Dive into the world of the supernatural as I’m joined by UFO expert Rob Kristoffersen to chat about Whitley Strieber’s experience that we saw in the movie Communion.
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Dan LeFebvre: [00:02:54] All right. Here’s how this will work. We’ll do this in two sections. First. Let’s go through the movie and I’ll do a quick overview of kind of how the movie sets up the story. Then you’ll let us know how much of that could have actually happened. At least according to Whitley’s accounts. Now there’s some rather out there claims in this movie.
So that’ll give us a good idea of how much the movie changed and how much it sticks to the original accounts from Whitley Strieber. And then after that, after we go through the movie, we’ll have an overview discussion where we’ll get to talk about how much of Whitley’s accounts are plausible based on your expertise.
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:03:31] Oh yeah.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:03:33] All right, let’s do this. So initially let’s sit up or set up the timeline location characters. The movie starts in 1985. It starts by setting up Christopher Walken’s character Whitley Strieber. He is an author in New York city who hasn’t kind of strange dreams. Now, before we get too far into our story today, let’s just kind of set up the scene and characters.
Thereby stopping there. So I’ll admit before communion, I’d never heard of Whitley Strieber I didn’t know anything about him. So I know a lot of times movies change names kind of build composite characters or just make up completely fictional ones. So. First question is Whitley Strieber even a real person.
Was he married to someone named Anne son, Andrew, kind of the family dynamic we have going on there and for lack of a better way to put it, was he a perfectly normal author before the events that we see in the movie in New York in 1985.
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:04:33] Yes, Whitley Strieber is who he is in the movie. He is a writer, by the time that communion comes out the film, and even, even the book he had been writing for over almost 10 years, and he had written two really successful horror novels, one called the Wolfen, the other called the hunger.
And they were both actually made into films. So. On that end, that is 100% true. And he did, he did have a wife named Anne. She passed away in 2015 and, their son is indeed named Andrew. in
Dan LeFebvre: [00:05:12] terms of a
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:05:14] normal, you know, a perfectly normal guy.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:05:18] It
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:05:19] seems like he’s normal. I think that’s the best way to put it because,
Dan LeFebvre: [00:05:23] when you read
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:05:24] communion, Whitley kind of says odd things at times that his wife kind of calls him out for whether it’s a.
what did we get into the, the experiences that he has? He talks about seeing a crystal above the house or the, the F like the time that he was flying and like, just really weird out of place kind of, you know, statements that he makes. But for the most part,
Dan LeFebvre: [00:05:50] yeah, he is
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:05:51] a pretty normal guy until, until the events of a communion.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:05:55] Okay. Well, I mean, we can kinda. Give that a little bit of a break. I mean, authors very often are strange a little bit out there, maybe. I mean, you’ve got to have, have the idea in your head, right. I often wonder what Stephen King is actually like to come up with some of those stories, but they’re great stories.
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:06:14] So,
Dan LeFebvre: [00:06:16] alright, so let’s, let’s jump right into the first experience then. It doesn’t really, the movie doesn’t really tell us any sort of a date, but we find out later on that this is October 4th, 1985, Whitley and his family are in their cabin in upstate New York. And they got a couple of friends with them.
And the first night that they’re there, as everyone is in bed, that security system does something kind of weird. The lights turn on outside first to kind of seems like there’s nothing. Then the security lights turn off, then all of a sudden there’s this blinding light. You can tell they’re not the security lights, it’s something else.
everyone in the house, except for Anne seems to see the lights and even Whitley sees a little sliver of an alien face in his room, but he doesn’t believe it’s real. Then the next morning over breakfast, Whitley tries to convince everyone it was just a nightmare that they all happened to have at the same time.
so my question for you then is after this first experience, Was it true that he, well, first that kind of what happened there in the movie, that was that the first experience, but then it seems like Whitley didn’t believe it, or nobody really wanted to believe that. He saw an alien, which we clearly saw in the movie there.
So was that true that he didn’t really even believe it himself first? The
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:07:34] thing
Dan LeFebvre: [00:07:35] about the it’s the
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:07:37] October
Dan LeFebvre: [00:07:37] experiences
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:07:38] that
Dan LeFebvre: [00:07:40] it
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:07:40] was so kind of downplayed to him, it wasn’t a full blown memory of seeing this, this being in the corner. Like they set it up in the film at first. what he, what happens to him is.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:07:52] He wakes up
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:07:53] to this light that passes by his living room window. And that’s kind of a familiar theme over and over again. And in abduction accounts is there’s usually a triggering event either involving a light or it involves a sound. So
Dan LeFebvre: [00:08:10] Whitley sees this
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:08:12] light. coming by the window. And all of a sudden he has the distinct impression that the roof is on fire.
So he goes to check it out and, you know, he finds that the roof isn’t on fire. Gets back in bed and, in the book the next morning, he just wakes up and that’s, that’s it. when he goes into, the hypnosis sessions later on, you find out that. What had happened was is that it w there was this light that passed by outside.
He did go to check on it. When he came back to bed, all of a sudden, he, he sees this being in the corner and, in the, in the movie, it’s not the same being that he interacts with, in real life. It’s actually one of the
Dan LeFebvre: [00:09:00] shorter
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:09:01] blue beings. And what it does is, it rushes up to him. Like one of the freakiest things.
