It is our privilege and pleasure to welcome the world-renowned author Whitley Strieber as our featured author for May.
Whitley has dedicated many decades of his life to investigating the paranormal and detailing his profound supernatural experiences for the world to read. In this excerpt from his book ‘A New World’ Whitley explores his extraordinary encounter with a hidden landscape during his stay on the Lakota Sioux Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota; and the messages he received about the nature of the universe and the mysterious visitors that interact with our world.
Chapter Four, The Fields of Asphodel
During the weekend of July 19–22, 2019, I went to a place of great human suffering and incredible power. While there, I had extended, days-long access to another world, an experience that went far beyond anything else that has happened in this lifetime of strange and extraordinary experiences. I think that what happened offers a major clue about the origin of the visitors, and possibly also of their enigmatic human allies.
I had been invited to a small conference at the All Nations Gathering Center on the Lakota Sioux Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, where I was to give a talk about The Afterlife Revolution. It was hosted by Dallas Chief Eagle and his wife Becky and organized by Mia Feroleto, publisher of New Observations Magazine.
Before going, I had learned some of the reservation’s history, but it had offered no clue about what was actually going to happen to me there. Like most people outside of American Indian culture, my awareness of the spiritual power of their religions was very limited. Being a Texas German, I was aware that my ancestors had a high opinion of their religion and spiritual development. Why, I did not know. I do now.
I also knew that Pine Ridge was the site of the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre and the Wounded Knee occupation of 1973. On December 29, 1890, the US Army had opened fire on a group of 300 Lakota Sioux, killing 90 men and 200 women and children. In 1973, Wounded Knee was occupied by 200 Oglala Lakota and members of the American Indian Movement in protest over corruption in the tribe’s government. This led to a siege that lasted two months that left two Lakota killed and fourteen wounded and two federal officers injured. I also learned that Oglala Lakota County was the poorest county in the United States, with an average annual income per person of just over $8,000. Officially, the average life expectancy on the Pine Ridge reservation is 66.81 years, but statistics attributed to the Pine Ridge hospital cite a life expectancy among women of 55 years and men 47 years. Suicide rates are high, especially among teens, driven by the sense of hopelessness that infects their lives like a virus. During the winter of 2015–2016, one 12-year-old girl killed herself because her family could not afford heat, and she could no longer bear the cold. Alcoholism affects 85% of the population. Drug abuse and crime are rampant, and living conditions are dreadful beyond anything I have ever seen in my life.
None of this is an accident or due to laziness or any such issue. It is because of the location. During the 19th century American Indian wars, the Lakota Sioux were intentionally confined to this place because it is so lacking in resources. Distances are long, so work off the reservation isn’t economical for most residents. Because of its isolation, lack of good farmland and general scarcity of exploitable resources, there are few jobs on it, contributing to a chronically high unemployment rate.
While I found an oppressed people there, I also found that it was a place of great human spiritual power, in fact, power beyond anything I have ever known anywhere. I have some idea of what this power is, which I will discuss in depth in a later chapter. I had not been on the reservation for more than a few hours before I began to feel it. And when I say feel, I am not talking about something vague—some sense of unusual energies. Far from it.
On my first morning there, when I happened to close my eyes during a drive of half an hour or so, I saw movement behind my closed lids—what looked like shadowy trees and rolling hills, but not the ones we were passing. Surprised, I opened them immediately. I couldn’t understand why I’d been seeing anything at all. When I closed them again, what I saw simply took my breath away. I sat there watching an entire second landscape flow past the car. Although it seemed to be twilit rather than sunny, the effect was so vivid it was like wearing a virtual reality headset.
I was flooded with strong, poignant and yet contradictory emotions. There was at once a sense of homecoming and homesickness. It wasn’t as if I was in two places at once, but rather looking out the windows of my heart into two worlds that have been locked forever in a secret embrace and seeing that wonderful, sweet thing for the first time.
As we drove along, I sang out the different features I was seeing. “There’s a creek over there, we’re passing under an arbor of trees, there are long hills on the horizon. Oops, the road’s gone off down the hill.” Among those in the car who heard me doing this was our very kind driver, Kevin Briggs, who unfortunately could not close his eyes and look as the others did. Conferees Alan Steinfeld, Ananda Bosman, Mia Feroleto and others did close their eyes. Some saw it vaguely, others not at all. Only Ananda and I saw it clearly.
Even though the image was shadowy, it was extremely detailed. I could pick out individual trees, fields, even a narrower version of the road we were on.
After a few moments, I realized that I was watching not another world altogether, but another version of the landscape we were passing through. It was a bit more rough, with occasional gorges and generally wider streams. The other road was not only narrower, it wasn’t graded. The result of this was that it sometimes wound off down a hill while we continued along the graded version in our world. This would leave me with the uncanny sensation that the car had taken flight.
The vision didn’t go on for just a few minutes, but for the entire time I was on the reservation. It continued whether I was riding in a car, walking, sitting or standing. For those three days, I was living in two landscapes at once. After I closed my eyes, it would take about thirty seconds for the other world to appear, but it did so reliably. When I was standing somewhere, I could look down and see grass and gravel that was not present in this world. I could bend down and look closely, even to the point of being able to count the number of petals on flowers and observe the details of grasses and the discolorations on stones. I could touch and smell nothing of the other world. In this sense, it was very much like out of body travel, which detaches you from those senses. I was not physical in that world, and I have to wonder if that might not be how our visitors experience this one. I tried using the sensing exercise as a tool for physically moving into the other world, but it didn’t work. Nevertheless, it is my strong sense that what we think of as technology is not what enables things like this to happen. I think that it’s something to do with attention, concentration and the brain, and possibly also requires the cooperation of an outside energy that is itself conscious. My thought is that my lifetime of doing the sensing exercise and the changes in my brain that have resulted have made me more able to see this other universe and, to a limited extent (so far), interact with it.
The changes I am referring to involve a brain area called the dorsal striatum. It contains two regions, the caudate and the putamen, which are connected by an area of white matter called the internal capsule. There is a study under way that suggests that the density of the white matter region may govern the degree to which an individual possesses intuitive sensitivities.
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