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

Comfortably Numb

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I find it difficult to attribute compelling status to J. C.'s claim - circa 21 years after the fact - of being the original UFO witness, unless ...
What if he is recalling a separate incident?

We know there were several meteor sightings that night.

Just guesswork, isn't it.

Nonetheless, of fundamental significance, what has reportedly been claimed by 'Lucky' Sutton as pivotal evidence, now looks to be anything like.

Join Sutton's avowed discharge of 4 boxes of ammo, having no effect on the creatures as the bullets" bounced off "like from a concrete pavement", came from 'Lucky' Sutton.

If, as seems the case, John Sutton had no idea if he was actually hitting anything at all, it removes this from the equation.

The only shot for which evidence exists, is the window shot.

The only other one reported and which has a clear description of location and circumstances, is the door overhang shot.

There is nothing else substantiated whatsoever.

It comes down to what 'Lucky' Sutton reportedly claims about his other shots, which from our only existing evidence, those 22 August newspapers and the Ledwith interview, seem minimal.

In one of the few specific details we have, the 'Evansville Press' reports:

"Elmer Sutton said he shot at the creatures 17 times with a point .12 gauge shotgun".

If he did, where and when did the rest of this actually occur?

According to John Sutton, noting it was 20 years later and he does caution his memory of events might not be so sharp, it would seem he fired all of his ammunition:- "I fired every bullet" - in a relatively short period of time.

This was statedly directly after 'Lucky' Sutton's window screen shot, when John went out into the yard and followed up the earlier window shot with his pistol.

What happens then?

Still trying to get my head around the various permutations!

One thing I would like to absolutely clarify, is what we think is meant by , "I fired every bullet, nine times"?

Is that taken to mean, he fully reloaded his
pistol nine times? How many bullets would that amount to?

I take it he doesn't mean that he fired every bullet he had... all nine of them?
 

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Going back to something I wrote several pages back - " all the while the core experience recedes further and further until you are left chasing shadows, or Venus".

What this all demonstrates is that human memory is very unreliable, when called on to recall events taking place under an unusual psychological state even more unreliable, and when filtered through local newspaper reporters even more unreliable than that: or alternatively that being consistent in maintaining a hoax story is beyond most people.
 

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It would have been extremely helpful if Ledwith, rather than focusing on his drawings, had separately interviewed the key witnesses to establish a core sequence of events. Distracted by trying to get a consistent depiction of the "goblins" he failed to establish a consistent context, which is surely more important.

Maybe his original report included this, but if such a thing existed and was utilised by Davis, she did not include sufficient references to check where her narrative came from.

Lots of lessons for 'ufologists' here!
 

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... The only shot for which evidence exists, is the window shot.
The only other one reported and which has a clear description of location and circumstances, is the door overhang shot.
There is nothing else substantiated whatsoever. ...
Not exactly ...

The only shots (note the plural ... ) for which there was clearly evidence of damage / impact were those in the living room window screen.

The alleged number of shotgun firings at or through the living room window is two. The number of residual damages suggestive of shotgun blasts is two (the two holes in the screen mesh). The number of residual damages unequivocally indicative of shotgun blasts is one (the set of pellets found in the window frame, separate from either of the holes through the screen).

As maximum otter pointed out, it's conceivable the wadding from the shell whose pellets ended up in the window frame made the second / later hole in the screen.

In addition, there were five holes clustered around the two allegedly shotgun-induced holes in the screen. Davis (pp. 71 - 73) noted these five holes were consistent with .22 caliber shots fired from inside the house.

There was also the limited set of evidence afforded by spent ammunition (shells; casings) reportedly found at the scene:

- Investigators found "a few" (also cited as "2 or 3") spent shotgun shells at the front door (apparently outside the door).
- Ledwith's companion found a spent shotgun shell in the living room during their first visit on the 22nd.
- One or two accounts specify the investigators found a total of only two .22 cartridge casings "in the area."
 

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It would have been extremely helpful if Ledwith, rather than focusing on his drawings, had separately interviewed the key witnesses to establish a core sequence of events. Distracted by trying to get a consistent depiction of the "goblins" he failed to establish a consistent context, which is surely more important.
Maybe his original report included this, but if such a thing existed and was utilised by Davis, she did not include sufficient references to check where her narrative came from.
Lots of lessons for 'ufologists' here!

Agreed ...

Unfortunately, we still don't know how much info Ledwith collected, how much of what he collected he documented, how much of his documented results he shared with or forwarded to Davis, and how much of what he submitted to Davis she ever bothered to mention.

There's also the glaring issue of Ledwith subverting the objectivity he claimed he did his best to apply in his interviews on the 22nd. He managed to have one and only one 'clean' (unbiased; all-new; unbiased) interview - the first one with Alene, Vera and Ms. Glennie.

