; Phantoms and Monsters - Real Cryptid Encounter Reports - Fortean Researcher Lon Strickler

Thursday, June 09, 2011

The 1965 Flynn UFO Encounter - Florida Everglades

Introduction: On March 12, 1965 James Flynn was camping in the Florida Everglades when he observed an object with a large cone-shaped structure hovering near the ground that was approximately 75 feet wide and 25 feet high. As he approached the object a beam of light struck him in the forehead, knocking him unconscious and temporarily leaving him partially blinded. There were physical traces on trees and vegetation, and animal reactions from Flynn's dogs.

Incident: On March 12, 1965, James Flynn of East Fort Myers, Florida, an experienced woodsman, headed deep into the Everglades with his four hunting dogs. He had planned to spend several days there. On the night of the 14th his hunting dogs took after a deer. Later, hearing a sound like a gunshot, Flynn started up his swamp buggy and headed off in search of his dogs. One of his dogs had returned, which he had placed in its cage, and it accompanied him on his search for the others.

Around 1 a.m., on Monday, March 15th, Flynn spotted something unusual that he judged to be slightly over a mile away. Whatever it was, it was hovering, shaped like a broad, upside-down cone, an estimated 200 feet in the air above some cypress trees. After a while it began flying off toward the Northeast. After some 2 to 3 minutes, it returned to the same place, and hovered again, this time for an estimated 5 minutes. Then it took off toward the Southwest at a high rate of speed. Soon, however, it returned to the same location again. At this point, Flynn was only about a quarter of a mile away, and the object seemed to come down among some trees into a small knoll. Flynn figured, up to this point, that he was observing a helicopter of some sort, but then he began to study it through a pair of binoculars and he realized that he wasn't looking at a helicopter at all. Then he began to suspect that it was some secret craft from Cape Canaveral.

Flynn described the object as some 25 feet high, and twice that in its diameter. Up near the top were four tiers of two-foot-square square window-looking sections that emitted a yellowish glow. The thing was metallic, and seemed to be made of four-by-four plates that appeared to be held together with rivets. Around the base there was an orange-red illumination that seemed to cast a glow on the ground some 75 feet around its rim.

Sometime later he regains consciousness. Finding himself initially blind he lays there for a long while until he recovers a small amount of vision in his left eye. By this time, the sun is shining and its Tuesday morning. Flynn gathers up his dogs and makes his way to the home of Henry Osceola, a Seminole Indian who lived there in the Everglades swamp.

It isn't until noon Wednesday that Flynn returns home. He and his wife go immediately to pay a visit to ophthalmologist, Paul R. Brown. Dr. Brown finds Flynn’s vision 20/800 in his right eye, 20/60 in his left eye. He notes a slight bruise over his right brow. The left eye appeared normal, but in the right eye he could not see the retina.

Flynn complained of hearing reduction and numbness in his arms and hands following the encounter. Under careful observation and treatment by Dr. Harvie J. Stipe, a physician who had known Flynn for 25 years, Flynn was treated, and soon those symptoms disappeared. On March 26, Flynn, Dr. Stipe, and two others, returned to the encounter site in the Everglades, and there found a burned circle some 72 feet across. The circle looked like it had been swept clean of leaves, twigs, limbs -- normal forest debris. Eight cypress trees were scorched from their tops down to about halfway from the ground.

In October 1966, in a phone interview with Arizona physicist James E. McDonald, Flynn stated that the UFO was probably, he figured, some secret aircraft of ours, and that if he could ever prove it then somebody would pay for the good eye he used to have.

In July 1996, Flynn made a rare public appearance at Port Charlotte, Florida, where he stated: “I'm waiting for the day someone turns up the truth about this thing. I hope I live that long.” - "The UFO Encyclopedia, The Phenomenon from the Beginning, Volume 1" - Jerome Clark - 1998


On the night of March 15, 1965, James W. Flynn was camping in the Everglades after training some hunting dogs. Shortly after midnight, Flynn saw a brightly lit object descending approximately a mile away. Flynn thought it was a helicopter until he looked at it through binoculars. Thinking it may be some kind of a plane in trouble, or 'some new device from Cape Kennedy' he drove his swamp buggy towards the light, while it was visible through the trees. About a quarter of a mile away, he got out and headed towards the light on foot.

As he neared the object, Flynn saw the craft was not a plane, but a large, cone-shaped machine hovering a few feet above the ground. The craft was about 75 feet in diameter at the base and 25-30 feet high. Four rows of ports of windows were visible, with yellow light shining through them. Flynn heard a whirring like 'a diesel generator,' which disturbed one of his dogs 'who was howling in his cage and trying to get out', but could observe no equipment or occupants.

