Kelly / Hopkinsville (Kentucky) 'Goblins' Incident (1955)

Comfortably Numb

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Regarding a missing explanation for John (J.C.) Sutton's prolific gunfire.

The 'Kentucky New Era', 22 August, reported:

"Deputy Sheriff Batts said the men told him that in all they fired up about four boxes of .22 pistol shells".

The 'Evansville Press', on 22 August and qouoting 'Lucky' Sutton, stated:

"Elmer Sutton said he shot at the creatures 17 times with a point .12 gauge shotgun. He said his brother, John, used four boxes of .22 shells in his pistol, shooting at the little men.

He said that when bullets hit the creatures they bounced off "like from a concrete pavement."

He said John Sutton shot one of the creatures with his .22 and the bullets just glanced off the body".


So, it was John Sutton alone who used the four boxes, not "the men" in total, as recalled by Deputy Sheriff Batts?

It's not clear if the 'concrete pavement' remark, refers to his own shots or John's.

Curiously, despite John Sutton allegedly having fired so my times, 'Lucky' specifically mentions one of John's shots having seemingly been deflected on hitting its target.

Does this imply only one shot did actually appear to strike a creature?


Jacqueline Sanders' article in the January 1956 'Saucerian Review', would seem to confuse John Sutton with Billy Ray Taylor, writing:

"Taylor reportly fired four boxes of .22 shells"

(...)

"Taylor told of knocking one of them off a barrel with his .22. He said he heard the bullet strike the creature, then whine as it ricocheted off"!

This obviously sounds like the John Sutton shot.

Significantly, Jacqueline backs up the incident's existence, citing a conversation with Police Chief Russell Greenwell:

"Taylor took Chief Greenwell around to the back of the house to show him where the little man had fallen off the barrel. One thing was certain; the man was still frightened. He stood at 'the low fence which separated the back yard from the field and pointed to the barrel but refused to set foot into the field".

If Indeed mistaken and this was John Sutton using up his ammunition, when did that occur?

Was he on his own at this time and effectively 'firing at will' outdoors, maybe in actual fact only believing one shot was successful... or at least, partially so.

Does it relate to Mrs Lankford stating she thought the gunfire outside was just some foolin' about going on?
 

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Hang on a minute...

These are the firearms references published in newspaper accounts, all on 22 August, next day:

Kentucky New Era

"The men got their guns, a shotgun for Sutton and a .22 caliber target pistol for Taylor".

"Deputy Sheriff Batts said the men told him that in all they fired up about four boxes of .22 pistol shells"

Madisonville Messenger

"...when things quieted down the little men came back. In the course of about three hours the strange fellows made six visits to the house, being run off each time by 'Lucky' Sutton's shotgun or his brother's .22 pistol".

Evansville Press

"Elmer Sutton said he shot at the creatures 17 times with a point .12 gauge shotgun. He said his brother, John, used four boxes of .22 shells in his pistol, shooting at the little men".


Therefore, the 'New Era' article is mistaken and the facts have become mixed-up in the retelling?

Instead of Taylor, it should read:

"The men got their guns, a shotgun for Sutton and a .22 caliber target pistol for John Sutton".

Should that be the correct situation, then suddenly this ties-in.

The 'New Era'' article continues:

"Taylor reportedly opened fire on other members of the invading party, also with little effect".

Potentially significant, if that last sentence should say:

"John Sutton reportedly opened fire on other members of the invading party, also with little effect".

This would equate with the clear explanation from 'Lucky' Sutton's 'Evansville Press' quote... because, the 'New Era' article further adds:

"Deputy Sheriff Batts said the men told him that in all they fired up about four boxes of .22 pistol shells".

Nothing to do with 'Lucky' Sutton and Billy Ray Taylor, i.e. 'the men', at all. The four boxes relate to John Sutton alone.

Billy Ray Taylor does not come into the picture at this point.

In effect, it's John Sutton firing repeatedly, with 'little effect'.