And one of the things that this movie does terribly, is it downplays like how terrifying the actual quote unquote beings are because they move incredibly fast. They, they have weird jerky movements at times, too, but it essentially has this silver rod in its hand. Whitley describes it as being more like a nail.
And essentially it. Touches the flat end of what he thinks the nail is to his forehead. And he gets these visions and he sees these, you know, this APOC, these apocalyptic visions of the world basically exploding. And he also sees this vision of. it’s his son sitting in a park and he takes this as to symbolically mean that it’s death.
And, he, you know, he’s screaming the entire time. And meanwhile, next to him is you later find out she’s aware of it, but she essentially in this story is kind of like,
Dan LeFebvre: [00:10:12] She’s there
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:10:13] to support Whitley. That’s the role that she’s been assigned. So realistically, she’s just laying there and acting like nothing’s going on, but he’s having this terrible experience.
Jack and Annie, who are the guests for the weekend. here. I believe Jack has actually woken up by the light in the film. It’s it’s both of them that are woken up by the light, but Annie ends up hearing the scampering of feet upstairs and that’s just,
Dan LeFebvre: [00:10:41] Oh
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:10:41] God, that’s terrifying,
Dan LeFebvre: [00:10:44] but not what you want to hear at night.
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:10:46] No, no, no, no, definitely not. and, Yeah. The, the alien being does that for a little while. And then, it runs away and Whitley wakes up the next morning and, they, they talk about the light. but it isn’t as dramatic as they make it out to be in the film. It’s not like jock is like,
Dan LeFebvre: [00:11:04] Oh, you need to bring this one down.
Yeah. He just like turned on it really quick. Yeah.
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:11:10] Did
Dan LeFebvre: [00:11:10] now, did they have any sort of experience like that in the movie focuses on, on whitleys. and then of course, as you say, they wanted to leave right away. did they notice anything? The guests,
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:11:24] other than, yeah, Jacques was just, he was woken by the light.
Like he saw the white,
Dan LeFebvre: [00:11:29] but not the alien coming in. No, didn’t see.
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:11:32] Yeah. And the weird thing was, is yeah, the end. He didn’t. I don’t believe she recalled seeing the light. She just heard the scampering of feet, but never saw any of the beings. Okay. So yeah, that’s, that’s pretty much their experience, but it’s interesting because it’s, if you take that to, you know, coming from Whitley to be truth, well, at least not the only one experiencing something right.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:11:57] And I guess I shouldn’t have called them aliens at this point, but the, I mean, that initial scene of seeing that is just like the stereotypical alien there, but it sounds like that’s not what they saw at all this first time.
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:12:11] Weirdly never refers to them as aliens. and, and part of it’s just because he’s trying to figure out the entire time, what is going on, what’s happening to him?
What are these things that he’s interacting with? And. Instead, he calls them visitors. So, and he’s basically, he’s doing that to try to cut his bias as best as he can. And like he does the best job possible trying to come at the, his experiences from as an objective viewpoint as possible. Okay.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:12:47] Well, let’s move on to the second experience.
And the movie then that happens a couple months later, a day after Christmas, actually December 26th, 1985. And this one is a little bit stranger than what the first experience was in the movie. Again, we’re at the cabin in upstate New York and we see the same bright light, based on what happened the first time we kind of have a foreshadowing of what’s going to happen.
but this time, the door to Whitley’s room creeks open. And this is when we see the blue beings. For the first time in the movie, there’s four or five of them that we can see on screen at any one time. And they pick up Whitley and just kind of carry him away. And then we see a scene of what looks like the beings experimenting on Whitley.
And again, the next morning, Whitley doesn’t really seem to have a recollection of it, or he’s just ignoring it one or the other, he greats and in the kitchen and. Asks, if he saw, she saw an owl coming through the window last night and I’m like, Oh, this Don bought us on all coming through. So I’m not really sure how else to phrase this, but did that happen?
Was he abducted by blue creatures and then experiment in the film?
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:13:59] So in the, in the book he talks about how
Dan LeFebvre: [00:14:05] he
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:14:05] did see
Dan LeFebvre: [00:14:06] the door creak.
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:14:07] Close
Dan LeFebvre: [00:14:08] boat.
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:14:08] The strangest thing, like when, when he goes through the hypnosis session in the movie, he sees this, it almost looks like a, like a metallic dummy with a hat and a symbol on the front of it.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:14:21] Like you were talking about earlier.
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:14:23] Yeah. and basically what he sees is an alien wearing that outfit and it rushes towards him.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:14:29] And then he just the scariest part in the movie for me when it rushes
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:14:32] and he just blacks out. And that’s a familiar thing that you find over and over again, is that,
Dan LeFebvre: [00:14:38] these
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:14:40] being showing up or, just, just seeing them, like your body has a.
Tendency to react. So sometimes people will just go into complete fear mode, but nine times out of 10, what they do is they just black out. So we don’t really know if there were blue beings that actually took Whitley out, but, they did, they did take Whitley out of his bedroom. They brought him to the front porch and then they, ended up transporting him into the woods where he was taken up into a craft of some kind.