After several minutes, Flynn approached the craft, Within 200 yards of the UFO, jumped out of his swamp buggy, stepping into the circle of light and raising his hand as a friendly gesture in case he was being watched. As he did this, the UFO emitted a jet-like noise and a blast of wind that knocked him off-balance. As he continued to approach within a few yards, the UFO emitted a light beam like a welder's torch, striking him on the forehead and knocking him unconscious. Later he told the local newspaper "I felt a blow like a sledgehammer between the eyes, and that's all I know."

When he came to hours later, he found himself partially blinded, and a painful bruise was left on his forehead where the light beam had struck. The craft was gone, but there was a charred circular area where it had hovered, and the tops of nearby trees had been burned.

Flynn sought aid from an Indian acquaintance who helped him back to Fort Myers. He required medical treatment and had a small dark spot on his forehead. In addition to the painful bruise on his forehead and the effect on his vision, doctors determined Flynn also had an impairment of deep muscle and tendon reflexes, numbness and loss of hearing.

During the five days when Flynn was in the hospital, intelligence officers, under the orders of General O’Keefe, phoned him from nearby Homestead AFB. After obtaining a basic report, they informed him they would interview him again when he was released from the hospital.

Flynn's doctor found impairment of muscle and tendon reflexes which he believed could not have been faked, and the NICAP investigation concluded that the account of the event was supported by the physical evidence: extensive physical trace evidence was found at the site, including a circular area of burnt sawgrass 72 feet in diameter where the object has been hovering, and burns of the nearby trees.

Unfortunately Flynn's encounter came at a time of maximum difficulty for the Air Force, indeed during a major flap in the locality, and they were doing their best to play down the sighting. Attempts were made to discredit Flynn which backfired when many leading citizens, police officers and doctors vouched for him. The Air Force's suggestion that Flynn may have hoaxed the encounter ignored the remarkable ground and tree traces and his own physical impairments which his doctor believed "could not have been faked".

In the end the Air Force settled for the somewhat useless statement that, when questioned, they had nothing on their files concerning the Flynn incident. - "UFOs at Close Sight" - Patrick Gross / Fort Myers, Florida News-Press - March 18, 1965


Joan Woodward: Animal Reaction Feature - NICAP Case Directory


James Flynn, a rancher of East Fort Myers, Florida, walked into the office of ophthalmologist Dr. Paul Brown in Fort Myers, on Wednesday, March 17, 1965, and asked to be treated. The area around his eyes was red and puffy and he was nearly blind. His right eye looked like a bloody marble. After hearing his story, Dr. Brown notified Mrs. Flynn, who came and took her husband to Lee Memorial Hospital, where he remained for five days.

The story told by Flynn is fantastic, but so were his wounds. The following is reconstructed from conversations and correspondence between the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO), Dr. Harvey Stripe, Flynn’s personal physician, and Flynn himself.

On Friday, March 12, Flynn took his swamp buggy, camping gear, and four dogs, and set out for the Everglades, about eighteen miles east of the Big Cypress Indian Reservations. On Sunday night, the dogs jumped a deer and ran off. Flynn whistled and called until about midnight, then started his swamp buggy and headed in the direction in which he last saw them running.

An hour later, at about 1 A.M. (Monday), Flynn spotted a huge light in the sky above the cypress trees about a mile away. It moved from east to west and back to its original position four times. The object then settled to the ground and appeared to hover at an altitude of four feet. Flynn drove closer, got out his binoculars, turned out the light on his swamp buggy, and watched it with the glasses. It was an unusual object of between thirty and thirty-two feet tall and twice as big across the bottom (in diameter) as it was high. Eight feet from the top was a row of windows, below which were three more rows of the same size—about two feet by two feet. Around the windows was a black strip, perhaps two inches wide. From the bottom of the lowest row of windows to the bottom of the ship was a distance of about twelve feet. Flynn judged the size by comparing the object with the surrounding cypress trees, which were about twenty-five feet tall. It was cone-shaped, except the top was not peaked but rounded.

The whole object appeared to be metallic and comprised of pieces of material four feet by four feet and held together with rivets. The windows gave off a dull yellow light, and the area under the object was lighted by an orangish-red glow. He watched the object for thirty to forty minutes with his binoculars.

Flynn was by this time about a quarter mile from the object and decided to investigate further, so he cranked up his buggy and approached it. He got within a few yards of the edge of the light and stopped, switching off his buggy lamp again. The dog he had on the buggy in a cage was so upset it had begun trying to tear out of its cage.

Flynn walked to the edge of the lighted area, raised his arm and waved. He got no response, and after waiting an estimated one half minute, he walked about six feet into the lighted area, raised his arm, and waved again.

Suddenly a “short beam” of light erupted from just under the bottom of the windows and struck Flynn on the forehead. He lost consciousness.