Would this all now make sense, or have I quite Iiteraly lost the entire plot here.
 

marhawkman

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Hmmm I suspect the four boxes thing is wrong. I forget which source it was but one of the sources posted here was a neighbor interview saying that, yes he did hear gunfire, but not enough to be alarming. One specific note about it is that it's a doubly removed quote. the guy told the cop who told the newspaper... something... I personally suspect that the original quote wasn't 4 boxes. but that sounds interesting enough for people to repeat it. It fits with the narrative that it was a prolonged firefight, but... it apparently wasn't really. Also it's a replicated quote, not multiple quotes. So it's not really corroboration of the 4 boxes claim, but it is corroboration that the cops talked about that thing.
 

EnolaGaia

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Yes, yes ...

One of the potential simplifications / condensations (in boiling down the jumbled storyline(s) ... ) would be to assign the .22 'target pistol' to J. C. exclusively and presume the Sutton brothers employed the 12-gauge shotgun (Lucky) and the .22 pistol (J. C.) throughout the entire series of the evening's escapades.

This would require dismissing Davis' claim that it was J. C. using the 20-gauge shotgun who blasted the earlier / first hole in the living room window screen. Given the factors I cited earlier (plus Lucky's own claim he'd blown that first hole through the window screen) I'm more than willing to accept this simplifying modification to the canonical storyline (or at least Davis' version of it).

Notice I didn't mention assuming J. C. was the person who was armed along with Lucky in the back yard during the first sighting / shooting event. There's still a more-than-reasonable case to be made it was Taylor who was with Lucky at or around the back door for that initial event. Here's why ...

Recall that in the Kentucky New Era article of 23 August (back page, column 1) it states:
Mrs. Lankford said one of her sons, J. C., an ex-service man, thought at first the strange situation was all a joke and tried to treat it lightly. But he soon changed his mind, the mother declared.

Given this claim of J. C.'s delayed shift of attitude toward the situation I find it difficult to believe:

(a) he took up a gun and joined in the shooting until this attitudinal shift occurred and ...
(b) his attitude changed prior to at least one shooting event that made him re-think the situation.*

*
This 're-thinking' may have involved the gravity of the apparent situation, or it may have involved his understanding / acceptance of a hoax / prank plan in progress.

In other words, assigning the .22 target pistol to J. C. does not necessarily mean Taylor was unarmed at any point during the overall incident. There was also a .22 rifle at the house, and this rifle is one of the weapons various accounts attribute to Taylor.
 

EnolaGaia

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Hmmm I suspect the four boxes thing is wrong. ... I personally suspect that the original quote wasn't 4 boxes. ...

If the unspecified ".22 target pistol" had been a semi-automatic the expression of ammo consumption may well have meant "4 clips / magazines" rather than "4 retail boxes." Given the semi-auto target pistols of that time it would reduce the number of rounds fired to something more like 24 - 40.
 

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We do seem to have a further quote from Albert Andre's letter, documenting Mrs Lankford's account from his 1959 interview.

To recap, Isabel writes:

Several times, apparently, the men thought they had driven the creatures off for good, only to have them return after an interval. This is indicated by Lucky's statement, quoted in one newspaper, that the creatures "came up to the house six times," and also by the fact that the family waited so long before going for help.

But as their invulnerable visitors returned again and again, matters got worse. Mrs. Lankford did not panic ("I kept trying to get him to come in the house and shut the door. The things weren't doing us any harm"), but the other women were increasingly terrified...".

As previously highlighted, Isabel's conception of the creatures 'repeatedly attacking' is seemingly based on one single, misinterpreted remark in a newspaper article.

We can again see the problem Isabel has, trying to incorporate this new evidence and yet maintain her own, perceived timeline.

Isabel's solution is to interpret one key statement from this new evidence as indicating Mrs Lankford did not panic during those waves of attack.

Taken in its true context, as intended, Mrs Lankford's above comments not only make more sense, they corroborate an entirely different sequence of how events unfolded.

Given that Isabel did publish some of the contents from Andre's letter, it would seem we can perhaps ascertain how the full context of Mrs Lankford's statement, was written.