He completely blew his chance for similar objectivity when dealing with Taylor (afternoon) and the three men who'd been to Evansville (evening). In both these latter instances he allowed the witness to see and seize upon the sketch he'd already produced with the women (mainly Alene, it seems). By 'seeding' the later interviews with the women's sketch he allowed the four men to simply elaborate on what the women had said, prevented himself from any substantial opportunity to surface any discrepancies among their testimonies, and allowed the later interviewees (the men) to evade ever being put on the spot to provide completely original or divergent inputs.

The remarkable consistency Ledwith trumpeted for his sketch results was something he actively imposed rather than passively drew out in a fair manner.
 
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Not exactly ...
Incidentally helpful, thank you so much.

To quantify further, I am thinking along the lines of how many shots actually hit a creature at all.

What evidence do we have in that respect?

There's the window screen shot - although questionable if it actually did, because we have no way of ever knowing - and the resultant door overhang shot, which statedly struck the intended target.

Otherwise, there's seemingly only references to a few which could be candidates - I am only including those which 'Lucky' Sutton claims, or reportly claimed and excluding the unsourced 22 August UP newsfeed warning/followed by direct fire shots.

At present - subject to any necessary revision - this is all I have:

Kentucky New Era

- location unstated: "...knocked another one of the men down but he did not appear hurt. He disappeared in the darkness".

Evansville Press

- location unstated: shot one twice from 30 feet, creature flipped over onto the grass, fell down, jumped up again and ran off.

Madisonville Messenger

- location unstated: reported shooting two creatures.

Ledwith Interview

- location unstated: shot a creature at close range, when shot struck, "sounded as though I had been firing at a bucket".


The 'New Era' reference, could well be the door overhang shot as it isn't included:

"By and by one of the little men pressed his face against the window and the shotgun was fired through the window. The face disappeared".

The men decided to go outside and see if the visitor had been hit. Taylor was in front and when he emerged from the front door, a huge hand reached down from the low roof above the door and grabbed him by the hair. He pulled away, and the two men went on out of the house.

(...)

A blast from Sutton’s shotgun knocked another one of the men down but he did not appear hurt".


I would be reasonably confident that those two 'Messenger' shots, are in fact the window screen and door overhang ones.

The 'Evansville Press' and 'Ledwith' shots.... ?

If correct... that's only three remaining though, at most, which are attributed to hitting their target.

Thus, it casts increasing doubt, for myself, if there were any creatures ever hit.

Are the 'hair-grab'/door overhang episode and the 'Ledwith 'bucket' anecdote, really that convincing?

Anyway, must now contemplate further and take into account your invaluable feedback.

It is, as always, 'a fluid situation'...
 

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Regarding Mrs Lankford's 1959 testimony....

Having now had time to fully consider the all-too-brief contents of John Sutton's interview, published by the 'Evansville Press' on 20 August, 1976, the following seems to be particularly significant regarding Mrs Lankford's 1959 account:

"Elmer' saw it right in the window," Sutton says. Elmer is his brother.

"Elmer took a shotgun and blew a hole right through the screen".

"Then Elmer went outside and something grabbed him by the hair of his head," Sutton said.

"I don't know what it was".

Sutton said that whatever grabbed his brother was on the roof of the house.

After that, Sutton went into the yard.

"I saw something in the field and I fired at it with a pistol," he says.

"I fired every bullet, nine times".

Doubtless we can make due allowance for John Sutton recalling the 'hair-grab' involved his brother and not Billy Ray Taylor.

This must surely put an end to any further deliberation as regards Mrs Lankford's 1959 narrative, claiming that the 'hair -grab'/creature on roof incidents were resultant from a door screen shot by Billy Ray Taylor.

Even although John Sutton doesn't mention any following door overhang shot, it seems crystal clear this is the correct sequence of events.

Consequently, it would also appear to remain the case, there is no evidence that Billy Ray Taylor was armed that night.
 

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Going back to something I wrote several pages back - " all the while the core experience recedes further and further until you are left chasing shadows, or Venus".
'Tis all a wee bit ardous at times!

.Doesn't help that the witnesses left town. :)

I suppose part of the fascination and an incentive to 'stick with it', is that it's resultantly really quite a complex case in how the story, as popularised, has evolved.

Central to our discussions has, of course, been the 1978 publication of Isabel Davis' research in 'Close Encounter at Kelly'

Naturally, this has its flaws, however we have the resources Isabel could scarcely have imagined.

Given the information available to Isabel at the time, we can see how persuasive some of the evidence would have been.

However, if not for the exemplary documentation, especially detailed maps of the farmstead and even moreso a plan of the farmhouse itself, discussions would never have come this far.

A combination of perhaps realising we not only had this publication available and free to download, plus having the ability to investigate its contents ourselves, including newly available online access to historical newspaper archives/contemporary publications of newsletters/periodicals/previous research papers subsequent to 1978, et al, is the 'perfect storm:.

Coming from an IT and publishing related background, I have been both intrigued and unexpectedly surprised by the extent of this.

I need to see a copy of 'The Saucerian Review' from 1959, or check out a chapter in a particular book, a magazine article about the case, even if published in France, Germany or Sweden, etc.

