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The Goblin’s Grimoire: Hopkinsville Reprised, or the Hollow Earth?

The month of August 1955 was a strange one for residents around the small town of Kelly, in Christian County, Kentucky. A number of locals, as well as area law enforcement, had claimed to have been experiencing various odd things of an “alien” variety; in fact, things would end up getting so strange for one group of locals, the Sutton family of nearby Hopkinsville, that their lives would be forever changed in the aftermath.

The events that led to a terrorizing evening for the family, along with a visiting friend from out of town, were both terrifying and wholly inexplicable. Things started as Pennsylvania native Billy Ray Taylor, along with Elmer Sutton, went outside to investigate noises coming from the forest nearby on the evening of August 21st, shortly after a series of odd lights had been seen in the distance. Both men, carrying guns, claimed to have witnessed a strange nonhuman entity emerge from the trees, prompting their return to the farmhouse. Soon afterward, the Suttons and Mr. Taylor would begin an evening secured within the home, as these strange “goblins” attacked them from the outside; thus began their nightlong bout with what have forever remained known as the “Hopkinsville Goblins,” an event in American Forteana that remains one of the strangest ever recorded.

On that fateful evening in August of 1955, the badly frightened Sutton family would eventually enlist the aid of area law enforcement, who sent no less than twenty officers out to the house, expecting a confrontation with some kind of otherworldly presence. Upon arrival, while evidence of a window-rattling conflict was found a plenty, there was no sign of any of these odd, diminutive beings, variously described as humanoid, though of smaller stature, light-skinned, and sporting large ears that stood upright off the sides of their heads.

The curious story does remain among some of the more odd urban legends and unexplained encounters ever collected, prompting a number of researchers over the years to suppose that the mystery of the “Hopkinsville Goblins” might have some basis in extraterrestrial intelligence visiting from afar… though the odd manner in which these creatures behaved could hardly be described as “intelligent,” at least in the human sense. Or perhaps these strange beings were something else… inter-dimensional visitors, cryptozoological monstrosities, or just plain hallucinations the occupants of the Sutton home may have somehow suffered en masse. But could there be other explanations than these listed here, which seem almost “conventional” at least within the realms of the strange and unusual? If so, what might they entail?

A recent report that appeared at the Who Forted? website discussed a strange story that, while almost entirely too good to be true, seems somewhat reminiscent of the fabled Hopkinsville Goblin encounter. According to blogger Greg Newkirk, he received an email from a Kentucky man claiming to have made contact with strange, diminutive creatures with pale skin, large eyes, and an odd method of “chirping” for communication. The man reports that these odd entities have appeared around his home at various times throughout the last several months, and that their presence has caused great distress among he and his family members, even to the point that they’ve been forced to leave the property for fear of these strange “cave dwelling” creatures. The complete article (which includes photos of the creatures alleged footprints) can be viewed here.

Could there actually be a race of semi-subterranean humanoid creatures that exist beneath parts of Kentucky, the likes of which might have appeared long ago around the time of the infamous 1955 Hopkinsville encounter? Or if not, what else might these strange creatures be… other than an elaborate hoax, inspired by the classic story of “Hopkinsville Goblins” from so long ago?

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  • tibs

    lolwut? If I had goblins attacking my house I would use my skyrim skills.

  • Scopi314

    What I love about paranormal websites is how they will flat out change facts to fit their pet theories. Take this discussion of the “goblin” attack. Because this writer has decided the goblins must be subterranean for whatever reason, the extremely detailed “flying saucer” Billy Ray Taylor claimed to have seen in the sky before the incident has been changed into “a series of odd lights,” implying that they were at ground level. Remember people, don’t believe what you read on the web. Go back to the primary sources, see what they actually say. In the case of the Kelly Goblin attack if you read the initial stories (not the Wikipedia page, which has its own errors) it’s pretty obvious what happened. Taylor, and the only other person who really claimed to see one of the creatures in full, Elmer Sutton, were described by their the rest of the Sutton family as liars and prone to play practical jokes. According to the local paper the day after the incident those two left town so the police couldn’t question them, apparently leaving the rest of the family (mostly women and children) at the mercy of the “goblins” if they came back. The rest of the Sutton family were genuinely scared, but I think the evidence points towards a joke that got out of hand,

  • Micah Hanks


    As author of this article, I must congratulate you on figuring all this out. Indeed, I obviously “believe” the Hopkinsville incident actually dealt with cave monsters from the Hollow Earth. Also, glad you noticed how I cleverly “implied” that the lights had come from ground level… further attempts at bolstering my otherwise half-assed argument with intent to deceive the Mysterious Universe readership.

    You got me. 😉

    Quite the contrary, I was merely presenting a comparison between the alleged events of 1955, and a recent report for which both the author (Greg Newkirk of the Who Forted blog) and myself think is, quite obviously a hoax. If there are any similarities between the two incidents, it’s the one aspect of your analysis that I do agree with: that both are hoaxes, in all likelihood. Also, if you had read the entire article before launching those criticisms, you might have seen the last sentence of my piece read as follows: “What else might these strange creatures be… other than an elaborate
    hoax, inspired by the classic story of “Hopkinsville Goblins” from so
    long ago?”

    ‘Nuff said.

  • Micah Hanks

    P.S. And on a side note, when it comes back to “going back and reading primary sources,” I wish more people would do the same with some of the early Mothman reports, in which the witnessed described no mention of wings, but that the creature was “an awkward runner.” Not quite the same mothy-meme as that which emerged later on, huh?

  • Thunder Lizard

    I remember reading reports about the Kelly-Hopkinsville case back around 1962 and Mothman reports in 1967 when they were still very fresh. I find it interesting how some of the reports and descriptions from then to now have grown and evolved. For instance, the Mothman has taken on a fanciful life of its own spawning the “Mothman Prophecies” movie and festivals! The Flatwoods Monster of 1952 is another one that has perpetuated and 60 years later has its own festivals and action figures. I can better understand how myths and legends got started in ancient times and how over time they could take on new context – we’re still doing it today.

  • BW

    The complete article (which includes photos of the creatures alleged footprints) can be viewed here.

    Hmm. I note that although the linked publication followed up in 2015 and mentioned a soon-to-happen visit to the location in question, the publication has had nothing to say since. Just a bit too much of a dramatic pause ?