Hopkinsville Goblins

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The Hopkinsville Goblins case was a series of connected incidents of UFO sightings and alleged encounters of the third kind with extraterrestrials, reported in 1955. It is widely regarded as one of the most well-documented and significant cases of all UFO incidents due to the amount of witnesses whose stories all collaborate. The incident began on the 21st of August, 1955 and continued through the night until dawn. There was a total of 11 witnesses from the farmhouse.

The incident


On the 21st of August, 1955, Billy Ray Taylor from Pennsylvania was in Kentucky visiting the Sutton family, who lived in a rural farmhouse new the towns of Kelly and Hopkinsville. Billy went outside to the water pump for a drink at 7.00pm (due to the farmhouse lacking running water) where he saw strange lights in the sky in the west. The object was disc-shaped with lights that had "all of the colours of the rainbow". When he went back inside to tell the others about the strange aircraft, no one believed him.

At 8.00pm, the families began to hear strange noises outside. The Sutton's dog began to bark before hiding under the house, where it stayed overnight. Arming themselves with a shotgun and a .22 rifle, Billy and Elmer "Lucky" Sutton went outside and encountered a strange being that emerged from the trees. When the creature approached and came within 20 feet of the pair, they opened fire on it. Instead of being wounded, there was a sound "like bullets being rattled about in a metal drum" and the creature flipped over and ran into the dark. The pair went to look for the creature, put as they stepped off the porch one of the creatures was perched above them on an awning and began to grasp at their hair. They shot at the creature and knocked it down from the roof, but the creature was apparently unharmed.

The pair went back into the house, deeply disturbed. Lucky's brother J.C Sutton then saw a similar creature peer into the house through a window. J.C and Billy shot at the creature, breaking the window. The creature fled. Several creatures could be heard moving around on the roof and scratching the house. Over the next few hours, the family stated that the creatures repeated appeared at the house, either looking through the windows or through the doorway, though each time they were shot at. The witnesses could not tell how many creatures there were; there was one sighting of two at the same time and all other sightings were of only one creature. One witness shot a creature point blank and it was seemingly unharmed. The creatures were reported to be floating as their legs seemed atrophied and useless. It should be noted that the creatures didn't seem to be trying to harm anyone and they never entered the house.

The children began to grow hysterical, and at 11.00pm the Taylor-Sutton group fled the farmhouse to the Hopkinsville police station. Police Chief Russell Greenwell stated that the witnesses were frightened "beyond reason, not ordinary." He also remarked that "these were not the sort of people who normally ran to the police...something frightened them, something beyond their comprehension." An officer with medical training noted that Billy Ray's pulse rate was two times faster than usual.

At 11.00pm a state highway trooper near Kelly reported seeing some strange "meteor-like objects" in the sky, "with a sound like artillery fire coming directly from them." He reported this independently and with no connection to the Taylor-Sutton group.

20 police officers went back to the farmhouse with the Suttons to assess damages. The witnesses were all deemed sane and not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and so terrified that no one doubted they had seen something unusual. The police then interviewed surrounding farmhouses, whose residents also reported sightings of strange lights and sounds, and gun shots from the Sutton farmhouse. The farmhouse itself was riddled with bullet holes and spent shells. An odd luminous patch on the fence where one of the creatures had been shot was also reported, along with a green light in the woods that could not be identified. The investigators concluded that the people involved were sincere and sane and had no interest in exploiting the case for publicity. The patch sample was photographed but not collected and had disappeared by noon the next day.

The police left at around 2.15am and the witnesses claimed that the creatures returned briefly, causing Billy Ray to ruin another window by shooting at it. The creatures were last sighted at around 4.45am on August the 22nd.


Andrew "Bud" Ledwith of WHOP radio interviewed the 7 adult witnesses in two separate groups on the 22nd of August and judged their tales to be consistent. After the case gathered so much publicity, the Sutton family began to avoid telling the story and didn't cooperate with many UFO investigators, even going so far at to fleeing the area when many trespassers wanted to see the farmhouse and site of encounter. Many tended to view the story as a hoax, but the families kept to the story. Lucky's daughter Geraldine Hawkins stated:

"It was a serious thing to him. It happened to him. He said it happened to him. He said it wasn't funny. It was an experience he said he would never forget. It was fresh in his mind until the day he died. It was fresh in his mind like it happened yesterday. He never cracked a smile when he told the story because it happened to him and there wasn't nothing funny about it. He got pale and you could see it in his eyes. He was scared to death."

UFO researcher Jerome Clark wrote that 'investigations by the police, Air Force officers from nearby Fort Campbell and civilian ufologists found no evidence of a hoax" yet author Brian Dunning stated that "The claim that Air Force investigators showed up the next day at Mrs. Lankford's house has been published a number of times [...] but I could find no corroborating evidence of this." The official UFO investigation office Project Blue Book has listed the case as a hoax with no further comment.



The creatures were described as being around three feet tall, with pointed ears, thin limbs, long arms and clawed hands. Their legs were said to be so thin it looked like they were in a state of atrophy. The creatures were silver in colour, or possibly wearing some sort of metallic suit, like body armour (which was a good idea in hindsight, considering that they were shot at all night). They appeared to defy gravity with their movements; they would float above the ground or down from the roof and sway as they walked, like they were walking through water. They had oversized heads and bright, glowing eyes.


U.S Air Force Major John E. Albert concluded that the creatures the witnesses saw were "monkey[s] painted with silver [that] escaped from a circus," which is absurd, because monkeys aren't immune to being shot at. Some believe that the creatures were Great Horned Owls, which makes even less sense than the monkey explanation. Meteors could explain the UFO claims as there were meteor sightings at the time.