Rarely any difficulty in locating an online copy of same.... eventually!

It's quite extraordinary and add to the mix a discussion forum which is different class, both in terms of knowledge and seamless habitude....

I would like to think we have also made some progress in trying to piece together the fragments of mosaic which can still be unearthed!

There's also maybe another factor and that's the 'human interest' aspect. These were ordinary people, caught up in something which to them was extraordinary and lives were adversely affected by it. I have seen enough - some things I would never post - to know that is sadly true.

It seems indisputable there was a somewhat one-sided 'gunfight', the duration of which was possibly short-lived, rather than an ongoing 'battle'.

Firing at phantoms and shooting at shadows.... conceivably so, at least some of the time. John Sutton's newly located testimony, would seem to support this contention.

I don't expect any further new, to discussions, evidence will materialise.

Having said that, there's more than enough in the John Sutton interview to be going on with.

I am finding it to be one of those situations where if you do come across previously unseen evidence, at first the content seems slightly disappointing and you had hoped for more, fresh insight.

When you proverbially 'pour over the statement' though, it emerges there could be more significance than at first apparant.
 

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It would have been extremely helpful if Ledwith, rather than focusing on his drawings, had separately interviewed the key witnesses to establish a core sequence of events....
And yet, despite what we can see looking back were things he might have done differently - I have mentioned that the men having seen the women's drawing before giving their input was unfortunate - it's a quite remarkable legacy!

One thing we can't question is that some... noting 'some'... of the same depiction, was given in the 'Evansville Press' 22 August, article, reporting 'Lucky' Sutton prior to his return to Kelly and meeting Ledwith:

"Sutton said that the little man, which he described as being three and a half to four feet tall, looked like the bones of a skeleton with shiny metal over them.

(....)

He reported they had webbed hands with claws, their fingers were about six inches long and had ears that came to a keen point".

(...)

"In describing the creatures Elmer Sutton said they had eyes about six to eight inches apart that "shine like new money".


Which brings us back to a central and still, to my mind, unresolved aspect.... how could they ascertain so much detail in the darkness?

Or, did they....

Mrs Lankford's initially stated observation was of:

"... a bright silver object about two and a half feet tall appearing round. I became excited and did not look at it long enough to see if it had any eyes or move".

If we want to add her later, 1959, description:

"It looked like a five-gallon gasoline can with a head on top and small legs. It was a shimmering bright metal like on my refrigerator".

How to reconcile with Ledwith recording, as regards the 'women's' sketch:

"AFTER THE BASIC SHAPE HAD BEEN SKETCHED, AND THE HEAD ADDED AT THE TOP, MRS. LANKFORD SAID THAT IT WAS SO LIKE THE APPARITION SHE HAD SEEN THAT SHE WAS NOT GOING TO LOOK AT IT ANY LONGER, AND SHE WENT BACK OUTDOORS. THE THREE OTHER WOMEN, MY COMPANION, AND I STAYED INSIDE TO PUT THE FINISHING TOUCHES ON THE DRAWING. WHEN IT WAS COMPLETED, WE TOOK IT OUTSIDE TO SHOW TO MRS. LANKFORD, WHO TOOK ONE LOOK, SAID WE HADN'T MISSED A THING, AND ASKED ME TO TAKE IT AWAY - SHE DIDN'T WANT TO LOOK AT IT ANY MORE".

Typically bemusing and it would perhaps be an anomaly otherwise.... :)
 

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And that's a subject I've been waiting to get the chance to discuss in more detail.
Regarding the number of reported meteorite sightings that same night ...looking forward to this.

I had a note to check something related and shall now leave same aside until hearing from you further. It was to find the source of my recollection that Glennie Lankford had perhaps mentioned seeing two meteorites herself that evening?
 

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I came across the following, which is page 2 of a 3 page ' UFO' related feature from the 'Daily News (New York)', published on 19 March, 1967 and written by Ed Wallace - who had a notable career in journalism.

It's a 'tongue-in-cheek' take on the case and seemingly reliant on Frank Edwards' recently published account within his book, 'Flying Saucers: Serious Business'.

Mentioned herein because of an accompanying photograph, which I do not recall seeing previously.

Looks like it was taken when the farmhouse had been abandoned?

www.forteanmedia.com/1967_03_19_DailyNews_02.pdf
 

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To quantify further, I am thinking along the lines of how many shots actually hit a creature at all.
What evidence do we have in that respect?

The optimistic / benign (?) version is "anecdotally - some", provided you believe vague testimony at face value.

The pessimistic (hard / cold) version is "frankly - none", if you closely examine the documentation.

Here are the three major points, as I see it ...


Some accounts specifically indicate or explicitly state Lucky fired his first shotgun blast so as to scare, rather than hit, the first-sighted visitor. At least one account explicitly stated he fired into the air.

The only alleged shotgun blast for which there was physical proof (of a shotgun firing) was at the living room window. This shot drove its shot pellets into the window frame rather than through the screen - a total 'miss'. Whether this misdirected aim was accidental or deliberate is anybody's guess.

