How the “Little Green Men” Phenomenon Began On a Kentucky Farm

Why are aliens so often depicted as “little green men” with bulbous heads and oversized eyes? Let’s go back to the night of August 21, 1955, when a large extended farm family called the Suttons arrived breathlessly at the Hopkinsville police station in southwestern Kentucky. Their story of a terrifying siege by otherworldly beings would become one of the most detailed and baffling accounts of an alien close encounter on record. According to accounts given to the police, at about 7 p.m., Sutton family friend Billy Ray Taylor was fetching water from the backyard well when he saw a silvery object. As he later recounted, it came silently toward the house, passed over it, stopped in mid-air, and then dropped straight to the ground. The Suttons didn’t take Billy Ray seriously, but an hour later a strange glow revealed a small humanoid creature about 3½ feet tall, with an oversized, perfectly round head and eyes that glowed with a yellowish light. The arms extended almost to the ground, and the hands had talons. Terrified, Billy Ray and Lucky Sutton grabbed a 20-gauge shotgun and a .22 rifle and fired at the “little man” — its hands now raised as if held at gunpoint. Then, the creature did a flip, scrambled upright, and fled into the darkness. Shortly after, the men saw a similar creature appear in a side window and fired through the window screen. Still impervious to bullets, the little man again flipped and disappeared. The Suttons moved inside and spent several hours listening for movements, hearing mostly occasional scratches on the roof. At 11 p.m., the whole group ran for the cars and high-tailed it to the Hopkinsville police station at top speed. After the local police chief called for backup, his team was joined at the Sutton farm by state police, military police from nearby Fort Campbell, and a photographer from the Kentucky New Era. There, investigators found shell casings from the gun shots, but no other evidence. While the incident eventually attracted the attention of the Air Force UFO-investigation program, documents suggest that its team never officially pursued the matter. The Kelly-Hopkinsville sighting is at the origin of the popularization of the words "little green men,” and today the community celebrates the anniversary of the event on the third weekend of every August with an event called “Little Green Men Days.”