On Tuesday, September 14th, we left behind the nonstop country wailings of Nashville and took off for the Land Between the Lakes in Cadiz, KY. Before landing there, however, we took a quick jaunt into the bustling metropolis of Kelly. (I'm being completely sarcastic. There's not much there. I think they call it a 'hamlet'.) What happened there, though, is the legendary event that gave birth to the term "Little Green Men" and inspired such films as E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. This is funny in itself because the "men" were little, but were never described as green but, rather, grey. LITTLE GREY MEN.
So a quick version of the story...
On the night of August 21, 1955, eleven people gathered together at the Sutton family farmhouse. At about 7pm, Billy Ray Taylor, a friend of the Suttons, went to fetch water from the well. He raced back inside claiming to have seen a silvery object, "real bright, with an exhaust all colors of the rainbow", which he informed the others had passed over the house before dropping to the ground, out of sight. An hour later, alerted by the dogs persistent barking, Lucky Sutton and Billy Ray went to the back door and witnessed a odd glow which contained in it a small, humanoid creature.
Long story short, (you can read all about the encounter on multiple websites or in the report titled 'Close Encounter at Kelly and Others of 1955') the Suttons and friends fought the creatures well into the night, firing at them with 20 gauge shotguns and a .22 rifle which had seemingly no effect. They actually reported that when the creatures were hit they did a backflip in the air, scrambled upright, and flew into the darkness (which is a brilliant visual... picture it). There was even hair-pulling at one point! My word!
At 11pm, the entire group ran for the cars and raced to the Hopkinsville police station. Military police from nearby Fort Campbell and a photographer from the Kentucky New Era accompanied the police Chief and his officers to the Sutton farm. There they found nothing but shell casings. The creatures had apparently vacated the spot. The authorities, of course, were curious about any substances that may have been consumed by the group, but the Sutton matriarch, a teetotaler, assured them that "liquor was not allowed in the farmhouse." At around 2:30 am, after the police and others had left, the creatures returned, pestering the family until daybreak. One of the ladies, Mrs. Lankford, said she saw one of the little grey men glowing repeatedly outside her bedroom window, scratching at the screen with its clawed hands.
This encounter is often referred to as "The Hopkinsville Goblins" or sometimes, more fittingly, "The Kelly-Hopkinsville Goblins." Whatever you want to call it, Terry and I felt compelled to spend a few moments wandering the grounds where these strange beings once frolicked (and did backflips!). Kelly has an annual Little Green Men Festival and they've erected a large, metal spaceship in the middle of the park (and, as you see, also a plaque of the Ten Commandments). At the festival, which is a typical small town celebration complete with food, bands, a wandering alien who will take selfies with you, they give tours of where the Sutton farmhouse once stood. The house is gone and the land is private property, but the new owners were nice enough to spray the outline around the spot where the well once stood. We followed the GPS coordinates and are pretty confident we found it. You can find anything these days!
We drove down the road a piece to Hopkinsville specifically to visit the gravesite of the famous clairvoyant, Edgar Cayce. In his sessions, which occurred while he was in a trance state, Cayce would answer questions about future events and everything from nutrition to the lost colony of Atlantis. As a devout Christian, the aptly named "Sleeping Prophet" was condemned by many of his contemporaries and struggled with accepting his own gift. Cayce, however, eventually found solace in the idea that his gifts were simply from his subconscious mind exploring the dream realm.
Anyway... a real interesting guy and worth reading about. Here's his earthly resting place...
We journeyed on to the lair of a werewolf, The Land Between the Lakes. I feel it important to reiterate here that we were not looking to hunt any monsters. My Facebook friend Bart can do that business. He is much more prepared and knowledgeable than we. We simply were satisfied to spend a little time in places where legends originated. If we were serious monster hunters, we would not have stayed in the cushy lodge but rather would have pitched a tent outside and grilled some steaks to entice the thing.
One lesson I did learn from this trip... Next time I would book more than one night in some areas. The Land Between the Lakes is one. You could spend a week or more there wandering. Also, there's a lot going on there supernaturally-speaking, if that's your bag. There's a phantom trucker, stories of angry phantom slaves, Hotel California, a vampire hotel, cemeteries that were flooded when the lakes were formed and... The Beast of LBL! It was the beast that drew me to this area.
The Beast of LBL is reported to be a bipedal wolf that stands around 7 feet tall, and sports clawed hands, a powerful jaw with wickedly sharp teeth, glowing red eyes and wonderful aroma of rotting garbage. Stories of the monster originated from French trappers and hunters, some of the first Europeans to settle in the area. They called the creature a Loup Garou. One of the notable modern day reports came from the 80's when a family was said to have been mutilated by the beast in and around their motorhome. There have been multiple sightings of the monster since then and some evidence such as footprints and recorded other unidentifiable howls. Just enough to make you question what is really out there tromping around these 170,000 acres.
Terry and I did not meet the beast, but we did have a lovely dinner at the Cadiz Family Restaurant, which is exactly what you would think it would be. There we met a handful of locals, good salt of the earth people. I asked our waitress, a Cadiz native, if she had heard of the Beast of LBL. She had not, but went and asked the owner, her mother, about the creature. She had heard stories, telling her daughter it was a Bigfoot type creature. That's what they call 'em all.
Land Between the Lakes is beautiful and I would highly recommend taking the family. Just be careful. Just because we didn't see it...
The Beast of LBL based on witness description (sketch by Barton Nunnelly)