“The most blessed are those who suffer the most.”
—Whitley Strieber, “Pain”
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Whitley a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Ray a dull boy.
All work and no play make Jake a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
My own father was all work and no play. He had no “time” for children. He did play tennis until his late thirties, but a crippling genetic disease slowly robbed him of the use of his legs, thus ending his play. By the time my memories of him begin (when I was around seven, after he’d left us), he was walking with a cane. Later came crutches, and much later he succumbed to the necessity of a wheelchair. He suffered from an extremely rare genetic disorder, which only one of his siblings, his younger sister, contracted (his two brothers and older sister didn’t, nor did either of his parents or his children). When he could no longer play tennis, he played Bridge instead. He played for money, and as a child I helped empty ashtrays and refill the players’ glasses in return for tips. I was a mercenary child, and regularly stole from my father’s suit pockets, where he kept a pound for emergency cab fare. He had many suits. Like him, I took money seriously.
My father didn’t believe in God, aliens, conspiracies, psychic powers or human potentialities. He didn’t believe in the soul or the afterlife. He was a “proud individualist” who saw himself (and was seen by others) as unconventional, a rule-breaker and social iconoclast. I didn’t see him that way. I hardly saw him at all: when I spent the weekend with him, he would mostly hide behind a newspaper, and having a conversation with him was practically impossible. I do remember one time, probably when I was a teenager, asking him how he could stand to believe there was nothing after death. “If there’s nothing, I won’t know it,” he replied. “So why should I care?”
He was an advocate of equality and believed that the rights of the individual were more important than the needs of the collective. Yet he was a socialist, with an oft-expressed sympathy for minorities and a loathing of any sort of prejudice. At the same time, he was an intellectual who looked down on the lower classes for their ignorance and lack of education or artistic refinement. He admired social reformers (I can imagine Gandhi or Martin Luther King among the people he respected—though he didn’t believe in “heroes”); he also admired artists and pioneers. He respected anyone out of the ordinary, who forged their own path away from the herd and who he saw as “different.” That wouldn’t have included spiritual or religious pioneers, however, and he would have dismissed Whitley Strieber without a second glance. He was a pacifist who loathed all forms of violence and was unable to watch violent movies. (He once told me that he “hid under the seat” during Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange.) In contrast, I became obsessed with violent movies as a teenager, and eventually wrote two books about them. I tended to see my father’s pacifism as squeamishness more than sensitivity. One of his favorite refutations of religion was that it had caused more killing than anything else in history, hardly an original opinion, but one he expressed a dozen times or more to me.
Until he retired he put most of his energy into three things: work, sex, and drinking. He didn’t believe in family values any more than religious ones, and he showed no interest in being a father. But he didn’t seem to believe in the work ethic or have a high opinion of his own achievements either (though other people did). The company he ran was started by his father, Alec, whom he professed to have always disliked (even in his final years). He took over Northern Dairies, the family business, in 1969, when I was two, and after Alec retired. By replacing his father, he became what he most despised. No doubt this was Alec’s wish for his son (and for his family and the business), and my father probably felt like he had no choice. He only joined the company after he met my mother and they had their first child. Before that, he’d been bumming around Canada failing to write “the great English novel.” It’s tempting to say he sold his soul to gain the world, but I don’t think my father was especially interested in worldly power (unlike my grandfather). I think he was running from something and that he jumped down the first rabbit hole he could find. It didn’t go to wonderland.
In A Most Accursed Religion: When God Becomes a Trauma, Greg Mogenson writes:
Traumatic events are not all painful. Frequently, the imagination is fixated by events, which stop it from imagining on but do not cause pain. The birth of a child, for instance, may be as overwhelming for the new father as for the mother. The sudden appearance of the new life immediately cancels the conventions of its parents’ old life, temporarily bankrupting their previous soul-making. We should not be surprised, therefore, that new parents often admit to being afraid of their children and sometimes even suffer depression or psychosis following a birth they may have joyously anticipated. It is a tremendous responsibility to be the parent of an overwhelming event, the mother or father of God (p. 51).
