A human disguise (also human guise and sometimes human form) is a concept in fantasy, folklore, mythology, religion, literary tradition, iconography, and science fiction whereby non-human beings such as aliens, angels, demons, gods, monsters, robots, Satan, or shapeshifters are disguised to seem human. Stories have depicted the deception as a means used to blend in with people, and science fiction has used the dichotomy to raise questions about what it means to be human.
In religion, mythology, and folklore
In pagan religions, deities very often took on the form of a human disguise for various tasks. The gods "of whom the minstrels sang" in Homer's Iliad watched the "human spectacle" as partisans, and came down to Earth invisible or in human disguise to interfere, sometimes to protect their favorites from harm (compare deus ex machina). Their human disguises sometimes extended to them getting hurt in conflicts. Zeus's human disguises have been compared to Plato's use of communicating through alternate characters as a means to express that the "essential philosophical nature is divine rather than human" and "cannot be represented without some element of human "disguise". In the borderlands between religion, myth, and literature, Dunn in his study of the concept of incarnation notes that Greek gods appeared disguised as humans in Ovid's legend of Baucis and Philemon.
In the Torah, angels only appeared to men in a human disguise, and never without one. In the Old Testament apocryphal Book of Tobit, the Archangel Raphael takes on human disguise and the name of Azarias. (Child and Colles note that '[...] he appears as a mere man, an archangel incognito as it were".) The Book of Genesis tells of three angels visiting Abraham in human disguise (Gen.18), and two visiting Lot in Sodom (Gen.19). Philosophy professor Peter Kreeft has asserted that when an angel wears its human disguise, human beings cannot penetrate the disguise due to the superior abilities angels possess; Kreeft cites as proof Hebrews 13:2: "... some people have entertained angels without knowing it." Child and Colles summarize: "The angels in the Old Testament were known to be messengers of God, sent to do his will, usually invisible and mysterious, but sometimes coming without wings in the guise of men."
St. Augustine and Christian scholars of that age agreed that the Devil could manipulate a person's senses to create illusions in the mind, constructing from particles of air fake human bodies that seemed quite real to those who saw them. John Milton's poem Paradise Regained has Satan disguised as an old man. The Christian heresy of docetism held that Jesus was not a human but was, instead, a divine spirit in the guise of a human.
Monsters like vampires and werewolves could purportedly take human form at certain times, and lore gave advice as to how to detect or drive away these seemingly human creatures. Even Red Riding Hood's Wolf (though presumably not a werewolf) could disguise himself as her grandmother. Stories are also told of mermaids walking in human form, such as Hans Christian Andersen's Little Mermaid, which is based on many such legends. Changelings are often described in Western European folklore as a type of legendary creature, left in place of a human infant, for a variety of reasons. They are usually not able to mimic the human perfectly, thus there are various ways to reveal them.
Religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and native American beliefs have traditions whereby gods and spirits descend to earth in human form to help or hinder humanity. In native American myths "the sun, moon, and morning star seem free to take human form and roam the earth, seeking love and other adventures."
In Japanese mythology, kitsune, or legendary foxes, often take on a human disguise; most frequently taking the form of an elderly man, an attractive woman, or a child. Kitsune can also replicate the exact appearance of a specific person. In medieval Japan, the belief that any beautiful women met alone at dusk was a kitsune was prevalent. In some legends, kitsune cannot fully transform, but maintain a tail or other foxlike characteristic such as long red hair. Some kitsune in disguise prey on humans through sexual contact, much like the succubus.
Other Japanese animals that (according to myth) can take human disguise include the bakeneko (ghost-cat), tanuki (raccoon dog), mujina (badger), and jorōgumo (spider). Japanese-speakers call the category of such shapeshifting creatures obake or bakemono.
The wandering Stranger (ijin, 異人) in Japanese folklore may turn out as a secret prince or as a priest... "And he can also be an avowedly supernatural being, outside the human race. The Wardens of certain pools, for example, who are believed to be snakes, and to be ready to lend lacquer cups and bowls to those who wish to borrow them for a party, are referred to as ijin. So are the uncanny yamabito or 'mountain people', said to be seven or eight feet tall, to be covered with hair or leaves, and to live deep in the mountains beyond human habitation. .... The Stranger is... possessed of powerful magic, but he is disguised as a filthy beggar. Be careful therefore how you treat strangers...." Generically, a stranger "may as easily be a dangerous incarnation of the Devil as a messenger from God".
