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Gone But Not Forgotten
Aug 7, 2001
Little green men were silver

An independent production company in Glendale, Calif., plans a trip to Hopkinsville this month to research the 1955 invasion of "little green men" in the community of Kelly for a documentary.
Barcon Productions will be filming eyewitness accounts for a film entitled "Monsters of the UFO" to be released next summer.

"We interview witnesses and what they saw and then base our film on their accounts," said documentary producer Lisa McIntosh in a telephone interview from Glendale Thursday afternoon. "We'll try to recreate exactly what they saw."

The local legend took root when residents of the small town reported the landing of a space near the home of Cecil "Lucky" Sutton home on the Old Madisonville Road at the edge of Kelly on Aug. 21, 1955. Sutton and other family members said 12 little men landed in a spaceship and then battled them at the house for hours.

Although the invaders are now known as the "little green men of Kelly," the original stories did not paint them green. Sutton and others actually said the creatures were silver.

Most of the Sutton family members who said they fought the aliens off with shotguns are deceased. However, McIntosh said former State Trooper Russell Ferguson, who investigated the Suttons' reports, has agreed to be interviewed on camera about the event.

"We are still looking for others," McIntosh said.

McIntosh and Barcon Productions owner Barry Conrad plan a trip to Kentucky as soon as they secure more interviews with witnesses to the Kelly event who are willing to speak on camera.

"We were both familiar with the Kelly story. When we decided to do this project, it was one of the stories we were just dying to work on," McIntosh said. "We were completely taken by it. It's truly an amazing story."

The documentary will focus on three stories involving close encounters with unexplained phenomenon. In addition to the Kelly green men, the documentary will explore first–hand accounts of the Mothman legend in Point Pleasant, W.Va., and the Flatwoods Monster in Flatwoods, W.Va.

McIntosh said filming in the West Virginia locations is complete.

Barcon Productions specializes in producing documentaries on the paranormal. The company has produced shows featuring psychic talk show host James Van Praagh and "California's Most Haunted," a documentary on haunted houses in the Golden State.

McIntosh said "Monsters of the UFO" may air on cable television next summer. The Sci–Fi and Discovery channels are possible markets for the documentary, she said.
I always thought they were only referred to as the Hopkinsville Goblins.
The local legend took root when residents of the small town reported the landing of a space near the home of Cecil "Lucky" Sutton home on the Old Madisonville Road at the edge of Kelly on Aug. 21, 1955. Sutton and other family members said 12 little men landed in a spaceship and then battled them at the house for hours.
Wasn't it that one member of the Sutton family saw a UFO, went home to tell his family, then the house was approached by one of these creatures, and that only one was actually seen at a time? So there was no direct link with the UFO?
Hopkinsville Goblins

one of the US governments first "LSD' test (or some kind of test) those goblins , have never turned up again ..right?
Justin Anstey said:
I always thought they were only referred to as the Hopkinsville Goblins.

I've also heard "Kentucky Glowing Man" (thought it was a seperate case when I first saw it, but no, it refers to the one they saw in the distance to begin with, and shot at), and "Hopkinsville Kelly Goblins".
Kelly - Hopkinsville Goblins

I always find this one of the spookiest entity encounters in UFO lore.

There was an initial UFO sighting - that's correct, and the "goblins" were always assumed to have been related to the sighting.

However - apparently there were several sightings of similar creatures in the area before the Suttons' encounter with no mention of UFOs.
Hopkinville Goblin & Hollywood

(I posted this on another group and didn't get much response to I thought I'd try it here)

Okay, I was reading this thread on Steven Bissette's The Swamp:


and it was talking about how Night of the Living Dead & Signs were both based possibly on the Hopkinsville incident. Then somebody made note of how ET the Extraterrestrial was originally based on Hopkinsville as well; the script was originally called Night Skies and it featured a hostile ET.

Well (and here is where it gets interesting) remember that famous story about Regan saying something at a press screening of ET concerning the fact that only a few people knew the whole story? (you can read about it here):


I think he wasn't refering to a friendly happy ET, but to the Hopkinsville Goblin incident. I wonder if the government has always know more than it's willing to tell about the Goblins. And since NoTLD, ET, and Signs are all based on the same incident, does this mean that there was actually full-on alien-military contact during Hopkinsville? Is ths maybe a mystery bigger than Roswell?

(A quick retelling of Hopkinsville for anybody who want a refresher:

Just a lil' bump - does no one think that the Hopkinsville - ET - Night of the Living Dead connection is interesting?
Mr. R.I.N.G. said:
Just a lil' bump - does no one think that the Hopkinsville - ET - Night of the Living Dead connection is interesting?

Why, yes, I do.

