiny may reveal? To suggest that the scrutiny itself is creepy is to argue that certain stones should be left unturned, some sleeping dogs left to lie, and that the more delicate questions are not supposed to be asked. But the questions we're not supposed to ask are, nine times out of ten, the questions that have to be asked, however "unsavory" a task that may be. They have to be asked not to find the answers (there may not be answers) but to reveal that the answers being presented and accepted are not necessarily the right answers, and exactly why they aren't.

That's why I'm willing to go out on a limb and state that almost the entire body of UFO work so far has had the wrong focus: because the focus has been on the phenomena being perceived (and the stories being told about it) instead of the phenomenon of perception itself, and on how and why these stories come into being. I have learned more about the UFO in a few months of reading Freud, Jung, Norman O. Brown, Donald Kalsched, Greg Mogenson, and Julian Jaynes than in a decade of reading UFO material.

That's how I have ended up focusing on psychological trauma as the primary determining factor in the UFO phenomenon: because it is the primary determining factor of history, and even life itself. Trauma shapes our perceptions and it informs the stories we invent about what we perceive. The UFO is one of the stories we tell ourselves that might be called "universal." As Jung called it, it is a modern myth.

To journey into the traumatized psyche (and body) is, in my opinion, the unspoken goal of Ufology, and of every other discipline, because this is the journey of consciousness. All human introspection and all outer exploration are variations of this same fundamental journey to re-experience original trauma. Chasing after rainbows, white rabbits, golden fleeces, Minotaurs and lost spouses, are all quests for the  lost body of childhood and attempts to disinter the corpse in the vegetable patch, to uncover, uncover, uncover, what is hidden in our past in order to finally plant our feet in the present.

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"Neurosis is the inability to tolerate ambiguity." –Sigmund Freud

The afore-mentioned researcher made a comment at his blog recently about the importance of deciding if a certain subject was worth devoting one's time and energy to before doing so. I replied, with only a little exaggeration, "How to distinguish dharma from obsessive-compulsive behavior is the dilemma of my life."

Before I started work on what became "The Prisoner of Infinity: Trauma, Transformation, and Transhumanism (A Psycho-History of Whitley Strieber)," I was working on a book about autism. Then something happened. I received an email from an old associate, pointing me to an odd website, mother.strangled.info, specifically two audios which attacked my public persona ("Aeolus Kephas") in a mostly unconstructive fashion. The ostensible focus of the site was Strieber (and specifically his book The Key); I had attracted these researchers' attention due to my 2008 article on Strieber, which, for reasons that never came clear to me, they found reprehensible. (For fuller description of what happened, here: Strieber, the Mother-Strangled Boys, and the Real Alchemical Path)

Another associate found the site intriguing and managed to set up an interview between myself and one of the mother.strangled duo. Meanwhile, I found myself returning to the Strieber rabbit hole and composed a series of posts at my blog. I re-read a 2007 article by the blogger Dream's End (Ty Brown) about Strieber, which led me to look at something I had never really paid much attention to, The Changing Images of Man document and the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) which commissioned it. To cut a long story short, I began to find evidence that Strieber's experiences, and the public ministry he'd established around them, seemed to link to a much larger agenda of social and religious engineering. My curiosity further aroused, I emailed a couple of associates of Strieber, one of whom was Jeffrey J. Kripal. Kripal responded and sent me an essay he had written called "The Traumatic Secret," about the French philosopher George Bataille. Kripal's essay discussed the connection between trauma and spiritual, religious, and psychical experiences, including the kind reported by Strieber (alien abductions, etc.). It was about here that the vortex pulled me all the way in.

The point of this recap is that I was never at any time aware of making a conscious decision to devote my time and energy to unraveling the Strieber case or in tracking its possible connections to the larger picture. It just happened. The next thing I knew, a "short" response to Kripal's essay had turned into a book-length piece, a web-site, a series of audio dialogues, some humorous musical mash-ups, and a growing collection of imagery and artwork, all of which can be found, in weekly serialized form, at http://crucialfictions.com

So is this my dharma or is it obsessive-compulsion? The jury is still out. One of the ways I discern the difference is by the sort of responses I get. So far they've been mostly positive. But then I have yet to hear from Whitley or his "friends," and in a certain sense, this is first and foremost for them.