Firstly, Isabel clarifies:

"Understandably, the sequence of events was and remains confused. No one was keeping a log. Mrs. Lankford, for example, when interviewed by Mr. Andre in 1959, thought the incident of Taylor's hair being touched occurred about 10:30 p.m. She said that at first she did not pay any attention to the boys, thinking they were only joking and shooting for the fun of it. She and the other women were busy with the supper dishes and putting the children to bed".


This is the extract as published:

"We thought the boys were only kidding, although they were coming into the house and telling about seeing and shooting at the things.

I did not take them seriously until about 10 o'clock, when Alene came in terrified, white, nervously shaking, saying that she had seen one of the little men. She was terribly upset and her nervousness continued for several days".


With the addition included:

"We thought the boys were only kidding, although they were coming into the house and telling about seeing and shooting at the things.

I kept trying to get him to come in the house and shut the door. The things weren't doing us any harm.

I did not take them seriously until about 10 o'clock, when Alene came in terrified, white, nervously shaking, saying that she had seen one of the little men.

(...)

I suggested to the boys that we turn the lights out, which we did.

(....)

"We remained crouched down about three feet from the screen door (the front door) for about 20 minutes, when I saw one approaching the door.

(...)

At the same time the thing jumped back into the yard and Billy shot at it right through the screen.

"It then jumped up, we thought, right on the roof of the house. As Billy went out the door to get another shot at it, the thing's clawy hands snatched at Billy's head.

(...)

By then, my son, Lucky, who had been guarding the other doorway (the back door) had also arrived at the front door, coming through the house. He pushed out the door past Billy and Alene and shot at the thing while it was still on the overhang above the front door."
(End)


"I kept trying to get him to come in the house and shut the door".

John Charles Sutton?

If affirmative, then consequently... at the time the supper dishes were being attended to and the children readied for bed, John Sutton was outside, fruitlessly discharging his boxes of ammunition.

Mrs Lankford urged him to come back inside as there was no obvious threat.

Later, that evening.... around 10.p.m., there was a new development, when Alene.... etc.

Would something along these lines be permissible?
 
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But surely at that (pre 10pm) point she statedly wasn't paying any attention at all, thinking that people were only "fooling around". Why would she have then encouraged J C, or whoever, to come inside and formed the opinion that "the things weren't doing us any harm" if she wasn't even aware there were any "things"?

If this was real, it has to relate to the period between 10pm and the family decamping to Hopkinsville.
 

EnolaGaia

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... Why would she have then encouraged J C, or whoever, to come inside and formed the opinion that "the things weren't doing us any harm" if she wasn't even aware there were any "things"? ...

This is a key point. The bit about Ms. Glennie pleading with one or another of the men to simply withdraw inside the house and ignore the visitors appears in a lot of the accounts, but it's not mentioned consistently in terms of when it occurred or what specific event is happening or about to happen.

In any case, I fully agree her pleading for the men to abide the visitors makes no sense until and unless she's convinced there are visitors out there. Prior to that point she'd simply be asking them to 'behave' (which may also have happened).
 

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If this was real, it has to relate to the period between 10pm and the family decamping to Hopkinsville.
Fabulous feedback, as per usual.

I wrote:

"... "I kept trying to get him to come in the house and shut the door".

John Charles Sutton?"...

You are suggesting, no, it's *'Lucky' Sutton and instead - this is still assuming that quote comes from Andre's letter - it possibly fits here?:

"He pushed out the door past Billy and Alene and shot at the thing while it was still on the overhang above the front door.

I kept trying to get him to come in the house and shut the door. The things weren't doing us any harm".

If the case - and again, merely speculation, trying to make sense of it - Isabel has extracted this specific quote from the end and attributes same to mean that during the ongoing return of the creatures, Mrs Lankford didn't panic.

In doing so, it now accomodates Isabel's conviction that 'Lucky' said the creatures returned another six times.

