I feel like this review of Whitley Strieber's Communion would be incomplete without digging out this old chestnut.
For those who maybe weren't around in the 80's, or not paying attention in the 80's, this is Mr. Streiber's account of his history of being abducted by these guys.
Indeed, while the tales of the Greys might have predated this book, it did make them a quite popular image of possible extraterrestrial life.
So, what's interesting to me about this is that most alien abduction stories have the big reveal at the end of the story; even in nonfiction accounts such as this, we normally hear about missing time, strange dreams, and disappearing rednecks long before we get the money shot of 4 feet tall beings with giant black eyes that like to probe humanity. Not so here. Streiber recounts his October 1985 kidnapping within the first few pages, then spends the rest of the book discussing how he came to recover memories of other visitations as well as a rather lengthy discussion of what these visitations could possibly be and possible evidence of alien visitation throughout history towards the end.
Summed up, Mr. Streiber undergoes hypnosis with doctors who have no idea at first what it is he's digging at, recalls not only two encounters in 1985 but visitations at 5 years of age and a few others at other points in adolescence, recounts a group therapy session with other abductees, and involves trying to verify specific events with other possible witnesses. These include his wife, who also undergoes hypnosis, although they try not to involve the son. Despite that, his son does have a few recollections that line up with the events as described.
While Streiber spends all of this describing himself as agnostic towards the reality of the experience, it's fairly obvious he things something happened, although he's not totally convinced its actual aliens, because it could also be future humans traveling through time, or alternate dimensional visitors, or any number of things that aren't a bit of undigested roast beef.
I think the big question any reader of this is going to have revolves around whether or not it's all made up. I can't answer that question. While I tend to give some credit to the idea of Visitors, it's not something I can speak to from personal experience. I can, however speak from personal experience on people claiming I made something up, that I must be misremembering, etc. I also find myself dealing with the old argument about recovered memories, which largely gets brought up against more normal things like people remembering sexual abuse or Satanic rituals at daycare.
Again, this blog is no place for the discussion of validity of such things.
Suffice it to say, the last chapter dealing with philosophy and possible Visitor interaction throughout history is interesting, although it really goes far afield from the rest of the fairly straightforward narrative, as we discuss things like the meanings of triangles in relation to eternity; indeed, three becomes a magic number.
So yeah. In the end, I feel about as agnostic towards the entire recounting as Streiber himself claims to be.