I seriously doubt my father ever joyously anticipated the birth of his children—and certainly not me, the last to arrive. I think he let biology take its course and tried his best to keep his end up, so to speak. Mostly this was by bringing home the bacon (literally, once Northern Dairies took over Pork Farms). If the arrival of children bankrupted his “soul-making” with our mother—and more importantly, interfered with their sex—he may even have perceived us as “diabolic” interlopers. Certainly he refused to answer to the word “father.” Now I think about it, he probably despised religion as much for its puritanical attitude towards sex as for its justifications of violence. He would have had no time for de-eroticized spirituality, or de-eroticized anything, and if my father had any religious feelings at all, they probably centered on sex. Yet paradoxically, he once described to me falling in love with my mother as “a meeting of minds.” She in turn described his arrival in her life as akin to Pluto’s abduction of Persephone, and later referred to my father as “a sex addict.” Yet despite his sexual addiction, he lived a de-eroticized life, cut off from his own body. In fact, sexual addiction is really a symptom of de-eroticization, which causes a Jagger-esque perennial lack of satisfaction.
In the last years of his life, it would be hard to say what, if anything, my father believed in. Possibly it had to do with the power of human beings to create their own meanings, free from the guidance (or interference) of religious or political authorities. Just as he rejected his father (and his own fatherhood), he rejected God and all other forms of authority. It didn’t make him free; it made him groundless, weightless, disembodied. At some level, my father never grew past adolescence, presumably because his father didn’t hold the necessary space for him to step into his own authority, his own manhood, his own body.
When I asked him once if he thought his father had raised him well, he affirmed it by saying that Alec had insisted on a good education. In the same conversation, however (and in the same context), he described Alec as “a bully.” Besides the fact that he loved his mother and disliked his father, I know almost nothing about my father’s childhood. It seems likely Alec’s “bullying,” and his insistence that my father got “a good education,” started early on. My father was sent away to boarding school at the age of five, and his younger sister was sent away at three. Is there any relation between this and the fact it was these two who later succumbed to the crippling genetic disorder that took away their legs? Something happened in my father’s life, something that left him wounded beyond repair, unable to stand up straight or live the life he wanted to live. Perhaps, as in Strieber’s case, it related to that early induction?
At one point in his life, my father may have believed in the possibility of creating a system for people to live by without the crutch of religion or the interference of government (he was an anarchist at heart, or so he said). Yet, so far as I know, and besides his unconventional and innovative business methods, he didn’t bring about any kind of lasting change in the world or leave it a better place. Unlike Jimmy Savile, no buildings were named after him. He was a humanitarian who would have despised transhumanism with every fiber of his being. He disliked technology, and it took him years to admit he needed a wheelchair. That stubbornness combined with stoicism was part and parcel with his inability to admit that he was, after all, a cripple. I suspect he felt abandoned, not only by God and by his own father, but by his body. He was—in the fullest sense that I have experienced directly —a lost soul. And if you discount the sex and the alcohol, which were really evidence of addiction, of a desperate desire to escape the body, then he, like the other men described in this chapter, lived a life that was very much “all work and no play.”
When I think of my father as I knew him, it’s been hard for me to feel much. It’s as if he had already vacated the premises by the time I was old enough to have a conscious relationship with him. I have found it easier to connect to him emotionally when I imagine how he was before I was born, when he first met my mother: full of aspirations and a passionate belief in his own potential. I suspect that having children, the burden of that responsibility (which almost certainly led him to join his father’s business), broke his spirit, and that when he found he couldn’t carry the burden he’d assumed, his legs gave out and he gave up the ghost. He kept on living but no longer had anything substantial to live for, besides work and pleasure. There was no higher meaning he could believe in, not even the higher meaning of his own spirit. Especially not that.
I see my father’s life as a tragedy; but ironically, what makes it a tragedy in my eyes is that he was unable or unwilling to see it that way himself. He not only turned his back on his own spiritual potential (authenticity), he told himself that there was no such thing to turn away from, that it was just empty belief and social control. He turned his lack of faith into an intellectual position. I think that was what really crippled him. A spiritual potential that isn’t embodied becomes, by slow degrees, a spiritual disease, a soul sickness. It’s a fate that I have devoted my life to avoiding, and it’s probably what compelled me to write this account.
“You have not lived, my friend, until you have been waked up out of a dead sleep by an alien who seduces you with the precision of a computer and the cunning of a Geisha. Nor would you ever again entertain the idea that such an experience was a fantasy. If it was, and that was ever proved, I have to admit that it would break my heart.”