Here's the part where you lost me:
Well (and here is where it gets interesting) remember that famous story about Regan saying something at a press screening of ET concerning the fact that only a few people knew the whole story? (you can read about it here):


Seems like you veered off into the weeds with unfounded speculation there, Mr R.I.N.G.
Up until that point, your ideas seem plausible enough. You could still get a pretty good screenplay out of it though.
Now if you had some supporting evidence for ET vs US military sparring, that would be different.

(IIRC, the Hopkinsville gremlins (the family name was Kelly, right?) were not agressive -- more like curious. It was the Earthians that ran around blasting everything with shotguns.)
Philo T said:
Seems like you veered off into the weeds with unfounded speculation there, Mr R.I.N.G.
Up until that point, your ideas seem plausible enough. You could still get a pretty good screenplay out of it though.
Now if you had some supporting evidence for ET vs US military sparring, that would be different.

To me, it's seperate threads becoming a greater whole.

We have the Hopkinsville incident, with no external cooberation with anything else; so by itself, the Hopkinsville incident is only as good as other personal encounter stories without verifyable proof.

Then there exists the Reagan incident, which if true (and if ET was indeed based on Hopkinsville) then he was agreeing that something did happen at Hopkinsville that the government knew about.

To quote from the Reagan site:Following the screening the President leaned over, clapped Spielberg on the shoulder, and quietly commented, "You know, there aren’t six people in this room who know how true this really is." Unfortunately, the sudden press of people approaching Spielberg and the President, prevented Spielberg from pursuing the strange comment made by Reagan.

Spielberg stated that he had written the E.T. story as fiction based upon facts drawn from various UFO stories that had been told over the years. He must have been very shocked to hear from the President that it was all very true.There were also rumors around that the government had some input into "E.T." such as in how the alien was to be portrayed. In Spielberg’s 1977 "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" the aliens had been presented as thin childlike beings with large heads. (similar to accounts given by abductees) In "E.T." the alien had changed. It was now portrayed like a creature unheard of in any UFO account, even though it was built by the same person who had built the Close Encounter aliens. No explanation was given as to why the alien image was being changed.


Rumors, however, abounded that someone inside the government had told Spielberg that the alien model used in "Close Encounters" was too close to the truth, and the model had to be changed. The accusation was never proved and Spielberg has never commented on it.

Spielberg told the story of Reagan's "how true this is" comment to Hollywood television producer Jamie Shandera shortly after the incident occurred. This occurred while Shandera was helping a Japanese film crew who were making a documentary on Spielberg.

This author wrote to Spielberg in January 1988 to confirm the story, but the letter was cut off by Spielberg’s publicity coordinator Kris Kelley who stated "unfortunately, Mr. Spielberg is currently away working on his next project and is unable to personally answer your question." Another researcher, Linda Howe who worked as a documentary film producer and author, also tried to interview Spielberg about his Reagan encounter without success.


Even more interesting in White House records found concerning the Spielberg screening of E.T. were records which showed a strange coincidence concerning the very next event on the Presidents schedule after the movie screening.

The showing of E.T. was the last event on June 27th. The very next event the next morning, June 28th, was a meeting between President Reagan and James A. Baker 111, Chief of Staff; Edwin Meese 111, Counselor; and Michael K. Deaver, Deputy Chief of Staff; met in the oval office. From there the four men went to the highly secure White House Situation Room where the President participated in a briefing of the U.S. Space Program. Participants included six members of the National Security Council or National Security Affairs and no one from NASA.

The absence of anyone from NASA for a briefing of the U.S. Space Program is unheard of. The absence of any NASA people is even more unusual, in light of the fact that a couple days later, President Reagan attended the landing of the U.S. Space Shuttle at Edwards Air Force Base.

I take that as saying that Reagan was saying that Hopkinsville did actually happen as reported and he had proof (though that might only work if he knew ET was based in part on Hopkinsville or if the government file on the incident - that I think would exist if the government got invovled there - read much like the script).

So then, (and I admit this is the greatest extrapolation) if Night of the Living Dead is also based on Hopkinsville (and with the idea that ET was originally Night Skies and was a hostile ET story), AND the implications of Reagan meeting with the Space Program & The National Security Agency the day after the screening, could there be a logical (or semi-logical) extrapolation that government agencies were called in to Hopkinsville and had an encounter of their own with the aliens? And that maybe it didn't go well, hence the different spins on the tale?
Mr. R.I.N.G.
Thanks for clarifying that. I have overlooked the story about Reagan's comment at the screening of ET. I was thinking of the "the world would unite if it has a common external foe" comment, which didn't tie in with the Hopkinsville story.

You're still working a lot on conjecture, but put in context, the pieces seem to fit.
Hey people. Does anyone know of any websites or anything that have good information on the Kentucky goblin?
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Graylien, that's a very nice site you have there! I've bookmarked it for later perusal. :)
New book

...which reminds me, apparently a distant relative of the Suttons is about to publish a novel based on the goblin incident, which promises to be a "page-turning, hair-raising novel of suspense, unearthly mystery … and love." Although, as Tina Turner so eloquently put it, whats love got to do with it?

