The month of August 1955 was a strange one for residents around the small town of Kelly, in Christian County, Kentucky. A number of locals, as well as area law enforcement, had claimed to have been experiencing various odd things of an alleged “alien” variety; in fact, things would end up getting so strange for one group of locals, the Sutton family of nearby Hopkinsville, that their lives would be forever changed in the aftermath.
The events that led to a terrorizing evening for the family, along with a visiting friend from out of town, were both terrifying and wholly inexplicable. Things started as Pennsylvania native Billy Ray Taylor, along with Elmer Sutton, went outside to investigate noises coming from the forest nearby on the evening of August 21st, shortly after a series of odd lights had been seen in the distance. Both men, carrying guns, claimed to have witnessed a strange nonhuman entity emerge from the trees, prompting their return to the farmhouse. Soon afterward, the Suttons and Mr. Taylor would begin an evening secured within the home, as these strange “goblins” attacked them from the outside; thus began their nightlong bout with what have forever remained known as the “Hopkinsville Goblins,” an event in American Forteana that remains one of the strangest ever recorded.
The incidents which continued through to the dawn of the next morning, included witnesses such as policemen and state troopers, and the incidents were taken seriously enough as to be officially investigated by the United States Air Force.
There were dozens of eyewitnesses to the incidents, which included two families present at the farmhouse and others in the area who saw strange phenomena such as unexplained lights in the night sky and noises the same night. The seven people present in the farmhouse would claim that they were terrorized by an unknown number of creatures similar to gremlins, which have since often been referred to as the “Hopkinsville Goblins” in popular culture. The residents of the farmhouse described them as around three feet tall, with upright pointed ears, thin limbs (their legs were said to be almost in a state of atrophy), long arms and claw-like hands or talons. The creatures were either silvery in color, or wearing something metallic. Their movements on occasion seemed to defy gravity with them floating above the ground and appearing in high up places, and they “walked” with a swaying motion as through wading through water. Although the creatures never entered the house, they would pop up at windows and at the doorway, working up the children in the house to a hysterical frenzy. The families fled the farmhouse in the middle of the night to the local police station and sheriff Russell Greenwell noted they were visibly shaken. The families returned to the farmhouse with Sheriff Greenwell and twenty officers, yet the occurrences continued. Police saw evidence of the struggle and damage to the house, as well as seeing strange lights and hearing noises themselves. The witnesses additionally claimed to have used firearms to shoot at the creatures, with little or no effect, and the house and surrounding grounds were extensively damaged during the incident.
Even years later the eyewitness stories still corroborated remarkably under individual questioning, although speculation amongst the eyewitnesses regarding the motivations of the creatures has ranged from field study on their part, or that the creatures were acting out of mere curiosity or even outright malevolence. The two families involved were noted locally to not be the types to make up a hoax, and this would be seemingly backed up by the fact the families obtained no financial gain or significant fame from the incident, and fled the area when the incident became known locally and they gained an abundance of trespassers wanting to see the site. UFO researcher Allan Hendry wrote “[t]his case is distinguished by its duration and also by the number of witnesses involved.” Jerome Clark writes that “[i]nvestigations by police, Air Force officers from nearby Fort Campbell, and civilian ufologists found no evidence of a hoax”. Although they never formally investigated the case, Blue Book confessed to being stumped. So was Isabel Davis, one of the most hardheaded of UFO investigators. On the evening of August 21, 1955, members of the Taylor family from Philadelphia were visiting friends, the Sutton family of Kentucky. The Sutton family home was a rural farmhouse located near the towns of Kelly and Hopkinsville, in Christian County, Kentucky (the farmhouse still stands today although the Sutton family moved soon after the incident). There were a total of seven people in the house that night, including the children of the two families. The Suttons had no running water in the farmhouse, and due to it being a warm evening Billy Ray Taylor, the patriarch of the Taylor family, went to an outside water pump for a drink. It was about 7.00 p.m. Taylor said he observed strange lights in the sky to the west, which he believed to be an unusual craft. He excitedly told the others about his “flying saucer” sighting, but no one believed him, instead thinking that he had become overly excited after seeing a vivid “shooting star”. At about 8.00 p.m., the families began hearing strange and unexplained noises outside. The Sutton family dog which was in the yard outside began barking loudly and then hid under the house, where it remained until the next day. Going outside a few minutes later with their guns, Billy Ray Taylor and Elmer “Lucky” Sutton then asserted that they saw a strange creature emerge from the nearby trees.