—Whitley Strieber, Thinking XXX
Whitley, another wounded soul, appears also to be very much “all work and no play.” He is a relentlessly driven worker-bee, a man whose world-saving, soul-rescuing mission consumes him and (arguably) threatens to drive him mad. Perhaps there is something about wounded souls that drives them into activity, into “work,” as the surest way of escaping their pain?
My father rarely ever mentioned his physical condition, and many people around him saw this as stoicism, a brave refusal to complain. But he drank heavily every day of his life and died in a state of insensibility from drugs, and avoidance is not stoicism. In contrast, Strieber appears to be obsessed with pain, primarily his own, and to like nothing better than to talk about it, often in a shrill and lamenting tone, sometimes (as more recently) in a creepily orgiastic way. Where my father was an atheist and saw nothing ennobling about suffering, Strieber is a “secular” (lapsed) Catholic who has created a veritable philosophy out of the transcendental power of pain, of ecstasy through agony. He even named a story after it. “Pain” is the story Strieber was working on in December 1985, when the memories of his alien encounters first began to surface. It was published in 1987 (and was nominated for a World Fantasy best short story award) as part of a horror anthology called Cutting Edge, roughly around the time Communion came out. I had heard about it (he mentions it in Communion), but I knew almost nothing about it until recently. This is how he describes it at his website:
Pain was written between mid-December 1985 and mid-January 1986. It is the last thing I wrote before becoming conscious of the close encounter experience I had on December 26, 1985. While I was writing it, uneasy and confused memories of that experience were flowing through my mind, and I was beginning the process of research that would eventually lead to recollection of the close encounter and the writing of Communion. The story contains a great deal of unconscious material about the experience. In fact, my entire unconscious understanding of close encounter [sic] and its connection to the dangerous sacred is contained in the story. . . . It is among the most important things I have ever written about the visitors, because it contains so much truth coming straight out of my unconscious recollections of what happened to me.
In the spoken introduction to his reading of “Pain,” Strieber states emphatically: “this is not a personal narrative.” He adds that, when he first released it, “sleazy people” tried to claim that he “was somehow involved in sadomasochistic sex,” and that this disturbed him so much that he put the story “on ice” for twenty-five years. He insists, somewhat indignantly, “It is not a sex story. It is about the dangerous sacred” (Jeffrey Kripal’s pet subject, please note). After twenty-five years of silence, Strieber made “Pain” available as an audio reading at his website; as it happened, I was working on this present chapter, and it was two days after I re-subscribed to Unknown Country after more than a year’s absence. The timing was so exact, it felt as if Strieber was co-operating with my exploration.
The story reads exactly like Strieber’s non-fiction narratives (which he invariably dramatizes), complete with commentary on the nature of the aliens and occult-religious-philosophical asides. As Strieber acknowledges, it is a sort of symbolic retelling (or foretelling) of his “close encounter” experiences, while also invoking childhood memories of “initiation-by-trauma” government abuse and/or psychic training under the “Sisters of Mercy” at the Secret School. In “Pain,” Strieber’s surrogate character is researching a piece about prostitution (Sisters of Mercy) by interviewing working girls when he falls under the spell of “Janet O’Reilly.” By the end of the story, the dominatrix has been revealed as a supernatural being—or alien?
Since I know better than to take Strieber at his word when he insists the piece is not a personal narrative, I did some online research and turned up a host of curious facts (or factoids, much of this is anecdotal and difficult to verify). First off, in the bio notes on the inside back cover flap of the first edition (1981) of The Hunger, I found this:
[Strieber] has traveled through many parts of the world, working in fields as diverse as intelligence and filmmaking. His underground films were shown frequently in England in the late sixties. His other work includes a documentary on the Process Church of Final Judgment, an unusual religious group that has been connected with satanism.
Strieber is on record as stating that he didn’t write this bio and that his publisher had “sensationalized some parts of his life . . . particularly the part about having worked in fields ‘as diverse as intelligence.’” It’s likely they also exaggerated his reputation as an underground filmmaker—particularly since Strieber claims to have only spent a year in London studying film (he graduated from the University of Texas in 1967), a year in which he was apparently also studying at the (Fabian) London School of Economics!
Going back a year or two, to 1966, there is a great deal of confusion around the question of whether or not Strieber witnessed the infamous Charles Whitman shooting at Texas University in Austin. In Communion, he wrote how for years he had told of being present at the shooting. “But I wasn’t there. Then where was I?” In Transformation, he changes his mind again, but he remains unsure of what he is saying:
For years I’d remembered being there but hadn’t been able to find witnesses who could place me. At the time I was writing Communion I concluded that this must be another screen memory [so] I carefully reported that I hadn’t been there even though the memory was so realistic that I had actually given interviews describing the event in detail (p. 92).