New Goblin Novel Blurb
graylien said:
Shameless Plug

Nice site. I'll print some articles for home. Should keep my wife interested for a long time.
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Erm, some of my books of course have this story. If you want, I could get you titles/authors/etc., but I doubt any of them are still in print.

Thats ok. I'm pretty busy. I don't really have time to be going to the library. Thanks though.
There are rumours that this event is being made into a film...
Actually, I thinks "Signs" had a lot of Hopkinsville overtones to it.
If Roswell can make a tidy fortune out of aliens, then why not Hopkinsville? Roll up, roll up for the Kelly Green Men Festival!


..featuring a screening of that classic UFO documentary Plan 9 From Outer Space, an alien costume contest, and an "Out Of This World Karaoke Contest". Also, you could get to meet Elmer Sutton Jr!
The Little Green Men Festival doesn't seem to raising much interest outside a couple of articles in the local press:

Hoptown prepares for alien ‘invasion'
By TONYA S. GRACE [email protected]

General manager Mark Stevens says he is anticipating "fairly good" business this weekend at the local Holiday Inn.

He just isn't certain whether he owes such good fortune to the upcoming Little Green Men Festival.

"We'll be somewheres between 80 and 85 percent depending on the walk-in factor," Stevens observed. "There's been some interest in (the festival). I don't have a real good fix on how many people are coming in and staying at the hotel because of the event."

Stevens said he'd likely know better once folks start coming in because they'll usually mention why they are in town once they've arrived at the hotel.

The festival -- which is celebrating the 50th anniversary of a reported alien encounter in 1955 in nearby Kelly -- debuts at 6 tonight with the showing of the movie "Plan 9 from Outer Space" at Hopkinsville Community College.

Events continue through Sunday, including a panel discussion of the invasion of the "little green men," a symposium featuring visiting speakers who are UFO investigators, bus tours to the Kelly community and a "Space Jam" alien ball, among other activities.

The alien ball already has attracted the interest of some folks, said Cheryl Cook, executive director of the Hopkinsville-Christian County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Cook said she expects that interest to grow as more people purchase their tickets to the ball, and she noted that the four bus tours to Kelly -- with just a total 200 tickets available -- are just about sold out.

She added that several people have shown interest in tonight's movie as well as astronomy events planned for the festival. An "Alien Abductions" event hosted by the Kentucky Circuit Court Clerk's Trust for Life Charity actually spurred early interest, with people calling several days in advance to have folks "abducted" in exchange for a ransom that will benefit organ and tissue donor awareness.

"It's going good," Cook said earlier this morning. "A lot of people have really jumped on the bandwagon around here.

"So that's kind of exciting that everybody's jumping on board."

Stevens said his hotel will reserve rooms until they are full and then refer folks to other facilities if there is an influx of people seeking rooms. He said the hotel has sold out from time to time, especially during a busy summer.

Front desk manager Danny Sajdyk of Best Western of Hopkinsville says it's business as usual at his hotel, although he said his staff would respond as needed if they start getting a lot of requests for rooms.

He said his hotel has been filled up the past couple of weeks, but business is slowing down some now and is at a normal capacity.

Bill Knolhoff, store manager for Ryan's Family Steak House, echoed Sajdyk.

At the local restaurant, business is much the same as normal, and Sajdyk hasn't heard or seen anything different than "normal business," he said.

And this next one's worth preserving as it features an interview with original witness Lonnie Lankford (although as he was hiding under the bed at the time, he didn't actually see anything. So I guess he's not really a witness after all).
The Kelly ‘commotion'
Life hasn't been easy since the aliens came calling By JENNIFER P. BROWN [email protected]

Click here to view a larger image.

Kelly, a tiny town about five miles north of Hopkinsville, was made famous by the Aug. 21, 1955, report of an alien invasion.

If Lonnie Lankford had been a little older, his mother might not have pushed him under the bed that night she thought she saw an alien outside her bedroom window.

It was the evening of Aug. 21, 1955, and Glennie Lankford was trying to protect the children in the little farmhouse off Old Madisonville Road at Kelly. So, Lonnie, who was 12 years old, was scrunched under the mattress with his brother, Charlton, 10, and sister, Mary, 5.

He never saw the little creatures that frightened his mother and sent his older half-brother, Elmer "Lucky" Sutton, running for a shotgun.

But Lonnie Lankford heard plenty, both that night and in the days and weeks that followed, and he remains clear about what did and did not happened that night 50 years ago.

His mother saw a space creature outside her window, not a cat or a monkey or a bird. There were more in the yard and on the roof.

The creatures were sliver, not green. They were small, about 3 feet tall, and had webbed hands and feet, and big round eyes,.

