One of the features of the 1980s UFO scene was a series of attempts to categorize the entities reported by people who had encountered UFO occupants. These efforts foundered on the sheer variety of reported space beings, but managed to turn up a handful of common types. The so-called “grays,” large-headed dwarfs with gray or brown skin, spindly limbs, and black featureless eyes were the most widely publicized variety of UFO pilot, but another variety consisted of lizard-like aliens with scaled skin and yellow eyes. These “reptilians” soon became a recognized type in UFO research circles. See unidentified flying objects (UFOs).

The reptilians, like so much of the UFO phenomenon, showed remarkable parallels to the science fiction of previous decades – lizard-men from other planets were a staple of the pulp science fiction magazines – and to traditions on the fringes of the occult community. The Hefferlin manuscript, a purportedly factual document circulating in American occult circles since the 1940s, claimed that evil reptile-men from Venus invaded the earth in the distant past to do battle with benevolent humanoid Martians for control of Rainbow City, a metropolis hidden beneath the Antarctic ice cap. Despite obvious borrowings from science fiction-horror writer H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos, the Hefferlin manuscript and an assortment of writings based on it helped popularize the idea of sinister alien reptiles and blend it with the experiences of UFO contactees. See Rainbow City.

A crucial role in this process of synthesis was played by an American science fiction television production (two mini-series and a short-lived weekly series) of the early 1980s. Titled V, these shows pitted humanity against an invasion of shape-shifting reptiles from outer space. The aliens used advanced technology and mind-control methods to manipulate humans and take over the earth’s political and economic systems. Just as the cinema Satanism of the 1960s’ horror movie Rosemary’s Baby was copied in the first wave of Satanic ritual abuse claims in the late 1970s, most of V’s themes appeared in detail in the alien-reptile mythologies of the next decade.

By the 1990s, UFO contactees and abductees had woven the “grays,” “Nordics,” reptilians, and other widely reported types of UFO occupants into their narratives of alien contact. The reptilians, many contactees claimed, came from solar systems in the constellation Draco. Where the Nordics were generally portrayed in a positive light, and the grays tended to range between positive and neutral, the reptilians came in for mostly negative portrayals, playing essentially the same role they had in the V storyline. It was in this form that they entered the writings of David Icke, whose attempt to create a universal synthesis of all rejected knowledge gave a central role to the reptilians. See rejected knowledge.

Icke’s reptilians are the evil aliens of the V series projected onto a sprawling mythology of class warfare. According to Icke, the reptilians are the secret masters of the world, a race of aliens from Draco who crossbred with human beings millennia ago to produce hybrid bloodlines that run the world on the surface, while others of pure reptile blood lurk in caverns far below. The crossbreeds, who can shape-shift from human to reptile form, include all past and present royal families of Britain, all other European royal houses, and every one of the presidents of the United States, from George Washington to George W. Bush. It is no exaggeration to say that in Icke’s view every person who has ever held political, religious, or economic influence at any point in human history is a reptilian crossbreed.

While Icke insists that there are good reptilians elsewhere in the universe, he paints the ones we have here on earth in uniformly unflattering colors. As the rulers of the planet, they are personally responsible for all the evil, ignorance, and suffering on earth, manipulating humanity through a network of secret societies to cause war, poverty, and other social ills. The Knights Templar, the Illuminati, and most of the other bêtes noires of contemporary conspiracy theory are simply fronts for the vast reptilian conspiracy, and the establishment of the New World Order is their central goal. If this were not enough, they also passionately enjoy drinking human blood. To be fair to the reptilian crossbreeds, Icke admits that their nefarious deeds are not entirely their fault, as most of them are possessed by lizard-demons from the lower fourth dimension. See Illuminati; Knights Templar; New World Order.

This extraordinarily colorful mythology has found an eager audience in counterculture circles throughout the western world, and has been incorporated into the theories of several other popular conspiracy theorists. As an ideology of class conflict, which is its primary thrust, it has few equals. Not even the most extreme forms of Marxism ever accused members of the industrial world’s political and economic elites of being shape-shifting extraterrestrial monsters who thirst for human blood. The evidence Icke presents is thin even by conspiracy theory standards – his claim that US president George Bush Sr. is a reptilian crossbreed, for example, depends on the testimony of one person who claimed under hypnosis to have been used as a robotic sex slave by most of the world’s political leaders, and on Icke’s own unsupported claim that he knows other people who saw Bush shape-shift into reptile form – but this has not prevented his books from being taken as gospel on the far ends of the political and cultural spectrum throughout Europe and America.


The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Societies : the ultimate a-z of ancient mysteries, lost civilizations and forgotten wisdom written by John Michael Greer – © John Michael Greer 2006