"Story of Space-Ship, 12 Little Men Probed Today"
Kelly Farmhouse Scene Of Alleged Raid By Strange Crew Last Night; Reports Say Bullets Failed To Affect Visitors
By Joe Dorris
Kentucky New Era
All kinds of investigations were going on today in connection with the bizarre story of how a space-ship carrying 12 to 15 little men landed in the Kelly community early last night and battled occupants of a farmhouse.
Most official of the probes was reportedly being staged by the air force.
More than a dozen state, county, and city officers from Christian and Hopkins counties went to the scene between 11 p.m. and midnight and remained until after 2 a.m. without seeing anything either to prove or disprove the story about the ship and its occupants.
The farmhouse is located on the Old Madisonville Road about eight miles north of Hopkinsville. The property is occupied by Cecil (Lucky) Sutton, one of those who reported experiencing last night's phenomena.
There were some 10 or 12 persons at the house, including several children, but investigating officers were not able to determine exactly how many of those present actually claimed to have seen any of the little men from the space ship. Only other person who officers quoted directly was identified as Billy Ray Taylor. One account said Taylor is a visitor from Pennsylvania, which recently had a similar report of a space ship. Neither Sutton nor Taylor was at home when officers returned to the scene this morning.
The story broke around 11 o'clock last night when two cars, one bearing a Pennsylvania license drove up to Hopkinsville's police headquarters. Officers then at the station said the two autos contained at least five adults and several children. All appeared highly excited.
Spokesmen for the crowd told of how something resembling a space ship or flying saucer had landed at the back of their house near Kelly and 12 or 15 men, who appeared to be about 4 feet tall, had got out of ship and come up to the house and done battle with the occupants.
"We need help," one of the men said, "we've been fighting them for nearly four hours."
Four city police, Chief Russell Greenwell, T.C. Gross, Dorris Francis, and Gray Salter, 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 motorcade to Kelly in their own vehicles. Four MP's also went.
The radio discussions also brought two Hopkins County deputy sheriffs and at least three state troopers from the station at Madisonville.
First arrivers found the scene deserted. The two cars which had brought the report to Hopkinsville did not return to the Kelly farm until after officers had arrived and looked the situation over.
Officers reported they found no tracks of "little men," nor was there any mark indicating anything had landed at the described sport behind the house. There was a hole in the screen at the window through which occupants said a shot had been fired at one of the strange little men.
Both Chief Greenwell and Deputy Sheriff Batts said they got approximately this story from the still-terrified and excited Sutton and Taylor families:
About 7 p.m. one of the men went out of the house to get a bucket of water. He saw what looked like a flying saucer come over the trees and land in a field at a point about a city block behind the house. There was no explosion, only a semi-hissing sound, and the watcher returned to the house with the bucket of water.
A short time later somebody reported some little men with big heads and long arms were approaching the house. The men were described as having huge eyes and hands out of proportion to their small bodies. The visitors were wearing what looked to be metal plate.
The men got their guns, a shotgun for Sutton and a .22 caliber target pistol for Taylor. By and by, one of the little men pressed his face against the window and the shotgun was fired through the window. The face disappeared.
The men decided to go outside and see if the visitor had been hit. Taylor was in front and when he emerged from the front door, a huge hand reached down from the low roof above the door and grabbed him by the hair. He pulled away and the two men went on out of the house.
One of the strange little men was in a nearby tree, another on top of the house. A blast from Sutton's shotgun knocked another one of the men down but he did not appear hurt. He disappeared in the darkness.
Taylor reportedly opened fire on other member of the invading party, also with little effect. The battle went on for some time. When the occupants of the house saw their chance, they jumped into their cars and drove to Hopkinsville for help.
Deputy Sheriff Batts said the men told him that in all they fired up about four boxes of .22 pistol shells. The officer quoted a neighbor saying he heard shooting at the Suttons but distinguished only about four shots and mistook them for fire-crackers. Most of the officers remained at the site for more than two hours. During that period, there were approximately 25 person at the scene.
Only excitement during the period the officers were there came when an MP happened to step on a cat's tail while walking in the darkness near the house. The cat let out a squawk and for a few seconds there was much activity and scurrying around on the part of those present.
Two officers who returned to the Kelly area early this morning reported hearing that the "little men" had reappeared around the Sutton home about 3:30 a.m.
Other investigators who went to Kelly later during the morning said they were told Sutton and Taylor had gone to Evansville today.
Officers who visited the scene during last night's excitement were reluctant to express any opinion today in regard to the reported invasion of Kelly. All officials appeared to agree that there was no drinking involved.
Only outspoken comment came from Frank Dudas, city police desk sergeant, who was not on duty last night and has not visited the scene so far. He said, "I think the whole story is entirely possible."
Sergeant Dudas was one of two city policemen who reported seeing three flying saucers early one morning last summer. He said, "I know I saw them. If I saw them, the Kelly story certainly could be true."
Kentucky New Era. 23 August 1955 p. 1 & 12
A kitten in her arm, 7-year-old Mary Lankford of near Kelly, looks on as her mother, Mrs. Glennie Lankford, points to the spot where one of the little men from the space-ship is supposed to have fallen Sunday night. The 4-foot creature was reportedly knocked down here when hit by the discharge from a shotgun fired by Elmer (Lucky) Sutton.
