Whitley Strieber's Communion at 30 - Mysterious Universe

Nick Redfern offers a thoughtful look-back at the jolt ufology took with the 1987 publication of Whitley Strieber's best-selling book Communion. He argues that the book expanded the realm of the possible explanations for abduction experiences. With Intruders: An Historical Perspective of Alien Abduction J.P. Robinson tries to fit alien abduction events into a long tradition in folklore, religion, and anthropology. He thinks that cultural understandings "of what could be responsible for such unusual activity" flavor the way certain paranormal encounters are depicted, and these understandings differ from culture to culture and age to age. Whether Robinson believes there is an event-level core experience that is so differently interpreted was uncertain to us; but he helpfully notes that a fuller exposition of his theme is available in his book The Alien Enigma. To Magonia we go and an article by David Sivier, who's Just Planting a Thought. Sivier suggests that science fiction of the second half of the twentieth century could have influenced the cultural understanding of the "motif of implanted mind control devices" in the abduction narrative. He does allow that the motif may have appeared without the prompting of sci-fi, and it is rather hard to understand the mechanism by which a few books and short stories could have had such a large impact, but there's that Strieber book we just discussed, literally staring us in the face, so it's a possibility. (WM)

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