Disquieted by the creature’s bizarre appearance, the pair were further unnerved when it began rushing towards the house holding its hands up in the air, which the men took as threatening behavior. When the creature approached to within about 20 feet, the two men became scared of a home invasion and began shooting at it, one using a shotgun, the other man using a .22 gun. There was a noise “sounding like bullets being rattled about in a metal drum”, and the creature, they said, then flipped over and fled into the darkness and shadows. Sure that they had wounded the creature, Lucky and Billy Ray went out to look for it. Hendry writes that as the men were stepping from the porch, “a taloned hand reached down from above and began grasping at their hair.”
They again shot at the creature—it was perched on an awning over the porch—and it was knocked from the roof. Again they heard the rattling noise, although the creature was apparently unharmed. Lucky and Billy Ray returned to the house in a disturbed state. Within minutes, Lucky’s brother J.C. Sutton said that he saw the same creature (or at least a similar creature) peer into a window in the home; J.C. and Billy Ray shot at it, breaking the window, whereupon it too flipped over and fled. For the next few hours, the witnesses would assert that the creatures repeatedly approached the home, either popping up at the doorway or at windows in an almost playful manner, only to be shot at each time they did. The witnesses were unsure as to how many of the creatures that there were; at least two, as two were seen at once, but there may have been as many as fifteen.
The United States Air Force took the allegations seriously and officers from nearby Fort Campbell inspected the case, but could find no rational explanation and to this day is still labelled an open case.
Some investigators such as Joe Nickell say that the witnesses were seeing nothing more exotic than a pair of nesting great horned owls that had taken up residence in their attic. The great round eyes and large ears are cited as evidence for this identification. Against this we have the statements that the creatures could travel on two legs or four, having a monkeylike body build and limb proportions, and a monkeylike gait when traveling on all fours, and had obvious large claws on the hands but not so obviously on their feet (one gains the impression the feet were never observed very clearly).
There are some very peculiar details, some of which are easily dealt with. The owl theorists say that the shots that were fired had probably tended to go wild and hit metallic objects, such as could be parts of the house. There is also the fact that one person was shooting a shotgun while the other one was shooting a .22. This is a very small calibur and it can be demonstrated that in some cases, the small-caliber was being directed at the creatures but not doing any visable damage. when one creature was shot at through the window at very close range, we know it was the.22 that had opened fire first because investigators found the hole. The bullet could have had much of its damage potential wasted in going through the window and thus did not hurt the creature much upon arriving at its destination. The creatures odd “floating” behaviour could be explained by their JUMPING ability, which seems to have beem well-developed. It sould also be noted that there are several points of resemblance between these creatures and some of the Ohio “Frogmen” cases, including the part about raising the arms above the head. The feet are also solid and flipperlike and when the creatures are walking, they do so with a “Wading” effect, suggesting an amphibious adaptation.
A recent report that appeared on June 20, 2012 entitled “Have the Kentucky Goblins Returned?” which discussed a strange story that seems somewhat reminiscent of the fabled Hopkinsville Goblin encounter. According to blogger Greg Newkirk, he received an email from a Kentucky man claiming to have made contact with strange, diminutive creatures with pale skin, large eyes, and an odd method of “chirping” for communication. The man reports that these odd entities have appeared around his home at various times throughout the last several months, and that their presence has caused great distress among he and his family members, even to the point that they’ve been forced to leave the property for fear of these strange “cave dwelling” creatures.
Could there actually be a race of semi-subterranean humanoid creatures that exist beneath parts of Kentucky, the likes of which might have appeared long ago around the time of the infamous 1955 Hopkinsville encounter? Or if not, what else might these strange goblin-like creatures be?
Sources: mysteriousuniverse.org/2012/06/the-goblins-grimoire-hopkinsville-reprised-or-the-hollow-earth, frontiersofzoology.blogspot.com/2012/03/kelly-hopkinsville-goblins.html You may also be interested in Strange Kentucky Monsters