I am an author and paranormal enthusiast who has published numerous books and articles on the subject of true unexplained phenomena.
Something in the Sky
We've all heard stories of little green men that supposedly show up in rural areas and scare the daylights out of residents before returning to wherever it is they call home. What most of us don't know is that these visitors, along with the term commonly used to describe them, sprang from a terrifyingly real encounter.
Twenty miles from the Tennessee border sits the sleepy area of Kelly-Hopkinsville, Kentucky. In 1955, this peaceful community would be rocked to its foundation one late-August night when members of the Sutton family barged into the local police station with a story that would send shockwaves for decades to come.
The five adults and seven children who gathered around the desk of the officer on duty insisted that they had been driven from their farmhouse by a band of "little grey men" who had arrived in a flying saucer.
Armed with shotguns, the clan had barricaded themselves inside as all-out war was waged against them. They described their aggressors as having been two or three feet tall with eyes too large for their heads.
Dressed in dark attire that helped to camouflage their appearance, the diminutive beings had been unarmed, but fearless nonetheless.
In an effort to get up to speed, the bewildered officer asked the obviously frazzled family to backtrack and tell him what happened from the beginning. At that point, Billy Ray Taylor piped up and stated that it all started after supper when he had ventured to the well to fetch some water.
Within moments of exiting the house, he witnessed a large metal object in the shape of a dinner plate hovering in the sky above the property. Scared senseless, he had made a beeline back inside to tell the others what he had seen.
His claims of a flying saucer surveying the land were met with laughter by his relatives who thought he was pulling a prank. Even though no one believed him, he knew he had to do something before the situation escalated.
After a few minutes spent pacing the floor, Billy Ray asked Elmer Sutton, whose mother Glennie owned the property, to accompany him outside to take a look at the craft for himself. Confident that there would be nothing to see, Elmer had agreed without hesitation.
The men scanned the night sky and saw nothing other than the moon and stars. Elmer, who was not one bit surprised at the anti-climax, headed back toward the house while Billy Ray continued to look for something to back up his story. As it happened, he wouldn't have to wait long for confirmation.
While making his way to the front porch, something caught Elmer's eye. As he stared in disbelief, a glowing figure emerged from the woods holding its arms high above its head in what appeared to be a gesture of goodwill.
Billy Ray, who had also seen the form, rushed to join his friend. As the men tried to process what was happening, the strange being began walking in their direction. Realizing that they were about to come face-to-face with something that was clearly not human, their sense of self-preservation finally kicked in.
Running for the safety of the house, Billy Ray and Elmer burst through the door and yelled for those inside to take cover. As Glennie herded the children into a back bedroom, the men of the house armed themselves in preparation for a battle they felt sure was coming.
Even as they positioned themselves at the doors and windows, some still wondered if they were the victims of an elaborate joke. All of their doubts would be erased before the night was over.
Once she had the children safely tucked away in their beds, Glennie had taken Elmer aside and told him, point blank, that if this was some sort of game he needed to end it then and there before things went any further. He assured her that he was deadly serious.
After speaking with her son, Glennie's apprehension was put to rest. She had always been able to read him like a book. Fully convinced of the gravity of the situation, she had grabbed a weapon and taken her place beside the men.
As the family stood gazing out the windows, a lone being appeared from out of the shadows, slowly moving towards the house. Unable to stop herself, Glennie had screamed at the sight of the entity which was like nothing she had ever seen before.
Triggered by Glennie's involuntary reaction, Billy Ray had fired through the door at the thing that was nearing the entrance. The figure had done an about-face and fled into the woods as the sound of the gunshot reverberated through the night air.
As they peered into the darkness, the family knew that their troubles were far from over. The entire area seemed to be lit up with sets of eyes that glowed from the surrounding trees.
As the night wore on, some of the reflective eyes inched their way forward until they could be seen just outside the windows. Whenever they got too close for comfort, someone would fire a warning shot at whatever was on the other side of the glass.
Glennie's other son, C.J., recalled that when he shot at one of the creatures, it had tumbled backwards onto the ground. After lying dazed for a few seconds, it had jumped up and darted back into the woods.
At some point, Glennie had taken to her knees in prayer. She believed that the creatures laying siege to her home had been sent by the devil himself. The devoutly religious woman had no other explanation for the nightmare that she and her family were now facing.
The standoff lasted for over four hours. Sometime during the night, the beings that seemed hellbent on terrorizing the occupants of the farmhouse vanished without warning. It was only when they were certain that the coast was clear that the family ventured into town for help.
Local law enforcement agents didn't know what to make of the story. They didn't believe for a minute that aliens had attacked the Sutton clan. Even so, they could tell by looking at the motley crew standing before them that they had been through a harrowing ordeal.
