Little Green Men


Little green men are the stereotypical portrayal of extraterrestrials as little humanoid-like creatures with green skin and antennae on their heads. Originally they referred to Martians after Edgar Rice Burroughs spoke of "green men of Mars" in his first 1912 science fiction novel A Princess of Mars. But they soon came to portray extraterrestrials in general and adorned the covers of many of the 1920s to 1950s science fiction pulp magazines with pictures of Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon battling green alien monsters. The term is also sometimes used to describe gremlins, mythical creatures known for causing problems in airplanes and mechanical devices.

During the flying saucer sightings of the 1950s, the term little green men came into popular usage. In one classic case, the Kelly-Hopkinsville sighting on August 21, 1955, two rural Kentucky men described a supposed encounter with a 3-4 foot tall greenish, somewhat humanoid-looking alien. Many newspaper articles used the term little green men in writing up the story. But as Loren Coleman demonstrates in his examination of the Kelly sightings in his book, Mysterious America (NY: Simon and Schuster, 2006), the little beings encountered in the 1955 Kentucky case were silverish, not green.

However, usage of the term clearly predates this incident, though exactly when it first got applied to aliens in flying saucers or aliens in general has been difficult to pin down. In 1910 (or 1915), a "little green man" was allegedly captured from his crashed spaceship in Puglia, Italy.

Nationally syndicated columns by humorist Hal Boyle spoke of a green man from Mars in his flying saucer in early July 1947 during the height of the brand new flying saucer phenomenon in the U.S. that started June 24. However, Boyle did not describe his green Martian as small.

Marvin the Martian was a Warner Brothers cartoon character dating from 1948. Marvin was a small humanoid character with big eyes and usually dressed in a mostly green uniform. Millions of movie-goers of that period would have been familiar with the small, green-suited cartoon Martian.


By early 1950, stories began circulating in newspapers about little beings being recovered from flying saucer crashes. Though largely considered to be hoaxes, some of the stories from the sources about little aliens eventually made it into the popular 1950 book, Behind the Flying Saucers by Variety magazine columnist Frank Scully.

A witness reporting a flying saucer sighting to a Wichita, Kansas newspaper in June 1950 stated that he saw "absolutely no little green men with egg on their whiskers."

Similarly, electronic searches show that "little green men" was specifically used in reference to science fiction and flying saucers by at least 1951 in the New York Times and 1952 in the Los Angeles Times. The familiarity with which the term was used suggests that these weren't the first instances where it was applied to extraterrestrials. The next example of the New York Times using the term dates from 1955 in a book review of a sci-fi satire called Martians, Go Home. The Martians were obnoxious "little green men" whose appearance was "true to prophecy."

of a
Different Shape

Site Meter

The term also shows up much earlier in rather surprising ways in other contexts. Movie gossip columnist Hedda Hopper used it in 1939 referring to small cast members of the Wizard of Oz, and admonished against drinking on the set. In 1942, the Los Angeles Times used the term in a pictorial on Marines training for jungle combat. In this case, "little green men" referred to camouflaged Japanese soldiers.

Before its more modern application to aliens, little green men was commonly used to describe various supernatural beings in old legends and folklore and in later fairy tales and children's books. Folklore researcher Chris Aubeck noted several examples of the latter in 19th and early 20th century literature. As an example, Rudyard Kipling had a "little green man" in Puck of Pook's Hill from 1906.

Aubeck also found one story from 1899 in the Atlanta Constitution of a short, green-skinned alien, in a tale called Green Boy From Hurrah, "Hurrah" being another planet.

Another example, and the earliest use of little green man in the New York Times, dates from 1902, in a review of a child's book called The Gift of the Magic Staff, where a supernatural "Little Green Man" is a boy's friend and helps him visit the cloudland fairies. The next use in the Times was in 1950, and references a planned movie by Walt Disney Corporation of a 1927 novel by poet/novelist Robert Nathan called The Woodcutter's House. The only animated character in the picture was to be Nathan's "Little Green Man," a confidant of the woodland animals. (The movie was never made.)

Other instances of imaginary small green beings have been found in a newspaper column from 1936 sarcastically discussing doctors and their medical advice, saying these are the same people who have breakdowns in middle age and start hallucinating "a little green man with big ears." Syndicated columnist Sydney Harris used "little green man" in 1948 as a child's imaginary friend while condemning the age-old tradition of frightening children with stories of "boogeymen".

These examples illustrate that use of little green men was already deeply engrained in English vernacular long before the flying saucer era, used for a variety of supernatural, imaginary, or mythical beings. It also seems to have easily extended beyond the imaginary to real people, such as the reference to small actors in the Wizard of Oz or camouflaged Japanese soldiers. Similarly, Aubeck and others suspect that when flying saucers came along in 1947, with subsequent speculation about alien origins, the term naturally and quickly attached itself to the modern age equivalent. It is also clear that by the early 1950s, the term was already commonly used as a sarcastic reference to the occupants of flying saucers. By 1954, the image of little green men had become inscribed in the public's collective consciousness. Though not explicitly called little green men, Lucy and Ethel play pointy-nosed, antennaed women from Mars in a promotion for a movie in the episode "Lucy is Envious."

Further electronic searches suggest that the term became increasingly more common in the 1960s and always used in a derisive or humorous way. It even penetrated into the commentary of the highly conservative Wall Street Journal. First use in the Journal was 1960 in an article on the Brookings Report commissioned by NASA, studying the possible social effects of the discovery of extraterrestrial life. The Journal commented that they thought the report overly pessimistic, assuming that "the little green men with the wiggly antennae" would be hostile. Another Journal use of the term occurred in 1968 in an editorial on a planned Congressional investigation of UFOs. The writer sarcastically asked how they planned to subpoena "a little green man." In 1969, they commented that the Condon Committee UFO study commissioned by the Air Force was a waste of money. The editorial stated that even if they did prove that "UFOs were people with little green men," what were we supposed to do about it?