Selkie, seals which can shed their skin and turn into humans, appear in Faroese, Icelandic, Irish, and Scottish mythology, as well as in myths of the Chinook people, and are the premise of the film The Secret of Roan Inish.
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Roland Mushat Frye discusses a common iconographic tradition of Satanic disguise as a "falsus frater, as an old Franciscan friar, or as a hermit, often with a rosary, as Botticelli represented him in his Sistine Chapel frescoes".
In literary criticism
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In a study of multi-cultural literary traditions Quint traces examples of the recurring literary archetype of a disguised supernatural visitor: for example in Virgil's Aeneid and in Torquato Tasso's Gerusalemme liberata.
Fiction may feature disguise for dramatic or comedic considerations. For instance, besides the aerial-daemonic Asmodeus and the undead-human Dracula, non-human primates have also been represented as vampires.
Gary Westfahl wrote that Stanisław Lem and other writers use a standard argument: that "science fiction writers, as human beings, are inherently incapable of imagining truly alien beings, meaning that all aliens in science fiction are nothing but disguised humans."
The theme of alien infiltration in human form appeared commonly during the Cold War. Jack Finney's 1955 novel The Body Snatchers, and the films made from it, involve aliens not only looking generally human, but replacing specific human beings, an intensely frightening prospect because one's own neighbors, friends, and family must now be suspected. It has been suggested that this conveyed the paranoia of the McCarthy era.
The various incarnations of Star Trek had numerous aliens capable of impersonating humans, for example the Salt Vampire of "The Man Trap", Trelane the Squire of Gothos, the Organians in "Errand of Mercy", the re-created historical combatants in "The Savage Curtain", among others from the original series; the Changelings (Odo's people) in Deep Space Nine; and the Suliban in Enterprise.
David Buxton's Avengers to Miami Vice discusses the use of human disguise in The Invaders, suggesting that though it might at first glance appear to be an extraterrestrial representation of the communist threat the show also picks up on deeper doubts regarding the American value-system.
The theme of infiltration continued in popularity into the closing stages of the Cold War in the 1980s. In the science fiction series V, the reptilian aliens wear human suits to pass as humans, trying to make humans feel more comfortable around them.  They Live deviated from the cold-war fear of communists by having its alien infiltrators be the capitalist elite, exploiting mindnumbed consumers while The Thing featured a more visceral biological horror, with an alien that would infect and duplicate hosts. In the 1982 British sci-fi film Xtro, an alien spaceship abducts a father and an alien returns disguised as him. The alien rapes the man's wife and she gives birth to a fully grown man in what author Barbara Creed describes as being a primal "phantasy" where man is born fully grown and completely independent of its mother.
In the CW television series Supernatural practically all the supernatural creatures the protagonistic Winchester brothers encounter can assume human form, although there are a few exceptions to this, such as the Shtriga and the Wendigo. Most noticeable with the "human disguises" in the show are that of angels and demons. The true forms of angels are brilliant, amazing and overwhelming, as well as being as high as New York skyscrapers, forcing angels to possess humans whenever they manifest on Earth. The true forms of demons are destructive and deadly, forcing demons to forcibly possess humans. Other creatures, such as shapeshifters and the Leviathans, need samples of humans to take on their form.
Recently DC: The New Frontier returned to the cold war theme, using the character of the Martian Manhunter, "a shape-changing alien who adopts human disguise because he knows his alien form would scare people", to look back at cold-war paranoia and fear of outsiders.
In Roald Dahl's novel The Witches the titular creatures, the Witches, are effectively evil demons which assume human form. In their human form, they do not really fit comfortably within their human disguises, and even when they disguise themselves as human, they have several giveaway clues which can only be identified by truly observant individuals. Such individuals have formed an organization called Witchophiles who are dedicated to hunting down and killing the evil demons. In their human forms, witches have unnatural eyes, which flash ice and fire, and also they have long felinstic claws which they disguise with gloves. Their most notable feature is their bald heads, which they disguise with first-class wigs.