Effectively, having expressed that nobody was keeping an eye on the time and implying Mrs. Lankford is doubtless mistaken the 'hair touch' occurred 'about 10:30 p.m.', this final sentence - if so - is still useful:

"But as their invulnerable visitors returned again and again, matters got worse. Mrs. Lankford did not panic ("I kept trying to get him to come in the house and shut the door. The things weren't doing us any harm"), but the other women...".

Thank looks to be conceivable?

*Edited
 
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Comfortably Numb

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....it's not mentioned consistently in terms of when it occurred or what specific event is happening or about to happen.
Absolutely so - it's assuming the quote does actually originate from Andre's letter.

I wondered if it might relate to John Sutton and that now doesn't seem likely.

It's not a huge issue and my query if it was deemed conceivable, resulted from attempting to find a context for the apparent John Sutton 'barrage'.

Still not entirely clear when that occurred?
 

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Well, there's several possible options:

- J. C. fires off a large amount of .22 ammunition at some point during the evening, leading to Lucky's "four boxes" claim
- Taylor fires off a large amount of .22 ammunition
- Both men get through four boxes of ammunition between them
- "Boxes" was actually some other, smaller unit of measurement (e.g. "clips")
- "Four boxes" was the product of Lucky's imagination or a verbal device simply intended to convey "a whole lot" but taken literally by his listeners

I agree it looks very much as if the claim about using a lot of .22 ammunition is probably more likely to be connected with J. C. than Taylor based on the evidence upthread, as the claim about Taylor appears to be identical to the one about J. C. Whether so many shots were fired - no idea. Where would the evidence have gone?
 
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Here's what the earliest news reports said about .22 ammo consumption during the incident ...

Kentucky New Era, 22 August (Reporter(s) on the scene that night)
Deputy Sheriff Batts said the men told him that in all they fired up about four boxes of .22 pistol shells.

Madisonville Messenger, 22 August (Reporter on the scene that night)
John Sutton said he fired four boxes (200) of .22 cartridges at the creatures ...

Evansville Press, 22 August (Lucky, John & O. P. interviewed in Evansville)
Elmer Sutton ... said his brother, John, used four boxes of .22 shells in his pistol, shooting at the little men.

Here's what the earliest UFO investigators mentioned about the ammo tally ...

Sanders, January 1956 (No contact with witnesses; obtained info from Chief Greenwell / police personnel)
Taylor reportedly fired about four boxes of .22 shells.

Davis' only mention of .22 ammo consumption attributes it (second-hand) solely to J. C.:
... a widely-quoted statement by J.C. Sutton that he used up four boxes of ammunition (200 shells) ...
 

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Well, there's several possible options:

- J. C. fires off a large amount of .22 ammunition at some point during the evening, leading to Lucky's "four boxes" claim
- Taylor fires off a large amount of .22 ammunition
- Both men get through four boxes of ammunition between them
- "Boxes" was actually some other, smaller unit of measurement (e.g. "clips")
- "Four boxes" was the product of Lucky's imagination or a verbal device simply intended to convey "a whole lot" but taken literally by his listeners

I agree it looks very much as if the claim about using a lot of .22 ammunition is probably more likely to be connected with J. C. than Taylor based on the evidence upthread, as the claim about Taylor appears to be identical to the one about J. C. Whether so many shots were fired - no idea. Where would the evidence have gone?
yeah, there's a real possibility that they cleaned up any shell casings. BUT.. doing that at night... you need light to see what you're doing. Either they used artificial light or.... they didn't fire that many.

Hmmm hard to definitively say which. Feels like a situation where it'd be more reasonable to wait until morning to cleanup shell casings.

Also, as noted previously... it doesn't completely make sense to list a total of 4 boxes of .22 ammo.... when you have THREE different weapon types. It feels like a tell that it's bad info if the list of how much they fired doesn't even talk about shotgun ammo at all..
 

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... Also, as noted previously... it doesn't completely make sense to list a total of 4 boxes of .22 ammo.... when you have THREE different weapon types. It feels like a tell that it's bad info if the list of how much they fired doesn't even talk about shotgun ammo at all..