Shots were fired at the creatures, but there was no raging gun battle that went on for hours.

Most important, Lonnie says, no one was drinking at the house that night. No beer, or liquor or moonshine was allowed inside. That was Glennie Lankford's rule.

"I remember the commotion and the hollerin' and screaming," Lonnie, 62, said Friday afternoon. "I didn't see them, but my momma did, and I believe her because she was a religious woman and she wouldn't lie."

The Legend of Kelly

Today, the world knows the Kelly story as the tale of the Little Green Men, or the Kelly Green Men.

In the days following the first news story of the family's report, published on Aug. 22, 1955, in the Kentucky New Era, the world beat a path to Kelly, a tiny community about 5 miles north of Hopkinsville.

The New York Daily News reported on its front page, "Spacemen Take Kentucky." A headline in the Los Angeles Times read, "Kentucky Gains New Fame."

Someone -- maybe a headline writer -- couldn't resist the word play on Kelly and Green, and the little men changed colors, from silver to green. (A French journalist, Yann Mege, who traveled to Hopkinsville in 2000 to research the story, has theorized that the phrase "little green men" originated from the Kelly story.)

The family, embarrassed by reports that they were drunk or simply pulling an elaborate prank that night, rejected the attention and turned away reporters. While the world laughed, they were often insulted.

The Kelly incident became a legend that grew over time. It remains a classic chapter in the U.S. Air Force's "Project Blue Book," a catalogue of more than 12,000 UFO sightings in the United States between 1952 and 1969.

A different time

In the summer of 1955, air conditioning was rare in Christian County homes and highly prized in public places such as theaters, stores and churches. People spent a good amount of time simply trying to endure the heat and humidity, said William T. Turner, county history. Fans blew in hallways and at night people often slept, or languished, on pallets on their porches.

The First Presbyterian Church in Hopkinsville was running a newspaper ad that touted its air-conditioned sanctuary. Window air conditioning units were selling for $169 at Keach Furniture.

Many people in Hopkinsville had black-and-white television sets and received antenna signals for three stations, channels 4, 5 and 8, all out of Nashville, Tenn. At 7 o'clock on Saturday nights, they watched "The Lawrence Welk Show."

Six movie theaters, including three drive-ins, were showing westerns, romance stories, monster movies and science fiction. The Alhambra had "Rainbow Over Texas," starring Roy Rogers, Dale Evans and Trigger. The Family Drive-In was showing "Daltons Ride Again," and the Skyway Drive-In had "Revenge of the Creature" and "Flying Saucers."

The Shrine Circus came to town, featuring clowns, dancing dogs, elephants and ponies. Hopkinsville resident Margaret Rash played the organ for the circus.

There were parties at restaurants -- the Coach and Four in Hopkinsville and Gray's Steak House out on Madisonville Road.

One day, people stood in line to apply for jobs at the new Moe Light Plant of Thomas Industries.

At Buddies restaurant next to the fire station on East Ninth Street, people paid 10 cents for a hamburger.

Former Gov. A.B. "Happy" Chandler campaigned at the courthouse for another term in office. His opponent, Bert Combs, courted voters at the Memorial Building.

Dalton Bros. Brick was developing a new subdivision on South Jessup.

Almost everybody in Christian County, even the ones in Hopkinsville, still had a connection to farming. They worked on farms, or in tobacco warehouses, or they worked for businesses that couldn't survive without the money generated by farming.

Many families, like Lonnie Lankford's, lived on small farms and lived a modest life.

The Kelly sighting

At Glennie Lankford's house, there was no indoor plumbing. There was an outhouse in the back. Water had to be toted from an outdoor well.

Billy Ray Taylor, a visitor from Pennsylvania and friend of "Lucky" Sutton, was going to the outhouse when he saw a light streak through the sky, said Lonnie, who related the story Friday at his home off U.S. 68 near the eastern edge of the Hopkinsville city limits.

Taylor saw a spaceship land in a field of sagebrush, but he didn't tell anybody what he saw when he returned to the house.

Then Lonnie's mother screamed. She had seen a space creature through the bedroom window. "Lucky" ran for his double-barrel shotgun and fired at the creature. It retreated, but was not hurt.

Stepping outside on the small front stoop, "Lucky" felt a tug at his hair. One of the creatures had reached for him from the roof, Lonnie said.

"Lucky" backed into the yard and saw four or five aliens on the roof. He fired a few shots. Again, the creatures seemed to retreat but were not hurt.

Later, according to the family's story, everybody in the house, including Glennie, the three children, "Lucky" and his brother, J.C. Sutton, and Billy Ray, loaded up in a couple of vehicles and headed for Hopkinsville.

At the Hopkinsville Police Department, they asked Police Chief Russell Greenwell for help.

Police officers, Kentucky state troopers and soldiers from Fort Campbell converged at the Lankford place that night and searched for a spaceship and aliens. They found nothing, according to the report in the U.S. Air Force "Blue Book."