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"The creative writer does the same as the child at play; he creates a world of fantasy which he takes very seriously."
–Sigmund Freud, "The Creative Writer and Day-Dreaming"

"What worries me is finding fifty years from now those books have created some kind of grim religion."
–Whitley Strieber, 1988

The Crucial Fictions project isn't really about Whitley Strieber, any more than Warhol's soup can is about soup. It's not really about UFOs or aliens, or even about social engineering. It's about trauma, perception, and belief, and how they are all interwoven into a collective dream-nightmare we call culture or history. For starters, it's about the following.

1) Audience Cults

The phrase "audience cult" was coined by Rodney Stark and William Sims Bainbridge (self-identified "religious engineer") in their 1985 book, The Future of Religion: Secularization, Revival, and Cult Formation. An audience cult is not a religion, nor is it a formal group whose members can be identified (either by one another or by themselves). And yet they can be identified-by shared interest. People who "believe in UFOs" as part of an extraterrestrial experimentation/hybridization program, for example, belong to an audience cult. People who believe in ancient astronauts from elsewhere, or in psychedelics as a tool for self-realization, in regular meditation and a vegan diet, astrology, runes, and Tarot, communicating with the dead, the power of occult rituals, and so on, all belong to one amorphous audience cult or another. These audience cults overlap with other audience cults, and membership to one does not prohibit membership to another. They also overlap with more overtly fantasy-based audience cults such as comic book fans, sci-fi fans, or "Trekkies," yet it's worth noting that the area of overlap is not as great as might be thought. Sci-fi fans are often quite skeptical or dismissive of "true believers," and vice versa. The reason may be found in the following, from The Future of Religion:

"One very general but vague compensator is communicated through all audience cults: diffuse hope. If extraordinary things are possible, then one may hope for anything and everything. Audience cults proclaim the existence of cracks in the structure of the mundane world through which any imaginable marvel might suddenly appear. . . . If each audience cult projects a narrow ray of hope, then, together, audience cults project a broad if dim spectrum of hopes combining to form a vague impression of heaven. Thus, although each cult is far from being a religion, collectively, they communicate a pale reflection of the religious. . . . [A]udience cults are connected to a state of free-floating optimism-something less than true belief in the notions of the cults-the diffuse feeling that all things are possible but that nothing is certain to be true. . . . Rather than thrusting people into a storm-tossed sea of confusion without anchor or life raft, [this feeling] may compensate for an all too rigid, mundane life."2

It follows from this that comic and sci-fi fans, Trekkies, et al., get their diffuse hope from consciously identifying with fantasy narratives, where occultists or Ufologists require a more concrete assertion of the reality of their stories. It follows that both would look askance at, and feel superior to, each other. Yet the same basic need is being satisfied.

One thing I noticed while I was engaged in my exploration was how Strieber-and by extension his followers, his "audience cult"-tended to have their cake and eat it when it came to the hard-and-fast reality of the UFO phenomena. The visitors are both aliens and not-aliens (family, evolved humans, future time travelers, etc.); they are both physically real and not-real; they are not from here or there but from "everywhere" (and therefore "nowhere"); and so on. This not-this, not-that liminality is essential to maintaining the sense of wonder and the impossible that audience cults thrive on. If the visitors (or the UFO) were to become fully real (physical and hence identifiable, whether as ETs, time travelers, or whatever), they would no longer serve as emissaries of the impossible. They would not be seen as windows into magical-imaginal realms beyond this mundane one. Instead, they would simply become new aspects, however fantastic, of the mundane. We can see this in a very obvious way with technology: what seems magical and marvelous to one generation is completely unremarkable, even uninteresting, to the next. (Remember when people were excited about fax machines?)

