Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Stranger Within

Barbara Eden has an unusual pregnancy 

Foreshadowing, unexplainable pregnancies,
hybrid children and the creative process

In an easily down-loadable PDF (linked below), you'll find an essay that explores a haunting movie from my childhood. This was bottomless pit of synchro-weirdness and the whole thing leave me absolutely mystified. Thing were getting to the point where I needed to create a hand-lettered TIMELINE just to keep my fragile mind screwed on a little tighter.

Click on the button on the far right to view in FULL-SCREEN mode.

There was a made-for-TV movies from 1974 titled The Stranger Within. It stars Barbara Eden (form I Dream Of Jeanne) in a dramatic role. She plays a suburban housewife who is mysteriously pregnant with an alien hybrid. The movie was based on a 1953 short story by Richard Matheson titled Mother by Protest. Matheson himself adapted it for the small screen. The short story is essentially the same as the movie, including some word-for-word dialog.

What is positively bizarre is that a story from 1953 could so accurately predict a long list of details that have only recently emerged in the UFO abduction meme. There are presently books filled with accounts of mysteriously pregnant woman and alien hybrid babies, but how did these ideas manifest themselves almost 60 yeas ago?

Part's of this long-winded essay were recently featured on Robbie Graham's Silver Screen Saucers site. What is linked above is longer and more exhaustive in it's attempt to unravel some elusive mysteries.

Here's a brief excerpt:
There is a central phenomenon and then there is an outlying phenomena. It seems that Budd Hopkins was trying to document and educate on the core mystery within his research, something he did beautifully. I guess I've been trying to make sense of the mess that splatters off from that core. This essay is an example, there are threads that seemingly go everywhere. I am not trying to contain any of this into something manageable like my intellect tells me to do. I am ignoring that side of my brain, and wallowing in the messiness of my intuition.
The problem is that you, the reader, might feel lost in a maze of chaos. If so, you and I share the same response.

For me, this essay was a compulsive piece of work. I really mean that, I got swallowed up in the process of digging and writing. For reasons I don't understand, I pay attention when I'm confronted with that kind of overwhelming fixation on one project.

A scene from 1974 that I remembered with absolute clarity

This previously unavailable movie is now posted on youtube. This was downloaded in a high resolution, so it makes for better than average viewing. Embedded at the top of this post.

Added text: Author Richard Matheson died in June of 2013. He was 87 years old. (New York Times obituary)


Eva said...

Hi Mike,
I have never seen that movie you write about, but I have my own strange experiences. And - I am RH negative. I have seen UFOs and I have had dreams about children (2) that were mine. Now I don't experience so much strange things anymore, but I still get that strange scratches...

Brizdaz (Darren) said...

When I try to open the PDF all I get is this message -

" 504 Gateway Time-out
The server didn't respond in time. "

Mike Clelland! said...


try this link...

Brizdaz (Darren) said...

Thanks Mike,that one works.
A bit too much for me to read at the moment,so I will bookmark it and read it later.
I've already read the shorter version though.
Good stuff indeed.

Anonymous said...

I think you did an excellent job, Mike.

You have put forward these anomalous happening and the circumstances that surround them with a lucid clarity. I think anyone new to these kind of experiences would be lucky to find your document early in their journey.

Mike Clelland! said...

Thanks Wildwrote!

Part of this essay was fun, part was compulsive.

Mike Clelland! said...

From Robbie Graham's SILVER SCREEN SAUCER site / October 21 2012

Matthew Bradley,

Nice to see this now-obscure '70s TV-movie (one of many written by Matheson) receive so much serious attention, and to see John Morehead--whom I know to be a big Matheson fan--weigh in on the subject. THE STRANGER WITHIN is now available as an on-demand DVD from the Warner Archive.

There is, of course, another famous page-to-screen alien-impregnation story that also predated many of the nonfiction accounts you mentioned. John Wydham's 1957 novel THE MIDWICH CUCKOOS was filmed as VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED (with George Sanders and Barbara Shelley) in 1960, and remade by John Carpenter in 1995. To connect one more pair of dots, the latter featured Christopher Reeve, the star of Matheson's classic SOMEWHERE IN TIME, not long before the riding accident that paralyzed him.

An interesting trivia tidbit regarding the college where David taught: in the story, it was Indiana's fictional Fort College, which Matheson modeled after his alma mater, the University of Missouri. Several of his early SF stories, which share little more than the physical location, are set there. The film, as you noted, does not identify the university.