By 1965, a little green man had even appeared in The Flintstones  as a recurring character. The Great Gazoo (introduced in Episode 145) typified the representation of a little green man with his short, green stature and helmet with antenna. The Great Gazoo was later parodied in The Simpsons  as the alien Ozmodiar, whom only Homer Simpson could see. However, the 1960s also marked a transition in the way people imagined a stereotypical alien. In alien abduction stories they are often small but grey beings and in Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey  (1968) they are unseen. Aside from Yoda in the Star Wars movie saga, little green aliens are seldom seen in science fiction anymore and seem to have migrated to the world of children's media where they can still be found in abundance. However, the term 'little green men' has fallen out of general use in science fiction circles and is typically only used by the uninformed or to ridicule the notion that aliens may exist.

Bug-eyed monster

Bug-eyed monster is the expression used to describe one of the early, and now essentially hoary, conventions of the science fiction genre. Extraterrestrials in science fiction of the 1930s were often described (or pictured on covers of in pulp magazines) as grotesque creatures with huge, oversized eyes and a lust for blood and destruction. The term is now often abbreviated to BEM.


Alien Anatomy

Let's explore alien anatomy; what we know, what we think we know, and a few blueprints laid down by pop culture, just to add to the mystery. Keep in mind just about everyone, especially Hollywood, has their own image of what an alien should look like. From friendly-looking greys with oversize orbs and long slender fingers, to ferocious looking dinosaur/insect-looking creatures two-stories tall, society has advanced its love affair with the possibility of off-world visitors and what they would look like through literature and film, so much so that we each could name at least three different anatomical species in our own minds.

Let’s try it. Think of three different-looking alien species. Quick now. Let me guess, you thought of the grey aliens first, then, perhaps, Klingons, or that eerie creature that haunted Sigourney Weaver throughout the Alien movie series. Did you think of Chewbacca? The octopoids from Independence Day or reptilian creatures depicted in literature by masters like Heinlen, Asimov, Clark and others?

Putting Hollywood aside (as much as possible), let’s examine the earliest recorded accounts of what modern-day eyewitnesses had to say about extraterrestrial anatomy. That would, of course, take us back to 1947 and that old tale of the Roswell Incident.

Oh, yes -- there were eyewitness accounts of alien bodies at Roswell, many more than the U.S. military would have liked. Consider that if an actual spacecraft, albeit small, crashed into the hard New Mexican plains, it must have made a terrible mess to clean up; parts of aircraft strewn across acres of ranch land. That means lots of witnesses.

Loretta Proctor and her husband Floyd raised sheep on the property next door to Mac Brazel’s ranch, site of the crashed spacecraft. Now 82, she remembers Brazel bringing by strange material from the crash site the day after it happened.

Frank Kaufmann, now 83, was a civil service radar operator at nearby White Sands Proving Grounds who says he was called into service the week of the alleged crash because of unusual and unidentified radar activity in the area. In a 1997 Albuquerque Journal copyrighted article, Kaufmann reports he was dispatched on one of the first search teams to stumble upon the burning wreckage.

The aliens "didn't have any of these big eyes or horns or anything else or spiny fingers. They were very good-looking people, ash-colored faces and skin. About 5 feet 4, 5 feet 5. Eyes a little more pronounced, a little bit larger. Small ears, small nose. Fine features. Hairless. There were five. They had a very tight, almost a wetsuit, silver colored. I just saw two of them. One was thrown out of the craft itself. And one was half in and half out. They were all dead,” he reported.

Similar descriptions from medical personnel at Roswell Air Base support Kaufmann’s assessment with a few discrepancies in height (length).

So if Roswell is to be our model for what alien anatomy is all about, then we have a clear and perfect image of little grey (or green) men, or women, with large eyes and slender figures, sort of a large-headed modern version of Twiggy.

But wait, our model is threatened by other accounts of aliens; more sinister and unpleasant to view; monsters by human standards, often with nasty dispositions to match. Is this Hollywood creeping back into our exploration of alien anatomy? Or is there cause for concern that the little greys may not be the only extraterrestrials stalking our comfortable neighborhoods? Read on.

In the late 1980s and early 90s, documents began circulating around UFO convention and lecture circles exposing the existence of a secret underground base near Dulce, New Mexico; a rumored site for joint alien and U.S. Government research. More often than not, the documents alleged biomedical and bioengineering experiments were being conducted in a facility at least seven stories deep into the New Mexican mountains, located on and surrounded by Jicarilla Apache tribal lands. According to the reports, several species of aliens were working at the secret base, in conjunction with human scientists and technicians. The documents, allegedly disseminated by a former ranking security guard at the facility, alluded to at least three distinct species working and living at the secret military base.

The largest number of alien residents at Dulce were smaller “greys”, similar if not the same as the one’s mentioned above in the Roswell incident, who were considered a proletarian/worker class carrying out typical administrative and technical duties. But also present were an overly large reptilian creature; a soldier class of alien that did just that, kept watch of the facility and was responsible for all things related to security. Reports say these creatures ranged in height between seven and nine feet, slender but wiry and strong, capable of camouflaging themselves at night to become all but invisible to the naked eye.

The third, and most hideous, species reported at Dulce was the ruling class; a particularly gruesome creature even more reptilian in stature, though fewer in number. The tri-species aliens and their human counterparts, including military forces and special security detachments, worked side by side in the daily operation of the facility.

Of course, these "papers", found today at several sites across the Internet, remain unsubstantiated and are impossible to verify. But many believe something indeed very strange is going on in Dulce, New Mexico, regardless its origin. Even the tribal residents seemed "spooked" over the subject and are reluctant to speak of it except behind closed doors. And then not often.

