The Master of the Key

“Appearances can be deceiving, as you will find when the end comes.”—The Master of the Key


Late one night in 1998, in a hotel room in Toronto, Whitley Strieber received a visit from a very unusual man. He was awakened by knocking at the door which, having been asleep and unaware of the time, he thought was a room service waiter who had come to collect the dishes from his dinner. The elderly man who barged in was clearly not with room service, and Strieber’s first thought was that he was a deranged fan. There was, however, something serene and familiar about the man, though Strieber couldn’t place where he might have known him from. It didn’t take long before Strieber realized that he was speaking with a most remarkable and fascinating individual. The man said that humanity was trapped, but that he had the key that would help us spring the trap. Hence the name of Strieber’s book about this encounter, The Key, and his referring to this man as the Master of the Key.

Strieber says that he originally thought that their conversation lasted about half an hour, but his transcript indicates that it must have been much longer, or that more information was imparted to him than would normally be possible in that amount of time (my speculation). He may have been in some sort of altered state of awareness, which may be more common than uncommon in UFO related incidents. He says that this was not the case, but the fact that he phoned his wife the next morning to tell her not to let him write this encounter off as having been a dream or his imagination is an indication to me that this was not a meeting that took place under perfectly normal circumstances. I’ve never been at all concerned that I would dismiss something that happened to me as having been a dream. Then again, I’ve also never had anything this unusual happen to me.

Since a summary of the content of this conversation would take way too long to do in essay form, I’ve opted to do it in bullets. As long as this summary still is, believe me, I’ve left quite a bit out. It was one hell of a conversation.

