The Term “Little Green Men” is often used in a pejorative way to condescend to those expressing an interest in extraterrestrials and aliens. At least that’s how it was until recent years when UFOlogists astutely began reclaiming the term (LGM) to describe generalized alien phenomena not pertaining necessarily to the Greys or any of the other well known races of aliens. But where did the term Little Green Men come from? It turns out it has been in use for quite some time.
The earliest written use of the term is likely from the 1899 story written by Chris Aubeck entitled “The Green Boy from Hurrah” appearing in The Atlanta Constitution, a newspaper that at a time published stories as well as news. Though the term was not colloquially used until Edgar Rice Burroughs’ trailblazing science fiction novel “A Princess of Mars” in which he refers to the green men and women of mars.
As the days wore on the term evolved as reports of real live aliens began pouring in after the turn of the century. In 1915 in Puglia Italy allegedly a little green man was discovered and captured by locals. It was not well documented, however, and is contested to have even counted for the first encounter by humans of an otherworldly “green Martian.” It was not until 1919 in the wild outback of Australia that a mysterious green man was discovered working on a strange sort of craft. A traveler walking past approached the man and asked if he needed any help. The man was suddenly startled and fired something at the man knocking him unconscious. No other witnesses ever spotted the mysterious green man again.
As the 1950’s came about, so did a major wave of UFOs across the world. Soon everyone was seeing unidentified discs zooming across the sky and pulling off maneuvers that were quite simply impossible. Those who didn’t believe the craft to be piloted by particularly adept Russians believed the craft to be of Martian origin. Soon everyone was speculating what the occupants of the craft would look like. And of course who could forget the chilling tale of the Hopkinsville green skinned fish-headed aliens that attacked a family who would be so frightened by their experience that they would demand a full investigation by the police? The incident was one of dozens of highly mysterious alien encounters working completely outside the normal expected everyday alien later known as the “Grey.” As the 1950’s wore on, science fiction became a wildly popular subject of film, pulp novels, television, and even music.
Of course while the term may have found its renaissance in twentieth century America, it most certainly harkens back to an older time. The leprechauns of Irish folklore were often referred to as little green men, though the term was never official. Alternately, The Green Man, who is often depicted in art and literature as a man’s face surrounded and comprised primarily of natural elements appeared often in European art since shortly before the Romantic era began. In addition, the ancient Egyptian god Osiris has always been depicted as having green skin to symbolize his death and rebirth. While the depiction of little green men in literature may never be pinned down exactly, since it is a fairly broad concept, it is most certainly intertwined today with the paranormal and perhaps will some day be a symbol of a time when extraterrestrials were still a mystery shortly before first real contact was made.