Having concluded he was there after all, Strieber describes the incident in detail, including spotting someone he knew (who later confirmed their presence). He describes leaving the scene at once and driving back to San Antonio, hanging his head out of the car window and screaming. Why, with memories as vivid as this, did Strieber ever doubt his memory? If he could be unclear in his mind about something of such profound personal significance, how are we supposed to know what to believe about his accounts?
At the same time, Strieber as a 1960s underground London filmmaker hanging out with The Process Church seems supremely unlikely, in light of his known history and personality (Strieber is about as far from a ‘60s swinger as it is possible to imagine). As for The Process Church, any researcher into conspiracy and occult lore will tell you that this shadowy group is like a “strange attractor” for weirdness, and its brief history overlaps with everything from Scientology to the Son of Sam. This isn’t the only unexpected overlap with other areas of my research either: William Sims Bainbridge, the transhumanist who had such a strong influence on Ray Kurzweil, did a five-year ethnographic study of The Process. He even took some pages out of their book when he adopted the term “religious engineering.”
The Process Church was founded by two Scientology “apostates,” Mary Ann McLean and Robert de Grimston Moor. Moor and most of the other founding members—just like Charles Whitman—were architecture students. Mary Ann McLean was born in Scotland and worked as a dominatrix and prostitute.[ref]
The Church established their headquarters in London in 1966 (when Strieber was in Texas witnessing the Whitman shooting—if he was). In late 1968, the senior members of the Church, including McLean, left London and traveled around Europe, eventually settling in a basement in Rome.[ref] In the summer of 1968, Strieber had a series of strange experiences of missing time, starting in London, and leading to a collection of bizarre and fragmented memories traveling around Europe with a young woman, ending up in the catacombs of the Vatican, in Rome. In Communion, Strieber first mentions this period of his life in a typically mysterious terms:
In 1968 I ended up with four to six weeks of “missing time” after a desperate and inexplicable chase across Europe. This is associated with a perfectly terrible memory of eating what I have always thought was a rotten pomegranate, which was so bitter that it almost split my head apart (p. 119).
Pomegranates are associated with Persephone’s “rape” and her journey to the underworld. Various winding roads converge in Strieber’s narrative at an already strange and perplexing juncture in his life, the summer of 1968. It may be time to pause to reorientate.
A few days after listening to “Pain” and discovering these peculiar facts, while reworking this current chapter, I listened to a 1986 recording of a hypnosis session between Strieber and UFO-researcher Budd Hopkins. The focus was on Strieber’s missing time experience in the summer of 1968. During the session, Strieber remembers traveling to Rome with a mysterious woman and being joined by some other people. He is able to remember these people only peripherally, as shadowy figures at the edge of the scenes. He remembers telling his “life story” in great detail to the woman, “twice or three times.” He recalls that the woman told him she grew up in Ireland (McLean was Scottish, the fictional Janet is given an Irish name), and describes having sex with her more than once. On at least one occasion, he remembers other people in the room, directing the sex act and manipulating his body! One of the rooms he finds himself in was reportedly an “operating theater that was supposedly a bedroom.”
In a line that would be quite at home in “Pain,” she asks him, “What would you do if I told you I wanted to cut you in half?” Strieber describes a feeling of being under the “absolute control” of these people. He recalls visiting an apartment with skulls lined up on shelves (as well as art books), and being shown off by one of the group, “like a prize.” He recounts being interrogated by a man with a New York accent about New York, and being terrified. He and the woman (whom he calls “Róisín”—an Irish name meaning Rose) go to the Vatican, where Róisín gives him a history lesson. They go down into the catacombs and Róisín disappears into the shadows. He encounters another woman who tells him he will find Róisín “on a street corner.” While he is in the Vatican basement, Strieber recalls looking up at some glowing lights and seeing “the face of the devil . . . a red face.” A red “Baphomet” head with goat’s horns was part of the Process iconography. The imagery also, quite tellingly, echoes the “trigger” of 1984 or 1985, the supposed “face on Mars.”
