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Reptilian conspiracy theory

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An artist's conception comparing reptilians to humans

Reptilians (also called reptoids,[1] archons,[2] reptiloids, saurians, draconians,[3][4][5] or lizard people[6]) are supposed reptilian humanoids, which play a prominent role in fantasy, science fiction, ufology, and conspiracy theories.[7][8] The idea of reptilians was popularised by David Icke, an anti-semitic conspiracy theorist who claims shapeshifting reptilian aliens control Earth by taking on human form and gaining political power to manipulate human societies. Icke has stated on multiple occasions that many world leaders are, or are possessed by, so-called reptilians.

Some conspiracy theorists espousing the extraterrestrial hypothesis claim they either come from the Draco constellation or the Orion constellation or are allies with nefarious extraterrestrials from the Orion constellation.

Others claim they are interdimensional, coming from another universe or dimension.


Michael Barkun, professor of political science at Syracuse University, posits that the idea of a reptilian conspiracy originated in the fiction of Conan the Barbarian creator Robert E. Howard, in his story "The Shadow Kingdom", published in Weird Tales in August 1929.[9] This story drew on theosophical ideas of the "lost worlds" of Atlantis and Lemuria, particularly Helena Blavatsky's The Secret Doctrine written in 1888, with its reference to "'dragon-men' who once had a mighty civilization on a Lemurian continent".[10][11]

Howard's "serpent men" were described as humanoids (with human bodies and snake heads) who were able to imitate humans at will, and who lived in underground passages and used their shapechanging and mind-control abilities to infiltrate humanity.[9] Clark Ashton Smith used Howard's "serpent men" in his stories, as well as themes from H. P. Lovecraft, and he, Howard and Lovecraft together laid the basis for the Cthulhu Mythos.[12]

In the 1940s, American occultist Maurice Doreal (also known as Claude Doggins)[13] wrote a pamphlet entitled "Mysteries of the Gobi" that described a "serpent race" with "bodies like man but...heads...like a great snake" and an ability to take human form.[14] These creatures also appeared in Doreal's poem "The Emerald Tablets", in which he referred to Emerald Tablets written by "Thoth, an Atlantean Priest king". Barkun asserts that "in all likelihood", Doreal's ideas came from "The Shadow Kingdom", and that in turn, "The Emerald Tablets" formed the basis for David Icke's book, Children of the Matrix.[15]

Historian Edward Guimont has argued that the reptilian conspiracy theory, particularly as expounded by Icke, drew from earlier pseudohistorical legends developed during the colonisation of Africa, particularly surrounding Great Zimbabwe and the mokele-mbembe.[16]

Alien abduction

Alien abduction narratives sometimes allege contact with reptilian creatures.[17] One of the earliest reports was that of Ashland, Nebraska police officer Herbert Schirmer, who under hypnosis recalled being 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.[18][19] Skeptics consider his claims to be a hoax.[20]

David Icke

According to British conspiracy theorist David Icke, who first published on this theme in his 1999 work The Biggest Secret, 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.[21] He contends that most of the world's ancient and modern leaders are related to these reptilians, including the Merovingian dynasty, the Rothschilds, the Bush family and the British Royal family.[22] Icke's conspiracy theories now have supporters in up to 47 countries and he has given lectures to crowds of up to 6,000 people.[23][24]

American writer Vicki Santillano included Icke's conspiracy theory in her list of the 10 most popular conspiracy theories.[25] A poll of Americans in 2013 by Public Policy Polling indicated that 4% of registered voters (±2.8%) believed in David Icke's ideas.[26]

A protest sign referring to reptilian politicians


On September 12, 2003, during the provincial election campaign in Ontario, Canada, the Ernie Eves campaign issued a news release that called opponent Dalton McGuinty an "evil reptilian kitten-eater from another planet".[27] The words appeared at the end of the news release. Eves said the epithet was meant as a joke, and acknowledged the words were "over the top", but refused to apologize.[27]

In the closely fought 2008 U.S. Senate election in Minnesota 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.[28] 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."[29] Franken won the election after recount.