And the, the thing that this movie downplays a lot is that there is one being that Whitley kind of has a relationship with his entire life and she’s a female. And essentially she looks like, In the movie, there’s only two kinds of beings. They, you got the blue ones and then you’ve got the really tall ones with the, they’re like almost like a brownish color.
And they have like the typical gray face. Well, that’s essentially what she looked like, like the, the act, the absolute, the model that they took. from the cover of the book, if you look at the cover of the book that they released in eighties, seven that’s the exact picture of what she looked like.
And then they just like condensed it into, well, there’s only two kinds of beings. When in reality, Whitley was interacting with. Three of them. There were as the blue ones, there was a, the ones that you would think of as the typical grays only they didn’t have like the almond shaped eyes. They had round eyes that were black and their mouth was like a round hole.
That was also black. And then, the being that, you see in the movie, this female being just interacts with over and over again, and like, She’s explaining what they’re going to do to him, that they have these procedures that they’re going to do. But the thing is, is like, Whitley notes that she’s almost sounds like she’s bored.
Like she’s done this a thousand times, so Whitley’s freaking out because, what happens to him is he has this, procedure done on his brain. they, I believe that thing in the movie where it’s behind. It’s on his neck, near his ear. it’s this, like Mark, he has this puncture Mark that, they, that happens, that that’s one of the marks that they leave on him.
And then, they do something with his brain and they also do, there’s, there’s a few other tests at one point. Cause Whitley is just freaking out the entire time the being asks him, what can we do to help you stop screaming? And he looks at her and says, well, you could let me smell you,
Dan LeFebvre: [00:17:33] which is like to make a story.
We’re not the first thing I probably would have. I guess I’ve never been in that situation side. I don’t know, but
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:17:40] yeah, just to make a story weirder, you know, but. It kind of grounds him, so he’s not freaking out. And, they do a bunch more medical tests on him and then they just send him back. But, what you find is that, the reason that Whitley starts remembering this thing, like all these experience, because they go back his entire life, which the movie doesn’t really get into, but because he asked that being.
to smell that being that that’s really what triggers all of this because Whitley, doesn’t need a lot of, he, the hypnosis session isn’t really for this event, it’s for the October, event. And he can recall, yeah, most of this, which is a pretty remarkable, but, the reason being, because he asked the being too.
To ask the Mel the being, which is
Dan LeFebvre: [00:18:36] interesting.
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:18:37] Yeah. It’s really interesting. And then it sends him down this spiral of stuff that he remembers and, it, and then it turns into a bestselling book.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:18:47] Well, I mean, I’ve heard that, you know, the mind associates things with smell. So I wonder if you know, you, you smell somebody’s perfume or you smell cologne or you smell something that.
Somebody used to have, and that kind of reminds you of them though. The mind can trigger that kind of stuff. I wonder if that’s the connection that was kind of going on there? Yeah.
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:19:07] That’s something that he does touch on in the book. he thought it was strange at first that he would say that, but. he’s, he’s running through it in his head.
He’s like, yeah. You know, if that’s something that you want, if you want to be grounded, you know, smell is one of the easiest ways than probably one of the most strongest ways to do that. So, and, and the interesting thing is, is that, the beings, smell there’s this combination of smells that is, smoldering, cardboard.
Organic sourness and cinnamon.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:19:37] That’s an interesting combination.
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:19:39] Yeah. And the, and the thing is, is like, how would you make that out? I don’t understand how you would make that out. Like, cause like it’s, it’s not like these are three. Smells that go together unless you’re like really like maybe dumpster diving or something.
I’m not sure, but
Dan LeFebvre: [00:19:55] apparently they do go together though. That’s what I don’t know.
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:20:00] And that’s the thing. It’s common people report over and over again that, they, they smell cinnamon and they smell burning cardboard.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:20:09] Now, is that, is that common after communion? Or is that common before, like the Whitley kind of come up with that and then other people are kind of latching onto that.
Do you think, or I don’t want to get too far outside the movie timeline itself, but just curious about that.
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:20:24] you started to see it more and more after. And the reason that is, is that, throughout the eighties, that’s when abductions kind of blew up in popular culture. and a lot of that had to do with a book that was released in 1981 called missing time by bud Hopkins and, bud Hopkins isn’t in the movie, but Whitley, works with him, To try and figure out what happened to them.
But missing time kind of lays out like the features of the abduction phenomenon. And, he also publishes another book in, I believe 1983 called intruders about this one woman’s lifelong experiences with, beings kind of like Whitley. But what separates Whitley from everybody else is that he’s a writer and you know, he’s already a writer and he has this great ability to not only tell you how he’s feeling, but to make you feel what he’s feeling in the book.
And, that for a lot of people, it either, it has this effect where you either. Agree with him or you just flat out disbelieve him and who could blame anybody? It’s it’s a tough thing to really wrap your head around. I know people like communion is one of the most hotly debated books in all of UFO research and it has been for decades now.