You didn't mention (at least in this version of your article) the differences between the endings. The story ends with the child stillborn and David wondering if the Martians will try again in a less accessible area, perhaps Africa or Asia. In the film, after delivering the interplanetary baby by herself, Ann joins a contingent of other “mothers by protest” and is spirited away, while her painting of the Earth as seen from another world, presumably the father’s, inexplicably catches fire.

“Frankly,” Matheson replied when I asked him about its significance, “I don’t know what that painting running and smoldering meant either; I never wrote it in my script. The director’s fancy--as were the interminable clock shots.” He never mentioned anything to me about having known any abductees, but did express surprise, in retrospect, that such a now-common theme did not seem to have been used before his story. For further information, see my book RICHARD MATHESON ON SCREEN

<<< >>>

Addendum: When I approached Barbara Eden through her website a few years ago to ask if she would be willing to share any anecdotes regarding the film, I was disappointed to receive no reply. I guess now I know why! :-)

Mike Clelland! said...

Reply to Mathew,

Thank you for the serious response. I wrote that essay in a sort of compulsive flurry, and I wish I had know of your book while I was writing. My main focus of my research is the UFO phenomenon, specifically the abduction reports. That said, I can hold my own on film history too. I tired to explore the issues of a creative emergence from a deeper consciousness as the source for the original short story. Was is ESP? Tapping into future events? Or merely coincidence? One thing I did NOT explore was if Matheson himself (or someone who confided in him) was a UFO abductee.

Looking at the breadth of his work, I don't see any "pattern" relating to the UFO meme. What I do see is a powerhouse of imagination and I feel strongly that there is a kind of magic in thatgleaned output of creativity. Perhaps it was that magic that gleaned those predictive plot points from the noosphere.

It is my understanding that at the time, in 1953, the concept of the alien abductee was absolutely invisible. Anyone that might have had an inkling of their own involvement would have been 'closeted' and questioning their sanity. I don't know for sure, but I don't know of any reports by people who look back on their own experiences from the early 1950's that involve the hybrid children aspect.

My assumption is that if Matheson or anyone he knew was an abductee, and their experiences was the genesis of the story, it would have played out differently. Looking at Whitley Strieber's work before COMMUNION (1987) you can see an unmistakable pattern of repressed abduction weirdness welling up as horror fiction.

There is a long interview (on youtube) with Matheson where he mentions the movie THE STRANGER WITHIN. He states that he thought Barbara Eden was very good (she was) and that he was disappointed in the movie. He stated: "I didn't care for the pace of it."

<< - at the 25:16 time count >>

Also - Thank you for the VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED reference, that one slipped my mind. That one has hybrid children with psychic powers, penatrating eyes, a hive mind and an agenda. Plus, they cast blond kids with large foreheads!

Mike C

trish said...

Matheson is always brilliant and visionary. I haven't seen this movie, but like Daz, I'm bookmarking and will be back. Thanks for the link. We've got a missing pregnancy in aliens in the backyard, soon to be published. It's a weird and horrifying component of some abductions.

Jonathan said...

Sheesh Mike, I think YouTube must have a copyright alert set up for you! That's the third time I've tried to watch a video you embedded only to find it's been removed :-(

Anonymous said...

I do not think I saw that one. What is going on is basically what is discussed here:
In 1953 this phenomenon was known but largely kept in the closet, as were other socially questionable things at the time. Truth is this has been happening for a long time, except before the 1950s it was demons, faeries, incubus, succubus, or gods that on occasion mated with humans. Now they have had to shift gears for a more technical age and portray themselves as aliens.
After the advent of Star Trek in the mid 1960s, and Star Wars in the 70s along with many other alien based movies and books that conditioned society to be more open to such possibilities, it became more acceptable to share such experiences.

Sham the wiser said...

This movie with Barbara Eden was a favorite of mine as a kid. I still use quotes from it- "The baby has two hearts" is one I recall. I was fascinated with the whole premise and it was very Village of the Damned-esque, like a prequel. My mom and brother had a UFO experience and they would talk of it frequently. I was preoccupied with all things UFO. This movie certainly fanned the flames. Didn't realize the Richard Matheson connection. His book I am Legend scared me senseless and remains one of the quintessential apocalypse tales.

Sham the wiser said...

Richard Matheson- never realized how vast his writing repertoire stretched. ABC Movies showed Stranger Within and also , another family favorite, Trilogy of Terror, starring Karen Black and ending with the one about a possessed Zuni warrior doll- another great piece of cinematic horror!