In February 2011, on the Opie and Anthony radio show, the comedian Louis C.K. jokingly 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. Amused by Rumsfeld's refusal to directly answer the question, C.K. suggested it was a possible admission of guilt. He went on to further muse that perhaps 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.[30]

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. This led to a tongue-in-cheek response from chief National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden who said "any alleged program to guard the president with aliens or robots would likely have to be scaled back or eliminated in the sequester".[31]

In October, 2022, Dutch MP Thierry Baudet, head of the far-right Forum for Democracy, said in an interview with the "Geopolitics and Empire" podcast that he believes that the world is "being governed by evil reptiles."[32]

Some adherents of the QAnon conspiracy theory have also borrowed from the reptilian conspiracy theory,[33] including elements shared in anti-Semitism conspiracy theories.[34]

See also


  1. ^ Joyce, Judith (2011). The Weiser field guide to the paranormal abductions, apparitions, ESP, synchronicity, and more unexplained phenomena from other realms. San Francisco: Weiser Books. pp. 80–81. ISBN 978-1609252984. Archived from the original on 30 March 2019. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
  2. ^ Lynskey, Dorian (6 November 2014). "Psycho lizards from Saturn: The godlike genius of David Icke!". NewStatesman. Retrieved 2021-12-02.
  3. ^ Marty Crump; Danté Bruce Fenolio (2015). Eye of Newt and Toe of Frog, Adder's Fork and Lizard's Leg: The Lore and Mythology of Amphibians and Reptiles. University of Chicago Press. p. 56. ISBN 978-0-226-11600-6. Archived from the original on 30 March 2019. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  4. ^ Alfred Lambremont Webre (17 November 2015). The Omniverse: Transdimensional Intelligence, Time Travel, the Afterlife, and the Secret Colony on Mars. Simon and Schuster. p. 53. ISBN 978-1-59143-216-6. Archived from the original on 30 March 2019. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  5. ^ Leo Lyon Zagami (2016). Confessions of an Illuminati, Volume II: The Time of Revelation and Tribulation Leading Up to 2020. CCC Publishing. p. 131. ISBN 978-1-888729-62-7. Archived from the original on 30 March 2019. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  6. ^ "How to Spot the Reptilians Running the U.S. Government". TheAtlantic.com. Oct 31, 2013. Archived from the original on April 8, 2016. Retrieved June 22, 2017.
  7. ^ Lewis, Tyson; Richard Kahn (Winter 2005). "The Reptoid Hypothesis: Utopian and Dystopian Representational Motifs in David Icke's Alien Conspiracy Theory". Utopian Studies. 16 (1): 45–75. doi:10.5325/utopianstudies.16.1.0045. JSTOR 20718709. S2CID 143047194. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2018-07-23.
  8. ^ Frel, Jan (1 September 2010). "Inside the Great Reptilian Conspiracy: From Queen Elizabeth to Barack Obama – They Live!". Alternet. Archived from the original on 2018-06-12. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
  9. ^ a b Barkun, Michael (2003). A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. pp. 120–121. ISBN 0520238052.
  10. ^ Trompf, Garry W.; Bernauer, Lauren (2012). "Producing Lost Civilisations: Theosophical Concepts in Literature, Visual Media and Popular Culture". In Cusack, Carole; Norman, Alex (eds.). Handbook of New Religions and Cultural Production. Leiden: Brill. pp. 113–114. ISBN 978-9004221871. Archived from the original on 30 March 2019. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  11. ^ Parramore, Lynn Stuart (2021-01-12). "The far right's lizard conspiracy is bonkers. But it's definitely not harmless". NBC News. Retrieved 2021-01-12.
  12. ^ Mott, William Michael (2011). Caverns, Cauldrons, and Concealed Creatures: A Study of Subterranean Mysteries in History, Folklore, and Myth. Grave Distractions Publications. p. 27. ISBN 978-0982912874. Archived from the original on 30 March 2019. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  13. ^ Doreal, Maurice (D. 1963), Encyclopedia.com