Hard scientists of the world today argue our first encounter with ET will most probably be with bacterial or viral species originating off-planet. Hard-line Ufologists and true believers argue that Roswell was our first modern-day encounter with extraterrestrials. There is even a faction in society that believes extraterrestrials already reside among us, and look virtually no different than you and I, whether by disguise or natural sources.

We can’t say for certain exactly what ET may look like, for there may be many ETs, each with their own particular physical characteristics; which drums up visions of that famous cantina scene in the original Star Wars Movie. But whatever they may look like, one thing is for certain: if indeed extraterrestrials have visited our planet, they must be loaded with brains, or at least intelligence. More than we could find in the corner grocery store. But then, no one said smart had to be good-lookin’.


 T. Peter Park

The equation between the humanoids of the flying saucers and the elves of folklore has become something of a truism.

The similarities between the UFO phenomenon and the European, and even extra-European, fairy cult is strong, especially in the subtexts of sexuality, abduction, rape, and the substitution of otherworldly changelings for human babies.

UFO books often describe entities resembling traditional fairies or "little people," or reptilian or frog-like "cryptids," that are assumed to be "aliens" even though no mysterious craft is reported nearby. Many ufologists presume that any odd-looking humanoid not obviously of the "Bigfoot" or "hairy hominid" type MUST be an extraterrestrial, even if no UFO is mentioned. Thus, Jacques Vallee listed a "frog-man" seen at Juminda, Estonia in his chronology of UFO landings in Passport to Magonia, although no UFO was reported. At Juminda in the Fall of 1938 (or 1939), two witnesses saw a "frog-man" 1 meter (39-40 inches) tall, with a round head, no neck, and a hump in front. Its mouth was a large, straight slit, its eyes like smaller slits. Its skin was brown-green, and its hands were "normal." The creature walked in a peculiar "but elegant" fashion, its head waving up and down while the legs moved "carefully." When pursued, it accelerated, with feet "fluttering." About 100 meters (325 feet) away from the witnesses it vanished. [1]

We find the same presumption of a UFO connection with no actual mention of a strange craft in several well-known creature reports frequently discussed in UFO books. We see it in two famous reports of small humanoids seen by motorists at roadsides late at night:

in 1955: the three grayish creatures with "froglike" faces seen by Robert Hunnicutt at Branch Hill, Ohio in March, and the four grayish entities with large eyes encountered by Margaret Symmonds near Stockton, Georgia on July 3. [2] We note it in another celebrated night-time roadside encounter--the dark hairy dwarf three feet tall with glowing yellow-orange eyes and a pumpkin-shaped head seen on June 9, 1960 near Globe, Arizona by a friend of APRO director Coral Lorenzen. [3]

The Juminda "frog-man" resembles the grotesque small humanoids seen at Mandurah, Western Australia, in 1930, in Derry, New Hampshire in 1956, and in Arnold, Pennsylvania, in 1981. It also recalls another mystery creature, the "Dover Demon" seen by six teen-agers in a Boston suburb in April 1977. Again, in all four cases, no UFO was seen.

The Mandurah creature was seen in their house by Beryl Hickey and her father one night in 1930. Beryl Hickey, a teenager at the time, recalled it as "the most frightening thing I had ever seen." Her terrified, devoutly religious father thought it was "the work of the Devil" and threw a prawning net over it to drag it outside. It had "big ears, a wide slit mouth and glistened as though it was wet or covered in oil."The creature stood about half a meter (20 inches) tall, with bulging film-covered eyes. It was "obviously not human, "yet with "perfectly formed little hands and feet," and "pink like a baby." It made a frightened squeaky sound when caught under the net. Her father "told us never to speak about it or tell anyone." However, she told a friend, who reminded her about it after reading about the film ET. Beryl Hickey did not speak of her experience for many years, fearing ridicule. It was only the release of ET which prompted her to speak about it. [4]

Alfred Horne encountered a green dwarf in the woods near Derry NH on December 15, 1956, while looking for a Christmas tree. Standing in the woods before him, Horne saw a naked humanoid two feet tall, with a wrinkled green skin resembling elephant hide, a high domed head, ears like a bloodhound's, snake-like film-covered eyes, two holes for a nose, short arms and legs, hands like stumps, and feet with no toes. Horne watched it for 20 minutes, then tried to catch it. The creature screeched horribly when Horne approached it, however, making the terrified witness flee. [5]

Some Arnold, Pennsylvania youngsters saw a 3-foot-tall green humanoid resembling the Derry dwarf in late February, 1981. Five boys aged eleven to sixteen were playing that Saturday in the Arnold railway yard when eleven-year-old Chris saw the little creature squatting down with its back to him. Determined to catch it, he crept up on it. He grabbed it and lifted it up, shouting for his friends to help. It wriggled, twisted, and squealed so much that Chris dropped it, and it ran into a drainpipe. The boys described the creature as green in color, naked with no hair or fur, but with wrinkled "elephant" skin which felt dry and rubbery. It was just under 3 feet tall, humanoid in shape, with nipples, large ears, and an inch-long tail , and it walked upright on two legs. [6].