Except for mentioning specific shotgun firings in relation to particular events during the incident, there was no similar tally claimed for shotgun ammo consumption - with one exception. In the Evansville Press article of 22 August (derived from interviewing Lucky, J. C., and O. P. in Evansville on the 22nd) Lucky claims he fired a total of 17 shots using the 12-gauge shotgun.

As noted earlier, the investigating law enforcement personnel reported finding 2 or 3 shotgun shells around the front door, and Ledwith's companion on the 22nd found one shotgun shell in the living room. These shells' gauges weren't cited.

As to the .22 ammo ... The only mention of spent .22 cartridges comes from Davis (perhaps based on info obtained from Ledwith), and it claims only two spent cartridges were found by the police investigators.
 

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I get an error for the first one too - a later interview with one of the adult witnesses must be unique surely? A good find.

Interesting that Greenwell, on the second page, gives a different version of the initial shot at the window, saying the residents "panicked" only after a shotgun blast at the creature in the window left it still standing there. Also the "children were first to notice the light while playing outdoors"? Radically different.
 
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Interesting that Greenwell, on the second page, gives a different version of the initial shot at the window, saying the residents "panicked" only after a shotgun blast at the creature in the window left it still standing there.

The new tidbits I see from the second page are ...

- The residents had "been under attack since about 10 p.m. that night".
(This shifts the timeframe of the incident's onset much later than is usually claimed.)

- All or at least many of the residents had seen a bright light pass overhead and land out back.
(These items change the time and nature of the initial observation.)

- Greenwell says all the residents became frightened and gathered in a single room inside the house.
(In context, this was apparently the living room. No other account states all the residents were in a single room at any given time.)

- Greenwell says the residents first saw any visitor through the window.
(Again, in context this would be the living room window. Note that this claim attributed to Greenwell conflicts with his understanding of events in earlier accounts such as Sanders' report.)

- The living room window shot is described as a single shot from a shotgun.
(This conflicts with Davis' claim that Taylor also fired a .22 at the window, as well as the window screen holes she attributed to .22 shots.)

- This is the only account of the living room window shot that claims the visitor stayed put at the window (i.e., didn't immediately 'flip' or disappear).

- The single most consistently described event during the night's investigation was someone stepping on the cat's tail. :evillaugh:

- June Taylor isn't listed among the residents present during the incident.

- The 3 children are mis-identified as being J. C.'s kids.
(There's at least one other news story that similarly mis-attributes the 3 kids to J. C. and Alene.)

- The 3 children are claimed to have been the ones who initially saw the bright light while outside playing.
(No other account claims the children were the initial UFO witnesses. Ms. Glennie, Mary (August 23 '55) and Lonnie (years later) all claimed the children hadn't seen anything.)

- J. C. claims the incident happened while he "was on leave from the Army."
(Other accounts claim J. C. was an Army veteran and / or that he was working the farm full-time in 1955. No other account suggests J. C. had a continuing connection to the Army.)
 

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The new tidbits I see from the second page are ...

- The residents had "been under attack since about 10 p.m. that night".
(This shifts the timeframe of the incident's onset much later than is usually claimed.)

- All or at least many of the residents had seen a bright light pass overhead and land out back.
(These items change the time and nature of the initial observation.)

- Greenwell says all the residents became frightened and gathered in a single room inside the house.
(In context, this was apparently the living room. No other account states all the residents were in a single room at any given time.)

- Greenwell says the residents first saw any visitor through the window.
(Again, in context this would be the living room window. Note that this claim attributed to Greenwell conflicts with his understanding of events in earlier accounts such as Sanders' report.)

- The living room window shot is described as a single shot from a shotgun.
(This conflicts with Davis' claim that Taylor also fired a .22 at the window, as well as the window screen holes she attributed to .22 shots.)

- This is the only account of the living room window shot that claims the visitor stayed put at the window (i.e., didn't immediately 'flip' or disappear).

- The single most consistently described event during the night's investigation was someone stepping on the cat's tail. :evillaugh:

- June Taylor isn't listed among the residents present during the incident.

