Title of a bestselling book by Whitley Strieber, author of
such fantasyhorror stories as The Wolfen (1978) and The Hunger
(1981). In Communion (1987) Strieber describes what are
claimed to be his real personal experiences of abduction and
painful examination by strange creatures. These experiences
Communigraph Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
date from age 12 when Strieber claims that one evening, near
his backyard, he was attacked by a huge insect resembling a
praying mantis, which hit his head with a silver nail.
Strieber also recalls being abducted momentarily from a
train during a journey with his family from San Antonio to Wisconsin.
Soon afterward, ‘‘visiting spacemen’’ gave him instructions
for constructing an antigravity machine. When he connected
it to the electrical supply there were showers of sparks
and a pulsation of lights in the house. The machine exploded,
burning out house lights, and the following night the roof of
the house was destroyed by fire. Other nightmare experiences
concerned giant insect figures and a headless figure touching
him with a silver-tipped wand.
The substance of the book, however, concerns events in
1985 in an upstate New York cabin, where he claims that a
number of creatures came and transported him to an alien
spacecraft. There, he says, a needle was put into his brain and
a triangular object inserted into his rectum. The triangular
theme recurs in a later experience; while reading in bed, he
had an unexplained time-lapse of four hours, and later discovered
two triangles incised on his left forearm.
In 1986 Strieber met and compared notes with Budd Hopkins,
who has specialized in the subject of claimed UFO abductions.
Hopkins it the author of Missing Time (1981) and Intruders
The Incredible Visitations at Copley Woods (1987). These books
discuss other claimed ‘‘missing time’’ abductions.
Following publication of his book, Strieber received more
than 500 letters in six weeks, many of them claiming similar
mysterious visitations or abductions. He followed the book with
a sequel, Transformation The Breakthrough (1988), and eventually
Communion was made into a movie. In 1989 he created the
Communion Foundation to focus further debate on his experiences
and research on abduction claims. By this time Strieber
had developed a more positive view of the abduction experience,
a perspective that soon led to his break with the ufological
community. The foundation lasted only a few years; it was discontinued
as Strieber withdrew from intense debates on the abduction
Clark, Jerome. Encyclopedia of Strange and Unexplained Phenomena.
Detroit Gale Research, 1993.
Conroy, Ed. Report on ‘‘Communion’’ An Independent Investigation
of and Commentary on Whitley Strieber’s ‘‘Communion.’’ New
York William Morrow, 1989.
Taves, Ernest H. ‘‘Communion with the Imagination.’’ The
Skeptical Inquirer 12, 1 (Fall 1987).