Young people, again, saw the "Dover Demon" near a Massachusetts community on two nights in April 1977. The "Demon" was 3 ½ to 4 feet tall, with a large watermelon-shaped or "figure-eight" head with two large shining orange (or green) eyes, a thin neck connecting the head to a thin body, long thin arms and legs with long thing fingers and toes, a hairless tan, beige, or "peach-colored" skin, and no visible nose, mouth, ears, or tail. Around 10:30 on the night of April 21, Bill Bartlett and two friends, all 17, were driving along a road near Dover when they saw the creature creeping along a low stone wall. The frightened boys saw it for 5 or 6 seconds from 20 feet away, then quickly sped away. Two hours later, 15-year-old John Baxter was walking home from his girl-friend's house when, about a mile from the location of Bartlett's sighting, he saw a small dark figure with a large head and two lighter eyes approaching him, then scurrying down a gully to the left of the road, and finally leaning against a tree, gripping the trunk with both hands. The frightened Baxter continued walking as fast as possible.. Nearly 24 hours later, 18-year-old Will Taintor was driving 15-year-old Abby Brabham home around midnight, April 22. when they glimpsed the "Demon" crouched on all fours beside the road, 8 feet away from them. Their description resembled Bartlett's, except that its eyes were bright green instead of orange as in the Bartlett sighting. Like Bartlett, they quickly drove away. The witnesses independently gave investigators similar drawings of the "Demon." The case was investigated by ufologist Walter Webb and cryptozoologist Loren Coleman..[7]


Froggish-faced humanoids like those seen at Branch Hill in 1955 shade over into "giant frogs" and "lizard-men" usually claimed by cryptozoology rather than ufology. The Branch Hill frogfaces were in fact seen near the haunts of the "Loveland Frog," a 3- to 5-foot-tall frog-like or lizard-like creature seen at the Little Miami River near Loveland, Ohio in 1972. Some researchers explained the "Frog" as an iguana or monitor lizard. A motorist near Wayne, New Jersey saw a "Lizardman" one night in November, 1974. His headlights caught a tall scaly greenish humanoid and a reptilian face with bulging frog-like eyes and a wide lipless mouth. [8] Another "Lizardman," 7 feet tall with greenish lizard-like skin, large slanted glowing red eyes, and 3-fingered hands terrorized people at a swamp near Bishopville, South Carolina in July 1988 [9]. In none of these cases were UFOs reported.

Some cryptozoologists have suggested that "lizardmen" are actually aquatic or semi-aquatic primates, with matted hair mistaken for scales. Thus, Loren Coleman and Patrick Huyghe, in their Field Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti, and Other Mystery Primates Worldwide, describe "lizardmen" as "fresh-water merbeings," aquatic primates related to the loris and potto, These "fresh-water merbeings" include the Southwestern and Latin American Chupacabras, Madagascar Kalanoro, Japanese Kappa, British Columbia's Thetis Lake Monster, Louisiana's Honey Island Swamp Monster, and other humanoid lake-, river- and swamp-dwelling creatures throughout the world. They sometimes have patchy hair growths that look "like leaves" or "scaly," giving them a deceptively reptilian appearance, hence the popular but misleading name "lizardmen."[10]

Other dwarfs and "little men," again with no UFO connection, are more human-like in appearance, recalling the "little people" of folklore. Such were the 20 bald-headed white-skinned "little men" in leather "knee-pants" held up by suspenders walking in single file one summer night in 1919 along a roadside near Barron, Wisconsin. 13-year-old Harry Anderson saw them while carrying a can of oil to his friends' stranded car. The dwarfs paid no attention to the startled Anderson, who ducked out of sight behind a tree, but muttered to themselves and sang a little song:

We won't stop fighting
Till the end of the war
In Nineteen-Hundred
And Ninety-Four.

The terrified Anderson, "heart pumping," continued on his way back to the car once the marching dwarfs had passed by, not once looking back behind him.[11]

The Maya of Yucatán still encounter the alux, "little men" reminiscent like the 1919 Barron dwarfs of European folklore "little people." The Maya described the alux to the first Spanish conquistadores. Many Mayan ruins include tiny stone houses with 3-foot-high doorways, popularly called alux homes, in front of the main temples. Some Mayan ruins have bas-reliefs showing naked little men much shorter than the large Mayan priests and 5-foot-tall Mayan peasants. Mayas still allegedly encounter the alux today. One night in 1977, Xuc, a caretaker of the ruins of Mayapán, heard sounds of someone chopping wood with a machete, He was then struck by small clay pellets thrown by a tiny man with a large head and long black beard, wearing a white huipil (Mayan tunic) and carrying a long machete. Rumors of pygmy-like beings, known by various local names, have been plentiful throughout much of Latin America. A 1970 publication of the Roman Catholic vicariate in Puerto Maldonado, Peru mentioned the Yushe, a tribe of pygmies only 39 inches tall living along the banks of the Curanja River where Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia meet.[12]

Hairy dwarfs recalling European gnomes and leprechauns and the Mayan alux have also been encountered in modern times on Pacific islands, including Hawaii and Fiji. The Hawaiian menehune, the best-known of these Oceanic "little people," are described as 2 to 3 feet tall, with short, stout, hairy and quite muscular bodies, red-skinned faces, big eyes hidden by long eyebrows, low protruding foreheads, and short thick noses. They live in mountain forests and usually come to the lowlands only at night. A census of the Wainiha Valley in 1786 during the reign of King Kaumualii of Kauai supposedly revealed that 65 of the 2,000 people counted were menehune. Anthropologist Katherine Luomala suggested in 1951 that the menehune might have been a "tribe of dwarfs." In the late 1940's, school superintendent George London and about 45 schoolchildren in Waimea, Kauai reportedly encountered a group of menehune playing around the large trees on the lawn of a local church. When the "little people" saw the schoolchildren, the menehune stopped jumping in and out of the trees and seemingly dove into a tunnel under the parish house. According to the July 19, 1975 Fiji Times, encounters with menehune-like figures, "believed to be dwarfs," have also been reported from Fiji. The six witnesses of this Fijian mid-afternoon encounter described seeing eight figures, 2 feet tall and covered with black hair, run and disappear behind some bushes.[13 ]

