'It's creepy': Total eclipse passes over Kentucky town as it marks anniversary of alien sighting
Residents of a small Kentucky farm town gathered on Monday to watch the total solar eclipse, but they were also keeping an eye out for aliens.
That's because it was the anniversary of the day in 1955 when a group of extra-terrestrials are said to have paid a visit and caused a ruckus.
The town holds a yearly festival commemorating what is now known as the Kelly-Hopkinsville Encounter.
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The Little Green Men Days Festival includes music performances, food vendors and the usual community events, except you'll see signs with aliens and more than a few people in costume.
Festival organizer Joann Smithey spoke to As It Happens guest host Jim Brown just as the eclipse fell upon the town and the crowd cheered the moon's "first bite" of the sun.
Smithey recounted the story of what allegedly happened on Aug 21, 1955. On that night, members of the Sutton family went outside to bring in water from the well, when a bright light streaked across the sky and something crashed into the fields.
They ran back inside and did the only thing that Kentucky folk know how to do to protect their family from the unknown — they grabbed shotguns.- Joann Smithey, Little Green Men festival organizer
"They saw little beings — about three, three-and-a-half foot tall. Kind of silver. [They] didn't know what they were, but they definitely weren't human," said Smithey.
"So they ran back inside and did the only thing that Kentucky folk know how to do to protect their family from the unknown — they grabbed shotguns."
The shootout apparently lasted throughout the night. When police surveyed the scene the following morning, they found shotgun and rifle shells scattered around the farm and bullet holes in the Suttons' house. But they didn't find any aliens.
According to newspaper reports, the Suttons described the creatures as greyish or silver. Soon enough, the descriptions were embellished, changing the colour from silver to green. Thus the phrase "little green men" as a popular term for aliens was born.
So how does Smithey feel about Kelly finding itself under the solar eclipse on the anniversary of the Kelly-Hopkinsville Encounter? "It's creepy."
And what does she believe really happened on August 21, 1955?
"I believe something happened that night that scared that family to death and I believe it is a huge universe and I've only seen a small thumbprint of it," she said.