- The 3 children are mis-identified as being J. C.'s kids.
(There's at least one other news story that similarly mis-attributes the 3 kids to J. C. and Alene.)

- The 3 children are claimed to have been the ones who initially saw the bright light while outside playing.
(No other account claims the children were the initial UFO witnesses. Ms. Glennie, Mary (August 23 '55) and Lonnie (years later) all claimed the children hadn't seen anything.)

- J. C. claims the incident happened while he "was on leave from the Army."
(Other accounts claim J. C. was an Army veteran and / or that he was working the farm full-time in 1955. No other account suggests J. C. had a continuing connection to the Army.)

It's essentially a completely different incident - particularly strange given that Greenwell is the source of several of the above variances.

One possible factor is that it was printed before the wide dissemination of Davis's text - no doubt the latter has had a substantial influence on all retellings since, standardising them.
 

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It's essentially a completely different incident - particularly strange given that Greenwell is the source of several of the above variances.
One possible factor is that it was printed before the wide dissemination of Davis's text - no doubt the latter has had a substantial influence on all retellings since, standardising them.

Nonetheless, Davis' version of events aligns with far more of the contemporary accounts and investigatory fact-finding than this version.

Davis' account did have an effect in shaping the canonical storyline, but it had done so two decades prior to this 1976 interview.
 

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Nonetheless, Davis' version of events aligns with far more of the contemporary accounts and investigatory fact-finding than this version.

Davis' account did have an effect in shaping the canonical storyline, but it had done so two decades prior to this 1976 interview.

This is true. Another thing it may show (bearing in mind I've only seen half of it so far) is that people's recall of events twenty years later isn't very good, even if they are police officers.
 

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This is true. Another thing it may show (bearing in mind I've only seen half of it so far) is that people's recall of events twenty years later isn't very good, even if they are police officers.

To be fair, we have to bear in mind Greenwell knew about the incident only from what he was told by frantic folks. It's not clear that he obtained a clear or consistent storyline from his investigations in the first place. The Evansville Press article of 22 August contains his harshest statements about the incident and his opinion of the witnesses' claims. How much should one expect him to clearly recall of a murky story merely alleged and unsupported by any hard evidence?

For example ... In my post of several weeks past:

https://forums.forteana.org/index.p...ucky-goblins-incident-1955.17926/post-2107438

... I presented a photo of Greenwell at the farmhouse scene circa 1966. He's standing in the back yard pointing up at one of the trees. I can't figure out why he's posing there and pointing up into those trees. The one tree in which a visitor is ever alleged to have been perched was in the front yard (i.e., on the opposite side of the house). Was it simply a more 'photogenic' scene for taking the photo, or had he forgotten which tree it was in which a visitor perched?
 

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The first link is apparently dead, or the filename is wrong. The URL returns a non-download of zero bytes.
I've only just logged on since and didn't realise there was an issue.

It is indeed 0 bytes and presumably a file corruption problem with this page when uploaded.

The reason I didn't notice, is that the link doesn't declare an error for myself because I have the exact same named .pdf in my download folder.

The link tries to download the web site copy, recognises it already exists and simply asks if I want to overwrite the original.

That tells myself the link is working fine.

It doesn't, at that stage, indicate the file I am about to download is 0 bytes.

I do apologise and to make sure it doesn't happen in future, will both check the upload file size is identical and move the original from my download folder elsewhere, soon as it is uploaded.

Having duly completed both, both links are working correctly:

www.forteanmedia.com/1976_08_20_1_Evansville.pdf

www.forteanmedia.com/1976_08_20_2_Evansville.pdf

A this is potentially such an important interview, I have, as a backup, also uploaded .jpg copies, both uncompressed to retain image quality.

www.forteanmedia.com/1976_08_20_1_Evansville.jpg

www.forteanmedia.com/1976_08_20_2_Evansville.jpg

There would actually have been an argument for uploading page 2 only and allowing time to take in the contents.

