(illustration of the Kelly-Hopkinsville encounter from the Pennyroyal Museum in Hopkinsville, KY)
This most unusual event originated on the night of August 21, 1955. Located in the rural area of Christian County, Kentucky, this UFO enigma took place in the little town of Kelly, located near the small city of Hopkinsville. The family Sutton would be the target of this “one of a kind” journey into the unknown.
The lifestyle of a typical Kentucky rural family has been kept intact for many decades, and the Sutton family fit this tradition to a tee. “Lucky” Sutton, as he was known to friends and neighbors, was the “patriarch” of this bluegrass clan. Visiting Lucky and his family was a man from Pennsylvania named Billy Ray Taylor. Billy left the Sutton house to go for some water from the family well. There was no inside plumbing at the Sutton farm house. At the well, he saw an immense, shining object land in a small gully about a quarter of a mile away. Running back to the house, he excitedly reported his sighting to others in the house. Billy was laughed at; no one believed his “crazy” tale. After a short period of time, the family dog began to raise a ruckus outside. As was the custom in those parts, Lucky and Billy grabbed their guns and headed outside, planning to shoot first, and ask questions later. Only a short distance from the front door, both men were stopped dead in their tracks by the sight of a 3-4 foot tall creature, who was walking towards them with hands up, as if to surrender. This most bizarre creature would be described as having “large eyes, a long thin mouth, large ears, thin short legs, and hands ending in claws.” Frightened by the small greenish entity, Billy Ray fired a shot with his .22, and Lucky unloaded with his shotgun. Both men later admitted that there was no way they missed the creature at close range, but the little being just did a back flip, and ran into the woods in fright. No sooner had the two men reentered the house before the creature, or another like it, appeared at a window. They took a shot at him, leaving a blast hole through the screen. They ran back outside to see if the creature was dead, but found no trace of it. Standing at the front of the house, the men were terrified by a clawed hand reaching down from the roof in an attempt to touch them. Again, they shot, but the being simply floated to the ground, and scurried into the cover of the woods. The two men sought the protection of the house again, only to find themselves under siege from these little men. For a time, the entities seemed to tease the family, appearing from one window to another. Taking pot shots through the windows and walls, their weapons seemed totally ineffective against the invading creatures. After several hours of fear, the Sutton family decided to make a break from the house, and get help at the Police station at Hopkinsville. Family members took two vehicles to the Police Station in Hopkinsville, and reported their strange tale to Sheriff Russell Greenwell. Finally persuading the policemen that they were not joking, the authorities agreed to visit the Sutton house. Arriving at the farm, police found no trace of the creatures, but did find numerous bullet and rifle holes in the windows and walls. Greenwell was in charge of the twenty plus officers at the scene, and reported that the Suttons seemed sober, and were genuinely frightened by something. After a canvas of the neighbors, reports were entered of the “hearing of shots being fired,” and the observation of “lights in the sky.” Exhausting all efforts to find the origin of this strange report, the police left the Sutton place at about 2:15 am. As soon as they did, the creatures made their return. They began again peeking in the windows, seemingly out of curiosity. More gunfire took place, but again without effect. Several more hours of antics followed, finally stopping just before daybreak. The police were finally persuaded to call in Air Force personnel the next morning, but a new search brought no results. After the beings had left, Billy Ray and Lucky had gone into Evansville, Indiana to take care of some business. The other five family members were questioned by Air Force and Police. On 8/22/55, the Kentucky “New Era” newspaper carried the story of the events. Naturally, initial public opinion was that the whole story was a hoax. If this was the case, several questions must be answered. Why would the Sutton family make up such an incredible claim? They made no money from the story, and did not seek any publicity. Why would they shoot holes in the walls of their home, causing a financial drain on the family to repair the damages? Including Billy Ray and Lucky, seven adults were witnesses to these events. All of them, when questioned separately, gave the same story. Also sketches were made of the beings, and they depicted the creatures in a like manner. A year after the events, the case was thoroughly investigated by Isabel Davis, who related that the witnesses’ stories had not changed. As the years rolled by, the accounts of the Sutton family stood firm. No evidence of a hoax has ever been brought forward.
The case was also looked into by Bud Ledwith, who was an engineer at a Hopkinsville radio station. Noted investigator, Dr. J. Allen Hynek, also accepted the accounts of the Suttons. Hynek discussed the details of the case with Davis and Ledwith. Although the Kelly-Hopkinsville case is an extremely unusual one, it is considered today to be authentic by many UFO investigators.
written by B J Booth