Reptilians (also called reptoids, reptiloids, or draconians) are purported reptilian humanoids that play a prominent role in science fiction, as well as modern ufology and conspiracy theories. The idea of reptilians on Earth was popularized by David Icke, a conspiracy theorist who says shape-shifting reptilian people control our world by taking on human form and gaining political power to manipulate our societies. Icke has claimed on multiple occasions that many of the world leaders are, or are possessed by, reptilians ruling the world.
Alien abduction narratives sometimes allege contact with reptilian creatures. One of the earliest reports was that of Ashland, Nebraska police officer Herbert Schirmer, who claims to have been taken aboard a UFO in 1967 by humanoid beings with a slightly reptilian appearance, who wore a "winged serpent" emblem on the left side of their chests.
According to British writer David Icke, 5- to 12-foot (1.5–3.7 m) tall, blood-drinking, shape-shifting reptilian humanoids from the Alpha Draconis star system, now hiding in underground bases, are the force behind a worldwide conspiracy against humanity. He contends that most of the world's leaders are related to these reptilians, including George W. Bush of the United States, and Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. Icke's conspiracy theories now have supporters in 47 countries and he has given lectures to crowds of up to 6,000. American writer Vicki Santillano included it in her list of the 10 most popular conspiracy theories, describing it as the "wackiest theory" she had encountered. A poll of Americans in 2013 by Public Policy Polling showed that 4% of registered voters believed in David Icke's ideas.
In the closely fought 2008 U.S. Senate election between comedian and commentator Al Franken and incumbent Senator Norm Coleman, one of the ballots challenged by Coleman included a vote for Franken with "Lizard People" written in the space provided for write-in candidates. Lucas Davenport who later claimed to have written the gag ballot, said, "I don't know if you've heard the conspiracy theory about the Lizard Men; a friend of mine, we didn't like the candidates, so we were at first going to write in 'revolution', because we thought that was good and to the point. And then, we thought 'the Lizard People' would be even funnier."
"Evil reptilian kitten-eater from another planet" was a pejorative used to refer to then Ontario Liberal Party opposition leader Dalton McGuinty in a press release disseminated by the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario on September 12, 2003, during the provincial election campaign in Ontario, Canada.
In February 2011, on the Opie and Anthony radio show, the comedian Louis C.K. asked former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld a number of times if he and Dick Cheney were lizard people who enjoyed the taste of human flesh. Rumsfeld did not answer the question. Louis C.K. interpreted Rumsfeld's refusal to answer as an admission and further suggested that those who are lizard people cannot lie about it; when asked if they are lizards, they either have to avoid answering the question or say yes.
On March 4, 2013, a video depicting a security agent with unusual features guarding a speech by U.S. President Barack Obama was spotlighted in a Wired report about shapeshifting reptilian humanoids, leading to a tongue-in-cheek response from chief National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden that "any alleged program to guard the president with aliens or robots would likely have to be scaled back or eliminated in the sequester."
Skeptics who adhere to the psychosocial hypothesis of UFOs argue that the "Reptilians" mythos originates from V, a series of science fiction television movies, miniseries and series which first aired in 1983; and, possibly, Land of the Lost, a show which ran in the early seventies and featured a subterranean tribe of lizardlike humanoids called "Sleestaks". In V, supposedly peaceful alien "Visitors", who appear human, arrive on Earth in giant flying saucers and initiate first contact. In fact, the Visitors wear masks concealing their true shapes. In their natural form, they resemble humanoid reptiles and eat living mammals. The Visitors commence a stealth alien invasion in which they set out subtly undermining the human, and, specifically, the American way of life. The creators of the series intended this as an allegory of fascism.
A 1934 Los Angeles Times article may have been the origin of such beliefs. The article reported that a geophysical mining engineer claimed to have discovered subterranean labyrinths beneath Los Angeles to an underground city built by an advanced race of "Lizard People" to escape surface catastrophes some 5,000 years ago. This article, however, had remained obscure in the intervening years, even amongst consumers of conspiracy theories.
In 1929, before the L.A. Times article, sword & sorcery author Robert E. Howard had his King Kull story "The Shadow Kingdom" published in Weird Tales, he described a pseudo-historical pre-cataclysmic age named the Thurian Age (predating Howard's Hyborian age) during which some humans established their own kingdoms. Malicious, shapeshifting serpent men dwelt unnoticed amongst these humans. Kull learns to break the serpent men's illusions via the incantation "Kaa nama Kaa lajerama", returning them to their normal reptilian appearance. These snake men had a precise goal: to overthrow the humans and regain control, by all means, as they ruled before man did. When creating them, Howard had taken inspiration from ancient mythology and theosophical concepts in order to create his own fictive world which shared common ground with the one created by his friend and correspondant H.P. Lovecraft. The serpent men are mentioned both in Howard's Kull stories and in Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos—in expanded and further developed form—by C.A. Smith and Lin Carter.
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