And, It’s still a really good read a few. If you want to freak yourself out a little bit and you want to really experience what a guy went through.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:22:04] Yeah. Yeah. Well, speaking of which we can hop back into kind of the movies timeline. You mentioned it briefly before the hypnosis, and this is kind of what happens next in the movie.
it was actually Anne, who suggests that he goes to a therapist named dr. Janet Duffy. Now dr. Duffy then suggest that Whitley goes through hypnosis to help remember the things that he can’t remember on his own first. He’s kind of resistant to it, but then, and insists and he agrees. Now there’s two separate hypnosis sessions in the movie.
One for each of Willie’s experiences. Although, based on what you had just mentioned, it sounds like he, he was able to remember the one in December, but through these sessions, Whitley kind of experiences, the, he starts to realize that the experiences were a little stranger than he thought at first. So the little blue doctors is what he calls them and that’s kinda what his son calls them as well.
But then he also starts to remember, you know, the aliens that would be a little more traditional to what we might think of when we think of the grays except being a little more skin tone color, kinda like the one we saw, early on, but probably the two biggest revelations to Whitney in these hypnosis sessions.
Is that not only they’re real, but he’s been having them his whole life. And he’s kind of getting the inclination that now they’re being passed on to his son, Andrew. So we’ll talk about the validity. I want to talk about the validity of hypnosis kind of at the end, after we get the movie itself, but was it really this hypnosis session that kind of helped.
Whitley start to believe that these were real, up to this point in the movie, he’s still kind of resisting it, not wanting to believe that this is real. And then we touched a little bit on kind of this going on throughout his whole life. But, at this point in the movie is when we kind of start to realize that.
And was that kind of when he started to realize that as well
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:24:01] for him, it was this, I’ve had these two really strange experiences. I need to learn more about it. And when he learned more about them, he ended up going back into these paths, these experiences in his past, and just kept finding really
Dan LeFebvre: [00:24:19] odd
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:24:20] features of all of these experiences.
Like when he went into his, December 26th, regression session, it at one point he actually jumped from December, 1985 to. I believe it was, sometime in 1958 where he was on a train with his father and him, his father and his sister all get abducted off this train. They all have this experience.
And, What really sticks out for him is seeing his dad like so afraid, in front of these alien beings. And it just like really stuck with him at that point. And he keeps going back and finding these odd experiences. Like at one point he talks about how the aliens taught him to build like an, a particle accelerator and he ends up building one in his bedroom and it like.
Like kills the house electricity. It was. So it was so weird. he talks about how, there’s a couple experiences camping, in his backyard where he encountered, one was a, this like mantis type being in it. Literally when people talk about them in the abduction literature, they literally look like in like seven to eight foot tall praying mantis.
And it ends up putting this like hat or something on Whitley to do something to his brain. And he doesn’t remember much after that.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:25:53] He recounts this
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:25:55] really odd 24 hour period where he keeps missing chunks of time. So he starts by, He he’s heating up a TV dinner and he’s sitting down to eat it. And then all of a sudden it goes from his lap to the, Coffee table and he didn’t put it down or anything.
And, six hours had passed. Oh, wow. And then he was going to go reheat it. And on the way to reheat it, another 12 hours had passed and he keeps experiencing these jumps in time for, about the course of 24 hours, which, is, I don’t even know where you begin with
Dan LeFebvre: [00:26:33] that. I mean, if that, if that happened, that would be, that’d be terrifying to not know.
Just kind of black out like that.
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:26:40] Yeah. And, and that’s how he treated it. He thought he was just blacking out. Like he, he had, you know, just problems, something wrong with his brain. So, at a certain point,
Dan LeFebvre: [00:26:51] he,
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:26:53] he eventually just runs out of the apartment, ends up at this. All night diner, just, you know, mowing down on a big breakfast, big breakfast.
And, he just, sucks down six glasses of orange juice. he keeps going through all these experiences. So for him, I think he’s always going to struggle with kind of the reality of it. He may accept it, but he doesn’t know what the reality of his experiences are. And, and that kind of makes for a tough movie to film, because if you don’t have an ending, really, and you can’t really say what the heck is going on, because like I’ve said, he had like five or six theories as to what these beings may be.
Helped him deal with the reality of the situation. Just not the reality of everything surrounding the situation and, and what causes it
Dan LeFebvre: [00:27:49] and your movie. You want closure. Yeah. You want to know how the story ends and if you don’t know how the story ends at you, like yeah. It makes for a tough movie.
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:27:59] It does.
And, it doesn’t help when you have, an actor like Christopher Walken, who is how better to put it crazy, or at least comes off as crazy. And like every, almost every role that he’s in. So, to try and capture a guy like Whitley, who. Maybe experiencing all these things, but is completely down to earth about it.
it’s definitely makes for a jarring experience
Dan LeFebvre: [00:28:26] while speaking of drawing experiences, and kind of wrap up the movies timeline because after the hypnosis Whitley kind of starts to believe that these are real, at least in the, in the movie. And so he decides to head back to the cabin by himself.
When he gets there, there’s this bright ball of light in the woods. And he grabs his video camera head toward the light, but he never actually videotapes it. Of course he heads inside to find the aliens there. And this is. When it gets a little weird as if it wasn’t weird up until now, but, little blue aliens take the video camera from him and then he dances with them and he realizes he’s awake.
