E.T. Was Inspired by a UFO Sighting from Hopkinsville, Kentucky
One summer night in 1955, members of the Sutton and Taylor families were occupying a farmhouse outside of Hopkinsville, in the town of Kelly. At one point in the evening, Billy Ray Taylor went outside to the well to collect some water. That's when he saw a UFO streak across the sky and land in an area near the farmhouse. He ran back inside, and what happened next became known as the "Hopkinsville Goblin Case" or the "Kelly Green Men Case."
What Happened at the Farmhouse?
When Taylor returned to the farmhouse, everyone noticed that someone or something was approaching. That's when reports claim that they saw a creature's face press up against a window of the home and then disappear after someone in the house fired a gun at it. According to Kentucky For Kentucky, this is what the families saw that night:
The sketch drawings were consistent: the gremlin-like creature described was around 3 feet tall with pointy-ears, large claw-like talons, long limbs and legs apparently atrophied as it hovered ghost-like while "swimming" through the air. Metallic skin, but with a green aura. It was a mere stone's throw away from Taylor and Sutton whenever the two opened fire on it. Another creature appeared on the roof, bullets merely ricocheted off the beings with the sound of a metal clank as each casually "floated" rather than fell to the ground and retreated, only to return moments later to be shot at again. The family quarantined themselves inside the home where over the course of the next several hours the bizarre creatures seemed to play a terrifying game of "peek-a-boo," their ghostly metallic faces appearing outside windows and doorways only to be shot at by those inside. They'd disappear and reappear, though never passing the threshold of the house. Hours later the two families were able to flee the home where they rushed to the local police station, visibly shaken, begging the assistance of sheriff Russell Greenwell.
By the time law enforcement agencies arrived at the farmhouse, the aliens had vanished, and there was no evidence of them other than signs of gunfire at the house. Because these aliens hovered, there were no tracks.
Theories About The Incident
Because there was no evidence of aliens at the farmhouse, many have speculated what the families really saw throughout the years. Some claim that what they saw that night were Great Horned Owls, while others believe that the families saw a cat jump onto the screen of the window, Whether it was aliens, owls, or cats, this story became a thing of legend, even inspiring one of the biggest movies of all time.
Movies Inspired by the "Kelly-Hopkinsville Encounter"
According to Kentucky For Kentucky, Steven Spielberg drew inspiration from this event for his movies "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and one of the most beloved films of all time, "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial". Kentucky For Kentucky says:
"Close Encounters of the Third Kind" proved to be yet another huge commercial success for Steven Spielberg, so much so that he began toying with the idea of a sequel. The project was to be called "Night Skies," a fantastical horror movie derivative based specifically on the Kelly-Hopkinsville Encounter about eleven aliens that descend on a Kentucky farm and terrorize the animal and human inhabitants. The film had been green light, the production company having already spent $700,000 on pre-production for conceptual artwork and high tech animatronics during the same time that Spielberg was in Tunisia filming "Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark." Amidst the excitement and chaos of elaborate sets, the special effects explosions, story lines about Nazis and violent aliens, Spielberg decided he'd lost touch with his tranquility. He abruptly morphed the story about malevolent rural aliens into a different creature entirely, one that was intelligent, inquisitive, and sweet.
That idea, then became what we all know and love as "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial."
These weren't the only movies inspired by the "Kelly Hopkinsville Encounter." According to All Things Interesting, other films, including "Signs," "Gremlins," "Critters," and "Poltergeist" were also inspired by it.