The Starchild Skull tells the story of Lloyd Pye, a researcher and writer who came into possession of rather unique skull. Supposedly discovered in an ancient cave in Mexico, there are two skulls in total: one is clearly normal, while the other proves much more mysterious. After changing hands several times over the years, the skulls were eventually brought to Lloyd in the hope that he could provide a means of identifying them. We follow along as he travels near and far, attempting to locate scientists willing to take his situation seriously enough to properly analyze the “strange” skull. He battles wide-spread denial and ridicule, and a constant lack of finances, in his quest to find the truth.
The mystery presented by the Starchild skull is fascinating. Despite the regular dismissal of doctors and scientists, it really does seem to offer a number of inexplicable factors which suggest more than simple deformity. It has a knack for thwarting all attempts at mundane diagnosis. The curiosity of the artifact alone is justification for reading, and we can scarcely hope to get a more thorough account of its journey than that of the keeper of the skull himself.
That said, there were a few frustrations with this book which held back my overall appreciation. First, there is a heavy autobiographical element here. True, the author took on the skull as his personal life mission for many years, and true, his personal trials were in some ways relevant to the legacy of the artifact itself. His perpetual lack of finances, and his difficult handling at the hands of the scientific community and the media, are all arguably relevant to the diagnostic testing (or lack thereof) that the skull has since received. Regardless, his personal life infiltrates the story in what in my opinion becomes more detail than is necessary, and poses an unwelcome distraction.
Additionally, there is the alien element. Despite his initial assertion that he does not buy into stories of UFOs and extraterrestrials, he constantly forces them into the equation. His first public exposure of the skulls is to a UFO convention! This seems the worst possible route for someone desperately wanting to be taken seriously in scientific circles. From there, as time progresses and he interacts with more paranormal types, he becomes increasingly convinced that the mystery skull is (partially) extraterrestrial. He laments repeatedly about how scientists, unable to explain the skull’s deformities, refuse to just admit its alien origin. This is an inappropriate attitude! Even if the skull proves a mismatch to homosapien biology, how can anyone seriously declare that it therefore must be an extraterrestrial? There is no supporting evidence for anything except that it differs from the norm of our species. Whether this means deformity, mutation, alternate species, or even extraterrestrial, there is simply no data to confirm one versus the other, and no level headed person of science would argue otherwise. The author loses credibility in his choice to force this viewpoint. He does not realize that he is becoming as closed minded as those he argues against!
Gripes aside, the book is worth a read. The Starchild is a genuine unsolved mystery, and one which should not be overlooked, despite criticism of the writing style or the occasionally questionable judgment of the author. Hopefully some day he will find the means to solve his quest once and for all.