Price Of Fame Plagues Those Seeing ‘The Men’
By JOE DORRIS
You may be certain in your own mind that no spaceship landed with a load of strange outer-world creatures near Kelly Sunday night-but persons at the farmhouse to which the visitors allegedly came are just as certain they did see the little men.
The sincerity with which the fantastic but not impossible tale is told was what impressed us most when photographer Harvey Reeder and I visited the scene this morning.
Only Mrs. Glennie Lankford, who rents the house on the Gaither McGehee farm about eight miles north of Hopkinsville, and her daughter, 7-year-old Mary, were at home when we arrived. But cars containing crowds of curious were driving up and down the narrow Old Madisonville Road in front of the house.
“The people are worrying us to death,” Mrs. Lankford said.
“Please tell them not to come here and worry us.”
So many visitors came to the scene of the alleged spaceship landing last night that the family finally enlisted the aid of state police to keep traffic moving.
As late as 11. p.m. to midnight, the people were still coming.
The parade of curious was still In action this morning, and again the help of officers to help clear traffic was sought.
Mrs. Lankford and her family were only reaping the ill effects of fame. Stories about how the family had battled the 12 to 15 little men who apparently got off the space-ship have appeared in almost every newspaper in the United States. Leading news commentators on TV and radio have made numerous references to the little men.
Only the air force remained aloof to the situation. lt denied there has been any official investigation of the reports of the space-ship and its 4-foot passengers.
Mrs. Lankford was not glad to see us. She was tired from lack of sleep and irked at having to talk to so many strangers, most of whom had unquestionably visited the scene to scoff at the story of Sunday night’s happenings. When she found we were sympathetic and willing to listen with an open mind, she was ready to talk.
“I only know what I saw,” Mrs. Lankford said. “I saw two of the men. Or maybe I saw the same one twice. I saw one about 10:30 p.m. and the other around 3 am.”
The second view of one of the little men would have come after more than a score of officers from Christian and Hopkins counties called to the scene Sunday night had made their fruitless Investigation and gone home.
“That time,” Mrs. Lankford said, "I watched this little man for more than a minute. I had gone to bed and was seeing him through the window.”
There were 11 persons at the house at the time the first “man” was seen around 7:30 p.m. Those present Included Mrs. Lankford’s three sons, their wives, visitor Billy Ray Taylor from Pennsylvania, and three small children.
“Seven of the eight adults saw one or more of the little men,” Mrs. Lankford said. “When seven people see something, there must be something.”
The strange creatures apparently made no attempt to harm the people at the farmhouse except the one which allegedly grabbed Taylor’s hair as he started out of the front door. A shot had already been fired from inside the house through a window at that time.
Mrs. Lankford said one of her sons, J. C., an ex-service man, thought at first the strange situation was all a joke and tried to, treat it lightly. But he soon changed his mind, the mother declared.
Mrs. Lankford said there had been so many visitors last night and this morning that somebody had suggested she put up a “no trespassing” sign on a tree in the yard. She did. Later, at somebody else’s suggestion, she put up another sign. The signs placed a 50-cent admission price for the spectators. There were no paying visitors while we were there.
Little Mary Lankford, who followed us around the house, a mall kitten In her arms part of the time. said she had been at home Sunday but had not seen anything.
“Neither of the other children saw anything, either,” her mother added.
Mrs. Lankford said she did not know what to think about the possibility that someone may have merely been trying to scare her Sunday night and that actually there were no space men. She admitted her son, Junior Sutton, who lives in Hopkinsville, had advanced the same theory.
“l don’t know why anybody would want to scare me.” she said. “I don't know anything except what I saw.”
Mrs. Lankford is the widow of Oscar Lankford, who rented the house and a small tract of ground before his death. She has been living there since his death and has been contemplating buying the house.
“But after last night, I don't know,” she concluded.
Dim View Taken Of ‘Space’ Story
Astronomers Study Local ‘Invasion’
Louisville, Ky. (AP)—Astronomers today took a dim view of the possibility that a spaceship landed near the town of Hopkinsville, Ky., as was reported earlier this week.
When told that a farmer, Elmer (Lucky) Sutton, had reported seeing a “saucer-like” craft and its “crew” land on his farm, most of the astronomers placed it in the hoax category.
One member of the University of Louisville Astronomy Department, who asked to he unnamed, said the report was possible but not probable.
And another astronomer, Charles Strull, educational director of the Louisville Asironomical Society completely ruled out the possibility of the earth’s being visited by life from another planet.
Reports from Hopkinsville, received Monday and Tuesday, described the occupants of the “spaceship” as being about three or four feet tall with a green complexion.
Officials at Fort Campbell said at noon today there was “no basis” to the report.
Strull, when told of the little men, said conditions on the two planets closest to Earth. Mars and Venus, made such reported life impossible. Strull said Mars was capable of supporting only a low form of vegetable life and that any life on Venus was highly unlikely.
Mars is now about 135 million miles from earth. In August, 1956, it will be at its closest to the earth, about 35 million miles.
Other astronomers said it was possible Sutton had spotted a bolide, a meteor that explodes close to the earth with a blinding flash and a rumbling roar.
But, they said, if a bolide had exploded near Sutton’s farm, it is highly likely that others would have reported seeing it from other locations.
The first report of the so-called spaceship landing came Sunday when several adults told Hopkinsville police the ship and its crew had landed on the farm.
Officials searched the countryside and reported finding nothing.