Thursday, June 29, 2023

He Sees Dead People. "The Key – A True Encounter" By Whitley Strieber

Now that Whitley Strieber has come forward to talk with Jeremy Corbell and George Knapp, taking advantage of the current UFO infatuation to peddle his usual woozy stuff, it made me recall the review I wrote of Strieber's later book, The Key. I am wondering how much of Whitley's wacky claims Corbell and Knapp even know about. Do they still think that Strieber is credible?

By the way, in this interview posted June 27, Whitley says, "I think we're right on the edge of the truth coming out, I think we're very close" to UFO Disclosure. Let's add this to the long, long list of Disclosure predictions. Maybe this time he'll be right? 😂

Jeremy Corbell, Whitley Strieber, and George Knapp.

( My review of Strieber's book, The Key – A True Encounter. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin Group 2011. ISBN 978-1-58542-869-4. 256pp, $15.95)

Reprinted from The Skeptical Inquirer, July/August, 2011 

He Sees Dead People

In 1987 Whitley Strieber, already well-known as a writer of fantasy and science fiction like Wolfen, The Hunger, and other tales published the supposedly non-fiction book Communion about his ongoing encounters with ET-like beings he calls “the visitors.” It was on the New York Times bestseller list for many weeks, followed up by Transformation in 1988, and then by numerous other paranormal-themed books, some admitted to be novels, others not. Imagine if Steven King had written a masterful horror novel, but claimed that all of the ghostly goings-on really did happen to him, although he could offer no proof of any of it. That’s where we stand with Strieber.

Whitley with his late wife, Ann Strieber, in 2012.

In The Key, Strieber writes, “my experience between 1985 and 1993 with creatures that appeared to be alien was associated with a surprising side effect, which was simultaneous contact with the dead, who would appear along with the visitors, and not as ghosts.”  What a pity he didn’t mention those dead people when he wrote about “the visitors” in Communion or Transformation.

The Key begins in 1998 when Strieber says that, late one night during a long and grueling book promotion tour, a mysterious man unexpectedly knocked on the door of his hotel room.  Against his better judgment he let the man in, who proceeded to engage Strieber in “the best conversation I’ve ever had,” described as “deeply, profoundly new” and “richly textured.”  What did this ordinary-looking man, who came to be called “The Master of the Key,” have to say? Gems like “The energetic body has a spin, or vibration. This can go infinitely fast. It can reach beyond the speed of light, and exit time altogether.”  Or, “All being includes all elements of the earth, and thus all are part of all bodies. We are the consciousness of the planetary level that it has spent all of its life evolving, each and all of us.“ The Master would seem to be on the fast path to a Nobel Prize in physics, except for being disqualified by his admission that he was dead.

There is also some dark conspiracy about Mars that is only hinted at in statements like “Mars was murdered by you.” As for crop circles, they are “two dimensional portraits” created by dead people. The Master also warned “Warmth being retained near the surface by greenhouse elements results in cooling aloft. A massive and extremely powerful convection can arise that results in a storm so great that it changes the climate permanently. The next ice age will begin soon, and this will lead to the extinction of mankind.” Strieber is the co-author of the ridiculous eco-disaster novel, The Coming Global Superstorm, along with Art Bell, the late night conspiracy talk show maven, from which was made the movie The Day After Tomorrow.

As you might surmise from a skilled storyteller, The Master walks out the door, and disappears mysteriously into the night. Say what you want about Strieber’s credibility, but he does know how to turn a fine phrase, and how to spice up a story. Still, Strieber, the Master’s ventriloquist, comes across as a rather loopy and preachy social activist, but as the late George Adamski surely realized, nobody would care about his political statements unless they actually came from the Venusians.  And however preachy, at least The Master isn’t as long-winded as John Galt.

Strieber had more to say about seeing Dead People when he spoke to the International UFO Congress in 2012.

Streiber returned to the theme of contact with the dead that he first began to promote in his book The Key. Dead people, he says, dress in a brown monk's cowl, "Jesuit clothing." Some of the visitors think it is possible for mankind to Evolve, while others apparently are not so optimistic. That is why the visitors are so cautious and stealthy. Afterward, mankind will be changed completely, and come face-to-face with the dead. Strieber still says he does not know exactly who "the visitors" are, but he knows that The Dead play a large role.