2) Role-Playing

In discussing the (infamous?) Napolitano case investigated by Budd Hopkins in the early 1990s, writers Joseph J. Stefula, Richard D. Butler, and George P. Hansen ("A Critique of Budd Hopkins' Case of the UFO Abduction of Linda Napolitano" http://tricksterbook.com/ArticlesOnline/LindaCortileCase.htm ) point out how "major figures in the UFO community aggressively sought to suppress evidence of a purported attempted murder" and "failed to obtain and verify even the most basic investigatory information." The authors' contention is that "The thinking and motivations of ufology's leaders deserve at least as much attention as the abduction claims themselves." These men are not "delusional, in any usual sense of that word" but "highly functional members of society." They do not seem to be hoaxers or "yellow journalists" trying to capitalize on public credulity for their glory or financial gain. Instead, "at some semiconscious level, these individuals do not really believe their UFO investigations to be fully engaged with the ‘real world.' Rather, their behavior and statements seem more consistent with something like fantasy role playing." Both ufology and fantasy role-playing "allow direct, immediate involvement with powerful ‘other-world' beings and mythological motifs"; both "have been known to overtake (possess?) the participants." Such role-playing "taps archetypal images that hold great psychological power. The archetypes can become immensely attractive, even addictive, to those playing the game."

"In the Napolitano case, the ‘other-world' figures include not only the ET aliens, but also the pantheon of agents of an unreachable, evil government conspiracy determined to prevent humankind's knowledge of the ETs.  Intermediaries between flesh and blood humans and the powerful masters of the mystical higher orders are ubiquitous in the realm of religion.  Angels and devils serve the centers of ultimate good and evil. . . .  Thus the interactions of Hopkins, et al., with these players are seen to conform to the rules that historically control the interactions between humans and gods. Humans question and provoke the gods only at the greatest peril. The proper approach is to appease, mollify and supplicate these ‘entities.'"3 

The idea of powerful, other-worldly figures is consistently found throughout history and hence should be regarded as a fundamental part of the human condition: in other words, as an aspect of the psyche, both collective and individual. Ufology, then, like all other kinds of audience cult and role-playing, is an unconscious attempt to encounter the forces of the unconscious, in order either to placate them or to court their favor and receive their benefits — or both.

3) Liminality

The liminal is the realm in between, between life and death, waking and sleep, physical and non-physical, real and unreal. This is rightly the realm in which the UFO and the alien are encountered. Such phenomena "inhabit" the liminal realm and their appearance in our realm (that of the "real") is invariably experienced as an invitation or a lure (or snare) to draw us into the liminal state between self and non-self, I and not-I. (The alternative is to see them as a threat upon our realm, but the two views are not mutually exclusive.) This is the goal of consciousness, to be and not to be, simultaneously, and it is the challenge presented by the UFO, a challenge so far declined, if not entirely ignored, by researchers and experiencers both. The proof of this is the way in which researchers — and especially researcher-experiencers such as Strieber — struggle, not so much heroically as manically or obsessively, to find (or draw) and maintain a clear dividing line between "mere" subjective reality (that which is commonly dismissed as hallucination) and so-called objective reality, i.e. what is acknowledged by the social consensus as real.

This is normal enough. We live in a culture which regards experiences that aren't corroborated by others as symptoms of psychosis and schizophrenia. Someone like Strieber, who experiences highly subjective encounters with a level of phenomena that cannot be fully or satisfactorily corroborated by science, is left with two options: either accept a diagnosis of insanity, or find or create his or her own audience cult through which their experiences can be corroborated. The third road, the road less traveled, is to accept that the experiences are both real and unreal, that they are entirely subjective, and that all attempts to render them as objective will only divest them of their specific personal meaning for the psyche experiencing them. The net result of this, ironically and perhaps tragically, is to make them not more but less real, in a true psychological sense of the word real, namely, what is possessed of true meaning.