So this must be real. Then you see Christopher walkin, another version of Whitley, you know, as it looks to me, it looks kinda like a magician that he’s got like a toxin, a magic wand and little pencil mustache. And, and then it, I, I don’t really know how he comes to this, but he kind of comes to the realization that the aliens won’t let the humans see them.
they’re, they’re purposely kind of hiding. And then all of a sudden he’s back in his truck, it’s daytime, like just, it just cut there. And he goes home to an Andrew and kind of seems to have this kind of, the Hollywood happy ending, where he’s accepting the experience at least, you know, at least.
Assuming that it’s not necessarily something negative. They don’t really know what it means, but it’s something that he’s come to the, just to accept it. Now I’ve found it very convenient that Whitley never caught anything on video. That was something that, as I was watching the movie, I kind of noticed that, you know, he’s back in the eighties, you didn’t have cell phones like today, so he didn’t always have a camera with you, but it seemed like he always had a camera with him.
And yet he still never really seemed to capture anything. so my final kind of question would be almost a two parter first, did he actually capture any video footage of these experiences? And then of course, kind of that last strange experience with the dancing little blue doctors and such, was that something that.
We already kind of talked to him about him, whether or not he believed it was real or not, but was that something that he experienced as well
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:30:38] at a certain point? he, he has a hypnosis session in March of 1986 and, he goes pretty deep on it. And when he comes out of it, the image of the female, he has this image implanted in his head, but it’s not, it’s not just an image.
He calls it kind of like a, a holographic projection. And
Dan LeFebvre: [00:31:04] that’s the same female you were referring to earlier?
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:31:07] Yes. Yeah. She’s got the, like really leathery looking skin like they do in the movie. And, She’s yeah, she’s, he’s just had this relationship with her, his entire life, which is something that is a common theme over and over again, is that a duct T’s will report having a relationship with one of the beings and they always have a gender and it’s usually a gender opposite their own, but,
Dan LeFebvre: [00:31:32] He
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:31:33] has this image in his head.
And basically what he could do is he can ask it a question about like it’s anatomy or something like that. And it like shows him what it, you know, like what its feet look like or what his hands look like or what it looks like when it closes its eyes and, and such. So what ends up happening is that at one point he thinks in his mind, what would I add?
What would, what would it be like if the, if I asked them the, the beings to come see me and it, and this image just gives him this hard glare, it wasn’t anything malicious, but it was just a really hard glare. So the really intense, dance sequence and all that stuff that doesn’t happen. and you get the theme over and over again, that.
The beings themselves need to be in control. Like Whitley gets the sense that they are kind of afraid of us just because we are, we seem to be, you know, we’re such free spirits and they are kind of like a hive mind. They like many of them walk in a lockstep and unison and they appear to, you know, follow orders and they appear to, just, do what’s required of them.
So. And at, at the end, the last experience that he has in the book, it’s one night he’s sitting up reading he’s fully conscious for this. And all of a sudden, appears three of the blue beings, like. Probably about five feet away from him on his side of the bed. And they all, they’re all like smiling.
And then all of a sudden he sees one right next to him. It’s a, it’s a, one of the gray beings with the black eyes and the black mouth. But the weird thing about it is that it’s wearing a cardboard cutout suit that it’s made to look like a, a double breasted suit, but it’s made of cardboard. And he’s wearing it.
He’s got a fedora on and they’re all just smiling on Adam and, this to him, he ma he takes it to mean that, this is confirmation of his experiences that he’s fully conscious. There are real, and you know, it’s been happening. So. That’s how it ends for him. And, and realistically it’s only about 170 pages in the book, the hundred and 30 that are left after that, he’s just trying to make as much sense of it at all.
But, and then it just sends them down a path of where he wrote like five sequels to this. I mean, from, 88 to, 2012. So. And he’s still out there. Right. And then books, nice. He’s like 73 years old now. Still doing it. He hosts the podcast.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:34:30] Yeah. Well, all right. So let’s kind of start to make some of the, some sense of this ourselves.
we’ve talked about the timeline of the movie itself. And so we can kind of move on to just kind of some of the overall stuff. One of the first things as I was watching this, I was thinking, have you ever, you’ve seen the Revenant. Yep. So that was the first episode that did on this podcast actually.
And one of the things, even as I was researching that it’s in that movie, you know, it’s Hugh glass and he just survived just extraordinary things, but he does it alone. Like there’s only, he’s the only witness there. And so you kind of have to take his word for it or just don’t believe any of it. There’s really no in between.
Cause there’s absolutely no way that we can verify. Anything that he did completely on his own. And so in my mind, even though there’s others that are there, a lot of the things, at least in the movie, only happen to Whitley. And so it, it’s almost a similar thing where, You either have to believe him or you don’t, and there’s just not a lot of middle ground there.
So I’m curious to hear what your thoughts are based on. We’ve talked a little bit about some of the other cases and things like that, that you’ve studied. Do you think any of this really could be true that he experienced this. There are
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:35:51] so many cases out there of people having these kinds of interactions in the book, he has a section called the hidden choir where, there are like support groups that meet to talk about their experiences and to deal with them.
So. Whitley kind of just touched it off. But people had been having these experiences for years. The first, widely publicized, abduction account, came from Betty and Barney Hill in the sixties who, when they were returning home from a trip to Niagara falls, they, encountered this. UFO on the road.