An investigation into the alleged attack was launched with the goal of putting the matter to rest once and for all. Upon arriving at the Sutton home, officers noted that several windows had been shot out from the inside. Likewise, the front door sported a large hole, courtesy of a gunshot blast.
What was conspicuously absent from the scene were any signs that the barrage of gunfire had made contact with the intended targets. No bodies were lying around and not a drop of blood had been spilled.
Investigators did, however, find copious amounts of a gooey substance they could not identify. The glowing fluorescent residue, whatever its origins, was spattered everywhere. Unfortunately, for reasons that have never been properly explained, no samples were taken at the time. In the days that followed, a spate of bad weather washed away all traces of the sticky liquid.
During their follow-up questioning of the family, officers decided to interview each member separately in an attempt to crack their resolve. The tactic hadn't worked as they had hoped. The individual versions of events were all remarkably similar. Not one person faltered or wavered from their assertions that they had been attacked by non-human entities.
Searching for Answers
Although nothing much came of the inquiry, its aftermath would prove devastating for the Suttons. An unforeseen consequence of their having told their story to authorities was that the account was picked up by local news outlets. It wasn't long before busybodies and curiosity seekers descended upon the already traumatized family. It seemed that everyone wanted to learn more about the creatures known as the 'Kelly Green Men' or alternately, the 'Kelly Green Goblins.'
Glennie and her relations soon found themselves the subjects of ridicule by people they had previously considered friends. To add insult to injury, aspersions were cast implying that the adults had been drinking heavily on the night of the alleged incident. The glowing invaders, according to local gossips, were most likely the result of alcohol-induced hallucinations.
Those who were acquainted with Glennie knew that she was a teetotaler. Not only did she not drink, but neither did she allow liquor in her home. The much-maligned woman assured all who cared to listen that she and her family had been sober and in complete control of their faculties on the night in question. She also stressed that officers had searched the house and found no trace of booze on the premises.
One positive did emerge from the unwanted publicity when a neighbor of Glennie's came forward with a story that seemed to support that of the beleaguered family. The man reported that at roughly the same time that the Sutton property was under siege, he had noticed mysterious lights coming from the woods around the farmhouse. Thinking that his neighbors were searching the forest for escaped livestock, he hadn't given it much thought at the time.
He also revealed that he had heard several gunshots throughout the night. Again, he assumed that it had something to do with missing or perhaps pilfered animals. It was only after reading the newspaper accounts that he realized he might have caught a glimpse into their ordeal as it was occurring.
After putting up with the steady stream of gawkers and reporters that allowed her no peace, Glennie gave in and put her house up for sale. Although she had lived there for decades, she no longer wanted anything to do with the place that had once been one of her greatest sources of pride. That is, until the night it was set upon by attackers as yet unknown.
The creatures that targeted the family in 1955 were never seen in the area again. Speculation abounded regarding the identity of the culprits. Although many possibilities were batted about, the frontrunners were great horned owls.
Though lacking in many areas, these nocturnal predators did possess the large eyes described by witnesses. Standing over two feet tall, they are also about the same size as the creatures the family claimed had waged war upon their dwelling.
This theory, though plausible, was not without its loopholes. For one thing, it didn't take into account Billy Ray's claims of having seen a disc flying overhead earlier in the night. Nor does it address the recollections of both he and Elmer that the first figure they encountered had held its arms in the air. Even in the dim light, it is unlikely that they would have mistaken a four-foot wingspan for raised limbs.
It is also telling that no blood or wounded owls were found at the scene. The men who managed to get off shots that night would later tell investigators that they were certain they had made contact with their intended targets. If the assailants were indeed owls, how they escaped unscathed was never explained.
The idea that owls, who are normally loathe to interact with humans, would be so bold as to attack a houseful of people with or without provocation is also puzzling. Birds hunting small animals in the dead of night is one thing, the notion that those same creatures would descend upon a known enemy as shots were fired all around them is a stretch, to say the least.
It is worth noting that a meteor shower was recorded on the same night as the alleged attack. At the time of the phenomenon, area residents reported seeing rainbow-colored lights shooting through the sky over Hopkinsville.
The Suttons' story would leave a lasting impression on all who heard it. Director Steven Spielberg was said to have been so taken by the account that he incorporated aspects of their ordeal into his classic film "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."
As the incredible tale spread from one person to another, the hue of the invaders was mistakenly changed from grey to green. From then on, the term 'little green men' became a mainstay in the world of science fiction.
Whether or not the Sutton family battled aliens on a hot summer night decades ago cannot be answered with any degree of certainty. It is undeniable that something unusual transpired on the homestead, what it was and who was responsible remains, to this day, a mystery.
Sometimes, visitations can be so subtle that the parties involved don't realize what has happened until much later. Such was the case in the following account, submitted to me by a man in Ohio who believes that, as a teenager, he unwittingly drew the ire of extraterrestrials.