Point #1: Save for testimony from a shooter himself, there's no claim - much less any evidence - any shots were fired directly at a purported visitor.


There are, of course, the scattered and vague allusions to sounds suggestive of ricochets and Lucky's claim of one or more shots resulting in a sound akin to firing into a bucket (presumably meaning a hollow or rattling metal-on-metal sound).

Point #2: Given Point #1, we have no clear basis for assuming the alleged ricochet / 'into a bucket' metal-on-metal sounds represented direct hits on any visitor at any time. For all we know these sounds could have resulted from bullets / pellets striking objects around the yard in which shots were fired. All the shots associated with ricochet (etc.) sounds were fired outside the house.


Every shooter description of what happened when he allegedly shot at a visitor is of the form "the visitor disappeared / fell / 'flipped' / floated off its perch / etc." There's not a single documented claim that a visitor disintegrated, lost parts of its anatomy, or displayed any punctures when a shot was fired at it.

The descriptions given as evidence of visitors being hit all relate to some immediate action or behavior of a given visitor once a shot was fired in its direction.

Point #3: All the alleged effects of shooting at visitors describe the visitor's immediate response, and there's not a single one that describes actual damage or injury inflicted on the given target. All we know for certain is that visitors reacted, not that they were struck.

With regard to Point #3, take note of the fact that Alene mentioned seeing a visitor fly over the house into the back yard without claiming any shot(s) had been fired at all (Evansville Press, 22 August).

Even more generally ... As we've noted long ago, there's no compelling reason to believe anyone other than the shooters themselves and Ms. Lankford ever directly observed a visitor at whom a shot was fired.
 

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I came across the following, which is page 2 of a 3 page ' UFO' related feature from the 'Daily News (New York)', published on 19 March, 1967 and written by Ed Wallace - who had a notable career in journalism.
It's a 'tongue-in-cheek' take on the case and seemingly reliant on Frank Edwards' recently published account within his book, 'Flying Saucers: Serious Business'.
Mentioned herein because of an accompanying photograph, which I do not recall seeing previously.
Looks like it was taken when the farmhouse had been abandoned?

www.forteanmedia.com/1967_03_19_DailyNews_02.pdf

Ahhh ... You found the original article ... Thanks!

That article was cited in Loren Gross' Supplemental Notes document, and I posted the (crappy / photocopied) version of the photo appearing in Gross' document back in September:

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

EnolaGaia

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... I had a note to check something related and shall now leave same aside until hearing from you further. It was to find the source of my recollection that Glennie Lankford had perhaps mentioned seeing two meteorites herself that evening?

My guess is that you're referring to Davis' claim that Ms. Glennie told Andre about two 'meteor' sightings that she'd heard about (but not witnessed herself). See page 62 in the D & B report.
 

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RE: 'Meteors'

Here is a listing of the allusions to 'meteors' I've found in the various reports and other documents. For some of these I've included excerpts relating to the initial UFO sighting in which certain features attributed to the 'meteors' (especially a sudden brightness and audible sound) are cited.


MÈGE, Yann. 'Phenomena', issue #45, June 2001, pp. 6 - 18. (In French)

Indirect mention: Allusion to 'meteor(s)' cited in the New Era (22 August) and Madisonville Messenger (23 August)


SPARKS (Blue Book Unknowns; 2003 compilation in progress)

State police officer leaving the Shady Oaks restaurant 3 miles N of Hopkinsville in a car to respond to the call heard several meteor-like objects streaking over him sounding like artillery shells, and was able to see 2 in a series looking like meteors from the SW [or actually about S, from about 190° azimuth, headed towards Kelly from the direction of Fort Campbell and the TOP SECRET Armed Forces Special Weapons Project Site C, Clarksville Base, 36.665° N, 87.487° W, National Stockpile Site for nuclear weapons storage apparently recently including multi-megaton yield H bombs].

Item #936; page 128 in PDF version of:

Comprehensive Catalog of 1,500 Project BLUE BOOK UFO Unknowns: Work in Progress
(Version 1.7, Dec. 31, 2003)
Compiled by Brad Sparks (2001 - 2003)

Cited Sources:
(Davis-Bloecher 1978; Hynek UFO Rpt pp. 212-6; Vallée Magonia 372; FUFOR Index)


SANDERS

The man was standing at the end of the hallway, looking out the back screen door. Suddenly there was a hissing sound and he saw a brilliant light. Some bright object seemed to have landed in a field about a city block in distance away from the house.

Sanders, p. 20.

A state trooper and his wife said they heard a loud "swishing" noise which "sounded like a meteor" as they drove up to the farmhouse, yet they saw nothing.

Sanders, p. 21.


DAVIS (D & B Report)

Following the second State trooper, Greenwell took the road to Kelly, traveling at 70 or 80 miles per hour. At the turnoff another State Trooper, from Madisonville, was waiting to follow them the rest of the distance to the farmhouse.