And it essentially took them aboard, subjected them to medical tests and brought them back. And it kind of became a, a narrative, but it took, almost 20 years for it to really, hit the mainstream in such a way that, you know, people took it even remotely seriously, even though, it’s definitely one of the, you know, most hotly debated issues, in UFO study.
So, yeah, it’s okay. Just the overwhelming amount of these type of cases. The fact that a lot of these people are suffering from things like PTSD. They are, they have dissociative disorders, because of it. And, there was a really great Harvard psychologist that dr. John Mack who studied this, and even he couldn’t, find real world answers for it.
He, he believed it had something to do with consciousness, but, he couldn’t find, like real world. Problems disguising themselves as aliens too, to describe it. So for
Dan LeFebvre: [00:37:43] me,
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:37:45] I tend to err on the side of, being open to it. I don’t exactly know what it is, but it’s definitely something that. it just so many people have experienced it to not take it seriously and to not think that something’s going on.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:38:02] Yeah. Well, that makes sense. And I’m curious, based with Whitley being an author, I wonder how much that kind of played into his being a little more popular than others. but with what it sounds like there’s a lot of, people who have these experiences. How many of them are kind of like, Whitley’s where he went beyond just seeing them.
I know there’s a lot of people who see have, but then there’s the next step of actually in Whitley’s case, you know, being abducted by them, is that something that’s kind of unique from what Lee’s story is that also something that a lot of people experience,
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:38:39] it’s not entirely something common. Cause it shows up at a certain point in, the literature and such.
So, It’s tough to really say exactly
if communion really touched it off, or if communion gave people an outlet to talk about their, their, their experiences and such, because we have abduction accounts from. from the middle to later sixties, even in the seventies, the, the abduction accounts from the seventies are really strange. I just, on my podcast, I just covered, the abduction of a young man named Lee parish.
And he was just driving home from a friend’s house at one in the morning. And he gets abducted by these, this group of three, like. Mandalas. They’re not people they’re like, one of them looks like a really tall wall. The other one is smaller, about five feet tall and has the dimensions of a Coke machine.
And the other one, the third one is, this, it almost looks like an, an enlarged antique adding machine and they experiment on them and put them back. It’s interesting to note how the abduction accounts from the seventies, the beings are all different. They’re not this gray, typical being that doesn’t happen until after really bud Hopkins gets involved in the phenomenon.
They start to become like the figurehead for the abductions that are happening. And then you get to the nineties and it kind of tails off because, it just kind of loses steam. It loses popularity, it’s it almost seems like it’s a fad for popular culture, but people still report it. And, the tough thing to grapple with is that you have people telling their stories now that are saying their stories, their experiences go back to the fifties and the forties and even the thirties.
So, It’s a really tough phenomenon to wrap your head around just because it almost seems to change over time, which is very, very strange. And, and it’s, it’s something that keeps me up at night, man. It really does.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:41:07] Yeah, I would imagine so. I mean, that’s, it’s, I can’t explain it. I mean, it’s, it’s just something that, it’s, it’s fascinating.
all, all the, the. The range of, of different types of experiences and something I’m curious about, this happened in the movie too, with the hypnotic therapy. I’m curious, is that something that, can you, can you consider that trustworthy? I mean, if somebody is kind of remembering these things and I’m assuming, I mean, if something happens to somebody and then they recounted later, of course they’re going to be going off of memory and then you have in the case of, Whitley and, I’m sure there are others, if you know, there’s other experiences out there that kind of get pulled out through regression therapy, through the hypnosis there and.
Is that something that is common in order to remember things that you couldn’t really remember? Or is that something that I’ve heard reports of, you know, how the therapist is almost implanting, ideas and they’re kind of leading the questions a lot of times. Is that something that’s, that is an issue with that?
Or like, I guess overall, how trustworthy can it be? If somebody is remembering something through hypnotherapy that they don’t remember?
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:42:20] That’s a hotly debated thing. in my short time at Moofawn, with, Chris Cogswell, host of the mad scientist podcast, he, had gone on this endeavor to, kind of do new things and move on.
Cause they were a little stagnated. They, they’ve been doing the same things for, for decades and it hadn’t been giving any results to the public. So, One of the things that he was working on is he was trying to, look at the effectiveness of hypnosis on these type of patients. It depends on, it, at least from what I’ve read, the, the person doing the hypnosis, if that per the best people for it would be those that are not.
familiar with the topic, which, Whitley Strieber. He, he initially consulted with bud Hopkins, but Hopkins had his own person that he trusted to do a hypnosis sessions. And he sued and he suggested to Whitley, Hey, go, go see this guy. He’s he’s great. I use them all the time. At least like, Nope, I’m going to go find my own guy.
So he finds this guy named dr. Donald Klein and through the course of, I believe he did four or five total hypnosis sessions. and they’re transcribed a good portion of them are transcribed, verbatim. If you don’t ask leading questions, you tend to see, you know, diff results that don’t seem bias or don’t seem like they are implanted.