Scott Walker* admits that he has always had an almost unhealthy interest in exploring worlds beyond our own. In 1996, when he was a junior in high school, he decided to share some of his concepts with his fellow students in the form of a science fair project.
Rather than churning out the usual fare, Scott had produced a forty-five minute short that, among other things, posed the possibility that human behavior is dictated and overseen by highly evolved alien lifeforms.
After receiving the green light from his science teacher, Scott had asked for and received permission to show his film to classmates in the school's planetarium. He didn't know it at the time, but he was about to ignite a firestorm.
As the science fair got underway, Scott's project was shown to the other participants as well as those chosen to judge the competition. To the indignation of some, interspersed with predictions from French astrologer Nostradamus, were Scott's own contentious theories. Among them was his assertion that everything that lives and breathes on Earth was created by aliens of advanced intelligence that walk among us, monitoring our every move.
To say that Scott's film got people talking would be a gross understatement. As word of the content spread, everyone wanted to see what the fuss was all about. Although it had initially been scheduled to play on only two occasions, additional showings were added, at a fee of one dollar per person. When all was said and done, the film would be shown at various times over the next two weeks before the novelty wore off.
Scott is not ashamed to say that he enjoyed his brief time in the spotlight. His intention all along had been to shake things up which is exactly what happened. What he hadn't counted on was attracting the attention of the very beings he was referencing in his film.
Three days after his vision was first shown to the public, Scott's family noticed two figures standing beside a dark colored van that was parked on the corner near their home. Normally, they wouldn't have given it a second thought, but something about the odd-looking individuals who seemed to be fixated on their house made their skin crawl.
Even though he never saw them up close, Scott says that the men were both exceedingly tall and thin, with elongated limbs that gave them the appearance of stick figures. Their faces could not be seen clearly from his vantage point, but he could tell that they were a powdery white. Their clothing was dark and nondescript, just like the van.
Scott's mother had found their presence worrisome right from the start. Concerned that they were casing the house, she asked her husband to talk to the men and find out what they wanted. He refused, reasoning that there was no law against staring. Rather than venturing out into the night to confront the strangers, he had closed the curtains and changed the subject.
A few nights later, he would rethink his position when it became clear to him that the men were becoming permanent fixtures. Tired of seeing the same two looky-loos every time he glanced out the window, Scott's dad decided to go inform them, as politely as possible, that he would be forced to call the police if they didn't find someplace else to loiter.
As the rest of the family watched from the safety of their home, their protector headed out the door. Scott isn't sure what happened next. He doesn't remember seeing the men make a move. All he knows is that the van had sped away by the time his father reached the curb.
The following evening, they were back again, standing side-by-side on the corner. Since he hadn't been able to get close to them on the previous night, Scott's father had decided to try a different route. Rather than confronting them in person, he would take their picture and deliver it to the authorities as proof of harassment.
Fearing that seeing the door opening would spook them, he raised a window and held the camera out, snapping several photos in quick succession. Even though it had all been pretty clandestine, the figures had seen the flash and were gone in an instant. Satisfied that he had gotten the evidence he needed, Scott's father used up the rest of the roll so he could have the film developed right away.
The next day when they viewed the prints, the family were stunned to learn that of the twenty-four photos taken, the only ones that hadn't turned out were those of the men in the street. Other objects, such as a lamp post and mailbox were clearly visible, but the van and the figures standing nearby were so shrouded in fog that not a single detail could be made out.
The visitations, if that's what they were, continued for several more nights before coming to an abrupt end after two weeks. Although Scott hadn't made the connection at the time, their sudden departure had coincided with the final showing of his film.
After spending countless hours reliving the strange events that took place over the course of fourteen days, Scott came to the conclusion that his science project had put him on someone's radar. Who that someone was is a question that haunts him to this day.
Looking back on that surreal period of his life, Scott believes that his unconventional ideas were closer to the truth than even he dared imagine. In his opinion, sending scouts to keep track of his every move was someone's effort at damage control.
When asked how he can be sure that he wasn't simply the victim of locals who had taken umbrage with his views on creation, he says that anyone who had seen what he and family witnessed would never ask that question. According to him, the figures who staked out their home looked like they had stepped out of a graphic novel.
Whoever or whatever had been surveilling the Walker family for those two weeks never returned, at least not to their knowledge. Since most of us have relatively short attention spans, perhaps they determined that the threat had passed and they were in no danger of being found out.
Whatever the case, the events had a lasting impression on Scott. Although he had originally wanted to recreate the momentum by producing a follow-up during his senior year, he ultimately decided against it. In the end, one go-around with the mysterious watchers had been enough.
*Name has been altered to protect the privacy of the subject involved.