In Pandemic's 1950s-themed Destroy All Humans! video game, the Furon character Crypto, a gray-skinned alien, uses a holographic human disguise to infiltrate suburban United States. "In human form he cannot use weapons but is still able to use his mental powers to hurl objects and hypnotize people into becoming obedient slaves."
Some authors portray the mannerisms of aliens using human disguises as awkward, indicating that the aliens may not feel comfortable in their false skins, for instance Vincent D'Onofrio's portrayal of an alien "Bug" wearing a human suit in Men In Black.
Aliens in human disguise do not always have sinister motives: in Meet Dave, a group of aliens arrive in a spaceship shaped like a human being, and pilot it, to interact with the humans without getting noticed. In Star Man the alien appears in human form, explaining it was so "you not be a little bit jumpy." In the Men in Black movie and comic book, alien immigrants disguised as humans inhabit the Earth; the alien prince of the Arquillian Empire lives as a human being with a pet cat.
An episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer incorporates a praying mantis in human disguise, posing as a substitute high-school teacher who seduces her students before eating them. The mantis in disguise serves as a metaphor to suggest to younger viewers that rushing unprepared into sexual activity can result in being "devoured".
In the film Mimic, insects native to Earth are genetically modified to stop a cockroach-borne disease, but as a side-effect later evolve in size and shape to mimic and prey upon human beings.
A particularly notable and riveting form of human disguise appears in Larry Niven's Ringworld, specifically in the minor religion practiced by the Kdaptists, a religious order of Kzin who believe that the pinnacle of creation is not Kzin but man, and adopt a mask of human skin during prayer to attempt to trick God into thinking they are His children.
Isaac Asimov considered humanoid robots (androids) in the novel Robots and Empire and the short stories "Evidence" and "The Tercentenary Incident", in which robots are crafted to fool people into mistaking them as human. Some of Asimov's robots respond to human distrust and antipathy by passing as human and influencing human development for its own good. In Asimov's novella The Bicentennial Man, the robot Andrew gradually replaces his mechanical body with organic components, but only on the 200th anniversary of the start of his organic conversion, when he allows his positronic brain to "decay" and thus abandons his immortality, does he become accepted as "human".
In the 2010 Metroid game, the antagonist is a cyborg named Madeline Bergman who has been raised by the governing Galactic Federation and has effectively been kept in imprisonment on a derelict space vessel, thus making her gradually loathe humans. Madeline eventually plans to raid the Federation headquarters and destroy human civilization, but fortunately Samus Aran is called onto the scene by the Federation before this can occur.
In Star Trek: the Next Generation, the android Data's desire to become more human became an ongoing source of commentary on the human condition. (Data's positronic brain is a nod to Asimov's stories.) An earlier pilot-film by Star Trek's creator Gene Roddenberry, The Questor Tapes, had featured an android left on 20th-century Earth as the last of a series of advanced alien technology, with the same subtext.
In Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and its film adaption Blade Runner, the replicants are biological robots indistinguishable from humans except by specialised testing of their empathic reactions. As those androids are manufactured exclusively for off-world colonies on Mars and are illegal on Earth they attempt to disguise as human to evade their killing by special police operatives.
Similarly in the remade series Battlestar Galactica, robots known as the Cylons have evolved the ability to make bodies that appear quite human. When killed, they transfer their consciousness from one body to an identical model elsewhere. This seeming immortality, the uncertainty of who is really human and who is Cylon, and the love between characters who are revealed to be human or Cylon, are used for discussion of what it means to be human.
Human disguises sometimes occur in animation for cartoon characters. In a short story by Haitham Chehabi, Trix, a cartoon rabbit, wears a human disguise. Cartoons sometimes portray aliens drawn in human disguise. Note too the cartoon dragons passing as humans in Gnuff.