This is the nature of the Ufological beast and it is the vice-like corner into which we have all been driven, by the natural (but also pathological) defense strategies of the ego, which cannot accept liminality — the in-between/either-or state of existence — as anything but annihilation. And of course it is, just as the idea that UFOs and alien abductions — as Jung well knew and even Strieber admits, on alternate days of the week — as psychic phenomena that interact with the unconscious of the experiencer, and hence are formed by it, just as this possibility is seen as a rejection of the reality of the phenomena in question and the reduction of the UFO experience to the symptoms of psychosis. The UFO experience is characterized by psychosis, since one definition of psychosis is an inability to distinguish between real and unreal; but this is only so far as the illusion of any final objective reality interacting with us somehow independently of our own psychic conditions is itself a symptom of psychosis. And since, unlike other social phenomena the UFO cannot — will not — be fixed finally into "objective" form, it is also, tragicomically, the cure.

4) The Mulder Complex

The Mulder complex, as I have termed it (after the well-known TV show "The X-Files"), relates to the desire to believe, and connects us back to the previously described formation of audience cults. The Mulder complex includes a deep need to see reality as somehow unreal, thereby allowing for impossible possibilities to emerge from that suspension of belief. We can then suspend our disbelief about such impossibles, in order to give them still more substance — all the while being careful never to give them quite enough substance for them to assume the guise of absolute reality, because then we would be back where we started and have to conjure new marvels to oust the old. In "The X-Files," the aliens are presented as real, but never conclusively so. This means that both Mulder's need to believe and Scully's skepticism (which together give the show its tension) remain intact. Once again, there is the liminality of moving constantly between the two states, in this case belief and skepticism. This is a microcosm for the UFO cultural phenomena itself, in which the Government's denial and Ufology's belief are two sides of the same coin, the one maintaining, by opposing, the other.

The question I address in "The Prisoner of Infinity" is: what lurks behind the need to believe (and the denial), like a festering sore beneath a Band-Aid, and how are those early traumatic experiences (traumata) shaping the beliefs themselves? In the "fictional" case of Mulder, his sister was taken by unknown forces when he was a child. Mulder's belief that she was abducted by aliens was a way for him to stave off the terrifying possibility of a more mundane explanation for her disappearance, and to keep alive the hope that she would someday be returned to him. Baldly put, if not aliens, then something far worse had happened to her, and the chances of her showing up alive someday were effectively zero. Mulder's desire to believe in aliens was directly sourced in that early trauma, in a refusal to accept the reality of what happened, leading to the grateful acceptance of a fantastic narrative to provide a buffer between his unformed psyche and a full experience of that intolerable reality.

The exact same "coping mechanism" appears to be in evidence in the personal history of Strieber, and I suspect in all "genuine" experiencers of alien abduction. The magical is the only viable solution to the wound of the mundane, because the Band-Aid must at least equal the dimensions of the trauma. Extreme circumstances require extreme measures.

5) Dissociation and Space Travel

The metaphor I naturally hit upon for this process, while writing this present piece, is that of space travel. It was a perhaps inevitable choice, because I discovered more and more evidence, working on "The Prisoner of Infinity," that the audience cult of the UFO and the alien has, since its inception, been shaped and directed, if not out and out created, by agencies who wish, among other things, to create a scientific, technological and economic thrust towards space colonization. What better way to do so than to inspire people to want to go there with the notion that space is inhabited and, in fact, coming to us? This might sound like a radical new point of view, but in fact Jacques Vallee suggested something very similar, back in 1979! 4

The desire to leave the planet and escape into space (where conditions are mysteriously supposed to be better than on our home planet) is the desire to dissociate. Dissociation is experienced by every child who has suffered trauma while growing up, and that must include almost every child who grew up in the West (at the very least). The ostensible incentive to colonize space is that our planet can't sustain us because there are too many of us and our way of life is bringing about an environmental crisis. Yet rarely is it suggested that the environmental crisis is the result, not of too many people or of this or that corporation or practice, but of a way of life. The supposed "crisis," therefore, cannot be laid at the door of any organization or individual but is endemic to the species itself, meaning that, whatever it is, we will take the virus with us into space and any planets we manage to colonize.

This is a side issue, however, since it's the metaphor that interests me, namely that, even as we pollute our oceans and decimate our natural environment, the "need" to conquer space becomes ever more urgent. This might be seen as a collective externalization (hence metaphor) for the individual whose body and psyche has become too "polluted" by the emotional toxins of disowned or suppressed experience (trauma damage) and who is driven into an increasingly dissociative state, and the resulting fantasy narratives, or waking dreams, of alien intervention, psychic self-actualization, astral journeys, and space colonies as a means to avoid ever having to integrate (re-experience) the original trauma.

