Little Gray Men

A long while back, I immersed myself in the first person narratives of alien abductions. It was for one of those novels nesting in the back of my closet (a lonely island of strange stories.) Every now and then, a piece of that research resurfaces in my imagination and tickles me, whispering…. “Write about this…. Give it another try.”

I was walking along a very gray street, on a very gray night, with icy rain pelting the piles of slushy gray snow and feeding rivers of icy gray water pouring into curbside drains —in other words it was a dismal night in early March— and the thought of GRAYS moved from the back burner of my brain to the front.

Grays are the name many experts on alien abductions give to the “little green men” of classic science fiction. They are the ultimate boogeymen. They come from distant planets with nefarious plans to kidnap unsuspecting humans for “scientific research” purposes, to enslave humanity and occupy the planet, or to use humans as a new food source.

Over and over again the accounts describe a similar alien appearance —gray skin, big head, etc. and many describe in detail being “probed” by these aliens in a fashion reminiscent of a biologist examining an animal. The probed often wonder about the point of these examinations. Were the humans frogs on the table for alien scientists? It’s a Twilight Zone-style frightening thought.

The similarity of the experiences of midnight abductions lends credibility to the stories told by abductees. Or does it? If you believe that this might happen to you, or that it has happened to you, or that is happening all the time, you’re very likely to have read the accounts. Read more than a few, as I did, and you’re very likely to dream about an abduction and, perhaps, to combine your dream with a real memory of something more horrifying than any episode of the Twilight Zone. Some of the other experts in these accounts believe that these stories are twisted versions of sexual abuse, specifically child sex abuse.

For a child coping with the experience of sexual abuse, transforming their abuser (a family member, trusted sitter, or friend) into an alien from outer space, is an effective way to deal with the horror of their all-too-real experience.

During my icy gray walk, I began to ponder the idea that other MONSTERS —the creatures from fairy tales and folk tales—might also be real abusers transformed into frightening beasts that are easier to fight in imaginary worlds than a bad uncle or eccentric uncle are to combat in the real world. It’s just a thought. Children have been abused throughout history and the monster under the bed (or the little gray man) have been around forever, too.