While reports of the Grays have circulated in the UFO and conspiracy-theory community for decades, their origin is often associated with the 1961 Betty and Barney Hill abduction claim.[i] Because the media began to report on the alleged creatures after the Hill claim, the UFO community has assumed that the Grays are a recent phenomenon. However, that is not the case. The first appearance of the Grays can be traced as far back as 1891, decades before the post-1947 UFO wave. Almost 125 years ago Kenneth Folingsby published a book titled Meda: A Tale of the Future.[ii] The book, which derived from the author’s visions of the future while in a coma, described “tiny gray men with heads shaped like hot air balloons.” Soon thereafter readers were fascinated by what the human species might look like after millions of years of evolution. In 1893 H. G. Wells wrote a short article titled “The Man of the Year Million” in which he speculated on that subject. Wells imagined human beings as having no hair, mouth, or nose, but they would have an enormous light-bulb-shaped head and a small body.
Wells also published The War of the Worlds in 1897. His representation of Martians in that novel, according to a biography, was a convergence of pure imagination and Wells’s research on evolution. He depicted Martians as having enlarged heads because they supposedly were a more intelligent race than humans. Furthermore, according to Wells, the Martians had large eyes, no nose or ears, and very small mouths. He also envisioned Martians as communicating telepathically with each other to eliminate all misunderstanding, a trait that remarkably has been reported by alleged abductees.
In the 1930s and 40s, once again before the UFO wave, little gray aliens were a staple feature of many comic books such as Amazing Stories, Wonder Stories, and Science Wonder Stories. During this era when comic books were having a large impact on society, many of the tales they published concerned gray “visitors from space.”
[i] Betty and Barney Hill. University of New Hampshire Library. http://www.library.unh.edu/special/index.php/betty-and-barney-hill.
[ii] “A Media History of Gray Aliens.” http://www.theironskeptic.com/articles/gray/gray_history.htm.