LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – On August 21, 2017, the day the sky will go dark during a rare total solar eclipse will that will bring 2 minutes 40.1 seconds of darkness to Hopkinsville, Kentucky.
People from around the world are headed to Western Kentucky the take in the sights.
But on that same date 62 years ago, on the edge of Hopkinsville, there was an unexplained encounter and a shootout between a family and what they described as beings from another world.
The farmhouse no longer stands but the legend has new life thanks to the eclipse.
It was a hot Sunday night at the farmhouse in Kelly, KY. Eleven people were inside including Elmer “Lucky” Sutton, his wife and friends Billy Ray and June Taylor. The two couples worked the carnival and a stop in Evansville, Indiana left them near Lucky's hometown and a chance to visit and grab a home cooked meal.
But what would happen on that steamy summer evening would change their lives forever and become the focus of a global debate.
“It was like a three-ring circus,” Geraldine Sutton-Stith, daughter of the late Lucky Sutton, recalled.
She's written books about her late father, that night and what would become known as the “Kelly Incident”. It began when Billy Ray went out to fetch water from the well and came back terrified with a tale no one believed.
Geraldine explained, “While he was out there he saw something going across the sky. It was oval in shape, silver, and he said with the colors of the rainbow floating behind it. He didn't know what it was, never saw anything like that before in his life."
The others accused Billy Ray of either seeing a shooting star or trying to scare the girls who were in the home, until Lucky went outside to check too.
"They were going back into the house and, as they were going back in, they saw something coming out from the back of the woods, the back of the house”, Geraldine said. “And it was like 3 to 3 and a half foot tall, huge ears, huge glowing eyes, huge head, arms almost down to the ground and they were floating above the ground. Of course, anybody in their right mind would know that this is something not right here.”
She continued, “They run in the house and tell everybody, ‘yes, we saw something out here. There's something out here."
Lucky's mother, Geraldine's grandmother, thought it was a joke until the men grabbed a shotgun and a rifle and began to guard the farmhouse doors.
Geraldine described the men fearfully telling the tale to Lucky’s mother, “She said, ‘Bill Ray, what did you see’? And he said, ‘Miss Glennie, I don't know what it was. I hope it's something that you'll never have to see because I don't think it was anything of this world. So they sat there and finally around the corner of the house from where they were sitting came this little being! :Billy Ray shoots, my grandmother falls to the floor, everybody comes running to where they're at, they help her up and she says, ‘I saw it! There is something out here!”
Gunfire erupted as the men opened fire on the beings they said they saw looking through windows and heard running on the roof. The incident lasted about 4 hours until the men escaped to a nearby pickup truck and raced into Hopkinsville for help.
An officer on duty was ordered to take the situation seriously and called in backup from cities as far away as Evansville and Fort Campbell. But as the gun smoke cleared, and the sun rose, authorities could find no proof of an alien encounter.
“There was rifle shells and shotgun shells all over the ground and inside the house,” Geraldine explained. “Holes in screens, woodwork shot up, clear evidence they were shooting at something but no blood, no bodies, no fur, no feathers. Nothing there to show that it was anything that we know."
Newspapers around the world cover the Kelly Incident. Some reports accused the 11 people inside the home of fabricating the story. But many others believe.
“I believe they were, I always try to stress, there was something there that night,” Geraldine said. “This wouldn't have happened, they wouldn't have done the things they had done. They wouldn't have went to Hopkinsville, they wouldn't have shot up their house for one thing. Something happened that night."
Geraldine says she has had several people ask her whether she thinks the aliens will return during the eclipse?
We asked her as well and she answered with a laugh saying, “We'll have to wait to find out.”