Over the years, Lonnie has heard the speculation that his family actually saw some escaped monkeys from the Shrine circus. He laughs at the suggestion.

"I ain't ever seen a silver monkey, or a green one," he said.

Lonnie concedes that his older brother, "Lucky" had a reputation for telling tales and that he drank. But on that night, "Lucky" wasn't drinking and he didn't invent a story about space creatures.

"He was one of the biggest liars in Hopkinsville, but he didn't lie about that," Lonnie said.

To this day, Lonnie wishes he had not crawled under the bed after his mother screamed.

"I wish I had seen one of them, but I didn't and I'm not going to lie about it," he said.

It's hard to tell, Lonnie said, how many people have made money off the Kelly Green Men since that night in 1955. It seems like everybody but his family made something off the story.

"Here I sit, broke and poor, and I ain't made nothing off it," said Lonnie, who is disabled after years of manual labor. He worked so many different jobs, it's hard to list them all … roofer, gas station attendant, truck driver, saw mill hand.

But Lonnie still has a sense of humor about his family's brush with fame. Three years ago, he went to a Halloween dance at the Hopkinsville Elks Club. He dressed as an alien. Hardly anyone knew the story behind the mask and cape that night.

Lonnie has been looking for his costume this week. Next weekend, for the Little Green Men Festival's Alien Ball, he'd like to go as an alien.

Panther Juice and Veiled Entities

...And this article, featuring more from Lonnie Lankford and a report - previously unknown to me - of a further alien visitation in the area in 1997.

Did aliens land here?

Fifty years later, the people of Kelly, Ky., are still debating that. The Little Green Men Festival pays tribute to the story that put this little town on the map

Senior Writer

HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. — Lonnie Lankford says his mom never drank "alky-hall."

"A good Christian woman," she was never one to lie. That's why he has no doubt that aliens visited the family farmhouse in Kelly, Ky., on the night of Aug. 21, 1955.

"Mama told me about it," is his to-the-point answer when asked about the "alien invasion" that's the stuff of both legend and laughter in the Hopkinsville area.

"I don't remember much about it," he says, sitting in his living room in a neighborhood tucked behind Western State mental hospital, the sprawling Civil War-era complex that, in a less enlightened time, was referred to as "The Lunatic Asylum."

Lankford's mother, Glennie, a stern, no-nonsense woman who died Oct. 9, 1977, is the heart and soul of the alien invasion that's being celebrated at the "Little Green Men Festival" in Hopkinsville Aug. 19-21.

The gathering marks the 50th anniversary of the close encounter. Late on that night a half-century back, Glennie Lankford was startled by what she swore was an alien at the window. Her screams triggered a one-sided gun battle in which her sons blasted away at the creatures. What really happened? One thing's certain: The incident terrified the matriarch and also made her family the subject of scorn.

Believers and skeptics

Hopkinsville Police Chief Russell Greenwell, who responded to the call a half-century ago, was not a "believer."

But Christian County historian William T. Turner, a lifelong Hopkinsville resident, notes "Chief Greenwell said that whenever he talked with (Glennie) about the landing, there was a deep fear in her eyes that made him think that something happened here."

Turner, 14 at the time of the incident, says the alien report has been "part of the community conversation" for 50 years. "I've told the story to various history classes," he says, during a visit that takes him to the family plot where Glennie is buried, within eyeshot of the spaceship landing site.

Turner says the Kelly incident, as researched by UFO authorities and government agencies, likely didn't happen. But "I learned early on as a history teacher to make it more interesting. You never let the truth stand in the way of a good story."

Then he smiles. "My opinion is that they'd been dippin' into what we in the local vernacular call 'Panther Juice'." Perhaps, but lawmen quoted in the earliest newspaper reports all said they found no evidence of drinking.

Aunt Glennie, as she's known to many of the folks residing in hills and hollers in and around Hopkinsville, didn't capitalize on the incident. According to reports published in the local Kentucky New Era newspaper, the family wanted nothing to do with Hollywood's interest in the alien invasion.

Reportedly, because the family didn't want to participate, the tale was moved elsewhere and modified, combined with other alien invasion reports, eventually morphing into a movie about a stranded alien who is adopted by a little boy who believes: E.T.

The celluloid image of the lovable "E.T. phone home" beast sticks pretty closely to descriptions Glennie gave press and UFO investigators. The aliens had big heads, round eyes and webbed feet and hands and stood about 3 feet tall.

And despite the fact that legend refers to them as the Kelly Green Men, Lonnie insists on one thing: "They wasn't green. They was silver. Silver suits." The "green man" tag apparently was supplied by the media. Locals speculate that the mass media depiction of Martians and other-worldly creatures as "green men" was born in Kelly.

