Grey Aliens, sometimes called Zeta Reticulans, Roswell Greys, or just Grays, are defined by their humanoid forms, long limbs, large black eyes, small noses, thin mouths, and of course, gray skin or gray clothing. They are some of pop culture’s most recognizable representations of extraterrestrial life. But where did this depiction of extraterrestrials come from, and why are Grays the ones mostly responsible for all the abductions?This is a very materialist explanation of a phenomenon with a history that extends much farther into the past than 1947, when the two events commemorated by World UFO Day happened. Dr. Emily Zarka pointing out the similarity of alien encounters to interactions with fairies is one that John Michael Greer has made as well.* In that case, it's an old phenomenon in modern guise.
Special thank you to Josef Lorenzo and the entire Subcultured team for the delightful conversation and invaluable contribution to this episode.
Part of that modern guise comes from psychological and social forces, including anxieties over social and technological change and foreign competition during the Cold War. Another part came from popular entertainment. This comes as no surprise to me, since I mentioned it last year.
As for science fiction influencing how people interpret what they see, I'm all in favor of examining that. It's one of the reasons why I cover entertainment as much as I do.I enjoyed Dr. Z doing just that for my readers and me. I hope my readers did, too.
*I'm having trouble finding it on his Ecosophia blog. I suspect I'm remembering a response he made to a comment on one of his Magic Monday posts at Dreamwidth. In that case, good luck finding it.