Shortly before this -- the exact time cannot be established, but it was sometime about the beginning of the night's investigation -- occurred the strange incident of the "meteors." One of the State Police reported that at Shady Oaks, a restaurant two or three miles out of Hopkinsville toward Kelly, he had heard several meteors passing overhead "with a noise like artillery fire" or "whining" and had looked out of his car in time to see two of them. They were traveling in a slightly descending trajectory from approximately southwest, in the general direction of the Sutton farm.

At first, right after the Kelly incident, this policeman stated definitely that these were not ordinary meteors; he had watched the Perseids earlier in August, and these objects were larger and brighter than the Perseids, besides making a noise. Later, he said they were meteors and nothing but meteors.
(pp. 33 -34)

A Mr. Ernest Long, who lived south of the Suttons, reported seeing a light or a fireball pass over his house, going north, about 6:30 p.m. Mrs. Lankford told Mr. Andre that a State Trooper, traveling south on the main highway (U.S. 41) about 6:30 p.m had seen a fireball going north; and that one of the Fort Campbell investigators had told her that "a UFO" had been sighted going north over the base, also at 6:30 p.m.
(p. 62)


THOMAS, BILL (In Ripley's article; September 2020)

Bill Thomas was 14 in 1955, and he worked at a truck stop diner about a mile and a half south of Kelly, Kentucky. On the evening of August 21, he rode his bicycle to his cousin’s home in town to help him fix a wagon wheel. That farm was just down the road from Glennie Lankford’s farmhouse, known as the Sutton Place.

As the sky grew dark ... Bill saw something strange in the moonless night.

“Something went over us when we was working on that wagon,” Bill tells me as we sit on a bench in the Kelly park. “I just looked up and there it was. And after it went by, a light lit up, like the whole sky.”

Bill thought it was a meteorite or a shooting star. But it had an odd purplish-blue color and seemed to leave a smoke trail behind it, like a craft of some sort.

“This went by, and it made a funny noise,” Bill says. “Like a hiss, Zzzzzzzz. I don’t know how fast it was going. But, now that I’ve flown airplanes, I know a bit more about how fast. As a little more of an educated guess, I would say it was doing a little better than 700 mph.”

The pair expected to hear the explosion of something hitting the Earth. But that didn’t happen.


NASHVILLE TENNESSEAN MAGAZINE; 13 October 1957

(Original UFO sighting mis-attributed to a mis-represented Lucky Sutton)

"I heard a hissing noise and saw a brilliant light," Sutton said. "Then all at once I saw this big saucer hover over my field, about a city block away."
(p. 16 in magazine section)

"Just as state troopers arrived near the home they heard a "loud whirring' noise over their car - "sort of like a low-flying airplane but different ..."
(p. 17 in magazine section)


LOREN E. GROSS
THE FIFTH HORSEMAN OF THE APOCALYPSE
UFOS: A HISTORY1955: JULY - SEPTEMBER 15TH
1992, p. 59

The State Trooper's report about a "loud meteor" provides some interesting information. The Trooper was much closer to the Sutton farmhouse than the police motorcade at the time yet if the phenomenon was indeed a meteor this distance would have been of no importance and those in the motorcade would have heard the roar also unless the "meteor" was the tubbed-shaped ship taking off. In that case the noise level would have dropped off drastically with distance. Another thing that has a bearing on this is that only a sound was noticed by the Trooper and nothing was seen by him. 109. While a small body may have escaped notice, the intense light that usually accompany a meteor can be seen for hundreds of miles.

(Note 109 is a citation for Sanders' report.)


EVANSVILLE PRESS: 22 AUGUST

"About 4 a.m. today neighbors entered the scene for the first time after Mrs. Lola Fletcher, a neighbor, saw a red streak like a meteorite about dawn."

"State Trooper G. W. Riley, first officer to arrive at the scene, reported he saw an object, which he described as a meteorite, whoosh overhead and hit in the area. He said it sounded like an artillery shell."
(Page 2)


MADISONVILLE MESSENGER; 22 AUGUST

"While the officers were on the scene investigating the report they noticed two objects - presumably meteorites flashing across the sky."
(Page 1)
 

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EVANSVILLE PRESS: 22 AUGUST
"About 4 a.m. today neighbors entered the scene for the first time after Mrs. Lola Fletcher, a neighbor, saw a red streak like a meteorite about dawn."

This little tidbit from the Evansville Press article of 22 August is interesting for reasons other than the mention of a meteor.

Sunrise was noted in multiple accounts as occurring circa 0515 on the 22nd. Multiple accounts also claim the last visitor sighting(s) occurred approximately a half-hour prior to sunrise (i.e., circa 0445).

It's not clear from this cursory passage whether Mrs. Fletcher was one of the neighbors who "entered the scene." In any case, there are two points of particular interest:

(1) Any neighbors coming to the Lankford / Sutton farmhouse as early as 0400 arrived only circa 30 minutes after the last explicitly described and documented gunshot (Lucky's shot through the living room window). This raises the question as to whether it was this shot which prompted neighbors to (finally) come to the house.