These modern alux and menehune encounters from Yucatán, Hawaii, and Fiji suggest that at least some folkloric "little people" traditions from various parts of the world may have a realistic basis in actual local human encounters with dwarf humanoids. Even "mainstream" anthropologists have recently begun to accept this possibility, as with the Flores Island traditions of the ebu gogo, 3-foot-tall hairy "little people," who seem to closely resemble the recently discovered 3 foot-tall Homo floresiensis of that Indonesian island. Most recently reported "little people," like the dwarfs, gnomes, kobolds, leprechauns, alux, and menehune of traditional folklore, are two to four feet tall, as the Bords have noted-a size range overlapping Homo floresiensis.[14]They might conceivably be unknown primates distantly related to humans and apes, or bipedal reptiles of superficially human-like form. However, we also find reports of bizarrely tiny humanoids, 8 to 18 inches tall, that seem harder to explain as flesh-and-blood biological creatures, especially as primates.Such "mini-men" were seen in Farmersville, Texas (1913), Renève, France (1945), Canby, Oregon (1950), Ibagué, Colombia (1973), Dunn, North Carolina (1976), Northwest Cape, Western Australia (1984), and Moshav Amihud, Israel (1996).

Three farm boys saw a nude, rubbery-looking "little green man" in May 1913 near Farmersville, Texas. The incident was only publicized, however, in 1978, when the witness, Silbie Latham, was a grandfatherLatham's grandson, Lawrence Jones, wrote the Chicago-based Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS) in January, 1978, describing the encounter. On April 28, at CUFOS's request, Larry Sessions of the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History interviewed Silbie Latham at length. . In 1913, Silbie was twelve years old, chopping cotton with his two brothers on the family farm. Hearing their dogs howling, they found a little dark-green man only 18 inches tall. He wore no clothes except a "little round hat" resembling a Mexican hat that seemed "built onto him." His arms hung down just beside him. Everything "looked like a rubber suit including the hat," The boys' dogs jumped on the little man and tore him to pieces, and he seemed to have human internal organs. Next day when the boys visited the spot where the bloody remains had lain, there was no trace of them.[15]

A French priest, "M. l'abbé X," was picking mushrooms in the countryside near Renève, Côte d'Or, Burgundy on the afternoon of April 20, 1945 when he met a tiny man only 6 inches tall carrying a little spear or pike. Toward 6 P.M., checking a roadside copse on his way back to Renève, the priest was astonished to see a diminutive oldster 15 to 17 centimeters (6 to 6 ½ inches) tall but otherwise quite normal-looking, walking hurriedly only 30 centimeters (one foot) from him. The "petit bonhomme," who seemed about 70-75 years old, frightened, and out of breath, had gray hair and a sparse beard, wore dark-red clothes covering his body, hands, and feet, leaving only his head bare, and carried a little "pike" or "staff" extending 2 centimeters (about an inch) above his head. The priest thought for a moment of grabbing the little man, but decided not to risk being wounded and perhaps poisoned by the "pike." After about 20 or 30 seconds, the mini-man disappeared into a nearby thicket without the priest having a chance to intercept and communicate with him. For 30 years, l'abbé X kept his astonishing experience to himself. In 1975, however, he wrote a letter describing his encounter to G.E.P.A., the "Groupement d'Etude de Phénomènes Aériens," in Paris. G.E.P.A. sent a member living in Dijon near Renève, Henry-Jean Besset, to interview him, and the priest also went to Paris to tell his story to other G.E.P.A. members and answer their questions.

He explained that though, as a Catholic priest, he was theologically committed to believing in apparitions, he was certain that he had definitely not seen a vision, spirit, or apparition, but a real flesh-and-blood creature. Besset added that, as a priest, l'abbé X would have felt it sacrilegious to consider grabbing the mini-man if he believed him a religious vision. [Henry-Jean Besset, "Le Petit Bonhomme de Renève," Phénomènes Spatiaux, No. 45, September 1975, pp. 21-27.]

Kenneth Arnold, the pilot who saw the original "flying saucers" near Mount Rainier in June 1947, began investigating "flying saucers" and other fortean mysteries in his spare time. In April 1950, Arnold interviewed a Canby, Oregon woman about her "little man" sighting, repeating her story years later in a lecture on "How It All Began." University of Oregon graduate Ellen Jonerson, "a very intelligent person," saw a dark-skinned, 9- to 12-inch-tall "little man" wearing "a little romper and a sort of plaid shirt" walk with a "waddling" motion across her breezeway, pass under the running board of a car, and disappear.[16]

Four schoolboys and a policeman saw four tiny entities 8 inches tall on August 10, 1973 near Ibagué, Colombia. The boys were searching for botanical specimens in a muddy riverbed, when they saw four small beings standing under a stone footbridge, apparently looking for something in the mud. They were dressed in white, with tiny gray caps on their heads. As the boys walked towards them, the little beings disappeared "as though by magic." The boys searched the area and found tiny footprints. [17]

The best-known modern "mini-man" was probably the "Coke bottle man" seen near Dunn, North Carolina in October 1976 by an 8-year-old boy and a 20-year-old woman. Little Tonnlie Barefoot was playing in a cornfield near his home on October 12, when he saw a little man "not much bigger than a Coke bottle," wearing a black "German-type hat," a white tie, a blue top and trousers, and black boots. He reached for something in his pocket, froze, squeaked like a mouse, and ran off through the cornstalks, leaving behind footprints 2 1/4 long by 1 inch wide with bootmarks.Shirley Ann McCrimmon, coming home from a party just before daybreak on October 25, saw a little man with light-brown skin, wearing boots and a thin garment. He shone a tiny bright yellow light in her eyes, and ran away when she screamed. Dogs also barked at him. Footprints were again found, in hard ground, but none in the soft ground where he had stood, and in the cornfield the footprints ended abruptly. Interestingly, the Cherokee of the western Carolinas had legends of a race of little people called the Tsundige'wi, "with very queer shaped bodies, hardly tall enough to reach up to a man's knee."However, the 1976 Dunn mini-men were of perfectly normal human appearance other than their diminutive size, in contrast to the "very queer shaped bodies" of the Tsundige'wi. [18]

At the North West Cape in Western Australia, a man working in a field one night in December 1984 tripped over something. Lying horizontally, he saw the cause of his predicament. A small picket fence formed a compound. Within this area, he saw tiny people and a fleet of miniature buses going about their business. For several yeas afterwards, a series of five vertical lines like a bar code remained on the witness's forehead until they finally faded away.

