May 6, 2006
It’s a part of American folklore; the phrase "Little Green Men." We say that we “don't believe in little green men,” or ask, jokingly, “do you believe in little green men?” Many pieces on UFOs from non-UFO writers -- puff pieces on the local UFO sighting-- use the phrase “little green men” in the first paragraph, often the first sentence, and it’s almost always dismissive of anything to do with UFOs, ETs, or other weirdness. We see little green men in cartoons, the comics, popular culture. We equate little green men with aliens from Mars, ETs from space.
The presence of a 'dwarf' or 'green midget' wandering the backyards of many neighborhoods in General Acha," a small city in Argentina's La Pampa province about 400 kilometers (250 miles) southwest of Buenos Aires, has been the latest subject of conversation. It appears to be a short green entity which runs away with haste when detected."
Australia, 1948: a lady and her sister were putting out the dog when they became aware of a very bright light. As it moved away they could see "little green men: sitting on a ledge on the side. As they pulled the bags down from over their heads they saw a dark, mossy green face only about arm's length away. Really frightened, one of the girls pulled the sleeping bag over her head, and when she looked out again in a few minutes, the being was gone.
The other girl's account said they were lying on their backs trying to get to sleep and staring up at the ceiling when all of a sudden they both saw this green face. She watched it for about 45 seconds, "and then it just, went away". Asked if it just vanished like it was a slide from a projector or something, she said, no, it wasn't like that. It was just like a real face, but it was green in color and it was looking at them.
Location. Gomaendrod, Hungary -- Date: November 13 1989 a man saw “two green humanoids” that shot him with something that paralyzed him. Not known if UFOs were involved.
So there are reports of encounters with green humanoid type beings. They don’t seem to be as common as the other types of sightings, certainly not as ubiquitous as the grays (who seem to be more of a chalky white than a gray. . .) On the other hand, these reports of green aliens do exist, and maybe aren’t quite as unusual as the standard UFO lore tells us. Even if some UFO reports contain a few references to specifically green humanoid type aliens, aliens, as a whole, don’t seem to be green. The number of encounters with green beings is much less than encounters of other types. But are these extraterrestrials from outer space, or another kind of entity? It’s possible that some are, and some aren’t. Maybe there’s a connection among them (other than being green) maybe there isn’t.
Is our use of the term “little green men” a remnant of memory of our past encounters of these green beings? Where did the term come from? If we don’t see as many of these green beings as the saying justifies, and the majority of sightings of ET aren’t green, why, and how, did the term come to be in the first place? Larry Hatch’s UFO FAQ gives a short answer; mainly, that it’s origins are “obscure.” Seems to be. . .I’m not the first to think on the origin of the term little green men, or the last, but it’s fun to revisit the question every so often.
The quest for the origin of the term ‘little green men’ has come up many times over the years in UFOlogy, with several intriguing ideas presented as the answer. Fairy lore origins, for one, as Jacque Vallee as well others have suggested. Green small human type beings could be a carry over of folklore from other countries of encounters with earth bound entities. (fairies, goblins, elves, little people, etc.) Maybe the term little green men is a way for us to defuse the mysterious. By making them little they’re less of a threat. The word men, or man, implies humans; not the oversized aggressive reptilians, or monster movie gigantic insects, as some ET reports tell us. A small human image invoked when discussing weird things gives us a sense of security. Of course, the grays don’t seem to be particularly non-threatening, (nor are they warm and fuzzy) and they’re on the small side. (though tall ones have been seen.) Still, we typically tend to think of small as being non-threatening.
I had an encounter, of sorts, with a green being. It was in that frustrating nebulous realm of “reality” but not in the standard way. Well, not standard for most things; on the other hand, seems about right for a high strangeness green being episode. I doubt this was in any way connected with UFOs, or that the green being was an extraterrestrial, but he was definitely alien. I wrote about it in my Trickster’s Realm column for the Binnall of America website a few weeks ago.
What I find interesting, aside from the search for the origins of the term, is the consistent use of the term, given the juxtaposition of contrasting encounters and belief. (small vs. large, green vs. gray or non-gray, etc.) There are hundreds of reports of both small and tall gray (non-green) aliens, associated with UFOs, that share consistencies. Contrast this with the fact there are far fewer reports of little green men -- whether associated with UFOs or not - and their only consistency seems to be their high strangeness factor and inconsistency. (Of course, in a broader way, the latter can be said of UFOs in general.) Yet the term “little green men” is used to describe aliens from space, as if they are a frequent and well -known phenomena on one level, while at the same time, the phrase is used almost always to ridicule, because no such thing can exist.
Meanwhile, people all over the world are experiencing not only UFO sightings, but encounters with humanoid beings that are likely extraterrestrial.