If you thought page 2 was 'interesting'...
 
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OK, the download now works. Thanks @Comfortably Numb !

Key points from the J. C. Sutton interview:

- Event started at "9-10pm"
- Sutton says he was in the yard and saw a light apparently dropping nearby
- "Some time later", but before midnight, Lucky then saw something at the window and fired his shotgun at it
- The hair-grab incident took place immediately after, but states it happened to Lucky
- Something was on the roof but "I don't know what it was"
- J.C. saw "something" in the field and fired at it with a "pistol" multiple times - "not sure what he saw"
 

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The link to the first page of the J. C. Sutton interview is now working. Here are the bits that pop out at me. J. C.'s story is radically different from any other documented account.

- The article says J. C.'s memories of the event have "dimmed" after 21 years, and IMHO this is an important qualification.

- J. C. says he was in the yard when he saw the UFO. Whether he meant the front or back yard is unclear. He refers to watching the UFO overfly a field, and this tends to support his position being in the back yard.

- J. C. said there wasn't any noise. This contrasts with the other early accounts, in which Taylor is sometimes cited as hearing something before seeing the UFO.

- J. C. places the time of the initial UFO sighting at 2100 - 2200.

- J. C. says it was Elmer (Lucky) who saw the visitor at the (living room) window and fired a shotgun through the window screen.

- J. C. says Lucky then "went outside and something grabbed him by the hair of his head ... I don't know what it was."
(This makes Lucky rather than Taylor the object of the head-grab.)

- "Sutton says whatever grabbed his brother was on the roof of the house. After that, Sutton went into the yard."
(Given the earlier claim that Lucky had already exited into the yard, this means it was J. C. who exited at this point.)

- "I saw something in the field and I fired at it with a pistol," he says. "I fired every bullet, nine times."
(This implies the .22 'target pistol' held 9 rounds at a time.)

- "Sutton says that he was never sure whether he hit whatever he saw and that he'd not sure what he saw."
(The article includes the Larry Hill sketch from the 1955 article, and its caption claims Hill's drawing "was from descriptions given by Elmer and John Sutton", just as claimed in 1955.)

- There's no mention of Taylor at all.

- There's no mention of Lucky firing the shotgun in the front yard (at any visitor on the roof or in a tree) after the head-grab event.
 
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BS3

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The link to the first page of the J. C. Sutton interview is now working. Here are the bits that pop out at me. J. C.'s story is radically different from any other documented account.

- The article says J. C.'s memories of the event have "dimmed" after 21 years, and IMHO this is an important qualification.

- J. C. says he was in the yard when he saw the UFO. Whether he meant the front or back yard is unclear. He refers to watching the UFO overfly a field, and this tends to support his position being in the back yard.

- J. C. said there wasn't any noise. This contrasts with the other early accounts, in which Taylor is sometimes cited as hearing something before seeing the UFO.

- J. C. places the time of the initial UFO sighting at 2100 - 2200.

- J. C. says it was Elmer (Lucky) who saw the visitor at the (living room) window and fired a shotgun through the window screen.

- J. C. says Lucky then "went outside and something grabbed him by the hair of his head ... I don't know what it was."
(This makes Lucky rather than Taylor the object of the head-grab.)

- "Sutton says whatever grabbed his brother was on the roof of the house. After that, Sutton went into the yard."
(Given the earlier claim that Lucky had already exited into the yard, this means it was J. C. who exited at this point.)

- "I saw something in the field and I fired at it with a pistol," he says. "I fired every bullet, nine times."
(This implies the .22 'target pistol' held 9 rounds at a time.)

- "Sutton says that he was never sure whether he hit whatever he saw and that he'd not sure what he saw."
(The article includes the Larry Hill sketch from the 1955 article, and its caption claims Hill's drawing "was from descriptions given by Elmer and John Sutton", just as claimed in 1955.)

- There's no mention of Taylor at all.

- There's no mention of Lucky firing the shotgun in the front yard (at any visitor on the roof or in a tree) after the head-grab event.