Strieber stares into the face’s deep, dark eyes. As he recalls this part of the experience, his voice becomes progressively quieter and more trancelike. “This is so secret . . . you would hurt yourself so much, if you knew this . . . sssshhh shhhhh . . . . [inaudible] close the door . . . . ” Although his voice has been quite normal until this point, it here becomes almost inaudible, very much like someone going into a deep hypnotic state. After about half a minute, his voice grows strong again and he describes hearing someone telling him to go back up to the main floor. (Imagining climbing steps is a standard way to bring someone out of a trance state.)
Strieber returns to his pensione and there, in his room, he finds a black, box-like piece of luggage belonging to Róisín. He opens it and sees a “liquid eye” looking up at him. He describes it to Hopkins, in stunned tones, as a living being folded up, as if made of paper. Hopkins suggests (leadingly) that it may be a costume and Strieber agrees (as if the idea hadn’t occurred to him until then). Whatever it was, it was apparently so lifelike that Strieber mistook it, even in folded up form, for a living being. The impossibility of what he was seeing (and the thought that his female companion was carrying such a thing around with her) frightened him so badly that he fled Rome the following day.
The similarities of this fractured account with the story in “Pain” are striking, to say the least.
The first thing that struck me when I heard Strieber’s 2013 reading, however, was that it contained a very clear description of government secrecy around UFOs, along with an elaborate hypothesis about the nature of the inhabitants. Once again, this gives the lie to Strieber’s statement that he had dismissed the whole subject of UFOs before his close encounter experience of 1985. And while Strieber insisted in his preamble that “Pain” was “not a personal narrative,” the rest of the audio clearly suggests otherwise. For one thing, he recounts an experience of finding a photograph of his “uncle” lying in a coffin in North Africa and his uncle’s reaction when he showed him the photograph. Besides the switching of father with uncle, it’s an exact replica of the experience recounted, twenty-five years later, in Solving the Communion Enigma. Strieber goes on to make explicit what is only implied in the later work: that the photo is a documentation of his “uncle’s” initiation into the Vril society, adding a lurid detail about “raising a demon” to take possession of Hitler, alchemical rituals, and the atomic bomb.
“Pain” goes on to describe the nature of the otherworldly beings in more baldly horrific (and also more religious) terms than probably anything Strieber has written since (not counting his novel 2012). He refers to “something higher than man [that] fed on human souls.” He describes “the prime aesthetic of death,” an alien culture “designed for the purpose of causing us suffering,” for which human beings are the “prime energy source.”
Perhaps there is a burst of very fine energy as the soul explodes from the body, an energy which can be used for the most subtle and powerful purposes? Or perhaps the soul is simply food for finer bellies? Our suffering does not benefit them directly but rather the growth our suffering brings us. To reap mayhem in the world is not the responsibility of demons but of angels. It is their greatest and most painful duty. . . This is a slaughterhouse. But we the victims are not gainsayed [sic] the blessing of a quick club to the head or the slitting of the throat. The greater our learning, the happier the angels.
So let’s take a step back. In a story he allegedly began before he even suspected their existence, Strieber describes the visitors in unequivocally maleficent terms, while simultaneously identifying them as “angels.” In the same context, he describes himself— the character who is emphatically not Strieber, that is—as “ear-marked for special suffering,” and recounts how, in the end, he comes “to love [his] tormentors and share with them their own sorrow.” The rest of “Pain” recounts how the central character (not Whitley!) meets a beautiful and enigmatic woman and is initiated, through pain, into a higher understanding of reality. “Pain breaks down the barriers of the ego, of personality, of false self,” Strieber’s alter-ego realizes. “It separates ourselves from ourselves and allows us to see deep. Witness the Book of Job, which in the secret texts which Janet used is called ‘the Book of Man.’”
Listening to Strieber’s reading of “Pain” is reminiscent of Whitley’s experience of the ruby-crusted book on Mars: it is a bit like being sucked into a dark well. One thing I found myself wondering, while considering the strange mixture of religious imagery with sadomasochism and thinly-veiled occult teachings: was this part of what Whitley learned in the Vatican basement, while he was hanging out with The Process Church in the summer of 1968? And what does any of this have to do with nonhuman beings?
