Problems with Strieber and The Key


WHITLEY STRIEBER has been a polarizing figure in UFO studies for decades. Revered by some for his vivid, breathtaking visions of otherworldly contact, he has been reviled by others for what they regard as accounts hopelessly contaminated by imagination.

Now in the first sustained and scholarly critical analysis of Strieber's work, Problems with Strieber and The Key exposes one of the strangest situations ever to arise between a well-known author and one of his books in modern literary history.

Published by Whitley Strieber in 2001, THE KEY presents a conversation Strieber claims to have had with an otherworldly visitor who offered a “new vision” of God and man. Problems with Strieber and The Key uses Strieber’s previous books, articles, and a variety of sometimes rare interviews to demonstrate that the ideas of the so-called Master of the Key originated with Strieber. It provides 50+ cases where Strieber presented the same ideas he would later assign to the Master of the Key and their 'encounter' in Toronto, sometimes verbatim.

A short sample from Problems with Strieber and The Key:



The Master of the Key has a very broad-minded view of the value of “the darkness” and one’s enemies:

Remember that the air is never so sweet, nor thy wife so comely, nor thy child so beautiful, as after the battle won. We depend upon our enemy for the sweetness of our lives. Love your enemy, for he is your best friend. Without the darkness, you would never know the glory of the firmament. (55)

But similar language appears in The Secret School (1997):

Without the terror, though, none of the rewards would come. There would be none of the sweetness, not to say the glory, of victory. […] So also does Christ’s admonition to love one’s enemy. There is an extraordinary benefit: the air after a battle won is sweet indeed. (83)

And the same language can be found in Strieber’s earlier work Breakthrough (1995):

I saw the true meaning of “love thine enemies,” that the enemy makes the victory sweet as certainly as the light depends on the darkness to be seen. If there was no evil, good would be invisible […] (ch 12)

Finally, the same notion of loving your enemies because they offer the experience of victory was swirling in Strieber’s mind even at the time of his early novel The Hunger (1981):

Love your enemy, her father used to say, for without him you would never taste the flavor of victory. (ch 4)


Problems with Strieber and The Key exhaustively shows that the Master of the Key's statements and ideas are Strieber's own. The paper suggests that scientific predictions made in The Key, far from being new and unknown, were taken from the popular scientific literature at around the time Strieber wrote The Key. The paper also highlights the considerable influence of G. I. Gurdjieff, Michael Talbot, and others on Strieber's 'true encounter'. The paper also explores Strieber's bizarre charges of censorship against his own self-published book.

Neither a simple hoax nor ordinary delusion, Strieber's The Key shows an author so committed to his imagination that he is able to convince himself and his audience of a 'true encounter' full of new truths in order to validate his own ideas.

Problems with Strieber and The Key decisively calls into question Strieber's self-chosen mission to act as a credible bridge between experiences of the otherworldly and intellectual culture, the scientific community, and policy elites.

Problems with Strieber and The Key reconsiders Strieber's body of work in light of the debacle with The Key and the fictional figure of the Master of the Key.

The paper is presented for free download to enthusiasts and researchers of the paranormal, the extraterrestrial, and the otherworldly.