A little green man only 2 inches tall was seen in Israel in 1996. In late 1996, the Israeli press reported the seemingly unbelievable encounter in Moshav Amihud, a collective agricultural community in northern Israel. A 34-year-old woman, Ziona Damatai, and her brother-in-law discovered a truly little green man, no more than 2 inches tall, in their barn one day. Those who saw it were particularly puzzled by the greenish liquid continuously oozing from the mini-man. It seemingly exuded more liquid than its tiny body could be expected to contain. Finally, someone touched the little green man, causing its body to shatter into pieces. The 2-inch Israeli mini-man recalls the tiny ufonauts frequently reported for some reason from Malaysia, such as the five aggressive, "horrible-looking" 3-inch-tall spacemen emerging fom a soup-plate-sized flying saucer encountered in August 1970 by six schoolboys in Bukit Mertajam, Penang, Malaysia. [Jerome Clark, Unexplained! new ed. (Canton, MI: Visible Ink Press,1999), Little Green Men, pp. 444-445, citing "International Chronicle: Israel," INFO Journal, 77 (Spring 1997) and Janet Bord, "I Spy Little Men," Fortean Times 91 (October 1996): 30-33]

How should we explain these dwarfs, frog-men, lizard-men, and mini-men? They have been seen for too many years in too many widely separated places by honest, genuinely baffled witnesses to be automatically dismissed. The popular extraterrestrial explanation must face the fact that while some of these entities have been seen in or near UFOs, many similar creatures have been reported by witnesses who saw no UFO. As writers like Jacques Vallee and John A. Keel have noted, these creatures often resemble traditional folkloric fairies, gnomes, dwarfs, and "little people." Were it not for the UFO phenomenon, most forteans would have explained these creature reports as encounters with mysterious Earthly creatures--unknown animals or a hidden race of people. Without mysterious aerial lights and crafts, forteans would have speculated more about terrestrial "Other Folk" sharing our planet than about extraterrestrials.

Some of these beings, of course, might conceivably be extraterrestrial visitors, after all. Many others, however, may more likely be unknown Earthly creatures normally inhabiting hidden corners of our own terrestrial biosphere--perhaps bipedal mammals or reptiles of superficially humanoid form. They might escape normal detection by spending most of their time in an underground or underwater environment rarely visited by humans.[19]

A few, again, might belong to a furtive dwarf human race (either a Homo sapiens group or a parallel hominid species like the recently discovered Homo floresiensis) like the Peruvian Yushe, smaller than the well-known African Pygmies and Australasian Negritos. They would also be more successful at hiding themselves from full-sized humans than the Pygmies and Negritos. These "ultra-pygmies," too, might normally live in hidden or remote environments." Little people" folklore traditions--including the European fairies and gnomes, Yucatán alux, and Polynesian menehune-- may reflect centuries of human encounters with "ultra-pygmies,." as do the Flores Island ebu gogo who quite possibly reflect historically recent encounters with surviving relict Homo floresiensis. However, it is hard to see how such "ultra-pygmies" could account for the 8- to 18-inch "mini-men." Still, a secretive "Other Folk" could explain dwarfs and "little people" of somewhat closer to normal human size.

Finally, we should not dismiss more "far out" possibilities. At least some of the reported entities--such as the "mini-men"--might conceivably be psychic projections, temporarily materialized thought-forms, objectified archetypes from the Collective Unconscious,"ultraterrestrials" from another dimension, our own time-traveling future descendants, or perhaps even the angels, demons, djinn, or devas of traditional religious beliefs! Perhaps we should now simply be content to accept them for the time being, with Jerome Clark, as "experience anomalies," experiences "fantastic and inexplicable by current knowledge," for which we presently still "don't even have a vocabulary."[20]

There is also a rich though little-known record of encounters with mini-saucers only a foot or a yard across, and mini-ufonauts just a few inches tall. John A. Keel mentioned "hundreds of 'minipeople' accounts" among "the great heaps of neglected and ignored UFO data" in Chapter 9, "The Physical Non-Evidence," of his UFO's: Operation Trojan Horse (1970). Many, Keel noted, recall the fairy and gnome stories of yesteryear. Some mini-ufonauts dress like modern spacemen, complete with transparent helmets, while others are described more like Irish leprechauns. Witnesses can experience conjunctivitis, paralysis, amnesia, and the other effects often noted by witnesses to more conventional UFO encounters, according to Keel. Albert Rosales, editor of the Humanoid Contact Database, has shared a number of these mini-alien reports with me in private e-mails. For some still unknown reason, these mini-saucers and mini-ufonauts have been seen particularly often in Malaysia in Southeast Asia, according to Rosales. Most, though not all, Malaysian humanoid reports involve mini-men. Malaysian ufologist Ahmad Jamaludin described a number of such encounters in his 1983 Flying Saucer Review article on "A Wave of Small Humanoids in Malaysia in 1970." One especially bizarre incident took place at the Stowell English Primary School in Bukit Mertajam, Penang, Malaysia in August 1970. It was summarized by Patrick Huyghe in The Field Guide to Extraterrestrials (1996).

