2 Days Until Christmas
3 Days Until Abduction
The two cats owned by Whitley Strieber in the late ’80s both showed strong responses to the presence of the visitors, though the Burmese cat known as Sadie was more relaxed about them. During the Nine Knocks, they both hissed and behaved defensively before running away to hide, and Sadie remained in hiding for a full day. After that, she became very alert whenever the visitors seemed to be near, but didn’t have the same kind of fear reaction.
On December 23, 1986 – almost exactly one year after his first remembered abduction – Strieber again felt that floating, tingling sensation that signaled the presence of visitors. The female visitor he calls the Ancient One was in the bedroom of his cabin, a silent yet commanding presence. Without expressing any instructions with thought or word, she propelled him out of the room and down the stairs.
Strieber thought he was prepared this time; he had placed a camera and a camcorder within easy reach in his bedroom. When he grabbed for them, however, his hands simply refused to respond to his will. They drifted away from the devices of their own accord. He found himself empty-handed in the living room.
Strieber decided that if he couldn’t take a camera with him, he could take a living witness: Sadie. She was crouched on the back of the sofa, watching him, and as he and the visitor walked by he simply scooped her up and held on to her tightly as they passed through the front door into the wintry night. He would watch the cat carefully, he thought to himself, and if she behaved normally, that would be an indication that the visitors could be a projection of his own mind rather than an objective reality.
The next phase of this incident is a blank to Strieber. One moment he was watching the Ancient One latch his screen door behind them; the next, he was in an ordinary-looking office furnished with a desk and bookshelves lined with English-language books. These included novels from the ’40s and ’50s, one of Bruce Catton’s books on the Civil War, Kafka (one of Strieber’s favourite authors), and You Can’t Go Home Again by Thomas Wolfe.
In addition to the Ancient One, three other visitors were in the room with him. One, seated behind the desk, wore a cheap black toupee on his head. He also wore ’40s-style clothing: A green shirt, khaki trousers, wide belt. One of the visitors in the room was a very tall “Nordic”, clad in a tan jumpsuit of the sort favoured by the visitors, with many pockets and flaps all over it. The fourth “visitor” in the room could actually have been a human woman. She was of average height and unexceptional appearance, wearing a blue jump suit beneath a full apron. The Nordic gazed at Strieber with what he thought was affectionate pity, while the woman seemed wary.
Strieber was still clutching Sadie. The visitor at the desk asked him, “Why did you bring the cat?” Strieber explained that he was “reality-testing”, but this only baffled the visitors. So he explained that as members of his family, the cats were free to travel anywhere he traveled.
The visitor in plaid didn’t comment on Strieber’s reasoning. He said only that the cat would have to be put to sleep temporarily. The woman removed some sort of brass instrument from a case she was holding and pressed it against the cat’s leg, causing her to lose consciousness instantly. Then the visitor in plaid asked Strieber, “What can we do to help you?” This query was remarkably similar to the first thing the visitors said to him during his abduction of the previous December: “How can we help you to stop screaming?”
Strieber replied, “You could help me to fear you less.” In the year since his first remembered encounter with the visitors, he had worked hard to combat the instinctive terror he felt at the thought of being taken again; he truly craved some sort of communion, a relationship. The visitors replied in unison, telepathically, that they would try to help him with his fear, but it would be very difficult.
The Ancient One then led him into another room, and he was floated out of the UFO to the deck of his cabin, still holding his unconscious cat. He walked to his son’s bedroom and draped the limp cat on the bed, followed by the Ancient One. She trailed him all the way upstairs to his bedroom, but would not allow Strieber to approach her.
Sadie slept throughout the following day without stirring at all. After that, she behaved differently; sleeping more frequently, spacing out for long periods of time. It was many months before she returned to her normal self.