  • We are trapped on Earth because the parents of the child who would have unlocked the secret of gravity were killed in the Holocaust before he was conceived.
  • This is a fallen world. There is no plan for us because we have no plan for ourselves. If we become friends of God we will find our plan.
  • We are all parts of a holographic God. The whole of God is in every fragment of the universe.
  • Government secrecy about the presence of aliens is the greatest present evil. Later on we are informed that this secrecy is enforced from a higher level beyond our government by aliens using mind control. (My foil hat doesn’t seem so stupid now, does it?) If we passively allow them to keep this secret, the Master says he will overturn our world yet again.
  • Most who die lose their sense of identity and memories of who they were. They wait until another suitable body allows them to reincarnate. A few become radiant bodies (ascend).
  • Scientific progress and spiritual growth are the same thing.
  • First the Master tells Strieber “I can imagine no greater honor than to be called human.” He later says that he constructed “this shell of flesh” in order to wander the Earth in order to help us ascend. He later simply states “I am human.”
  • To be born into the next world takes many lifetimes unless you find your real path. This path is within us, but we are guided towards it. “Path within, signposts without.” This is one of the few statements he makes regarding reincarnation which corresponds to multiple other sources.
  • The teachings of Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed constitute one system in three parts. They are not separate religions unto themselves.
  • If humanity becomes extinct, we must wait until new life evolves on Earth that can, hopefully, accommodate our souls. If this never happens, we will wait forever as incomplete beings. There are many other souls from different worlds who are already in this permanent state of incompletion due to the extinction of their physical life form. (The grays? Is this why they seem to be creating hybrids?)
  • When he speaks of being stuck forever in this incomplete state, he uses the term “we,” implying that he will be stuck as well. He later states that some radiant beings (those who have ascended) return here on special missions and may risk losing their radiant body in the process. They de-ascend back to our level.
  • The aliens are here to guide us but also use us. We are being helped but also exploited. How we are being exploited is not explained. They help us by putting us under pressure so that we might make an evolutionary leap. They hate to see us suffer but know that this is the only way in which we can progress.
  • Some of these aliens look like us and their job is to enforce secrecy. While the term is never mentioned, it seems obvious that this is a reference to the Men in Black.
  • Thousands of humans have been artificially evolved and live on another planet in this solar system. They come and go here freely and are also involved in covering up the alien presence.
  • We are surrounded by beings of energy. We possess the technology that would allow us to detect them if we knew how to use it. Once we are able to do this, we will learn to communicate with them and the dead without devices. Crop formations are an attempt by these intelligences to communicate with us.
  • The wellbeing of humanity is dependent upon the wellbeing of the Earth. If we destroy the planet, we destroy ourselves.
  • Outside of time, there is no change. There, all moments happen simultaneously and forever. This is another point on which his assertions concur with other metaphysical sources.
  • Dendera CarvingThere was a past civilization that surpassed us in knowledge. They knew how to use intelligent energy and mastered the science of the soul. According to the Master, the carvings at Dendera in Egypt depict souls trapped in electrical containers. This knowledge was a closely guarded secret and the greed and secrecy of the few who possessed it was why this civilization was destroyed.
  • When we see a UFO, we see a prison guard. They act to prevent progress that could enable us to achieve propulsion that would allow us to escape the planet. They are the ones behind the greater, historical evil in our world. The aliens are our enemies, but our enemy is our best friend because without darkness we could not see light.
  • We are in prison because we went to war against God. We thought that surrendering to God was being enslaved by Him and fought to separate ourselves. We murdered Mars (whatever that means), which triggered an intervention. We became bound by time and went to sleep, which is where we remain. Another intervention will occur when we kill this planet, which is probable (his words, not mine). What this next intervention will entail is not given. He simply said “God acts.”
  • The ages of the Zodiac (approximately 2160 years) were devised to measure the time humanity has been given to evolve. This was not for us but for “them” to mark the progress of humanity. We are on the verge of passing from the age of Pisces to Aquarius, which will be a time of great change.
  • Our society is about to be destroyed by greed because it has outlived its usefulness. Billions may die. After what we are about to go through, we will never be obsessed with material wealth again. (Sounds like a plan to me, but I’m not afraid of death, unless somebody steals my soul.)
  • Souls can be destroyed and exploited. The material of souls can be harvested and used to make conscious machines. This has been done to human souls for thousands of years. The undisclosed predators use the desires of this world to lure the souls of the dead into traps.
  • The next ice age will begin soon and will occur “in a single season.” This will kill all or most of us and destroy our society. He explains exactly what conditions will lead to this, but I have no idea how accurate they may be. He may have been talking cross-eyed badger spit. If I knew a meteorologist, I’d ask them.
  • To survive, we must create intelligent machines which will then find ways to make themselves even more intelligent. This could be dangerous for us, but it’s the only way for us to save ourselves. We aren’t smart enough to find a solution to our impending doom, but these machines could be.

Where to begin? Like I said, one hell of a conversation. Some of his claims simply cannot be confirmed or refuted. On many of these, I feel that I have nothing to add that’s of any merit, which is really just another way of admitting that I have no idea what to say to that. Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.

If you think that you spotted some contradictory (or at least inconsistent) elements in there, you’re not alone. There were some others that I left out because they didn’t seem all that important, but they were there nevertheless. Sometimes this guy seemed to me to be all over the place. Or maybe this is all just too deep for me and I need to stay in the shallow end of the evolutionary pool.

I’ll agree that governments have always been one of the great evils that afflict our world, but this is nothing that Douglas Adams didn’t tell us years before: No one who wants power should ever, under any circumstances, be allowed to have it. Admittedly, Adams wasn’t the first to point this out, but his take on it is my favorite. That our governments are being controlled by aliens sounds like the plot of a movie, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. The Master’s explanation for Men in Black is as good as any I’ve heard. They have clearly demonstrated that they have capabilities beyond the normal military and intelligence personnel that they frequently claim to be. They’re occasional ignorance of some of the most basic elements of everyday human existence is also a bit of a giveaway, e.g., a ballpoint pen shouldn’t be an object of fascination.

The idea that we are all part of God and/or God’s way of perceiving His creation is also not new. I don’t know who came up with it first, but it definitely isn’t an original concept. I have no idea if it’s right. This possibility is pretty much covered in Holographic Design. Although I intentionally left God’s name out of it, the implication is certainly there if you read between the lines.

