For many people, “little green men” means only one thing: a̳l̳i̳e̳n̳ life or green Martians.
Such depictions of often mischievous and even malevolent a̳l̳i̳e̳n̳ creatures have been a staple of science fiction vocabulary for decades, appearing in countless science fiction stories, movies, and television shows.

But where did the idea of tiny invaders, green Martians come from, and how did it come to be so widely accepted as a way of referring to visitors from other worlds?

legend and literature

There is not a single theory, but multiple theories. Arthur Evans, former editor-in-chief of the Journal of Science Fiction Studies (SFS) at DePauw University in Indiana, says one reason is that Martians are green, as a 12th-century English legend called “Wolpit\’s Green child.”

In a study published in SFS in 2006, scientists described the popular tale of the unexplained appearance of two green-skinned children near the village of Woolpit in eastern England, speaking an incomprehensible language and eating only green vegetables.

The boy died at a young age, but the girl began to eat local food and lost her green. She learned the language so she can talk about her life, and according to her, all people are green in her world.

A sign at the entrance to the town that alludes to the legend of the two green children of Woolpit.

Another theory tells us that everything comes from fantastic literature and from there it jumps to the cinema and the collective unconscious.

The popular novelist Edgar Rice Burroughs attributed this color to them in a series of science fiction stories that began with “The Princess of Mars” in 1912 and continued for 30 years.

Burroughs, best known as the creator of Tarzan Adventures, imagined a̳l̳i̳e̳n̳s in all colors and gave Martians green. He also gave them a unique quality: phosphorescence, the light that some deep-sea fish have and is associated with green.

Years later, images of green a̳l̳i̳e̳n̳s were commonplace in American pulp magazines, taking hold of the popular imagination in the late 1930s.

As a result, green a̳l̳i̳e̳n̳s with disproportionate heads and giant pupils caught on in the popular imagination and continue to appear in movies.

On the other hand, the use of the phrase “little green men” dates back to the 1940s, with the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction tracing the first use of the story “Mayaya\’s Little Green Men” (Weird Tales, 1946) by Harold Lawlor.

Frederic Brown\’s popular science fiction novel, “Martians, Go Home” (EP Dutton, 1955) reinforced the idea of little green-skinned a̳l̳i̳e̳n̳ invaders who are more irritating than dangerous. Rather than engage Earth\’s armies in deadly battles for global domination, Brown\’s little green men preferred to spend their time playing annoying and embarrassing pranks.

The little green Martians also appeared on television, with the Great Gazoo character debuting in the cartoon “The Flintstones” in 1965.

Similarly, a science fiction world can be very similar to the real world, or it can be very different.

The truth is that, for the moment, science does not have definitive proof of its occurrence. All that remains is to imagine them in the form of strange monstrosities, gray humanoids or creatures resembling giant insects. Or get lost in their worlds and adventures with one of these movies.

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