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Anatomy of a Bestseller

September 13, 2013

If there is one reason Ardy Clarke’s Encounters With Star People has turned out to be a bestseller, it’s probably because of the unique point of view the author offers on the phenomenon. And that’s because no one other than the author “can lay claim to the particular constellation of contacts, skills, and knowledge that make possible Encounters With Star People. Indian communities tend to be closed to outsiders, but over more than two decades, Clarke’s cross-tribal ties and sympathetic personality led her to a thousand informants willing to relate their sometimes highly strange UFO experiences,” states Jerome Clark in his review of the book in Fortean Times, which he concludes by saying: “Whatever you make of these accounts, you’re likely to enjoy this unusual book…” Not surprisingly, Peter Rogerson at Magonia views the book as “an interesting example of cultural assimilation…” but  admits that “some of these stories may be based on anomalistic personal experiences…” We’ll let Micah Hanks, who straddles these two points of view in his review the book for Mysterious Universe, have the last word: “It is very interesting to see a thorough study of American Indian tales as they relate to the stories of Star People and related phenomenon, but not entirely having to do with the conventional notions of “Native American mythology” associated with legends that may, in truth, only bear some relation to UFOs today (keeping in mind, all the while, that many modern tribes still maintain the view that present day UFO phenomenon actually is a manifestation or, perhaps, even a continuation of known visitations that occurred in the ancient past). Whether the mythos surrounding UFOs necessarily plays into a more complex, modern counterpart involving actual visitation by extraterrestrials is anyone’s guess; but the stories Clarke relates in her Encounters With Star People nonetheless inspire a lot of questions about the present day phenomenon. It is a field of study which, if anything, remains rife amidst the Native cultures in modern day America, and certainly points to some pervasive element underlying our legends and folklore that could, at very least, have some strange physical counterpart.”