Examples outside fiction
Commentators may use the concept of human disguise as a metaphor for a lack of humanity. For example, a Kenyan judge described the former Kenyan Prime Minister Jomo Kenyatta as a "monster in human disguise". Doug Parker, chairman of US Airways, was described as a "Klingon in a human disguise", after he "vaporized much of what was left of USAirways in Pittsburgh." [sic] The human disguise does not always carry negative connotations - in the US, a well regarded murder victim has been described as "an angel running round with a human suit on", while Manoel de S. Antonio, (Bishop of Malacca between 1701 and 1723) was referred to as an "angel in human disguise" for his conversion of 10,000 people to Christianity.
Some conspiracy theorists such as David Icke believe that aliens have assumed human form and control the world by masquerading as human leaders such as Queen Elizabeth II, George Bush and Tony Blair.
This table lists fictional creatures which pretend to pass as human.
|Changeling||European||A troll-, faerie- or elf-child, switched at birth for various reasons|
|The Devil||various||Believed to take on human forms in order to tempt people|
|Doppelgänger||German||A ghostly double of a living person|
|Ghoul||Arabic||A malevolent jinn who likes human flesh. It can make all but its feet look human in order to lure the unwary.|
|Kitsune||Japanese||A fox which can take the form of a beautiful maiden, and which grows an extra tail every hundred years. A kitsune was said to be the mother of the legendary onmyoji Abe no Seimei.|
|Noppera-bō||Japanese||Sometimes also called a mujina, At first appearing completely human, when approached it can wipe its face completely off, as though cleaning a chalkboard, leaving behind a featureless orb similar to an egg. Lafcadio Hearn introduced this entity to the West in his 1903 book Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things.|
|Selkie||Scottish||A seal which can shed its skin to become a beautiful maiden|
|Vampire||Pan-European||An undead consumer of blood which, in some traditions, passes for human in order to attain blood|
|Tanuki||Japanese||A raccoon dogs which can take the form of a human, though without always achieving a perfect transformation|
|Nych||Pan-European||A dark creature with bright markings of unknown origin whose true form is usually the shape of a large, long-eared dog, but it can also take the form of a human|
- Liminal being
- Plot device
- Stock character
- Or other synonymous descriptions, such as "disguised as human being(s)", or "taking human shape". This article concerns the underlying concept rather than any particular phrase.
- Westfahl, Gary (2005). The Greenwood encyclopedia of science fiction and fantasy: themes, works, and wonders, Volume 1. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 202–204. ISBN 0-313-32951-6.
Disguises also aid in crossing racial barriers, often represented in science fiction through the use of aliens in space or robots. Sometimes humans attempt to pass as the other ... more often, aliens, and robots attempt to appear human.
- Westfahl, Gary (2005). The Greenwood encyclopedia of science fiction and fantasy: themes, works, and wonders, Volume 2. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 704–706. ISBN 0-313-32952-4.
Stories of secret identities have roots in ancient mythologies as disguised deities frequently descended to walk among mortals.
- The Android and The Human, Philip K. Dick, 1972
- Joseph Campbell (1991). The Masks of God: Primitive Mythology. Arkana, Viking Penguin. ISBN 0-14-019443-6.
- The Philosophical Dictionary. G. H. Evans. 1830. p. 163. Retrieved 29 October 2009.
- H. J. Rose (1956). "Divine Disguisings", pp.63-72, in The Harvard Theological Review, Vol.49, No.1 (Jan.1956). ISSN [//www.worldcat.org/search?fq=x0:jrnl&q=n2:0017-8160 0017-8160] (print), ISSN [//www.worldcat.org/search?fq=x0:jrnl&q=n2:1475-4517 1475-4517] (web).
- Warren Smith (1988). "The Disguises of the Gods in the Iliad", pp.161-178 in Numen, Vol.35, Fasc.2 (Dec.1988). ISSN [//www.worldcat.org/search?fq=x0:jrnl&q=n2:0029-5973 0029-5973] (print), ISSN [//www.worldcat.org/search?fq=x0:jrnl&q=n2:1568-5276 1568-5276] (web).