The story they told

Whatever their color, the dozen extra-terrestrials who landed behind the widow Lankford's Old Madisonville Road home have shadowed Lonnie Lankford's life.

He doesn't recall specific events. He was only 12 and "Mama put me and my little brother (Charlton) and little sister (Mary) beneath a bed." He does remember "the commotion."

"I do know what Mama told me," he says, recalling the details supplied by the woman who had been widowed twice. Lonnie's pop, Oscar Lankford, a World War I veteran, died a year before the aliens attacked.

"A house full of people," including Lonnie's siblings, friends and cousins, had just attended a revival up the hill at Kelly Holiness Church, where one of Glennie's great-nephews still pastors.

"We was all sittin' around eatin' supper," says Lonnie. "One of my brother's friends, Billy Ray Taylor, had to go to the bathroom. We didn't have no plumbing, so he went outside.

"When he came back in he said he saw something round, with lights all around that blinked" in the sky. The gathering dismissed his flying saucer report, because "Billy Ray was known as a joker."

Eventually everyone went either home or to bed, which was where the widow was when she saw a big-eyed alien at her window.

"She sat right up in bed. Screamed. My half-brother ('Lucky' Sutton, a carnival worker who had that nickname tattooed on his fingers) had a double-barrel shotgun, so he came in there and shot through the window. According to Mama, it didn't hurt the creatures."

Glennie put the younger children beneath her bed while the older boys ran outside, "Lucky" blazing away with his shotgun. "My brother stuck his head out the door and one reached over and grabbed him by the hair," Lonnie continues. "There were several of them on the roof. He shot at them. After that we was pretty scared."

The aliens, who in various reports either floated or at least were very light on their webbed feet, were only stunned by the gunfire.

"Mama told me that a bunch of us went in the car and went to town" to get help, says Lonnie, adding that state, city and county officers as well as Fort Campbell MPs and investigators responded. "They had machine guns, rifles, pistols. All walking around and someone stepped on a cat's tail and everybody hit the dirt."

Lawmen interviewed for this story recall that incident, if only because when the cat wailed, they feared the guy with the machine gun might be trigger-happy.

According to Lonnie — and he has no reason to question his mom — the next day "authorities went out and seen a great big round spot in the field."

In a separate interview, Lonnie's cousin, Gail Cook, who grew up in Kelly, living for a time in that same house after Aunt Glennie moved, notes that "I remember there was a big, burnt spot out there where nothin' would grow."

Doubters like Turner say that if there was a depression in the now-overgrown field, it could easily have been a sinkhole, hardly uncommon in Western Kentucky.

A second visit

Cook scoffs at skeptics, because "they came back. In 1997, I seen a ship come over my restaurant in Kelly."

That restaurant later became Spanky's Game Room, owned and operated by David Brasher, Cook's brother-in-law. Now it is home to the Brasher family. Brasher doesn't believe green men ever visited.

But Cook — who now operates Gail's Full Circle restaurant, a meat loaf and chocolate pie comfort food joint in nearby Crofton — points to the sky over Kelly and describes the 1997 celestial visit.

"About 25 of us actually seen it. It was in August, too. Not sure if it was the exact date or not. It was muggy like this, though. There was this ship that come flying over. My sister lived upstairs in an apartment over the restaurant. She called and said there was a spaceship. I said 'Oh, it ain't!' but I got over there.

"It was like a dusty dawn. We saw these lights. It was there for about 2½ hours. We sat and watched this ship. . . . It would come up, and the frogs and crickets would get quiet."

She says the spaceship, "round with a bunch of lights," let out at least one passenger, a creature in a black veil that was seen standing at the roadside the next morning. That veiled creature quickly vanished into thin air or dark space.

Brasher, a long-haul trucker temporarily sidelined by kidney stones, says there may have been meteors, but that's about it. "Something happened, but it got blown all out of proportion."

He is amazed by the UFO enthusiasts who come calling at his house, the most visible residence/business on U.S. 41 in "downtown" Kelly.

"I've had people here from England. I've had people here from France," he says, firing up a smoke. "I don't know how they find out about somethin' like this all the way over there. I get eight or 10 a year who just come up here and knock on the door."

Recently some asked to pay to camp on his property. He declined. "Why take their money when they can camp anywhere around here for free," he says, scanning a horizon of vacant, untilled fields.

Although he finds their passion amusing, Brasher sometimes takes the foreigners the few hundred feet to the landing site, now occupied by Dorris McCord, Cook's brother. "He's got a double-wide there now," says Brasher.

"I don't believe in UFOs. I don't believe in space monsters. I do believe there's probably intelligence out there. But they did not come to Kelly."

And that opinion is reinforced by veteran state trooper R.N. Ferguson, 75, among the first responders.

"I'm about the last one left that was there. I was home asleep when I got the call. It was late. I was not feeling good, sick.

