A Media History of Gray Aliens

man of year one million

Above is a illustration from the December 23, 1893 edition of the Ottawa Journal‘s reprint of HG Wells’s article ” The Man of the Year Million.” It may be the first visual representation of the famous “Greys.” The first description, however, may belong to Kenneth Folingsby, who wrote about a race of evolved beings in Meda: A Tale of the Future.

Iron Skeptic: A Media History of Gray Aliens

This makes an excellent companion to my Evolution of the Mutant in Popular Culture.

I will echo the comment from the bottom of that page that points out that there were many other representations of aliens in popular culture. The Grey-esque images the author links to sound relatively obscure compared to other portrayals by the time Grey sitings became popular.

A few questions:

1. Are there any older portrayals of “Grey-esque” creatures – in, for example, ancient tribal art?

2. When did accounts of Greys become particularly popular?

3. What is the likelihood that the earliest reporters of Greys had seen stuff like Amazing Tales covers?

FWIW, I like Douglas Rushkoff’s hypothesis from Playing the Future: the archetypal image of the Greys comes from the human fetus, and both their appearance and alien abduction phenomena correlate with the increased public debate over abortion.


  1. Here’s what I’ve found so far:

    Hopi Ant People (thanks to Mac Tonnies for mentioning them):


    The “Ant People” look more like “Horned Gods” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horned_god) than Greys to me.

    Here’s a whole bunch of various ancient art that purportedly contains images of Greys:


    Haven’t looked at the above images much.

  2. The tipping point for the grey alien to become the dominant depiction of ET was the film Fire in the Sky.

    and this book:

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