  14. ^ Barkun (2003), p. 119 Archived 2019-03-30 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Barkun (2003). A Culture of Conspiracy. pp. 120–121. Doreal's 'translation' of the tablets was used extensively by David Icke in his book on the reptilians, Children of the Matrix...Although Doreal and the others spoke of the serpent race as a confirmable historic reality, the idea almost certainly came from pulp fiction...In all likelihood, the notion of a shape-changing serpent race first came from the imagination of an obscure pulp fiction author, Robert E. Howard.
  16. ^ Guimont, Edward (18 March 2019). "Hunting Dinosaurs in Central Africa". Contingent Magazine. Retrieved 11 September 2020.
  17. ^ "The Shadowlands Mysterious Creatures page". Archived from the original on 2012-07-15. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
  18. ^ "Police Officer Herbert Schirmer Abduction". UFO Evidence. September 30, 2007. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved November 3, 2017 – via Internet Archive.
  19. ^ Matteson, Cory (March 5, 2012). "Comic book artist finds inspiration in Ashland alien abduction story". Lincoln Journal Star. Archived from the original on October 21, 2018. Retrieved 2018-10-21.
  20. ^ Newton, Michael. (2002). The Encyclopedia of Kidnappings. Facts on File, Inc. p. 6. ISBN 0-8160-4486-4
  21. ^ Ronson, Jon (16 March 2001). "Beset by lizards". The Guardian UK. Archived from the original on 30 August 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  22. ^ Chidester, David (2005). Authentic Fakes: Religion and American Popular Culture. University of California Press. p. 122. ISBN 978-0520242807. Archived from the original on 30 March 2019. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  23. ^ Lauren Cox (Dec 12, 2008). "What's Behind Internet Conspiracy Empires?". ABC News. Archived from the original on October 29, 2009. Retrieved November 18, 2009.
  24. ^ Mesure, Susie (28 October 2012). "David Icke is not the Messiah. Or even that naughty. But boy, can he drone on". The Independent. Archived from the original on 16 December 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  25. ^ Santillano, Vicki. "10 Conspiracy Theories that Won't Go Away". Divine Caroline. Archived from the original on September 20, 2018. Retrieved 2018-10-21.
  26. ^ "Conspiracy Theory Poll Results". Public Policy Polling. Archived from the original on 2017-09-30. Retrieved 2013-04-03.
  27. ^ a b Smith, Greame (13 September 2003). "Kitten-eater controversy litters battle for Ontario". The Globe and Mail. The Globe and Mail Inc. Archived from the original on 31 January 2017. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  28. ^ "Minnesota Senate Recount: Challenged ballots: You be the judge". Minnesota Public Radio. 2008-11-19. Archived from the original on 2008-11-20. Retrieved 2008-11-22.
  29. ^ "Why would someone vote for the Lizard People?". 2008. Archived from the original on 2009-06-28. Retrieved 2010-01-08.
  30. ^ Del Signore, John (February 25, 2011). "Louis CK Repeatedly Asks Donald Rumsfeld If He's a Lizard Alien". Gothamist. Archived from the original on November 20, 2011. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
  31. ^ Beckhusen, Robert (March 26, 2013). "White House Can't Afford Its Shapeshifting Alien Reptile Guards". Wired. Archived from the original on October 22, 2013. Retrieved October 15, 2013.
  32. ^ Jean-Pierre Stroobants (October 21, 2022). "Dutch far-right leader claims world is governed by 'evil reptiles'". Le Monde. Retrieved 2023-09-05.
  33. ^ Madani, Doha; Blankstein, Andrew; Collins, Ben (12 August 2021). "California dad killed his kids over QAnon and 'serpent DNA' conspiracy theories, feds claim". NBC News. NBC Universal. Retrieved 25 December 2021.
  34. ^ "Opinion | The far right's lizard conspiracy is bonkers. But it's definitely not harmless". NBC News. 12 January 2021. Retrieved 2023-02-22.