"At any rate I debated with the dispatcher about going up there. When you get a call that comes to you that says a spaceship landed with little people running around the house, that is far-fetched in the first place. (But) you get a call and you got to go. I didn't really have too much stock in what I was going to see."

He was among the 20 or so lawmen and gun-toting GIs who walked the perimeter of the property looking for aliens. He laughs at the recollection. "Let me put it this way: You have the knowledge to travel interstellar space with the equipment that it would take you to do it and you find a place like Kelly, Ky., to land in?

"No, I don't think so. Not when you've got Washington, London, Moscow. Hell, they could have gone to Nashville. They certainly would have seen more."

No easy answer

Ferguson, now a Kentucky park ranger, jokes that in the half-century since he got the call that aliens landed in the darkness at the edge of town, he's kept his eyes open.

"I still haven't seen that danged spaceship," says the proud Scot by ancestry, a fellow known for wearing kilts while accompanying his local newspaper columnist wife to society events.

Ferguson has developed into the "face" of the Kelly incident. He calls himself "the voice of authenticity" when folks like the History Channel or A&E come calling. He writes off the events of Aug. 21, 1955, as so much swamp gas proliferated by the very real terror of the twice-widowed woman and the tales of some young men he says had been drinking.

There's no easy answer, no CSI-like proof. "You get a call to a shooting, and you find a weapon, cartridges that have been expended, even a body," says the former trooper. "Oh, it did happen. It is a part of history. It's just what happened that is being arbitrated."

Among those tromping the fields with Ferguson that night was Chief Greenwell. He retired in 1973 and died in 1979 without ever really finding out if aliens had visited.

"When he got that call, I went with him," says his widow, Rachel Greenwell. "I drove our car. He rode. . . . We got down there, it was after 12. We didn't see anything, but there was an eerie sort of atmosphere around the place."

Mrs. Greenwell didn't go into the farmhouse. "But my husband did. He talked to an elderly lady that was there and he said to me 'I don't know whether the lady had really seen something or the people there had scared her, but she was really sincere in what she thought she had seen.' ''

The chief's wife was driven by curiosity. "I thought I was going to maybe see a comet or something that had fallen." No comet. No crop circles in the field. And she saw no aliens. Still, she's not going to completely dismiss the stories. "I don't know. I just quit thinking about it. I don't try to make it bigger by saying that I thought I saw something. But it was amazing how fast and how far that story went. It just bloomed out."

Truth or science fiction? "Nothing bad came of it," she shrugs. Her annual family reunion is being held during the festival period so her kin can participate.

"The Little Green Men put us on the map," she says.

While not a "believer," historian Turner is philosophic. He says that if the family is convinced "they experienced it, then it is so. Who am I to say it wasn't so?"

Turner's "Panther Juice" theory is one of many things that sadden Lonnie Lankford.

"My brothers drank some, but my Mama never allowed it in the house. There was no alky-hall there that night.

"That's what Mama told me." That's good enough for him and he figures it ought to be good enough for anyone. His life has been plagued by ridicule because of the story. "Mama tried to protect us . . . She didn't talk about it much."

Despite his quiet anger at his family's treatment, he finds mirth in one published theory.

"The circus was in town and supposedly a bunch of monkeys escaped. They said these was the aliens. These simply was not monkeys. Monkeys don't wear silver suits."


Incidentally, I'm pretty sure it was Gremlins and not ET which was inspired by the antics and physical appearance of the Kentucky Goblins
Didn't this incident fearture in the 70s series 'Project UFO'? I recall an episode in which a load of hicks were holed up in a shack in the middle of nowhere, blasting away at these little glowing aliens which just wouldn't die. I was about nine - I think - when I saw it; scared the bloody hell out of me.
I've never seen the series, but the cases it featured were apparently selected from the archives of Project Bluebook so I think it's safe to assume that the episode you saw was indeed based on the Hopkinsville Goblins. Bluebook apparently filed the case away in a draw marked "CP" (Crackpot!) and didn't bother to carry out an official investigation.
barfing_pumpkin said:
Didn't this incident fearture in the 70s series 'Project UFO'? I recall an episode in which a load of hicks were holed up in a shack in the middle of nowhere, blasting away at these little glowing aliens which just wouldn't die. I was about nine - I think - when I saw it; scared the bloody hell out of me.

Oh god - yeah!

I must have been about the same age when that was on and hadn't long since read about the Kelly visitation.

I was ill in bed at the time and hid under the sheets to avoid watching it because I was so terrified!!!
The Hopkinsville incident was actually to be made into a feature film directed by Steven Spielberg called ''Watch The Skies''. Unfortunately ( or, fortunately, depending on one's taste ), the project morphed into Close Encounters of The Third Kind, which featured benign, smiling aliens in desperate need of a tanning session.
Spielberg later used the ''Watch The Skies'' title as a cover to maintain secrecy when filming E.T.

