Why is the Stereotypical Image of Aliens Green or Grey Bald Humanoids?

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Today I Found Out

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Shared September 28, 2019

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Flying saucers, little green men, and anal probes have been a staple of our perception of aliens for as long as most of us have been alive. The reasoning behind the latter is a obvious- human scientists also can and do learn a lot about an animal by their feces- but where did the idea of short grey or green aliens actually come from in the first place?

As to little green men, the concept of green beings has been around for centuries, from Goblins to perhaps one of the most famous cases- the green children of Woolpit. For those not familiar, these were two children that seemed to have lived during the 12th century in England. When they were discovered in the fields, the little boy and the girl had green-tinged skin, wore strange clothes, spoke an unfamiliar language, and both refused to eat regular food for some time, apparently unfamiliar with it. If you’re interested in who they were, why their skin was green, and where they came from, check out our article here.

Fast-forwarding to the late 19th century, we have the first known instance of the term “little green men” being used to describe aliens, found in the Green Boy From Hurrah published in the Atlanta Constitution in 1899. In it, the story describes a short green skinned alien from- you guessed it- the planet Hurrah.

Much more famously Edgar Rice Burroughs’ early 20th century Barsoom series featured green aliens from Mars, though in this case they weren’t little at all, being about twice the height of humans....

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