Perhaps similar to small, child-like, mischievous, hairy Native American elf/goblin-like spirits like Memegwesi (Anishinaabe Great Lakes tribes), Mannegishi (Cree), Popo-li or Kowi Anukasha (Choctaw), Yunwi Tsundi (Cherokee), Yehasuri (Catawba), Pukwudgie (Wampanoag), Nirumbee or Awwakkulé (Crow), Jogahoh (Iroquois), and others?
Origin: Native American Folklore
The Cheerake tell us, that when they first arrived in the country which they inhabit, they found it possessed by certain moon-eyed people, who could not see in the day-time. These wretches they expelled.
— Benjamin Smith Barton's New Views of the Origin of the Tribes and Nations of America
Moon-Eyed People are strange race of men described in Native American traditions of the Appalachian mountains as pale-skinned, blue-eyed, dwarfish people who live deep underground in vast caverns, emerging into the surface world only at night; the Native American tribes were supposed to have been repulsed by them, driving them from the surface world until they are rarely encountered above ground, and only rarely seen in caves. By some accounts, the Moon-Eyed People are technologically sophisticated, though physically frail and blinded or weakened/sickened by sunlight.
One account of cave explorers encountering a staircase deep underground described discovering miles of tunnels and chambers of expertly-worked stone, and while exploring those, they encountered a group of strange, pale blue-skinned, white-haired people with eerie eyes who carried strange instruments, and offered to guide the explorers through the underground world, taking them to an elevator-like device that led deeper underground into a vast cavern world filled with bizarre glass cities that these beings shared with Serpent Men and silent, hairy giants. The explorers returned safely to the surface, but were warned not to return; those who did were never seen again. There are frequent accounts of similar discoveries of strangely-worked tunnels connected to caverns, with staircases, automatic doorways, elevators, and arched entrances hidden by "holograms" or other weirdly advanced technology, perhaps temporary entrances dematerialized through solid stone, which disappear after the explorers leave, and cannot be found again when returning to the area, suggesting that the builders have access to advanced technology, and do not wish their underworld cities to be found.
An account of the 1945 Kentucky Belva Mine Disaster by victims of the mine explosion describes how a strange door opened in solid stone from a room beyond well-lit with a pale bluish light, and some mysterious people stepped through, dressed "somewhat like lumberjacks" (it is unclear what was meant by that description), assured the survivors that they would be alright, and then returned to their room, with the door closing and disappearing without a trace. A similar report from another mine disaster in Sheppton, Pennsylvania, 1963 described silver-suited beings who guided the miners to rescue with strange blue lights on their helmets; wherever the figures touched the walls, strange, shimmering, shifting, holographic "hall of mirrors" style effects resulted.
These people have sometimes been identified with a (probably fictional) pre-Columbian Welsh expedition to the Americas led by a (probably fictional) "Prince Madoc" in 1170. Native legends and later dubious alt-science theories link the Moon-Eyed People with the now extinct but quite sophisticated Mound Builder culture that occupied the Appalachian and midwestern regions in ancient times before the civilization vanished, and the lands were subsequently occupied by later native tribes; the Mound Builders apparently had an advanced understanding of astronomy, as well as the ability to plan and build extensive earthwork and cyclopean stone engineering projects of mysterious "ceremonial" purpose across a vast territory, though very little else is known about them.
One variation on the Native American "little people" legend is Memegwaans, or Memegwaanswag (plural), which describes gentle, timid, shapeshifting dwarves who live in copper mines and avoid adults, but seem fond of children and are often helpful, guiding and comforting lost or trapped children.
Some modern urban-legend style sightings of strange, subterranean people in Appalachian tunnels describe grotesque, grey-skinned beings in "silver suits", which have by some accounts been spotted in tunnels, hunched over heaps of bloody chicken bones, or gnawing on the raw remains of freshly-killed animals, and one account describes one of these creatures - with a third eye in its forehead - being encountered in a tunnel by a group of college students in the 1960s; the creature, armed with with piece of lead pipe, chased the students from the tunnel. A similar modern account describes a frightening, thin, stunted, three-foot-tall creature with deep-set, weird, orange, slanted eyes and grey fur encountered in a sewer, which spoke broken English in a hissing voice.
- There seem to be several variations on the theme, conflated together, or perhaps representing beings sharing a bizarre underground world:
- Pale-skinned (white or bluish) little humanoids (or sometimes giants), sometimes described as wearing strange clothing (silver suits, or dressed "somewhat like lumberjacks")
- Small, shy, hairy dwarfs (perhaps covered in grey fur instead of humanoid hair and beards, fond of playing pranks on humans when they feel they have been disrespected); this seems to be a very common Native American version
- Reptilian or "dinosauroid" beings, ranging from two or three feet tall, up to towering eight or ten-foot tall giants, with white, red, or green skin, sometimes with orange or yellow eyes
- Menacing sasquatch-like hairy giants, silent, foul-smelling and foul-tempered, with sinister glowing yellow or orange eyes, and a tendency to throw things or noisily slam and bang objects to scare away intruders
Associated Mythos Elements
- setting: Folk Mythos
- alternative identities might include such Hollow Earth denizens as:
- People of K'n-Yan
- Men in Black
- Worms of the Earth (race)
- Ghouls and Ghasts
- Dark Ones
- Frazetta Man (small, hairy dwarves seem to be a running theme, wherever the creatures are not frail, white-skinned, "moon-eyed" beings)
- Serpent Men and Reptilian Aliens (sometimes these accompany more humanoid figures, and more frequently appear to be the primary inhabitants of the tunnels)
- Grey Aliens (seem to be the model for the grey-skinned, sometimes three-eyed, silver-suited beings)
- Trolls, Sasquatch (menacing, foul-smelling versions with glowing eyes are sometimes spotted within the underground tunnels)
- Mi-Go and Mi-Go Hominids (as subterranean miners)