Special Report: Kentucky "Close Encounter" - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Special Report: Kentucky "Close Encounter"


We're preparing for the total solar eclipse that will sweep across the country on August 21. 

Did you know, that's the anniversary of a tale told about a visit from outer space, right in our own backyard?

This wild encounter is said to have inspired documentaries and a blockbuster.

It happened in a small Kentucky town called Kelly. A town 8 miles north of Hopkinsville, 28 miles south of Madisonville. A town too *small for a stoplight. But big enough for a story heard the world.

"This story scared me to death," said daughter of Elmer Sr. "Lucky" Sutton, Geraldine Sutton Stith.

This is a story about Geraldine and Elmer Sutton's family.

"I was like 8 years old when we found out about this," said Stith.

Their father and 10 others were in their small Kentucky home on the evening of August 21, 1955.

"At first I didn't know what to think when I heard it," said son of Elmer Sr. "Lucky" Sutton, Elmer Sutton. "Then the more I heard about it and the more my dad talked about it, the more I looked in his eyes and I could see he was scared to death and I could see he was telling the truth. I realized, something really did happen to my dad."

It all started with a man named Billy Rae, walking out of that home to the well for a drink of water. Then, he looked up.

"When he was out there, he heard something," said Stith. "And as he looked around, up in the sky there was this oval silver object going across the sky. And he described it as the colors of the rainbow flowing behind it."

He dropped his bucket and ran to the house to alert the family. At first, nobody believed him. They said it was probably a shooting star or a meteor.

"Billy Rae was like, no, I know what both of those look like. It wasn't either one," said Stith.

Geraldine's Father, Lucky Sutton, went outside to see for himself. A short while later, there it was, one of them, whatever it was, floating out of the woods

"Big glowing eyes, huge ears, huge head, and their little arms were just long almost to the ground and just floating," said Stith.

Billy Rae and Lucky run back to the house and grab their guns. 

"Billy Rae actually runs out the door and as he runs out there, there's one on top of the stoop and it reaches down to grab his hair," said Stith.

"And that's when the battle started," said Sutton.

"My dad runs out there on the porch and shoots up on top of the house," says Stith, "and just shoots and the little thing just drops rolls and goes. There's another one in the big maple tree out front. So he shoots at that one. Drops, rolls and goes."

"You could not hurt them," said Sutton.

This went on for hours. They needed help. So the family jumped in their trucks and fled to Hopkinsville.

"Get to Hopkinsville. There's this one little officer on duty. You've got 11 people running in the house from ages 7 to 50 and he's like "what's wrong?," said Stith.

The little officer called everybody, including the soldiers at Fort Campbell.

When they all got to the house, Stith said, "It's quiet, it's eerie. There's something in the air. It's not right"

Nothing. No bodies. No blood. Just destruction.

"Clear evidence that something happened because you've got screens shot out, you've got wood work shot out, shells, shot gun and rifle shells on the ground, inside the house. Clear evidence they were battling something that night," said Stith.

Everybody left and the family tried to go to bed, but the creatures came back.

"Got up. Gun battle started again," said Stith.

This went on until the sun came up, when the aliens, just disappeared.

The family has passed along the tale from generation to generation, but you may know a different version.

"The Kelly Incident directly inspired the movie ET.," says Vice President of the Kelly Community Organization.

We're told, Stephen Spielberg was researching the Kelly incident that led to him to make the popular movie.

"I don't know if there are different aliens out there but I know for sure something happened that night. It's made me a believer," said Haley Howland, who portrays Alene Sutton in The Invasion of Kelly.

And now, 62 years later, August 21, a total solar eclipse. 

"There are people actually frightened that they are going to come back," said Stith, "I've seen posts from people saying, I'm not getting out of my house that day."

"Some say, maybe they'll come visit again. I mean, who knows. But it does make the story more interesting," says Kelly Sumner, who portrays Alene Sutton in The Invasion of Kelly.

That story is now being made into another movie. The Invasion of Kelly. Filmmakers are hoping to show the movie the weekend of the eclipse.

Copyright 2017 WFIE. All rights reserved. 

Powered by Frankly