To read more, order Prisoner of Infinity: UFOs, Social Engineering, and the Psychology of Fragmentation
2013 MP3 conversation downloads: “The Human Factor,” “A Dangerous Perspective.”
 This line was perhaps most memorably used in Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining, in which Jack Torrance, a writer, takes a job of caretaker during the winter for the Overlook Hotel, with his wife and (psychic) son, and slowly goes insane. At one point, sensing something is wrong his wife looks at the “novel” Jack is working on, and finds pages and pages with this one line typed, over and over. Jay Weidner made a documentary, Kubrick’s Odyssey, offering the imaginative theory that The Shining was actually Kubrick’s coded confession for his part in faking the Moon landing footage. “All work,” Weidner suggests, was Kubrick-code for “A11 work,” that is, Apollo 11.
 “During his examination of the Processeans, Bainbridge developed a great deal of affinity for the cultists’ penchant for re-conceptualizing the roles of God and Satan in accordance with their Hegelian theology. This case of Biblical revisionism inspired Bainbridge and, since then, he has encouraged sociologists to take an active part in the re-conceptualizing of traditional religious concepts. It is his hope that such religious experimentation will eventually result in the creation of a ‘Church of God Galactic.’” Bainbridge wrote about The Process, in “New Religions, Science, and Secularization, in Religion and the Social Order” (1993): “Members of The Process, founded mainly by students from an architecture school, referred to the creation of their cult as religious engineering, the conscious, systematic, skilled creation of a new religion.” In “Social Construction from Within: Satan’s Process” (1991), Bainbridge writes: “For Processeans, Satan was no crude beast but an intellectual principle by which God could be unfolded into several parts, accomplishing the repaganization of religion and the remystification of the world.” “Social Construction from Within: Satan’s Process,” by William Sims Bainbridge. (Pages 297-310 of The Satanism Scare edited by James T. Richardson, Joel Best, and David G. Bromley. New York: Aldine de Gruyter, 1991.)
 In the introduction to the audio recording, Strieber suggests that he was supposed to impregnate the woman. Conversely, during his recall of the events, he describes withdrawing from her in order to ejaculate, and seems puzzled why he would do such a thing.
 “Popular consensus held that [Process members] were dangerous Satanists, and their black cloaks and the red man-goat heads they wore on their chests gave no lie to this image. An antisatanic book claimed to know the truth about the group: ‘Savage and indiscriminate sex is forced on the entrants into the cult not as a means of religious communion but as a means of purging any residue of Grey Forces that might be latent in them.’” “Social Construction from Within: Satan’s Process,” by William Sims Bainbridge.
 In Transformation, Strieber writes that he no longer credits his recollection of what he saw in the room. In The Super Natural (with Jeffrey Kripal), Strieber retells the story, replacing the staring eye “costume” with a nun’s habit!
 The afore-cited essay by Thomas Ditsch, “The Village Alien,” also explores the similarities between the material in Communion and “Pain.” The essay is a curious artifact in itself: the writer starts out sympathetic to Strieber, before he becomes curious about the story and contacts Dennis Etchison, the editor of Cutting Edge, to ask him about it and check the dates Strieber gave regarding its composition. Etchison evidently contacts Strieber, because Ditsch receives a call from him, convinced that Ditsch is doing a “vicious hatchet job” on Communion and telling him that it’s “an awful, ugly, terrible thing to do.” As Ditsch recounts it (in the essay), Strieber is deaf to his reassurances. At this point, Ditsch’s essay changes tone dramatically with these words: “What Whitley could not have imagined at that moment (and what I certainly was not going to tell him after so many minutes of vituperation) was that I was no longer a skeptic about UFOs, that, in fact, in the course of writing this essay have been in contact with alien beings . . .” The rest of the article is a spoof on Strieber, a pastiche of his ideas in a first person narrative. Apparently Ditsch was triggered by Strieber’s excessive reaction and turned himself into exactly what Strieber accused him of being, whereupon the essay became just what Strieber feared it would be. It is like an eerie, acute demonstration of how the secret guards itself. Apparently “Pain” is intimately connected to Strieber’s “secret,” hence it was shelved for 25 years.
 Compare this to literature from The Process Church, supposedly channeled from “the Gods”: “Every just tear and honest drop of sweat will be rewarded: that is the covenant. For every tear and drop of sweat set up treasure in a place where ‘moth and dust’ do not corrupt. Relish this time of penance. See and praise the justice and wisdom of GOD in His Universal Law. Know that the sufferings of our bodies, the anguish and torment of our minds, the imprisonment of our souls is our salvation.”