Six Malay, Indian, and Chinese Stowell schoolboys, aged 8 to 11, claimed to see a soup-plate-sized flying saucer land near them on August 19. Five "horrible-looking" ufonauts only 3 inches tall walked out of the saucer on a gangplank. Four of the mini-spacemen wore blue uniforms, while their "leader" wore yellow, and sported "horns," stars on his shirt, and high boots. All five beings carried miniature "space guns." When they began installing an "aerial" on a tree, one boy tried to capture the "leader," who fired his "space gun" at his attacker. The other boys, frightened, ran away. A school official later found the wounded boy lying in the bushes. A small red dot appeared on his right leg, where he had been shot.

Some of the other boys reported subsequent encounters with the mini-spacemen the following day. The Headmaster, who thought the incident was a figment of the boys' imaginations, questioned them carefully, but they all insisted on the truth of their story. This report is "replete with classic science fiction elements," Patrick Huyghe has noted, but it is "by no means the only report" of "beings of such extremely small stature." It is hard to decide whether Malaysian folk or popular culture somehow encourages belief in diminutive aliens, or whether a race of mini-aliens has for some reason decided to focus their attentions mainly on Malaysia.

Not all diminutive ufonauts, however, have been reported from Malaysia. A few have also been encountered in the United States, Canada, and Australia, among other areas, according to Rosales. Washington State in the US northwest, in particular, has yielded two such mini-ufonaut reports.

John A. Keel summarized one American "minipeople" encounter in UFO's: Operation Trojan Horse, describing the strange experience of a woman in Seattle, Washington. In the latter part of August, 1965, she awoke around 2 A.M. and discovered she could not move a muscle or make a sound. Her window was open, and suddenly a tiny, football-sized, dull gray object appeared. It floated through the window and hovered over the carpet near her bed. She said she felt no desire to leap up or cry out as three tripod legs lowered from the object, and it settled to the floor. A small ramp descended from it, and five or six tiny people clambered out and seemed to work on some kind of repairs on the object.They wore tight-fitting clothing. When their job was finished, they went up the ramp again, and the object took out and sailed out the window. Then she was finally able to move. She was certain she was wide awake. The case was investigated by J. Russell Jenkins of Seattle.

The Seattle mini-alien encounter was very similar to a Canadian woman's experience in Hamilton, Ontario one night in 1976. The witness suddenly woke up, and sat up in bed, and saw a small round spaceship about the size of a volleyball, with a dome on top. She then saw three little figures leave the UFO. They asked her by telepathy if she would like to come aboard. She briefly blacked out, and the next thing she remembered was standing at the kitchen table. Three little humanoids stood at the other corner of the table, one of them seemingly talking. She described the beings as gray in color, friendly in nature, with round shoulders, "funny shaped" heads, and no hair. They seemed to be taller in the kitchen than in her bedroom, as if able to quit in size. The beings put a map on the table, recalling the "star map" shown to Betty Hill on her 1961 "Interrupted Journey," and apparently showed the witness where they were from. Suddenly the beings and map disappeared.

Back in Washington State, another mini-saucer and mini-alien were seen one Spring afternoon in 1984 near Vancouver, Washington. The witness was walking through a wooded area when he entered a large clearing, according to a letter by Dudley Starr in the Flying Saucer Review, Vol. 32, No. 3.He then saw a small domed silvery disc shapedobject about one meter (a little over 3 feet) in diameter. He bent down to look, and was surprised to see inside the clear dome a tiny humanoid figure holding a control rod. The witness picked up the disc and saw the little man cringe in fear-rather like the frightened, out-of-breath "petit bonhomme" seen by the French priest at Renève in 1945. The mini-ufonaut, however, regained his composure and accelerated the disc which then emitted a high-pitched hum and began to rotate. The witness released the disc, which then took off, vanishing at very high speed.

Back in Western Australia a few years later, two children in Perth reported hearing a knocking on the French windows of their house early one morning in 1988, according to Keith Basterfield as cited by Rosales. They told their parents that they saw two or three little people, about 3 inches tall, tapping on the window. On the brick-paved courtyard they saw two black, triangular craft, also very diminutive. The parents investigated, but found nothing. Both children independently drew what they had seen and their drawings matched.

One weird cases summarized by Rosales took place in the early years of our "Age of Flying Saucers" in 1951, though it is unclear just how small the reported aliens actually were. The witness recalled a strange encounter she had as a little girl in a Maumee, Ohio orphanage one night in 1951. Having awakened in the night to go to the bathroom, she saw 10 small, strange humanoid figures float in through the window of the dormitory she shared with 7 other girls. They glided toward her bed with their legs together, and their tube-like arms appeared "jointless". Their skin was dark gray and seemed scaly, and their heads were similar in shape to that of a tadpole, although she was unable to recall any facial features. The entities surrounded her bed and the "leader" stood at the top left corner, speaking to the others in an incomprehensible language, with the others nodding in response. The "leader" held his hand above her, under which was suspended a small "eye like" device that scanned her body, as he moved his hand back and forth. At no time did he, or any of the others, touch her. At no time during the examination did any of the other girls in the room awaken.[Humcat 1951-2;Source: Robert Pratt, National Enquirer Type: E]


1. Jacques Vallee, Passport to Magonia: From Folklore to Flying Saucers, (Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1969), Case 49, "personal" informant.

2. Vallee, Passport to Magonia, (Case 361), (Case 365); Coral Lorenzen, "UFO Occupants in United States Reports," in Charles Bowen, ed., The Humanoids (Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1969) ; Janet Bord and Colin Bord, Unexplained Mysteries of the 20th Century (Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1989) ; Leonard H. Stringfield, Situation Red: The UFO Siege (New York: Fawcett Crest, 1977

3. Bord and Bord. Unexplained Mysteries of the 20th Century; Lorenzen, "UFO Occupant Reports in the United States," Bowen, The Humanoids.

