[Ads-l] Put it in the gray basket

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jun 9 15:28:13 UTC 2016

Here are matches for "gray basket" in the UFO domain.  The term was
used when discussing information about alien encounters. The second
citation employs "fairly large gray basket" and "bulging gray basket".

Year: 1997
Title: The God hypothesis: extraterrestrial life and its implications
for science and religion
Author: Joe Lewels
Publisher: Mill Spring, NC: Wild Flower Press
Database: Google Books Snippet; data may be inaccurate

(Ellipsis in original text)

[Begin excerpt]
In the April 1993 issue of the MUFON Journal, Carpenter cautiously
revealed that researchers had held back their knowledge of the "lizard
creatures" from the general public for fear of being laughed at.
Researchers have "a fairly large gray basket to which other alien
types are presently relegated. . .because they are judged either too
weird, too unlikely or too few to be significant." But when
researchers began to share some of these findings, they discovered
"amazing matches and similarities." Carpenter, who has had about a
dozen cases in which his subjects have reported such encounters,
reports that the creatures are often described as being "hideous, rude
and aggressive."
[End excerpt]

Website: UFO Digest ufodigest.com
Aticle title: Abduction Notes: Reptilians and other Unmentionables
Author: John S. Carpenter, MSW, LCSW
Database: Wayback Machine copy June 24, 2014

(Comment: This may be an excerpt from an article in the April 1993
issue of the MUFON Journal; I have not verified it)


[Begin excerpt]
There is a fairly large gray basket to which other alien types are
presently relegated. Why? They are judged either "too weird," "too
unlikely," or "too few to be significant." After all, the little gray
humanoids have acquired enough notoriety in the media to become the
publically-accepted image of how an alien is supposed to appear. Now
that the public is beginning to accept the "little grays," why confuse
them with stranger or less believable alien types? Laughter would
certainly greet the notions of a seven foot tall lizard that has sex
with our women. I believe many researchers have "drawn the line" as an
effort to not lose ground in the war for credibility; so we keep the
lizards, tall blondes and praying mantises under a quiet lid in that
bulging gray basket. (Can we hide them any longer?)
[End excerpt]

On Thu, Jun 9, 2016 at 4:32 AM, Michael Quinion
<michael.quinion at worldwidewords.org> wrote:
> A reader asks about the expression "put it in the gray basket", which seems
> to mean putting aside those questions for which there is too little evidence
> to form a conclusion. An example: "As a physicist, I believe one must ask
> the right questions, have a large 'gray basket' for those questions about
> which there is too little solid information to reach a scientific
> conclusion." (/Flying Saucers and Science: A Scientist Investigates the
> Mysteries of Ufos/, by Stanton T. Friedman, 2008.) The spelling is always
> "gray", suggesting it is of US provenance. The idiom is hardly common but
> appears most often in the context of UFOs, alien kidnappings and the like.
> The obvious potential link is with those mythical alien greys associated
> with such abduction claims. Can anyone supply pointers to the genesis of
> "gray basket"?
> --
> Michael Quinion, World Wide Words
> http://www.worldwidewords.org
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list