And even at certain points, when he he’s asked leading questions, he won’t give a leading answer because the idea is that, you know, if you ask a leading question, They’re automatically going to, you know, say yes or go with that line. And when you read these, transcripts and they don’t always, and, for instance, in the, in the book, with an, what you find is that Whitley has an easier time of going through hypnosis than Anne and almost acts like she has this block.
And the reason that she CA she has this, this, because. the way that she, recalls her experiences, it says
Dan LeFebvre: [00:44:39] if
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:44:40] she serves, an absolute function, which is to kind of ground Whitley, but also to turn a blind eye to it so that, she’s not exposed to it at all. and she talks about how, there’s a, I believe it’s the.
October 4th, experience, she talks about how there’s a friend in the room telling her that it’s Whitley that has to go it’s it’s Whitley that has to do this. She just has to lay there and she’s there for Whitley. So, it’s, it’s interesting to see how during that, hypnosis session, because she actually used a different.
psychologist, she used a guy named dr. Robert Naman to do that. How, even when he asks leading questions, he wouldn’t get a leading answer. It wouldn’t just follow that line. So, I think the jury’s still out 100%, if it’s effective for, you know, abduction, abduction victims, but. if you can find the trustworthy ones and using your best judgment, you can kind of discern which ones are good, which ones are bad, which ones are absolutely, you know, people asking leading questions.
And at one point, during Anne’s hypnosis session, bud Hopkins steps in and starts asking questions. And he confuses her because he’s at one point he’s trying to get her to remember something and he kind of confuses her because, he doesn’t specify as he’s talking about the October experience or the December experience.
So, there are definitely moments when some people just screw it up. Like bud Hopkins, I have my issues with him. but, yeah, it’s, you gotta take it pretty much. By a case basis. Look at what they’re asking, take a look at the transcripts and see if it’s good information. If it’s bad information, if it’s just people following where the hypnotist is leading them.
yeah. That’s, that’s really the best way to look at it.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:46:52] Yeah, that makes sense. I mean, the, the, the leading questions is something that, I, it makes perfect sense, which makes me wonder then with Whitley. And we talked about this a little bit earlier, but, I, I used the term aliens and you kind of reminded that he never used that term.
He always calls them the visitors, which is, you know, with. The overwhelming implication in the movie at least is these are aliens. And, but he’s still, never called them that. So that’s almost a, you know, a leading question in and of itself. I’m sure there’s a lot of stuff that comes at him where they’re really trying to get him to just say they’re aliens and he’s still not doing that.
Do you think that helps add credibility to that? to his experience?
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:47:36] To me. It does to a lot of people. It doesn’t, and I know people who have read, communion and they just roll their eyes at every, every single page. They, they don’t even, they don’t even give it a chance. But, the thing to understand is like Whitley did everything possible that he could not to contaminate, His results.
he, yeah, he went against bud Hopkins wishes, went with the psychologist that he felt, would be good for him. he never actually told Ann anything about his experiences as they were happening. It was only after she had gone through her hypnosis sessions, which was months, months after he had started his.
So they kind of were on separate ends of things. Which, you know, in the movie, she’s she’s in, on it from the start. So that that’s one marked difference. And like, I forgot to mention this, but like in the book, The video camera stuff. He does not have a video camera. So that’s, that’s kind of the reason why he doesn’t capture anything on camera.
He’s just not that
Dan LeFebvre: [00:48:41] guy. He doesn’t carry a video camera around
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:48:43] with him everywhere he goes, I guess, I guess in order to
Dan LeFebvre: [00:48:46] get footage, you actually have to be with him. That camera for,
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:48:49] yeah. Yeah. It’s like, what, why did they, and here’s, here’s the thing that I struggle with with this movie.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:48:55] Whitley
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:48:56] Strieber wrote
Dan LeFebvre: [00:48:57] the screenplay for it.
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:49:00] And like, I know people are going to edit it and such, but like, this is your movie, man. Why did you write it like this? It’s not even, it doesn’t seem remotely close to most of what you experienced, but, Whitley every step of the way he did everything, I think a person should be doing if they want to explore their experiences, which is don’t contaminate things, that just kind of keep to yourself as best as you can about it.
seek help and, you know, explore that don’t contaminate. yourself with like, he never really read UFO books during the whole time that he was, going through these, hypnosis sessions. But after that, you know, he just, he included a bunch of research that he did into the book. But, during all that, never, never once read a UFO book.
Didn’t try to taint his pool of information about UFS because. He, he really didn’t have an opinion one way or another. He kind of, Went with, the government basically had three studies from, of the UFO phenomenon from, 1947, all the way up to 1969. And then when it was ruled in 69 that, the government should stop looking into this.
There’s really nothing with it. He was just like, okay, fine. There’s nothing but flying saucers, whatever, move on with your life. But, in terms of. Just being as authentic as possible. I think Whitley Strieber is as authentic as he can be. And some people are going to get on board with that. And some people aren’t when I told people I was reading this book and this is like the third time I’ve read this book now, which I don’t recommend for anybody.
Like, you gotta be crazy to read this thing three times, but, I, the part of it is people saying, Oh, this guy is like, he’s totally bogus. See, he’s totally just making it up. You know, just trying to sell books. I’m like, he’s a writer, of course he’s trying to sell books, but it doesn’t necessarily discount from his experience.