With any luck, the reader will be able to pull together these five subjects — audience cults, role-playing, liminality, the Mulder complex, and dissociation/space travel — and see how they combine into a single, I think radically new, interpretation of the phenomenon of UFOs and aliens.

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"The ego refuses to be distressed by the provocations of reality, to let itself be compelled to suffer. It insists that it cannot be affected by the traumas of the external world; it shows, in fact, that such traumas are no more than occasions for it to gain pleasure." –Sigmund Freud

I hope it goes without saying that exploring the idea of (UFO-related) perceptions being informed by beliefs that are sourced in early trauma is a highly sensitive "operation." It relates directly to the personal suffering and dismay of individuals, and it runs the risk (in fact makes a primary aim) of exposing that necessary illusion (or crucial fiction) and allowing the full trauma to come back into awareness. My interest in this, my reasons for digging around in such sensitive areas, is two-fold. Firstly, I have every reason to believe that my own early experiences of trauma, long-suppressed, are what led me to my almost obsessive interest in Strieber's work. Secondly, because my primary focus now, both in life and as a writer, is to identify the fake narratives, mistaken assumptions, and distorted perceptions in order to find the bedrock of the real in my own life, both inner and outer. This entails identifying the patterns of trauma that have both created my own Mulder complex (a need to believe in the impossible) and, inseparably, determined the sorts of fictions I have been drawn to, as crucial to my own coping strategies. Only by doing so can I remove the perpetual bias (that infantile "belief in magic") and see what's behind it, that is, what my perceptions are actually perceiving, but which I have hitherto not allowed myself to see.

Ironically, alien experiencers such as Strieber have a tendency to suggest that the denial, the stubborn refusal to see "the truth" (out there), belongs to those who reject the UFO and all it implies (the impossible). They are not wrong, exactly; but by identifying such blind spots outside of themselves they may only be reinforcing their own blindness, their refusal to see that "the alien" is not and can never be what it seems to be, at least until the psychological traumata that have created (or summoned) such complexes and given them a quasi-physical reality have been identified. Only then can we see that the alien is us, and we are something completely other than our patterns of belief, our illusions, hopes, or our trauma are telling us we are.

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"Anything that is concealed is a secret. The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates their possessor from the community. In small doses, this poison may actually be a priceless remedy, even an essential preliminary to the differentiation of the individual." –Carl Jung, Modern Man in Search of a Soul

I am aware that I shouldn't necessarily take Whitley Strieber at his word when he asks to be taken seriously, any more than you should necessarily take anyone at their word. People very rarely mean what they say, because they very rarely know either what they mean or what they are saying.

We want people to take what we are saying seriously. What that really means, most of the time, is that we want them to believe us (and most of all, to agree with us). We don't necessarily want to be understood (although we say we do), because to be understood means to be seen as we are. We don't want to be seen as we are but as we would like to be seen and as we choose to believe we are, and these are almost never the same. (I think autists have that natural ability to see and hear what's hidden beneath what people are presenting to the world, which is why autists find it both hard to understand social cues and equally hard to be understood.)

My take on Strieber is that his accounts are profoundly personal accounts which he has given universal significance, thereby inadvertently obscuring their actual meaning. "The Prisoner of Infinity" is an attempt to find that hidden meaning, and if it succeeds, I am aware that it could prove painful for Strieber, and be experienced by him (and others) as invasive.

Is pointing out that the Emperor is really naked invasive? It depends on whose point of view you take. The thing with reality is that it doesn't have much respect for our illusions, including, or especially, the illusion of privacy (discreet ego existence). From the point of view of the unconscious, privacy is just a polite word for secrecy, or denial. And secrets are toxic.

