Peculiar Planet – The Hopkinsville Goblins

A (maybe) weekly presentation of badly researched and (in my opinion) peculiar facts (if they can really be called facts, which they can’t), stories (retold by me, only worse), or news (which will all be old and no longer interesting).  This week, the story of the Hopkinsville Goblins!

Hopkinsville police station sits in a rather ordinary looking town, which only makes it that much more fitting as a setting for this tale. It’s the sort of ordinary town that would find itself in a Stephen King novel, the sort of ordinary town that would play host to some twisted monster or angry car. Green, flat, and as rural as somewhere like this could really seem, Hopkinsville must have been positively waiting for something strange to happen. I imagine an overbearing sense of inevitability was felt by those police, watching as two cars sped into town.

How anyone manages to fit five adults and seven children into two cars I’ll never know, but that’s what Hopkinsville bore witness to. A mess of panic and fear, the families clambered out of the cars and started pleading with the police. Cecil ‘Lucky’ Sutton (or Elmar Sutton, depending on whether you deem wikipedia or 1950’s reporting to be more trustworthy) and Billy Ray Taylor said they had been holding attackers off for nearly four hours. What attackers? Well…

In an old farmhouse, about eight miles north of Hopkinsville, the Taylor and Sutton families were enjoying one another’s company, supposedly without the aid of drink (a rather unconvincing supposition, some would have you believe). When one of the men went outside to collect a bucket of water, like you do, he saw a flying saucer glide over the house and land in a nearby field. Like any reasonable person, he noted this peculiar sight, and strolled back inside with his freshly filled bucket. Weird stuff happens in these parts, no point getting all worked up about it.

After a short, sober while, somebody announced they too had seen something strange. Little men with huge eyes, even bigger heads, and disproportionately long arms. Also, they were wearing metal plate, because nothing protects you from the vastness of the universe like medieval armour.

In a farmhouse full of children, it’s only sensible to have some guns laying about. We ignored your flying saucer, Lucky Sutton and Billy Ray Taylor decided, but we simply cannot ignore you’re freakishly long arms! Spying a face pressed against the window, the men took aim and fired.

The face vanished. Faces do that, when they’ve been shot. When the body they’re attached to runs away, too. The men eyed the bullet hole, wondering if they’d missed the mark.

They decided to go outside and look for the body. They had to know. Upon emerging, however, “a huge hand reached down from the low roof above the door and grabbed (one of them) by the hair”. Spying more of these tiny invaders in the trees and on the roof, the men began a furious battle. Four hours of aimless shooting went by, until finally they spied an opening, and the understandably frightened occupants of the farmhouse bundled themselves into their cars and headed for the police station.

Right, said the working officers when confronted by the fearful families. Let’s see who we can spare to go check it out. “Four city police… drove to the scene to see about the ‘little men’. By radio, contact was made with State Troopers R.N Ferguson Jr. and G. W. Riley and Deputy Sheriff George Batts, all of whom joined the motor-cade… in their own vehicles. Four MP’s also went”, alongside “two Hopkins County deputy sheriffs and at least three state troopers from the station at Madisonville”.  Which is to say, quite a few people turned up.

Needless to say, the little men were nowhere to be found. Nor their UFO, which must have scurried off home. In their search for tracks, remains, or any evidence of extra terrestrial contact at all the officers found bullet holes, fired from Lucky Sutton and Billy Ray Taylor, and a very unhappy cat whose tail got stepped on by a rather typical MP (in England MP’s are quite accustomed to hurting small, helpless animals).

Still, in the words of desk sergeant Frank Dudas, who witnessed three flying saucers of his own one early morning, “I think the whole story is entirely plausible.” Not on duty that night, and having been unable to visit the sight of the claimed invasion, Frank’s opinion cannot be discounted. While some would claim the Hopkinsville Goblins were merely great horned owls, which too could be described as having large, yellow eyes, a big head, and a penchant for sitting on roofs and trees, Frank, alongside many others, would give a simple rebuttal: “I know I saw them. If I saw them, the Kelly story certainly could be true.”

Quotes, and most of this information, have been stolen from this 1955 article in the Kentucky New Era newspaper (August 22nd issue):,3341366

I also stole some stuff from the Wikipedia article, all hail that endless rabbit hole of meaningless knowledge:

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that I have not been fair to the participants in this story. I’ve written this from an unrepresentative perspective, and have tried to make it vaguely enjoyable to read. What I’ve written is not necessarily the truth! People and stories and ideas are much too easy to discount when you don’t want to listen, and that’s not fair on the people who tell them. This is one version of events, seek out more, and don’t presume to assume I, or any other random person on the internet, has the faintest idea of what they’re talking about.

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