It’s like they forget that he was a really accomplished writer for almost 10 years before this came out. So, What Lee is as genuine a person. as I think anybody could be going through these experiences.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:51:18] Now you mentioned that night. I got to, point this out. Cause my first thought watching, I think I’ve actually said that a few times I have many first thoughts, but one of the things I thought of when I.
Saw this was, and you mentioned Whitley was the, I wrote the movie as well. It seemed kind of convenient to me that he is an author. He writes science fiction. And then in the movie, there’s a point where he’s like, Oh, I’m he has writer’s block. Like I need to come up with an amazing story. and then he comes up with his amazing story that ends up turning into a New York times bestseller, you know, and just, you know, almost, I want to say launched a career cause he already had a career, but, There’s a little bit of convenience there to play devil’s advocate to my previous point of, you know, him not calling them aliens, but I wonder how much of that, aside from just the, the different nature of the experiences, makes it difficult for people to believe this.
Do you think if he was not an author, before and. I don’t know if you know, around the time that this happened, that he was experiencing kind of the writer’s block, you kind of see, happened in the movie. but I don’t know. I could see how that could also be seen as kind of a, Oh, you were just looking for a good story and you came up with one that you know, that you just, now you have to kind of ride the wave.
so to speak. do you think that kind of hurts his credibility in that way? I’m sure to some people a
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:52:42] will, but, the writer’s block is completely made up. He never had writer’s block. He actually published a book, I believe in 1985 and 1986 before he published communions. So there is that bit that makes you wonder, maybe he’s just good at telling a story and.
I’ll be honest, I’ve read Whitley’s fiction, not as early fiction, but as later fiction. And I’m, I’m not a fan. I don’t think he’s a really totally great fiction writer these days. And, and I don’t mean to jab at him, but it’s just, the thrillers that he’s written that he’s written the last, since communion there, I definitely have that, Alien kind of spend on them.
He’s he’s written a book, about, alien human hybrids, a novel he’s written a novel about, the series called alien Hunter where this like covert group of, government agents just hunts down aliens and stuff like that. He definitely has a mind towards horror and science fiction to an extent, but.
I don’t think that at least for me, I don’t think that colors, anything in the book, because to me,
Dan LeFebvre: [00:54:02] even if
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:54:04] abduction literature is not necessarily popular, but it’s. It’s more mainstream than ever. And you’re a successful writer and you write a book about your abduction experiences. There’s a good chance that book is just going to flop.
I don’t understand why exactly community became such a successful bestseller. Maybe it’s because of the way it was written. Maybe it was just, how he came off in the book. I’m not exactly sure, but. To me, it’s more of a gamble to write a book like communion. And at the same time, why would you write six
Dan LeFebvre: [00:54:46] sequels
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:54:47] that don’t, that don’t have as wide an audience as comedian?
Did I know communion sold like over like 2 million copies. So, and it’s like one of his only books aside from, his newer ones that are still in print from the past, but. I don’t know. to me, it’s not as much of a deal breaker that just, you know, he’s a good writer, therefore, he’s spinning a good tail here.
Like I, like I said before, he’s, he’s seems like a really genuine person through and through he,
Dan LeFebvre: [00:55:19] yeah, he,
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:55:20] experienced some tough times after communion and like the years the, you know, directly after, he, he filed for bankruptcy. At one point, I believe in the nineties, he ended up, and one of the saddest experiences for him.
And I can’t remember exactly where it was. I think it was an, an interview I saw on YouTube. He was heartbroken that he had to sell the cabin in upstate New York. So, to me it doesn’t, but I could definitely see how that could paint. people’s pictures of Whitley and, and, and his writing.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:55:52] Well, it sounds like in the end, People need to read the book on their own and, and make up the, make up their mind as to whether or not they believe him.
And some people will, some people won’t just like any other story that’s out there.
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:56:05] Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And I mean, to, to kind of really harken to the name of your podcast, the reason that people are so upset by this book, the ones that that are is because it has the words, a true story written on the front.
Imagine if it didn’t even have those words on the front of say this was a novel, it actually be a pretty decent novel if you kind of cut out all of the, historical stuff that, I mean, there’s other interesting, you know, things beyond his experiences in here, but it would be a pretty interesting novel, but yeah, whether it’s a true story or not, you know, that’s.
That’s ultimately, you know, every person, every person has to decide that. So, If you’re coming at it from the film, I’d say go pick up the book, get a better perspective on it.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:56:59] Sounds great. Well, thank you so much, Rob, for your time and expertise, sharing it for reading communion yet again, I’m a third time.
If you read communion, maybe only read it once. Not multiple times, like Rob, it sounds like where can people find out more about your show and what you do?
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:57:16] Well, the podcast is available on every single platform. just search for our strange skies. I am on Twitter at our strange skies. we have a Facebook page and a group, just search our strange guys over there.
We’re on Instagram. So, I’m definitely out there. thank you so much for having me on man. This has been a blast.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:57:35] Oh yeah. It’s been, it’s been a lot of fun. The whole subject of UFO is, is something that. Fascinates me and I really enjoy your podcast. So it was really exciting to have you on appreciate it.
Rob Kristoffersen: [00:57:45] Thanks, man. Definitely appreciate it.