Happy Solar Eclipse Day!

Before I kick off my post, just a quick note that I am also blogging at Story Empire today on the topic of “tribes.” Not sure what I mean?  You can check it out here if the mood strikes. 🙂

Having said that, I’ve been looking forward to this day for a while. Yeah, I know it’s Monday but in the U.S. August 21, 2017 is a big deal. Why? Because states and cities lying in a narrow band from the northwest to the southeast are going to experience a total solar eclipse.

As an example, if you live in Hopkinsville, Kentucky you’ve got it made. I picked that location because it’s listed as one of the 10 best viewing areas according to GreatAmericanEclipse.com.

It’s also the location of the Hopkinsville Goblin extraterrestrial incident of 1955. Hmm. That sighting occurred on August 21, 1955. Am I the only one who finds the coincidence in date a little freaky?

Total solar eclipse glowing on sky above wilderness in forest. Amazing scientific natural phenomenon when moon passes between planet earth and sun. Serenity nature background.

If you are in Hopkinsville or anywhere in the cross-country viewing band, consider yourself lucky. My area will only see a partial eclipse with the nearest to totality happening around 2:40 PM. People have been gobbling up viewing glasses wherever they can find them. As far as I know, there are none to be had.

The last time a total solar eclipse was visible from the lower 48 states in the U.S. was in February of 1979. Once again, my area only saw a partial eclipse but I vividly remember making a pin hole viewer. I also had a telescope at the time which was equipped with a sun filter and a white tray for projection. I still remember fiddling with that thing in the front yard. “Sky events” have always been something I’ve found highly intriguing. The Northern Lights are on my bucket list.

My father had a profound interest in astronomy and passed that love onto me. From sitting outside together and watching the stars, to showing me how to use my first telescope, he made sure I appreciated science and the sky. When he was in his twenties, he designed and built a telescope for one of his nephews. This would have been in the 1940s. That telescope remained operational into the 21st Century.

From the early origins of Man, we have looked to the heavens for signs and symbols. In days of old, people lived in fear of an eclipse, many believing the sun was devoured by demons or dragons. Others that the sun and moon waged war. Superstitions ranged from fear of going outside, to an eclipse being harmful to pregnant women, to children who were born during an eclipse turning into mice. In 6th Century B.C., a war between the Medes and Lydians ended abruptly because of an eclipse. The armies on both sides believed the darkening of the sun was a sign the gods were displeased by their fighting. On the more favorable side, Italians believed flowers planted during an eclipse would bloom with brighter colors than natural.

Mondays rarely make it onto my list of favorite days, but this one will go down as being special. Even if haze or clouds make the eclipse less than stellar, I love that people have taken such a keen interest in the sky, and are looking forward to a rare celestial event.

Silhouette of four people on a hillside watching a solar eclipse

Are you in the path of the eclipse? If so, what do you have planned for today? Is the excitement rampant where you are? Most importantly, have you ever experienced a solar eclipse? Let’s celebrate the event in the comments below!

Mythical Monday: The Hopkinsville Goblins by Mae Clair

On a summer night in August of 1955, Billy Ray Taylor, a native of Pennsylvania was visiting his friend, Lucky Sutton of Kentucky. Lucky lived on a farm tucked between the towns of Kelly and Hopkinsville, a rural homestead that lacked electricity and running water. At some point during the evening, Billy hiked outside to get a drink of water from the well. In the process he glimpsed a shining object which descended from the sky and landed in a gully a quarter mile away.

Rural farmstead at night with fog and moon

Hurrying back to the homestead Billy excitedly shared his tale, but the Sutton family laughed off the story. Not long afterward, the family dog broke into a crazy raucous before vanishing under the porch. Later accounts say the poor animal, terrified by something it had seen, remained in hiding until the next day.

Sensing something amiss, Billy and Lucky armed themselves with rifles and headed outdoors to investigate. In the front yard they were drawn up short by a bizarre creature with “large eyes, a long thin mouth, large ears, thin short legs, and hands ending in claws.” The being was unlike any they had ever seen, short in stature and gremlin-like in appearance.

Both men unloaded their guns. They later insisted there was no way they could have missed at such close range but the creature slipped away, vanishing into the surrounding woods. Billy and Lucky returned to the house, barricading themselves inside.

More creatures appeared, trying to gain entrance. Those gathered inside, children and adults, now realized the threat was real. Faces peered in the windows, claws grappled for screens, Billy and Lucky unloading ammo at every instance. It took several hours before family members were able to escape and seek help from the sheriff’s department.

Upon arriving at the homestead, the sheriff and his men found no evidence of the goblin-like creatures, but could readily see holes blown through the walls and screens. All the officers reported that the Suttons were sober and seemed genuinely terrified by something. They eventually left the Sutton farm around 2:15 in the morning.

Almost immediately, the goblin-like creatures descended again, peeking in windows and trying to gain entry. The strange events finally came to a halt shortly before dawn. At a loss for explanation, not knowing what else to do, the sheriff summoned the Air Force.

The story made headline news, prompting many to speculate the Suttons had fabricated a hoax. But they gained nothing from the publicity, and neighbors collaborated their reports of “lights in the sky.” All of the adults who witnessed the event−Billy and Lucky among them−gave the exact same account of events when questioned separately. There are even reports of a highway trooper citing “meteor-like objects” flying overhead around 11PM that night. Additionally, there is mention of “an odd luminous patch along a fence where one of the beings had been shot, and, in the woods beyond, a green light whose source could not be determined.”

Years later, each family member remained firm in their story, no evidence of a hoax ever discovered. Interestingly, the U.S. Air Force has denied any involvement , but it has led many to believe the events of August 21, 1955, were those of an authentic UFO encounter.

Perhaps just one of many?