(2) Any neighbors "on the scene" from 0400 onward could have been witnesses to the vaguely-cited final sighting(s) / shooting(s) that continued to occur until circa 0445. However, there's not a single mention of any neighbor confirming, much less claiming to witness, any event during those early morning hours.
 

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Ahhh ... You found the original article ... Thanks!
That article was cited in Loren Gross' Supplemental Notes document, and I posted the (crappy / photocopied) version of the photo appearing in Gross' document back in September:
https://forums.forteana.org/index.p...ucky-goblins-incident-1955.17926/post-2107438

Here is a more readily interpretable version of the back yard photo, extracted from the PDF file.
NYDailyNews-670319-BackYard-A.jpg
This better version of the published photo shows former police chief Greenwell standing in the back yard circa 1967.

The text of the 1967 New York Daily News article indicates Greenwell is pointing out the tree in which a visitor was seen to be perched.

The problem, of course, lies in the fact all accounts that mention a visitor perched in a tree clearly refer to one of the trees in the front yard - specifically the maple tree whose upper branches are visible in the upper left corner of this photo (see Davis' plan diagram of key incident locations around the house).

Behind (to the left of ... ) Greenwell is a covered porch with a roof extension above the corridor's / dogwalk's back door (visible at the extreme left) and the kitchen door (in shadow on the side of the kitchen extension to the main house structure). This covered porch was added after the 1955 incident. At the time of the incident there was a modest overhang above the corridor's back door (analogous to the one over the front door from which the head-grab descended).

Approximately halfway between Chief Greenwell and the tree trunk is a dark rectangular shape I suspect to be something hanging on a clothes line. This object is located in the line of sight from the camera to the kitchen window .
 

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There's a very interesting object visible in this clearer version of the photo that wasn't visible in the earlier / very low resolution version from Gross' notes compendium.

Immediately to the right of the tree trunk you can see a horizontal storage tank elevated atop a sturdy frame. This support frame's visible legs are structured so as to suggest they're metal rather than wood. It's located roughly at or along the position of the 1955 fence row that separated the house's side yard from the field to the north.

Davis makes no mention of such a tank, and it's not illustrated on any of her diagrams. As a result, there's no particular reason to believe the tank was there in 1955. For the sake of discussion, let's consider what it might mean if the tank had in fact been there in 1955.

Such a tank would have been used for storing liquid - most probably fuel of some sort. According to Davis the house (at least as of 1955) was heated by a fireplace and an iron stove (most probably a wood / coal stove). It's therefore unlikely that this tank would have held heating oil in 1955.

On the other hand, it could have been a gasoline or diesel fuel reservoir used by the late Mr. Lankford when the place was a full-time working farm. It's unlikely to have been a water tank, because it's on the opposite side of the house from the well and in an inconvenient location for drawing water for the kitchen. According to Davis there was only one need for fuel in the house in 1955 - the kerosene used to fuel the kitchen stove.

Anyway ... The most interesting aspect of such speculation concerns the tank's location. Given the camera angle it's difficult to evaluate the tank's exact location in relation to the house's corner, but I would claim it's clear the tank is positioned so its end faces the side of the house rather than the open back yard.

This would place the tank in a line of sight from the only window on that side of the house - the living room window through which shots were fired. In any case, the tank is positioned at the back yard, where some accounts mention shots being fired and Taylor pointed out a "barrel" where a visitor had perched and been shot at.

If it was present in 1955, this metal tank and / or its support framework would have been positioned within the range of fire for two alleged shooting areas. As such, it could have served as a source of ricochet / "firing into a bucket" sounds.
 

marhawkman

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hmm that tank's size looks pretty close to a 55 gallon drum. At first I though "maybe it's for well water?" Some wells DO use a storage tank to maintain constant water flow. But it seems a bit small for that.

hmmm wait..... where's that diagram of the yard layout?
 

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There was an extensive case article in Swedish UFO related magazine 'ufo-nyt', March-April, 1982 issue:

www.forteanmedia.com/UFO_Nyt.pdf

This features a detailed map, on page 9, which might be helpful. I have no idea where it originates from, or how accurate it might be! :)

The magazine copy is of higher quality, however, if sufficient:

View attachment 47534


They, likewise, clearly tried to make some sense of it all back then and the Google translation from above is:

1. Back door.
2. First shot fired when the creature was about around here.
3. Here saw Mrs. Lankford at 22.30 the creature.
4. Approximate position of illuminated spot in the grass.
5. The creature tumbles over the roof after being been hit.
6. Being comes around the corner
the house.
7. Being seen on a branch the tree.
8. Window at the south of the site.
hmmmm.... where is the metal tank in relation? the tree being pointed at is seemingly the one at the top of this diagram in the NE side of the property. the tank would seemingly be on the NW side of the house along the fence row?... in a location with no features marked on the D/B map.

or if it's the other tree on the other side of the house... the tank would be on the other fence... but also a location with nothing marked.

but talking of fences... did they have chain link fences?
 