- Louis Ropes Loomis Introduction to Homer's The Iliad The Iliad Issue 77 of Classics illustrated Translated by Samuel Butler Publisher Wildside Press LLC, 2007 ISBN 1-4344-8892-6, ISBN 978-1-4344-8892-3. Length 428 pages
- Ruby Blondell (2002). The Play of Character in Plato's Dialogues. Cambridge University Press. pp.230 & 325. ISBN 0-521-79300-9, ISBN 978-0-521-79300-1.
- Dunn, James D. G. (2007). Christology in the Making: An Inquiry Into the Origins of the Doctrine of the Incarnation (3 ed.). SCM-Canterbury Press. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-334-02929-8. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
We have examples of gods appearing in the guise of men, as in the legend of Baucis and Philemon (Ovid, Metam. VIII.626-721)
- Raphael Encyclopædia Britannica
- Child, Heather; Colles, Dorothy (1971). Christian Symbols Ancient and Modern: a Handbook for Students. London: G. Bell and Sons. p. 122. ISBN 0-7135-1960-6.
The archangel Gabriel in the story of Tobias from the Apocrypha, is depicted in the early art of the catacombs as a selfless and noble being, who can declare 'I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels who present the prayers of the saints and enter into the presence of the glory of the Holy One.' Yet in the narrative he appears as a mere man, an archangel incognito as it were.
- "Host and Hosted". The Forward. August 22, 2007. Retrieved 2009-10-30.
- In this context Isaacs notes the nature of the interaction between angelic and human figures: Isaacs, Ronald H. (1997). Ascending Jacob's Ladder: Jewish views of angels, demons, and evil spirits. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-7657-5965-8. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
[...] Hagar's angel, as well as many of the other angels in the Bible, appeared in human form, so that the individuals to whom they appeared were at first quite unaware of their angelic natures.
- Peter Kreeft (1995). Angels and Demons: What Do We Really Know About Them?. Ignatius Press. pp.52-53, 83. ISBN 0-89870-550-9, ISBN 978-0-89870-550-8.
- Child, Heather; Colles, Dorothy (1971). Christian Symbols Ancient and Modern: a Handbook for Students. London: G. Bell and Sons. p. 122. ISBN 0-7135-1960-6.
The angels in the Old Testament were known to be messengers of God, sent to do his will, usually invisible and mysterious, but sometimes coming without wings in the guise of men.
- Peter Day, Vampires: Myths and Metaphors of Enduring Evil, p.85.
- John Milton, John Leonard (ed.) (1998). The Complete Poems. Penguin Classics. pp.13, 912. ISBN 0-14-043363-5, ISBN 978-0-14-043363-0.
- Peter Kreeft (1990), Everything you ever wanted to know about heaven-- but never dreamed of asking, Ignatius Press, p. 25, ISBN 978-0-89870-297-2
- Raymond T. McNally, Radu Florescu (1994). In Search of Dracula: the History of Dracula and Vampires. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Chapter 10: Vampirism: Old World Folklore, pp. 117-132. ISBN 0-395-65783-0, ISBN 978-0-395-65783-6.
Compare detecting a werewolf in human form: Christopher Golden, Stephen Bissette, Thomas E. Sniegoski (2000). The Monster Book. Simon and Schuster. p.247. ISBN 0-671-04259-9, ISBN 978-0-671-04259-2.
- William Howitt (1863). The History of the Supernatural in All Ages and Nations. Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, & Green. p.286.
- Richard Erdoes, Alfonso Ortíz (1984). American Indian Myths And Legends. Random House. p.xii. ISBN 0-394-74018-1, ISBN 978-0-394-74018-8.
- Hamel, Frank (1969). Human Animals: Werewolves & Other Transformations. New Hyde Park (Village), New York: University Books. p. 91. ISBN 0-7661-6700-3.
- Hall, Jamie (2003). Half Human, Half Animal: Tales of Werewolves and Related Creatures. Bloomington, Indiana: AuthorHouse. p. 145. ISBN 1-4107-5809-5.
- Tyler, Royall (1987). Japanese Tales. New York City: Pantheon Books. p. xlix. ISBN 0-394-75656-8.