(This book review also appears on my Debunker website, along with another piece describing my Close Encounter with Whitley Strieber in 1988.)


  1. Presumably Streiber had been watching Ghostbusters, where Rick Moranis plays the Key Master, who always locks himself out of his apartment.
    Also both “Ghostbusters” and “The Day After Tomorrow” both centre around the New York Public Library.

  2. Streiber is copying from Ghostbusters, where the Key Master (Rick Moranis) keeps locking himself out of his apartment.
    Also “Ghostbusters” and “The Day After Tomorrow” both feature the New York Public Library.

  3. If Whitley Strieber wants to exploit the current spike in UFO mania, he needs to upgrade his spiel.


    Modern UFO lore has had two main facets.

    [1] Beings from other plants, or other dimensions, or whatever.

    [2] Fantasies about UFO “cover-ups.”

    The “cover-ups” aspect is the most important, and it occurs in three main forms

    [a] Tales of government secrecy
    [b] Tales of mysterious figures that warn people to keep quiet (e.g. the “Men in Black”)
    [c] Tales of “stigmas.”

    “Stigmas” refer to the fantasy that others will “stigmatize” me if I talk about UFOs. This is silly, since UFOs are a billion-dollar industry. Right now 20,000+ people are attending an annual UFO convention in Roswell NM. Do they “stigmatize” each other?

    Regarding the two main facets at the top, Whitley Strieber’s novels focus on alien fantasies, but ignore the “cover-ups” fantasy, which is indispensable to UFO lore. This is a flaw in Strieber’s fiction. Without imaginary “cover-ups,” aliens become personal chimeras. Boring.

    What makes people chase ghosts is not the ghosts, but “cover-ups” about the ghosts. “Cover-ups” keep the ghosts tantalizingly just out of reach. "Cover-ups" makes the “Men in Black” more interesting than the “aliens.”

    “The X-Files” TV series focused less on aliens than on “cover-ups.” David Grusch focuses not on ETs or spaceships (which Grusch has never seen) but on the legendary “cover-up.”

    This “cover-up” silliness allows UFO cultists to build up their fantasy to extremes, such that they imagine that the “truth” about UFOS is so awesome that if exposed, it would change the lives of every human forever. Therefore the “truth” is classified far above the U.S. president, or the CIA director, or anyone else in the US government. It is even hidden from the ultra-wealthy. No one has access to the “truth” except the “right people” who remain forever hidden.

    Therefore Grusch is this week’s heroic “whistleblower” for spouting vague nonsense about the magical-mythical “cover-up.” Whenever a new David Grusch surfaces, the media outlets form a dogpile. Rejoice! At last the “cover-up” will be exposed! Numerous other people come forward in a UFO “#MeToo” frenzy. True Believers watch this, racing round and round like dogs chasing their tales. The “truth” is always just beyond reach; somewhere in the hall of mirrors. Somewhere in the carnival funhouse. Anyone who doesn’t participate in the hysteria is called hostile or stupid.

    The True Believer is not someone who believes in aliens, but someone who believes in “cover-ups.” And since so many people indulge in this idiocy, it is “scientific.” UFOs are “real.” ETs are “facts.” The “truth is out there.” There are millions of “witnesses.” How can you deny “reality”?

    After a week or two the mania subsides, and the galley slaves resume their places at their oars.

    So, coming back to Whitley Strieber, if he wants to avoid oblivion, he needs to start dancing the “cover-up” boogie.

  4. Can you do an update about James Carlson exposing the lies about his dad Eric Carlson via Robert Hastings and Robert Salas - as they also keep getting promoted currently in this UAP hysteria. I'm sure the military disinfo is promoting the ET Alien religion big time now. I tried posting a comment on Tim Ventura's youtube channel but his channels block me - even though he told me he doesn't block anyone. haha. very strange.

  5. Simple fact. UFOs are real, whatever they are. People see them. But I don't think that they stop and talk to anybody. They just whizz by, or hover over some cow pasture or back road at night. At least that's the kind we get around here. I don't know anybody who has talked to aliens. But I know quite a few who have seen UFOs. None of them believe any of the tons of nonsense that have accrued to the phenomenon. They'll tell you as much. To me, Ufology is NUFORC reports. The rest is just entertaining science fiction.


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