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where's that diagram of the yard layout?
where is the metal tank in relation?

The Davis version of the grounds map has been added to the post where it was first cited months ago:

https://forums.forteana.org/index.p...ucky-goblins-incident-1955.17926/post-2122830

Here is a crude annotated adaptation of Davis' grounds map illustrating the approximate positions of the items visible in the 1967 photo.

The camera position, etc., are unknown, and I'm not sure Davis' map is as accurately to-scale as she seems to think it is.

MAP-NYDN-1967-Orientation.jpg
 

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but talking of fences... did they have chain link fences?

The fences on either side of the house were chicken wire. The one on the NW side (left side in the diagram above) also contained barbed wire. The fence out back (top in the diagram) was a cyclone (chain-link style) fence, but it was partially fallen as of 1955. There's no sign of this fence in photos taken later, so I presume the McCords removed it after they moved onto the property.

Davis mentioned that as of 1956 all 3 fences were in poor repair and provided no impediment to anyone entering or leaving the yards.
 

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Ahhh ... You found the original article ... Thanks!
That's brilliant!

I was honestly just about to delete the article - there was nothing new in it, except the photograph, which didn't seem of any significance. The only reason I changed my mind, last minute, was that it seemed so poignant, with the farmhouse in sad decay. Think I might have become quite fond of it. :)
 

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That's brilliant!
I was honestly just about to delete the article - there was nothing new in it, except the photograph, which didn't seem of any significance. The only reason I changed my mind, last minute, was that it seemed so poignant, with the farmhouse in sad decay. Think I might have become quite fond of it. :)

Do you have the other pages from the New York Daily News article? I'd love to see the whole thing, because it's piqued my curiosity. Even though it's obviously a heavily embroidered collage assembled from bits of various news items and articles, it seems to have one remarkable aspect ...

Did you notice that this 1967 version of the story attributes all the shooting to J. C. and Lucky - just as J. C. would claim 9 years later?

It also describes the front yard (tree / roof) shootings in a different way from all other accounts (i.e., one shooter firing at each of the two visitors), and it makes no mention of the head-grab event at a door.

It also mentions gunfire hitting the living room window frame - a fact I'm not sure ever appeared in a published account prior to whenever Davis' manuscript saw the light of day.

On top of all these peculiarities there's the photo, in which Chief Greenwell seems to be attesting to the roof and tree shootings having occurred in the back yard rather than the front yard.
 

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Here is a listing of the allusions to 'meteors' I've found in the various reports and other documents.
That is epic.

I wonder then, if...any of the following might be associated.

Firstly, a brief recap:

'Evansville Press'
20 August, 1976


"I was in the yard when I saw it", he recalls. "There wasn't any noise; it just went across the field and dropped over there by the woods."

That was between 9 and 10 p.m. Sometime later - the hours are now unclear but it probably was before midnight - the gunfire began.

"Elmer saw it right in the window," Sutton says. Elmer is his brother..."


In Isabel Davis' report, she writes:

"The swiftness of these reappearances could easily have given the impression that there were many of them; but the figures given in the newspapers - 10 or 12 or 15 - are almost certainly exaggerated; the episodes just described seem to be the only time when two were seen simultaneously.

When interviewed, Mrs Lankford in fact insisted that no more than one had ever been seen at a time".

These are the episodes where Isabel Davis claims "two were seen simultaneously".

"Withdrawing slightly into the house, they awaited the arrival of the creature. When it had moved to within 20 feet of the back door, both men fired.

(...)

Lucky and Billy Ray waited a few minutes, then went into the living room, where the women were.

Another creature appeared at the side window; the men fired at it through the screen. Again they apparently hit it, and again it "flipped" and disappeared.

(...)

Taylor, using the .22 rifle, also fired through the screen at this creature.

(...)

The men decided to go outdoors and see whether they had actually hit the creature; as they started out the front door.

(...)

Lucky, close behind Taylor, pushed past him into the yard, turned the 12-gauge shotgun up toward the creature on the overhang, fired and knocked it over the roof.

"There's one up in the tree, too," Billy Ray said - it was on the limb of the maple tree to the right as you leave the house. Both Lucky and Taylor shot at that one, knocking him off the limb; he floated to the ground, they shot at him again, and he too scurried off into the weeds.

Almost at the same moment, around the north west corner of the house, right in front of Lucky, came another one - or the same one that had been knocked over the ridgepole.

Now, as the creature came round the corner of the house, Lucky brought the shotgun down to bear on it and fired at point-blank range. It sounded as if the shots had hit a metal bucket. The thing "flipped over," got up and ran off into the darkness, seemingly unhurt".


As has been evidenced, it was John Sutton who used the .22 pistol, not rifle and we also now have a first-hand testimony he fired that, seemingly using all of his ammunition, subsequent to the window screen shot, whilst in the yard and targeting something he believed to be in a field.

As the 'Evansville Press' reports in their 20 August, 1976 article:

""I saw something in the field and I fired at it with a pistol," he says. "I fired every bullet, nine times".