- Hearn, Lafcadio (2005). Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan. Project Gutenberg. p. 155.
- Kate Bernheimer, ed. (2008). Brothers and Beasts: An Anthology of Men on Fairy Tales. Wayne State University Press. p. 53. ISBN 0-8143-3267-6.
- Nozaki, Kiyoshi (1961). Kitsuné — Japan's Fox of Mystery, Romance, and Humor. Tokyo: The Hokuseidô Press. p. 221.
- Carmen Blacker (1990). "The Folklore of the Stranger: A Consideration of a Disguised Wandering Saint", pp.162-168, in Folklore, Vol.101, No.2 (1990). ISSN [//www.worldcat.org/search?fq=x0:jrnl&q=n2:1469-8315 1469-8315] (print), ISSN [//www.worldcat.org/search?fq=x0:jrnl&q=n2:0015-587X 0015-587X] (web).
- Chevalier, Jean; Gheerbrant, Alain (1996). The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols. John Buchanan-Brown (translator). London: Penguin. p. 942. ISBN 978-0-14-051254-0.
stranger[: ...] In other traditions, the stranger is perceived as a potential rival and, although benefitting from the laws of hospitality, he may as easily be a dangerous incarnation of the Devil as a messenger from God. He needs to be honoured in the latter capacity and conciliated in the first.
- Meliss Bunce (2003). "The Selkie Wife", p.56, in Happily Ever After: Folktales that Illuminate Marriage and Commitment. August House. ISBN 0-87483-674-3, ISBN 978-0-87483-674-5.
- Frye, Roland Mushat (1978). Milton's imagery and the visual arts. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. p. 343. ISBN 0-691-06349-4.
Between the fifteenth century and the seventeenth, the Tempter in the Wilderness [Satan] appeared in several standard forms. Most frequently, he was shown as the falsus frater, as an old Franciscan friar, or as a hermit, often with a rosary, as Botticelli represented him in his Sistine Chapel frescoes. This is the only disguise which Milton entirely ignores in Paradise Regained [...] Each of the other Renaissance guises he does incorporate into his treatment. [...] Other well-known guises for the Tempter in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century art cast him as an old peasant or shepherd, as Milton does in the first temptation, or as a richly dressed man of the world, as he does in the second. In the final temptation, the devil is usually shown as unmistakably demonic in physical appearance [...] Aside from the final temptation, there was no fixed order of the disguises employed, and each artist was apparently fee to choose at will among the possibilities.
- Quint, David (1993). Epic and empire: politics and generic form from Virgil to Milton. Princeton University Press. p. 231. ISBN 978-0-691-01520-0. Retrieved 2009-11-14.
As the infernal denizens scatter to carry out their mission, their leader makes a nocturnal visit to Cesare d'Este, assuming the disguise of an aged friend: the model is the visit of Virgil's Allecto to the sleeping Turnus, the same model imitated by Tasso in Argillano's dream. The devil speaks: [...]
- Anita Silvey, The Essential Guide to Children's Books and Their Creators, p.284.
- March 2009 Westfahl, Gary (March 2009). "What Science Fiction Leaves Out of the Future #2: The Day After Tomorrow". The Internet Review of Science Fiction. Retrieved 2009-11-21.
There is one obvious answer to be drawn from the standard argument advanced by Stanisław Lem and others, that science fiction writers, as human beings, are inherently incapable of imagining truly alien beings, meaning that all aliens in science fiction are nothing but disguised humans.
- Holden, Stephen (May 31, 1996). "Film Review: The Arrival (1996)". New York Times.
Alien invaders in the movies tend to fall into two types. There are monsters from outer space ("The War of the Worlds", the forthcoming "Independence Day") and infiltrators ("Invasion of the Body Snatchers") who slip in using human disguise.
- Peter, Lev. Transforming the screen, 1950–1959, Volume 7 of. History of the American cinema. 7. University of California Press. p. 177. ISBN 0-520-24966-6.