Interestingly there's not only no mention of Taylor, there's no mention of Lankford, who has a starring role in other accounts. However given that Lankford's narrative function in Davis et al is usually that of the 'credible' witness, her input might simply have seemed less significant from J. C.'s perspective, as a witness himself.

I note also Lankford was still alive at this point so he also may simply have wished to avoid bringing his mother into it.

One further point while I remember it: it could well be that in stating he was in the yard, Sutton's memory is simply placing him at a part of the event he was only told about (by Taylor) - a common enough quirk of memory. However,it does also suggest that he, at least, believed what he was recalling - rather than being party to any hoax.
 

EnolaGaia

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J. C.'s 1976 version of events also omits any mention of the second-wave (0330) sighting / shooting event.
 

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The article says J. C.'s memories of the event have "dimmed" after 21 years, and IMHO this is an important qualification.
Massively so and that might also apply, in some respects, to Lonnie Lankford.

Furtherore, conceivably, it may be a factor in Mrs Lankford's 1959 retelling.

I see no reason to alter our understanding that Billy Ray Taylor went outside to get some water and he is our sole witness.

Regarding same, there's a notable remark attributed to Alene Sutton in the 22 August, 'Evansville Press' article:

"Taylor was quoted by Mrs. Sutton as saying he saw a thing like a red washtub gliding out of the sky to the ground behind the house".

Again seeming to confirm only Taylor.

Clarification of the shots fired by J.C. Sutton is the key point, for myself. It's the one thing I have particularly been trying to make sense of, in context.

I had concluded these miust have taken place away from the farmhouse, perhaps when on his own and Sutton apparently states he was firing from within the yard, towards a field where he thought a threatening entity, or more than one, could be discerned within the darkness.

Critically though, he couldn't be sure if his bullets were hitting their perceived target.

This is a profoundly different perspective than that which has been cited as one of the central enigmas, 'Lucky' Sutton reportedly claiming in the same article:

"He said his brother, John, used four boxes of .22 shells in his pistol, shooting at the little men.

He said that when bullets hit the creatures they bounced off "like from a concrete pavement."

(...)

He said John Sutton shot one of the creatures with his .22 and the bullets just glanced off the body".

The article continues:

"During the entire incident John and Elmer Sutton posted themselves at two windows and kept the women and children on the floor".

It would appear that is not entirely accurate either.

Still contemplating a couple of other things he says. This late occurance of the farmhouse shooting events, even though the timing may not be precise, is particularly interesting.
 

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In principle I can imagine how you could reconcile J. C.'s memories in 1976 with the reports of 22 and 23 August 21 years earlier. It is likely he wasn't a witness to the early part of the incident, despite his 1976 assertion that he was, so the initial hour or two - until the time that Lankford later claimed she and Alene, and possibly J. C. also, started to take it seriously - wouldn't really have registered so much. Lankford certainly doesn't describe taking much notice of whatever Lucky and Taylor had been doing.

10pm was about the point Alene was supposed to have come in, frightened. Supposing J. C. became convinced of the 'reality' of things at about the same time then you would have a fairly concentrated series of events - Lankford seeing the "object" near the house and falling over, the "head-grab", and now perhaps, possibly J. C. firing off nine .22 rounds into the field at some vaguely glimpsed things - until the family decides to leave for Hopkinsville.

No doubt if J. C. misremembered himself as spotting the 'saucer', not Taylor, he might also misremember this incident as taking place at the start of events as he recalled them - I.e. around 10pm, when night had properly fallen. It was only at that time that Lucky and Taylor's "panic" spread to the rest of the household.

One other thing J. C.'s memories do strongly suggest is that Lucky, as much as Taylor, may have elaborated to some degree when speaking to the press (e.g. the four boxes of ammo and the description of J. C 's shots ricocheting off a creature - J. C. seems clear he fired 9 shots at some things he wasn't even sure if he hit). I do find the role and dynamic of Lucky and Taylor at the genesis of events, during the press reports and in subsequent discussion with Ledwith to be interesting, to say the least.
 
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