Sutton says that he was never sure whether he hit whatever he saw and that he's not sure what he saw."

There would also appear to be no published source for the tree shot which Isabel cites, the only related, written reference seemingly being within within the inaugural 22 'Kentucky New Era' article, which has a second-hand account, - not directly from any participants:

"The men decided to go outside and see if the visitor had been hit. Taylor was in front and when he emerged from the front door, a huge hand reached down from the low roof above the door and grabbed him by the hair. He pulled away, and the two men went on out of the house.

One of the strange little men was in a nearby tree, another on top of the house".


Isabel Davis' further assertion that, "Almost at the same moment, around the north west corner of the house, right in front of Lucky, came another...". is ostensibly borne of a remark made to Ledwith by 'Lucky' Sutton, describing how he had shot one creature at close range and, It sounded as though I had been firing at a bucket".

There is no attribution to where and when this supposedly occurred and nothing to indicate there was another 'creature' also witnessed at the same time.

In essence, it doesn't look like there was ever more than one involved in any of the proclaimed incidents.

Indeed, with the exception of Alene Sutton's supporting depictions, it may well be that only 'Lucky' Sutton claims to have witnessed any enigmatic small entities at all.

This excludes Taylor's 'hair-grab' and Mrs Lankford's 10:00 observation which, whatever it might have been, bears no resemblance whatsoever.

Should Taylor's 'hair-grab' be a 'cap-crab'?

He's wearing one in the next day's 'Evansville Press' and seemingly also in the 'New Era' photograph, 'reproducing' that moment.

Alene's similar description to 'Lucky' Sutton's is at one point remarkable.

The 22 August UP newswire reads:

"A few minutes later, "a little green man" approached the house. He was about three feet tall, with eyes like saucers and set six inches apart, with hands like claws and glowing all over," Sutton said".

From the women's sketch, surely based solely on Alene's guidance (Vera Sutton not being a witness and Mrs Lankford not wishing to participate):

'Eyes like saucers, oversize, spaced about six inches apart".

It would appear to have become clearer that 'Lucky' Sutton is the predominant figure in this story.

Perhaps significantly, he seems to be the only person who allegedly witnessed a being which had been shot, by himself, yet it was able to survive and escape.
 

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'Evansville Press'
20 August, 1976


"I was in the yard when I saw it", he recalls. "There wasn't any noise; it just went across the field and dropped over there by the woods."
That was between 9 and 10 p.m. Sometime later - the hours are now unclear but it probably was before midnight - the gunfire began.
"Elmer saw it right in the window," Sutton says. Elmer is his brother..."

This is the part of J. C.'s testimony that's most suspicious, because it conflicts with the vast majority of others' accounts (including some of Lucky's).

J. C.'s version of the UFO overflight claims it was silent. Most other accounts that describe the UFO sighting at all mention there was a sound associated with it, and those that differ on this point simply make no mention of sound (or silence). J. C. is pretty much alone in positively stating there was no sound.

J. C.'s estimates for times / timeframes are wildly divergent from all other accounts. He puts the initial sighting and landing at sometime between 2100 and 2200. All other accounts (including Lucky's) put the landing much earlier. According to Ms. Glennie the 'boys' had been shooting for some time before 2200. According to Alene the first visitor was sighted soon after dusk, which would have been prior to 2100.

Elmer himself (Evansville Press, 22 August) claimed he and Taylor witnessed the initial landing. He could only have made this claim to that newspaper while in Evansville with J. C. on the 22nd. Why didn't J. C. correct Lucky when Lucky claimed Taylor was the other initial witness? Were they already 'spinning' the story to put Taylor in the middle of everything? Or ... ?

J. C. seems to contradict himself by claiming the children were playing outside and first saw "the light" (i.e., the UFO), whereas other accounts have Ms. Glennie trying to get them to bed around that time.

If J. C. was indeed a witness to the overflight and landing, why did Ms. Glennie say on the 23rd he had initially brushed off the whole thing as a joke?
 

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The fences on either side of the house were chicken wire. The one on the NW side (left side in the diagram above) also contained barbed wire. The fence out back (top in the diagram) was a cyclone (chain-link style) fence, but it was partially fallen as of 1955. There's no sign of this fence in photos taken later, so I presume the McCords removed it after they moved onto the property.

Davis mentioned that as of 1956 all 3 fences were in poor repair and provided no impediment to anyone entering or leaving the yards.
Well I was mostly just wondering if gunshots hitting fences might be a source of sounds of hitting metal. Also that metal tank and other such things.....

also that thing about Lucky being the primary witness... I wonder... IIRC one source I read said that Alene's daughter said in a (very short) interview that her mother had completely refused to talk to her about it.
 

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Well I was mostly just wondering if gunshots hitting fences might be a source of sounds of hitting metal. ...

I doubt it, even if a bullet or pellet had happened to strike a wire / strand.

There were one or two indirect allusions to there being a scrap pile somewhere in or beyond the back yard, but I've seen no details on what was piled and where the pile was located.
 
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