Invasion films were common in the 1950s featuring a variety of aliens portrayed as superior to earthlings both in intelligence and technology. In these films, aliens represent what some Americans feared about the Soviets. Invaders, friends or enemies, and often with the help of robots, either come to warn earthlings or destroy them with superior technology. Sometimes the invaders use the strategy of infiltration, taking over the minds of the people, making slaves of them or appropriating their bodies, thus making war unnecessary.
- Whitehead, John W. (2001). "Invasion of the Body Snatchers: A Tale for Our Times". Gadfly Online, 2001-11-26.
- David Buxton From the Avengers to Miami Vice: form and ideology in television series Cultural politics Manchester University Press ND, 1990 ISBN 0-7190-2994-5, ISBN 978-0-7190-2994-3, 170 pages 46-56
- Booker, M. Keith (2004). Science fiction television. The Praeger television collection. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 92. ISBN 0-275-98164-9.
Of course this disguise strategy is in itself understandable given the xenophobia of earthlings, which is demonstrated by the very telling way in which audiences were supposed to concluded that the aliens were evil simply because they looked different from humans, especially because they had lied about the difference. Of course by this time there was a whole science fiction tradition in which aliens disguised as humans turned out to be evil invaders seeking to conquer Earth, so audience reactions were also conditioned to some extent by generic expectations
- The New Cult Canon: They Live , Scott Tobias, March 26, 2008, Onion AV Club
- Billson, Anne (27 August 2009). "The Thing set on survival". The Guardian. London.
- Barbara Creed The monstrous-feminine: film, feminism, psychoanalysis page 44
- Tim Clodfelter Video Takes A Look Back At Origins Of Popular Superheroes (Metro Edition) Salem Journal (Winston-Salem, North Carolina) February 28, 2008 page 5
- Charles Herold "Aliens in the Suburbs, Surrounded by Stupidity" July 16, 2005 New York Times
- Jonah Goldberg (June 14, 2000), Is Gore An Alien?, National Review
- Dozois, Gardner (1998). "Introduction". The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fifteenth Annual Collection. Macmillan. p. ii. ISBN 978-0-312-19033-0.
...a wonderful portrayal – done mostly with body language – of a menacing bug stuffed into an ill-fitting Human Suit, scary and very funny at the same time, by Vincent D'Onofrio.
- Brad Munson Inside MIIB: Men in black II
- Stevenson, Gregory (2003). Televised morality: the case of Buffy the vampire slayer. Hamilton Books. p. 191. ISBN 0-7618-2833-8.
- Niven, Larry (1985). Ringworld. Random House. p. 237. ISBN 978-0-345-33392-6.
- Bretnor, Reginald (1976). The Craft of science fiction: a symposium on writing science fiction and science fantasy. Harper & Row. ISBN 978-0-06-010461-0.
- Boag, Keith (September 9, 2008). "Who is afraid of the Terminator now?". CBC News. Retrieved 2009-10-29.
- Nemeck, Larry (2003). Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-7434-5798-6.
- Judith Kerman (2003). Retrofitting Blade Runner: Issues in Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner" and Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?". Bowling Green University Popular Press. ISBN 0-87972-510-9.
- See for instance the character arcs of Saul Tigh and Number Eight (Battlestar Galactica), as well as Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series)#References to modern society.
- Haitham Chehabi Trix Are For Kids? January 6, 2008 LA Times
- Steve Barr 1-2-3 draw cartoon aliens and space stuff: a step-by-step guide
- "Enigma of Jomo Kenyatta". Ebony (August 1961): 83.
- Kalson, Sally (December 30, 2007). "A pop quiz for Pittsburghers". Puttsburgh Post Gazette. Retrieved 2009-10-29.
- Patti Rosenberg (August 14, 2007), "Killer Wanted To Take Own Life, Psychologist Says Jurors Now Deciding On Life Or Death For Exxon Gunman", Daily Press, Newport News, Virginia - hosted on pqarchiver.com
- Schulte Nordholt, H. G. (1971). The political system of the Atoni of Timor. 60. Nijhoff. p. 176.
- Christopher Hodapp, Alice Von Kannon (2008), Conspiracy Theories & Secret Societies For Dummies, For Dummies, pp. 321 et seq., ISBN 978-0-470-18408-0