4. Bord and Bord, Unexplained Mysteries of the 20th Century, citing Perth (Western Australia) West Mail, 25 December 1982, reprinted in UFO Newsclipping Service, February 1983, No. 163; "A Century of UFO's," UFO Roundup, Dec. 1999, ed. Joseph Trainor; Godelieve Van Overmeire,"Chronologie OVNI", citing Trainor, "A Century of UFO."

5. Bord and Bord, Unexplained Mysteries of the 20th Century, pp. 151-152, citing Intcat 661 Intcat MUFOB New Series 9 (Winter 1977-78); Walter N. Webb case investigations, report dated November 4, 1964, "Strange Tales 5. Which Story Is False? Story 1: The New Hampshire Dwarf," About Paranormal Phenomena with Stephen Wagner.Alfred Horne, letters to Walter Webb September 20, 1962, and November 4, 1962, INTCAT #661 & Jerome Clark, Unexplained Phenomena 2001 Calendar, (Accord Publishing Ltd.--Friday, December 4, 2001), cited in Martin S. Kottmayer, "Little Green Men," The Anomalist, No. 10, 2002.

6. Robert A. Goerman, "The Little Green Man Who Got Away," FATE, May 1982, pp. 61-65, cited in Bord and Bord, Unexplained Mysteries of the 20th Century.

7. Loren Coleman, "A Case Study: the Dover Demon," Mysterious America: The Revised Edition (New York: Paraview Press, 2001), pp. 42-61; Bord and Bord, Unexplained Mysteries of the 20th Century

8. Bord and Bord, Unexplained Mysteries of the 20th Century, C;. Lewis Wiedemann, "Difficulties of Tracking Down the Lizardman," Vestigia Newsletter 3, p. 3; Calendar edited by Jerome Clark, November 7, 2001, cited by Dale Bacon, private e-mail communication, November 7, 2001.

9. Bord and Bord, Unexplained Mysteries of the 20th Century; "Bigfoot" ; "They Live Part 4"

10. Loren Coleman and Patrick Huyghe, Field Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti, and Other Mystery Primates Worldwide (New York: Avon Books, 1999)

11. Alex Evans (pseud. of Jerome Clark), "Encounters with Little Men," FATE, Vol. 31, No. 11, November 1978, cited in: Bord and Bord, Unexplained Mysteries of the 20th Century; Jerome Clark, ed., The UFO Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, The Emergence of a Phenomenon, from the Beginning through 1959 (Detroit: Omnigraphics, Inc., 1992); Joseph Trainor, ed., UFO Roundup, Godelieve van Overmeire, ed., Chronologie OVNI: Période 1900 à Fin 1919

12. Coleman and Huyghe, The Field Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti, and Other Mystery Primates Worldwide, citing: Loren Coleman, Curious Encounters (Boston: Faber & Faber, 1985); Bill Mack, "Mexico's Little People, FATE, August 1984; "39-Inch Pygmies Reported," Chicago Tribune, October 21, 1970. Also see Toronto Telegram, 20 October 1970, citing published statement by Roman Catholic Church vicariate in Puerto Maldonado, Peru (citing Arthur Custance, Doorway Papers: The Fitness of Living Things, Chapter 4, "Dauermodifications in Man," Science & Faith (vol.. 8), Pt. IV, Ch. 4

13. Coleman and Huyghe, Field Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti..., citing: Janet Bord, Fairies (New York: Carroll & Graf, 1997); Loren Coleman, "The Menehune: Little People of the Pacific," FATE (July 1989); Katherine Luomala, The Menehune of Polynesia and Other Mythical People of Oceania (Honolulu: Bishop Museum, 1951).

14. Bord and Bord, Unsolved Mysteries of the 20th Century

15. Bord and Bord, Unexplained Mysteries of the 20th Century, and Jerome Clark, Unexplained!, rev. ed. (Canton, MI: Visible Ink Press, 1999), pp. 443-444, citing Evans, "Encounters with Little Men"

16. Kenneth Arnold, "How It All Began," in Curtis Fuller, ed., Proceedings of the First International UFO Congress (New York: Warner Books, 1980), quoted in Michael D. Winkle, "Monsters You Never

Heard Of! Mini-Man"; "Strange and Unexplained!--Fairies"

17. Bord and Bord, Unexplained Mysteries of the 20th Century, citing Gordon Creighton, "Tiny Entities Reported in Colombia," Flying Saucer Review, Vol. 21, No. 5

18. Bord and Bord, Unexplained Mysteries of the 20th Century, pp. 155-157, citing Fred H. Bost, "A Few Small Steps on the Earth & A Tiny Leap for Mankind," Pursuit, Vol. 10, No. 2 . On the Tsundige'wi, see James Mooney, Myths of the Cherokee (Nashville, TN: Charles and Randy Elder, 1982 [originally published in the 19th Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, 1900], cited in Michael D. Winkle, "Haunted North Carolina: Up These Heights and Down These Hollows" , which also quotes the Bords' account of the Dunn sightings, suggesting that the "Coke bottle man" may have been a modern manifestation of the Tsundige'wi. Winkle cites the Dunn sightings in "Monsters You Never Heard Of! Mini-Man" as a close analogue to Ellen Jonerson's Canby. Oregon "little man."

19. See William Michael Mott, Caverns, Cauldrons, and Concealed Creatures (Yoakum, TX: Hidden Mysteries, 2000), arguing for a subterranean or underwater cavern origin for UFOs, "aliens," and other mystery creatures.

20.Jerome Clark, "From Mermaids to Little Gray Men: The Prehistory of the UFO Abduction Phenomenon," The Anomalist, no. 8, Spring 2000