''War Of The Worlds'' not withstanding, I really would have like to have seen Spielberg's take on evil, bloodthirsty aliens harrassing an isolated farm community ( sort of Night Of The Living Dead with little green men ). Who knows, if the project had actually been filmed as planned, we might all be hearing about the Hopkinsville ''incident'' as opposed to endless regurgitations of the Roswell fable.
A charming human-interest piece on the Little Green Men festival from the local press: (incidentally, it really should have been called the Little Silver Men festival, but never mind...) I'd very much like to have seen that prize-winning Kelly Worm costume. And that Martian tattoo...

Rebecca Hagy grew up watching the "Star Trek" movies and pondered the existence of alien life.

The Nashville, Tenn., woman decided to explore the possibility this weekend at the Little Green Men Festival.

"I read an article about it and decided to come up here," Hagy said. "I love the green men. Do aliens really exist? Is this a fantasy? I believe they are out there."

Hagy's beliefs in extraterrestrials are visible on the tattoo on her upper arm, which shows an alien standing on Mars with a spaceship flying overhead.

Between 2,000 and 3,000 people attended the weekend festivities, which began on Thursday and ended Sunday night, said Cheryl Cook, executive director of the Hopkinsville-Christian County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The festival weekend marked the 50th anniversary of a legendary encounter of a family living in the Kelly community of Christian County and little men from outer space.

The incident happened on Aug. 21, 1955 when a spaceship reportedly landed at the farmhouse on Old Madisonville Road. The Lankford-Sutton family battled the creatures into the night, they said.

City and state police investigated the scene, but found no evidence of an alien invasion. Although the family reported the invaders were silver, the legend of the little green men continues today.

"It's a very famous event in UFO studies," Cook said.

Like Hagy, Cathy Carrick, of Nashville, believes in alien life.

"For a long time, I've thought that the government was covering it up," she said. "I think people have seen spaceships. There are different shapes of ships. The pictures don't lie."

Emily Cronin, of Louisville, attended the festival with her sisters, Keith Wilson and Ann Clinkenbeard, after hearing about it last year at the Kentucky State Fair.

"It's fascinating," Cronin said about the story of the little men from Kelly. "The Lord created the world, why not people from another planet?"

Cronin said their aunt had told them she saw a spaceship near her home in the 1950s, about the same time as the Kelly sighting.

"I don't know if I believe in aliens or not, but it's possible," said Wilson, who was visiting from Corpus Christi, Texas. "We'd be aliens if we went to their planet."

Todd Word, of Hendersonville, Tenn., wore an "X-Files" T-shirt to correspond with the festival theme.

"I've always heard about the little green men and my mom used to read me the story from a book," he said.

A Hopkinsville native, Word said his parents, Linda and Larry Myers, now live in Kelly.

"I believe that there's got to be something out there. As for them actually landing in Kelly, who knows, anything is possible," he said. "In a universe this large, there's got to be more than just us."

Jennie Ebeling, an archeologist from Evansville, Ind., visited Roswell, N.M., last year with her husband, Max, and decided to learn more about the Kelly incident on Saturday.

"I'm interested in learning and showing evidence about alien life," she said. "We wanted to continue our interest in alien phenomenon closer to home."

Bruce Forrester, a field investigator from MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) in Dayton, Ohio, said he's witnessed "a few sightings" of flying saucers.

"These reports should be treated as scientific," he said.

Reports on the existence or fabrication of alien life was discussed in symposiums by paranormal investigator Dr. Joe Nickell, UFO investigator George Fawcett and Peter Davenport, the executive director of the National UFO Reporting Center.

The festival also featured stargazing with Dr. John McCubbin on Friday night and an intergalactic trade show all weekend.

A panel discussion on Saturday focused on "What Really Happened in Kelly?" with Sutton family members and officials who investigated the reports. Cook said DVD's of the panel discussion would be sold at the Commerce Center within the next few weeks for $25.

Lonnie Lankford, who was one of the family members at the farmhouse in Kelly 50 years ago, dressed up as an alien visitor at the "Space Jam" Alien Ball Saturday night at the Convention Center. His costume included a black cape and gray mask with green eyes.

"Everybody wanted me to (dress up)," Lankford said. "I was going to dress up in gray, but I couldn't find any dye to make it."

Lankford and his escort, Rosie Bilyeu, won second and third place, respectively in the costume contest. First place was awarded to LaVena Turner, wife of Hopkinsville–Christian County Historian William T. Turner, for her Kelly worm costume.

On Sunday, bus tours to the site of the Kelly incident on Sunday. Cook said the 200 seats for the tour sold out.

"I think it was very successful for our first time," said Cook, who noted that there might be a second festival next year.

As for the legend of the little green men of Kelly, Cook said after the festival there may be more believers.

"I think more people changed their mind to the possibility that it happened," she said.