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Goblin Encounters – Kelly Hopkinsville Incident (Part 1)

Cultures around the world seem to have similar mythologies. Creatures, events, and deities seem to follow certain archetypical themes. Another reading of the similarities could be different interpretations of encounters with real phenomena. That's if you are inclined towards belief.

One creature seems ubiquitous, the goblin. There seems to be a deep-rooted fear of grotesque little bastards messing things up. Mischievous, and lizard-like, the goblin comes in many forms. Sometimes evil, other times playful, but never outright altruistic.

It may shock you then, to learn that there have been recorded sightings of Goblins. Attacks that happened in the last century. Are these tales of hysteria, or encounters with something unexplained?

Somewhere between Kelly, and Hopkinsville in Kentucky, USA, a family was beset by creatures. The beings were said to have been small gray humanoids with long ears and arms that extended down to their feet. This is the story of the Kelly-Hopkinsville Encounter.


Billy Ray Taylor Sees a UFO



On the night of 21 August 1955, Billy Ray Taylor and his wife were visiting a friend in Kentucky. Elmer “Lucky” Sutton lived with his mother, Glennie Lankford, on a farm between Kelly and Hopkinsville.

The farmhouse was filled to the brim. Glennie's brood consisted of 3 young children, 2 adult sons, their wives, and one brother-in-law. They were a thirsty, yet apparently sober bunch.

Billy Ray Taylor was sent out to the well to fetch water around 7pm. He reported seeing a silver object streaking across the sky “real bright, with an exhaust all the colors of the rainbow.” The object came to a halt above the house before floating away to land among the nearby trees with a faint hiss.

Taylor rushed inside. He frantically recounted his sighting to the gathered multitude. They, of course, didn't believe him. Everyone knows that UFOs aren't real.



That's when the dogs started barking frantically. Elmer Sutton and Billy Ray went out to investigate. They saw an eerie glow emanating from the woods, and from that glow came small humanoid figures. Describing the creatures as roughly 3 feet (91.44 cm) tall with:


“oversized head…almost perfectly round, [its] arms extended almost to the ground, [its] hands had talons…and [its oversized] eyes glowed with a yellowish light.”

The creatures' bodies shone with a metallic sheen as they floated out of the woods. Apparently walking was beneath them.

Elmer and Billy Ray grabbed guns and started firing at the creatures. One of the little humanoids raised its hands feebly just before it took a shotgun blast to the face. Strangely, the pellets made a tinny noise as they hit the creature.

The goblin was blown back and into a somersault by the force of the shot. It righted itself before fleeing into the forest, apparently unharmed by the 20-gauge shotgun.


Farmhouse Siege


Elmer and Billy Ray retreated into the house. Their families were freaking out at this point. What had begun as a UFO sighting was quickly spiraling out of control.

The group barricaded themselves in the house. Likely hoping that Elmer and Billy Ray would calm down and put the guns away. It's important to note that at this point no-one else had seen the creatures.

They were pleading with the men to set aside the guns when another goblin appeared at the window. Either Elmer, or Billy Ray fired at the thing through the window screen.

Once again, the creature merely flipped and flew away.

Ms. Lankford finally saw one:


“I went out in the hallway and crouched down next to Billy, when I saw one approaching the door. 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.”

At one point the siege seemed to die down. Billy Ray Taylor ventured out onto the porch. To the group's horror, a clawed hand reached down from the porch overhang and swiped at Billy Ray's hair.

Elmer pulled his friend away before letting loose with his shotgun. He shot a hole through the overhang, and then turned his attention on another creature that he spotted in a tree.

The group retreated into the house, where they remained, petrified by fear, until 11pm. No more creatures appeared at their windows, but they could hear the goblins' claws scratching at the roof.

After fighting the goblins for several hours, Glennie Lankford brought up the fact that none of the creatures tried to hurt anyone. They gathered their thoughts, and wits. Coming to the conclusion that somewhere around 12 of the little gray men were visiting their home.

Glennie Lankford had the idea to flee from the scene. Everyone ran from the house and made a break for the cars. Elmer and Billy Ray may or may not have been firing wildly into the air as their families fled. We'll likely never know if they yelled in glee as they provided 'covering fire'.


Police Response


The group drove directly to the police station. Their arrival announced by squealing tires and a spray of gravel. Before the police deputy could react, the entire group burst into the station. All were babbling hysterically about little gray men and UFOs.

The Sheriff listened to their story. He didn't believe the part about little gray men, but he thought that the gunfire warranted an investigation. Perhaps the group had opened fire on their neighbors, or some very early Christmas carolers.

August 21 must have been a particularly slow day for the cops, because the local police were joined by State Police officers, as well as military police from Fort Campbell.

The police searched the farmhouse, which was littered with spent casings. No dead neighbors, and not a single goblin, were found during their 2-hour search. The only thing that the police found was the destroyed windows and doors, riddled with bullet-holes.

Eventually the police left the scene, thankful for the distraction and lack of casualties. All seemed quiet at the Lankford home, until around 3 am when the goblins returned.

Glennie Lankford reported seeing one at her window while she tried to sleep. The return of the creatures sent the whole group scrambling for their cars once again. By the time the police returned to check on them in the morning, they were well on their way to Evansville.


Skeptical Thoughts


The Kelly-Hopkinsville Incident has become one of the most famous paranormal encounters in modern times. Something about the invasion of goblinoid critters has resonated with content creators. Likely because the goblin dwells in our subconscious mind as a mythological archetype.

Skeptics have countered the wild claims of the Lankford party as little more than hysteria. The main argument is that Billy Ray Taylor saw a meteor streaking across the sky, and got spooked.

His terror infected Elmer, who then mistook a bunch of Great-Horned owls as goblins, and started firing a shotgun at the birds. Whatever brought all those owls to the farmhouse, also made them reluctant to leave, despite the gunfire and spraying bullets.

The intensity of the men's panic made the rest of the group panic. Gunfire will do that. This led to a mini mass-hysteria, strong enough to send the entire group fleeing to Indiana.

Another theory, which seems least likely, is that the group was having a less than sober evening. They could have been imbibing large quantities of moonshine. Unregulated alcohol can be dangerous, and have some odd effects, like hallucinations.

Either that, or the farmhouse was really attacked by 12 goblins from outer space.


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