As far as the Zodiac being used to measure time from a higher perspective, I just don’t buy it. If it was meant for us, maybe. But he makes it clear that it was for “them,” so that they could keep track of our progress, whoever “they” are. We pass through these astrological ages due to the precession of the equinox, which basically means that the Earth wobbles a bit on its axis and so, over time, the Vernal Equinox Point can be seen against the stars of different constellations of the Zodiac. That’s currently Pisces, and so that’s the age we’re in. Or something like that.

I know. Clear as mud. If you want the whole story, this is a good place to go for the scientific explanation:

EarthPrecessionMy point is that astrological ages are only relevant from the point of view – literally – of planets in our solar system, and even then only to astrologers. And even they can’t agree as to when these ages change. In some cases, their calculations are over a thousand years apart. Some say that we entered Aquarius hundreds of years ago. Others say that we won’t be there for another several hundred. Even if higher intelligence has a much better grasp on when these ages change, that’s still like going to NASA headquarters and finding out that they tell time with a sundial. If spiritual and scientific advancement are the same, but we have atomic clocks that are accurate to tiny fractions of a second and they’re still using stars to measure time, this idea makes absolutely no sense.

This man claimed that he was here because he possessed the key that would spring the trap that humanity was ensnared in. Unfortunately, whoever this “person” was, he never really gave us any key in any clear cut way that I could determine. According to him, it would seem that “the key” is the understanding of gravity that would allow us to leave the planet. I’m fairly certain that if he was all that he claimed, he could have jotted down the equation that explains it for Strieber. It would doubtless have been too complex for him to understand, but I’m sure that he would have been curious enough to pass it along to someone who could make sense of it. Jacques Vallee comes to mind. He was an astronomer. Gravity is one of their things.

And what about this child who was never born who would have figured out gravity? Okay, his proposed parents died in a concentration camp. He couldn’t have been born to another couple at some point in the next 20 years? He was the only one who could crack this code and they were the only ones who could give him life? It’s possible. I don’t know how these things work. But something about this just doesn’t sound right to me. Is destiny really that easily thwarted?

Strieber and some others seem to feel that the message that the Master brought was empowering and full of hope. I think the idea of souls being captured and enslaved and the possibility of our remaining trapped in an incomplete state for eternity – not to mention that this has allegedly already happened to God-knows-how-many others – makes the Master’s warning to us sound like something H.P. Lovecraft might have come up with.

Fortunately for my peace of mind, these horrors are flatly contradicted by the work of psychiatrist Brian Weiss and hypnotherapist Michael Newton. Between the two of them, they have done hypnotic past-life regression with hundreds of people and uncovered memories of thousands of past lives. Their findings indicate that memories of previous lives on other planets as different life forms are not uncommon. A few have even claimed that their current life on Earth is just a brief sojourn. Their preferred world of incarnation is elsewhere in the multiverse. As far as the implications for the extinction of humanity and/or the destruction of the Earth, one of Dr. Newton’s subjects summed these possibilities up rather nonchalantly with the statement “No planet lasts forever.” Dr. Newton also mentions that the information he has gathered indicates that many of the more advanced souls that “grew op” on Earth are now opting to incarnate on other, less stressful worlds. None of this absolutely proves them right and the Master wrong, but it does tilt the weight of evidence heavily in their favor in my opinion. Or they could all be wrong and someone is just screwing with us.

It wasn’t until 2011 that it was brought to Strieber’s attention that the original 2002 edition of The Key contained some differences to the new edition. It turns out that the original edition was edited by someone unknown after Strieber had been sent proofs of the manuscript as it would appear in book form, so he never bothered to check the actual book. The purpose of this was obviously to change some key points in the text. I’ll only mention a few that I think are most important. You can see them all along with Strieber’s comments on why he thinks each change was made here. It’s worth checking out because it becomes obvious as you go that someone was very motivated to change and omit specific ideas. The differences are subtle but real. Was it the government, or aliens, or someone else?

