Family behind 'Kelly Little Green Men' story shares connection t - WSMV News 4

Family behind 'Kelly Little Green Men' story shares connection to eclipse

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The story has prompted an annual festival. (WSMV) The story has prompted an annual festival. (WSMV)

A family's unusual claims sparked accusations of a hoax decades ago. Through time, that story has become local folklore.

Now, that family is tied to the upcoming eclipse in a way that's bringing widespread attention all over again.

"My daddy farmed all his life," said Geraldine Sutton Stith, looking through old pictures alongside her brother, Elmer Sutton. "It's just how it was. They were a farming family out in the country."

"I love that picture," she said, picking up one of her father, Lucky Sutton, in a suit and fedora. "I don't know if you remember it or not."

Stith and Sutton said there's still a lot they wish they could ask their late father, a man from little Kelly, KY.

"That was in front of the chicken house," said Sutton, picking up one of his father with his children riding on a horse. "Looking at these pictures makes me wish he was here."

Both Stith and Sutton said there's a story that made a normal place and a normal man known to many - a story their father didn't like to share.

"When he did, he'd turn white as a sheet," said Sutton. "That's how bad it scared that man."

Aug. 21, 1955 came long before Stith and Sutton were born. Lucky Sutton was at his mother's farm in Kelly.

"Eleven people were in the house that night," said Stith. "Billy Ray wanted to go out and get some cold water. As he was out there, he looked up and going across the sky was this silver object. My dad says, 'Take me out there. Show me where you saw this.' It's eerie. It's quiet. It feels like something's not right. That's when my dad saw one of those beings."

"They were three foot tall with pointed ears and oval eyes," said Sutton. "There was something going on, and it wasn't of this Earth."

"They didn't know what it was," Stith continued. "Who would've? They thought maybe this was some kind of goblin from heck. They were frightened. They ran in the house, told everyone something was out there. The country boy instinct in him was to grab the gun and shoot. Ask questions later."

"No, my dad wasn't taking chances of anybody getting hurt," said Sutton. "He was going to keep them away from getting in the house."

"Shot rang throughout the house," said Stith. "Shot one through the window. Billy Ray ran through the front door, and he saw a clawed hand come down and try to touch his hair. My dad reached up and shot him off the roof. They're country boys. They could shoot as soon as they could walk. It just rolled. Dropped, rolled. Got up and left. They hear one going across the top of the tin roof. There's another one! Blew it to the ground. It rolled off like nothing happened.

"He said, 'I could not kill it,'" said Sutton

"The shots weren't hurting them," Stith continued. "The girls are hysterical. The kids are afraid. Everyone's crying. My dad says, 'Let's go.' They hit the trucks. They run to Hopkinsville."

Sharing their story with police, the attention came pouring into Kelly.

"There's shotgun and rifle shells all over the ground and inside the house," said Stith.

Articles reported claims of a spaceship and little men.

"Dad did not like the attention this brought," said Stith. "He said, 'No good can come from this story. We need to let it go.'"

"People started coming in trying to talk to him about it, wanting to ridicule the family," said Sutton. "He didn't want to talk about it."

Sutton and Stith said the family property was sold two weeks later, and their father rarely spoke about the story the rest of his life.

"They wanted to make fun of him and say, 'oh, it's a hoax' or whatever," said Sutton. "My dad wasn't like that."

Decades passed, but the story never truly faded. Then, a few years ago, it became known the area would be the primary viewing destination of the Great American Solar Eclipse.

The date of the eclipse, Aug. 21, is the exact same date as the Sutton family story from 1955.

"People are scared to death that they're going to come back during the eclipse," laughed Stith. "Will they? Who knows? If they do, I hope they don't take me."

In 62 years, a culture has developed around Kelly, with loving tributes to a story of little men and their visit. To promote the annual Kelly Little Green Men Days Festival, people sometimes go out in alien costumes. A large UFO replica sits in Kelly.

"It's incredible the people who love it, embrace it, believe it," said Stith. "Our story is getting up there with Roswell."

This year's festival will coincide with the eclipse. A story her father hated, Stith's not sure what he'd make of what it's become.

"If he were alive, he'd be in his 80s," she said. "I have to believe maybe he's embraced it wherever's he's at, and he's OK with it."

Stith and Sutton said they're glad to share that story of a normal place, a normal man and the August night that changed everything.

"Our family went through something," said Stith. "Whether it be extra-terrestrial, whether it be paranormal, they saw, and they went through something that night. It actually happened to this little family of eleven people in this little farm house in Kelly in 1955. They had an encounter with something."

"I tell you what, my dad ran them off the first time," laughed Sutton. "I believe I can run them off the second time."

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