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Kentucky Kin and the Hopkinsville Goblins

Supernatural tales and local lore: How a Kentuckian encounter with goblins in the 50s inspired my book.

I LOVE a good supernatural / sci-fi story, and I especially love stories people tell to each other. Perhaps it's about a ghost their grandma saw, or strange lights they saw in the sky one dark night. I remember when an old friend visited me. He had just moved out of town a year back and now had a heap of ghost encounter stories. The one that stood out to me was about a farmer ghost he saw walking around his yard one night. He was see-through, wearing overalls, no shirt, and carrying a gardening tool, a rake if I remember right.


Towns have their own lore. Some of the lore bores me, like bigfoot. And some of it fascinates me and sparks my creative energy. For instance, the Travis Walton UFO abduction. It's distinct because his friends witnessed it and told the same story of Travis being suspended in the air by the disk-shaped ship. And what he claims to have seen and experienced on the ship is very different from other UFO abduction stories. I love coming up with my own underlying theories behind these unique tales.

Of course, our own preconceptions and beliefs shape our thoughts about these tales. Some people will never see strange lights in the sky, and yet still believe in alien life somewhere in the cosmos. And some will see apparitions with their own eyes and chalk it up to the mind's powerful ability to conjure hallucinations—to them, ghosts aren't real, and the mind can be a malicious trickster.

Personally, I believe in angels, demons, messiah, spirit, and a gargantuan dad enthroned in another dimension called heaven. I believe the earth has a spirit realm, where angels and demons assemble and interact with humans. And I am fully aware how these beliefs influence my perceptions of the lore of our world.

So, when I first read about the Hopkinsville Goblins some years back, I was hooked. My mind filled with imagery of how the creatures were described by the different witnesses. One said bullets bounced off them like they were made of metal. Another said that they glowed, and when the creatures were shot, a glowing splatter (blood splatter?) sprayed the fence behind it leaving a glowing streak that disappeared after a few days. One said they could float. Another said they waded through the air like wading through a pool of water. One said there were many, another said there was only one. One said when the creature was shot it disappeared into thin air. Another said that when the creature was shot, it flipped over on its belly and zoomed into the woods along the ground.

Then it became national news. Alien invasion was all the rage in the 50s and since one of the witnesses said they saw a light in the sky prior to the encounter, everyone assumed it must be aliens. From this encounter we get the term 'little green men' despite the creatures being described as gray. Tourism to the area spiked for years and an annual festival was created. But as decades passed, the creatures were more and more referred to as goblins, not aliens. And today, hushed tales of goblins are told in Kentucky. I read that a pastor in Kentucky acknowledged them, calling them 'critters' and explaining that they will attach to local families. The descriptions and interactions now sound more like the centuries-old tales of hob-goblins, gremlins, and malicious spirits told nearly everywhere in the world. Kentuckians still occasionally see lights in the sky, but they don't necessarily associate the lights to the critters.

The Hopkinsville goblins bounced around in my mind for years and I decided to write a couple novels about it. Of course, I put my own unique spin on it and took creative license. And above all, it’s about the characters. The goblins are just a fun way to tell their story.



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© 2020 by Adam Scott Zeiter