Among other things, the editor/saboteur removed the statement about us becoming stuck as incomplete beings if humans become extinct. They obviously did not want us to receive this warning. They also removed the reference to aliens using mind control to influence our government. It’s not hard to figure out why someone might not want that to be known. Most importantly from my point of view, the line about aliens both helping and exploiting us was changed to say that some aliens help us and others exploit us, clearly stating that there is more than one group of aliens. But the Master did say that different types of beings, some of them human, were intervening in our affairs. Strieber himself has reported encounters with several different types of beings, albeit apparently all working together. Perhaps this is why this change is so insidious. It tries to mislead us into believing that there are good guys and bad guys when there is only one agenda. While some pretty astute ufologists do subscribe to a good guys and bad guys theory of ETs, I have to admit that this would be easy enough to trick us into believing.

Letter from Appell
Letter to Keel from Appell

I know that Strieber was very impressed by and grateful to the Master for his message, but personally I feel that I have no choice but to put him in the same category as John Keel’s “friend” Mr. Appell and other highly unusual but seemingly human beings who are, nonetheless, clearly associated with the UFO phenomenon. Appell made regular and bizarre appearances in the life of a young woman who reported these to Keel. Over time it became clear that Appell was just using this woman as a go-between to send messages to Keel. The two never actually met, but they did have a fairly lengthy phone conversation, the contents of which Keel never made public to the best of my knowledge. All he said was that there didn’t seem to be anything that Appell didn’t know – except who or what he was. Keel also said that he felt sorry for him. I really wish that he had told us more about what they discussed.

I would also have to put some of the more forthcoming, less threatening Men in Black that UFO witnesses occasionally report in a similar category. They aren’t all creepy, threatening jerks, just most of them. Two of them supposedly once made a very concise and logical argument to a UFO researcher as to why he should give up his work in this area, and he did. Strieber does mention that the Master was wearing charcoal pants and a dark gray sweater. In other words, lighter shades of black in a more casual style of clothing than usual. Hmmm.*

I will, however, happily concede that the final chapter, in which Strieber comments on some of the Master’s statements and updates us on the progress that we seem to be making in realizing some of the potentials that he claimed we are capable of, does give me hope that the evolution of our species to new level might be on the horizon if the courageous and open-minded refuse to be stymied and silenced by the fearful, closed-minded and dogmatic.

Wow, that was a long sentence…and awkwardly placed.

I also suspect that the reason that I fail to see the wonder and beauty in the Master’s words is that, when it comes to these sorts of things, my nature is more like Keel’s: suspicious. Keel kept all of the information imparted to him by these beings to himself, though he sometimes hinted at it. He said that he had seen what had happened to others who proclaimed the UFO revelations from the mountain tops only to end up looking foolish and, in some cases, ruining their lives in the process. He didn’t want to end up being seen as a dupe to some and a false prophet to others.

I’m not saying that Whitley Strieber is either of these things. I have a great deal of respect for the man and his integrity and sincerity. In fact, I didn’t particularly enjoy writing most of this, partly because some of it makes our prospects seem pretty bleak, but also because I feel like I’m dumping on a guy that I actually admire and who has already been unfairly dumped on far too much. Therefore, my next offering is going to be something completely absurd, totally ridiculous and, hopefully, thoroughly hilarious…unless you’re a frog.


On a completely unrelated note: For you infidels who didn’t know it, Monday was the last day of the Dog Days of summer. For the faithful, I hope that you got what you wanted for Ra-hoor-khuitmas.


*The Master of the Key told Strieber that he was there “on behalf of the good.” Mr. Appell also claimed to be working for the “very good people.” “The Good People” is one of several Irish terms for the fairies that Jacques Vallee and others have identified as possibly being the same intelligence as the one behind UFOs in a different guise. But I’m probably grasping at straws here. The Master did elaborate that “the good” were those “whose lives are directed toward ascension.” He probably wasn’t talking about fairies.

and all the devils are here


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