Because of the danger inherent in the undertaking, I approached it less as a piece of research than as an art project, using Strieber's creative output (his fiction, non-fiction, website journals, and the audio recordings available at his website) as raw material for my own creative exploration. "The Prisoner of Infinity" is a re-interpretation of Strieber's oeuvre and my hope is that it places it in a new, more fascinating light than before. It does not aim simply to debunk it or strip it of its validity, but to reveal another, more personal and therefore more vital and meaningful dimension of it.

I have approached it in this spirit, not as the revelation of foregone conclusions but as an on-going inquiry in which everyone is invited to participate — including, or especially, Strieber himself. "The Prisoner of Infinity" is both written and unfinished. The first part "Whitley's Game," is in twelve chapters and I have been sharing each of these chapters, on a weekly basis, with a small group of readers, receiving feedback and then discussing them via Skype and recording the conversations. A couple of weeks later that particular chapter is then uploaded to the site, along with edited conversations (which include musical collages mixing songs with audio recordings made by Strieber and other people), images taken from the Net, and original artwork by myself, my partner, and anyone who wishes to submit material. The only medium that hasn't been represented yet is video. Insofar as this project relates to Strieber, it is both an exposé and a homage, so really it's neither.

The work comes with a "trigger warning" because this material is highly sensitive and I believe that those who are most likely to benefit from it are also those, like Strieber and myself, who have suffered some sort of extreme trauma in their early history, and who may or may not be fully aware of it.

Every art work, or should I say aspiring art work, has for its modus operandi and raison d'etre the very same goal and methodology, that of bringing light to darkness or making what is unconscious, conscious. For the artist in question, the element of choice in the process may seem at times to be minor or even irrelevant, or illusory. Whether I was compelled by my neurotic patterns to narrate this "crucial fiction" or moved by my spiritual dharma, and how to know the difference or even if there is a difference, is something I won't try to answer. But I'd love to hear what you think.

Notes

1. David M. Jacobs is a history professor, author and researcher into "alien abduction" who performed (and still performs?) hypnotic regressions on subjects, whose methods came under severe scrutiny in 2010 via the writing and podcasting of Jeremy Vaeni and Jeff Ritzman. Long story very short: Jacobs, who is unlicensed as a hypnotherapist, or any kind of therapist, was clearly heard on a series of audio recordings to be "leading" a witness ("Emma Woods") while under hypnosis to participate in an outlandish and garish scenario involving alien hybrid beings, rape, death threats, and so on. During one infamous session (caught on tape) he instructed Woods while she was in trance state to send him her unwashed panties. "Don't even think about it," he told her, "Just do it automatically. No fuss, no muss." When Woods began to question Jacobs' version of reality, he threatened to accuse her of being insane, which is what he eventually did. Fellow researcher Budd Hopkins came to Jacobs' defense, as did many other members of "the UFO community." See "Aliens Vs. Predators," by Jeremy Vaeni,

2. The Future of Religion: Secularization, Revival, and Cult Formation, by Rodney Stark and William Sims Bainbridge, University of California Press, 1985, p. 210.

3. "It should be no surprise that the simplest reality tests of the Napolitano story were not made in this case. Hopkins' failure to check the weather conditions during the abduction actually makes sense in the context of this cult-like thought process.  Just as lice were called ‘pearls of heaven' by medieval religious devotees, the physical event-reality issues in the Linda story are transmuted by her supporters."   
http://tricksterbook.com/ArticlesOnline/LindaCortileCase.htm

4. "UFOs are real. They are physical devices used to affect human consciousness. They may not be from outer space. Their purpose may be to achieve social changes on this planet, through a belief system that uses systematic manipulation of witnesses and contactees; covert use of various sects and cults; control of the channels through which the alleged ‘space messages' can make an impact on the public. . . . Visitors from outer space . . . would offer the space effort – and all its attendant industry – a new purpose in life. They would rescue Western civilization from its acute spiritual malaise. They would help transcend political emotions and pave the way for a unification of that enormous economic marketplace: Planet Earth. Take these possibilities into consideration, and you will begin to understand why the idea of life in space is no longer a simple scientific speculation but a social and political issue as well." (Jacques Vallee, Messengers of Deception, p. 21, 53)