The Everglades, a vast expanse of swamps and wetlands in the southern part of Florida, holds an air of mystery and danger. Its murky waters, dense foliage, and unpredictable terrain seem to conceal secrets and lurking threats. The wild and desolate landscape, shrouded in the midst of dawn and dusk, invokes a sense of foreboding and trepidation in even the most intrepid of adventurers. Some say that the spirits of the swamp hold sway over this otherworldly place, where only the most courageous dare to venture.
James W. Flynn, an experienced woodsman, was camping with his hunting dogs in the Everglades on March 14, 1965. He loaded up his truck with his four loyal hunting dogs and a swamp buggy, navigating the winding dirt roads as far as they would take him until he reached the swampy wilds. The swampy and mosquito-infested surroundings seemed to be impervious to any sense of human influence. After unloading the swamp buggy and releasing his dogs, Flynn ventured deeper into the muddy, backcountry in search of deer. As he continued to traverse the thick undergrowth, the air was thick with humidity, and the sounds of insects and birds echoed throughout the swamp.
Despite the treacherous and unpredictable terrain, Flynn was reportedly familiar with these swamps and was an experienced outdoorsman, making this outing relatively routine. However, things were about to take a strange turn.
The night sky was a velvet blanket of stars that seemed to go on forever. The moon cast a soft glow into the distance, illuminating benign shadows scurrying across the murky swamps. The trees and vegetation seemed to take on a life of their own, shadows shifting in the moonlight.
The sounds of the swamp were muffled by the night air, but there were still plenty of distant chirps, croaks, and hoots from the surrounding wildlife. A gentle breeze blew across the surface of the water, bringing with it an eerie silence that could be felt down to one’s bones.
It was when Flynn noticed a bright light silently and slowly descending about a mile away. Thinking that an airplane may have gotten into trouble and gone down, he set out to render aid if needed. He was guided directly to the spot by the glow which continued unabated. Upon arrival, he found a circular, cone-shaped object with a pulsating glow.
It hovered just above the ground with a slightly perceptible wobbling motion. Flynn estimated the size to be over seventy-five feet in diameter and twenty-five to thirty feet thick. There were four rows of ports or windows encircling the craft, each emitting a yellow light unlike the color of the craft’s overall glow. A partition immediately behind the windows prevented him from seeing any internal details or occupants.
After observing the craft for a while, Flynn approached it to get a better look but was struck by a pencil-thin blue light from somewhere on the craft, hitting him on the forehead right between the eyes.
Flynn lay in the darkness, surrounded by the eerie silence of the night. The craft was nowhere to be seen, and there was an aching pain in his head. His vision was blurry, and he felt sluggish and weak. He raised a hand to his forehead and found a large, sore bruise, and he realized what had happened. He groaned as he pushed himself up from the ground and stumbled towards his swamp buggy, determined to get away as fast as possible. He staggered into the driver’s seat and started the engine, feeling relieved when it kicked to life and started moving and arrived in his hometown, where he was admitted to the hospital for examination and treatment.
The hospital was a bright white building with several shining windows and large glass doors. Inside, the halls were lit with overhead fluorescent lights, accompanied by the smell of antiseptic. Doctors and nurses bustled about in scrubs and white lab coats, and patients lay on gurneys in the hallways. The emergency room was packed with people of all ages and the doctors were excited to listen to his story.
After he recounted his story, investigators went back to the site and found a large circular spot in the clearing where the ground and grass were charred. The tops of some nearby trees were severely burned, and the trunks and limbs of some of the trees were scarred.
Flynn awoke hours later, partially blinded and with a painful bruise on his forehead. He sought medical treatment and was found to have an impairment of deep muscle and tendon reflexes, numbness, and loss of hearing. After he was released from the hospital, intelligence officers from Homestead AFB phoned him for a basic report and informed him that they would interview him again later.
There were physical traces on trees and vegetation, as well as animal reactions from Flynn’s dogs, which supported Flynn’s account of the event. The NICAP investigation found extensive physical trace evidence, including a circular area of burnt sawgrass where the object had been hovering, and burns on nearby trees. The circular area of burnt sawgrass was a crisp dark brown and the surrounding area was a faded yellow-green. The burnt edges of the trees were charred black and some leaves had been scorched off. Pieces of broken tree bark were scattered around.
The Air Force suggested that Flynn may have hoaxed the encounter, but this was refuted by leading citizens, police officers, and doctors who vouched for him. In the end, the Air Force had nothing on their files concerning the Flynn incident.
Despite the Air Force’s initial skepticism and belittlement of UFO sightings and the people who reported them, they partially backed off in this instance, likely due to Flynn’s standing in his community. One of Flynn’s physical injuries was atrophy of internal muscles, which is impossible to fake. The evidence exonerated Flynn, and the incident remains unexplained.