He awoke in the early hours of Tuesday, after twenty-four hours of unconsciousness; although he did not know at the time that he had been unconscious for such a long period. He was lying on the ground behind his buggy, and the dog on the buggy had nearly torn his cage apart. Flynn looked around the area, found a perfectly symmetrical circle of burned ground cover where the object had hovered. Several cypresses on the opposite side of the circle were burned at the tops. He also found marks in the vicinity of his buggy indicating that he had crawled around before he regained consciousness, although he had no recollection of crawling.

Weak from his long period without food, Flynn drove his buggy back to his campsite about two miles away, cooked bacon and eggs, and ate them. He then drove to the home of a Seminole Indian friend, Henry Billy, on the Reservation. The going was slow as he had only partial blurred sight in his left eye and was blind in his right eye.

Billy offered to accompany him back to Fort Myers, but, with partial sight, Flynn felt he could make the trip alone and arrived there at 4 P.M., Wednesday. He went to Brown’s office and it was there that he learned that he must have been unconscious for twenty-four hours instead of just a few minutes or hours; he had lost a whole day.

The first consideration in this case is, of course, the integrity of the witness, and James Flynn’s reputation was good. He was not a drinking man. He was a rancher who enjoyed hunting in the wilds of Florida’s Everglades. This trip was not his first. He had not, prior to his experience, been interested in “FLYING SAUCERS.”

APRO requested from Dr. Stripe his opinion of Flynn, and what follows is the text of his letter to APRO, dated April 28, 1965:

“I have known Mr. Flynn for 25 years and have always considered him a reliable, emotionally stable individual.

“I also accompanied him to the site of his observation of the flying object. I have made a few pictures of the burned area, which is not conclusive of anything but a fresh burn and scorched treetops in a perfect circle near the area marked by Mr. Flynn as site of the hovering object. There were also fresh scuff marks on two trees 12 or 15 feet apart in the area underneath the burned circle of trees. The marks were as if a heavy object in a straight line had slid down the trees about 2 feet and there stopped. There was no mark of any kind on the soft dried marsh underneath. No animal, human, or vehicle tracks of any kind. I could not account for those scuff marks.” Very Truly Yours, (Signed) H. J. Stripe, M.D.

Dr. Stripe’s medical report reads as follows:

“I was asked to see Mr. Flynn about 48 hours after he was admitted to Lee Memorial Hospital by an opthalmologist, for an injury to his right eye. The eye condition was hemorraging into the anterior chamber of the eye, apparently traumatic.

“Mr. Flynn gave a history of being hit by something like a flash of light while approaching an unidentified flying object hovering just above the ground.

“I am sure you are acquainted with the account of his observation of his unidentified flying object. When I first examined Mr. Flynn, he had both eyes covered by bandages and I was not able to observe his eyes or forehead. He was alert and cooperative. The physical examination showed a well-muscled, well-nourished male. The heart and lungs were normal. The abdomen was normal. The only abnormal findings were neurological. No paralysis was noted, but the deep tendon reflexes of biceps, triceps, patellas, and achilles were absent. Plantars and abdominal were absent, but cremasterics were present.

“Mr. Flynn was observed carefully for several weeks. His reflexes gradually returned over a five-day to one-week period, but returned irregularly. The forehead was finally examined and presented a thickened area just above and medial to the right eye; in the center of this area was a depressed, slightly abraded spot about 1 centimeter in diameter. Very small amount of haematoma was noted across right upper eye-lid. There was never any mental confusion or evidence of HALLUCINATION.

“About the fourth day in the hospital, Mr. Flynn complained of hearing reduction and numbness in arms and hands. This cleared in about 24 hours.

“When last seen about 16 April 1965, approximately 4 weeks after the injury, Mr. Flynn was again checked. The abdominal reflexes were not present, but all others were normal. The depressed area over the right eye was still present and prominent. He still has a cloudy vision of the right eye. No other abnormal physical or neurological findings were noted.”

The huge burned area, the scorched tops of 25-foot cypress trees, the scrape marks 4 feet off the ground, all support Flynn’s account. - "The Encyclopedia of UFOs" - 1980


Pulsating UFO Lands in Florida Swamp

On the night of March 14, 1965, James W. Flynn, who is a rancher and hunting dog trainer, was camped out for the night in the Everglades. Just as he was settling down for the night, his dogs became restive and upset. He looked around expecting visitors, but instead he sighted a bright light silently and slowly descending about a mile away.

Thinking that perhaps an airplane had gotten into trouble and gone down, he prepared his swamp buggy for the journey and set out to render aid if needed. He was guided directly to the spot by the glow which continued unabated. This worried Flynn as he expected to find a burning plane and probably injuries or fatalities. He found neither.

When about a quarter mile away, he grounded his swamp buggy and continued on foot. Soon he found himself in a large clearing and he wasn't alone. Some twenty yards away he saw a circular, cone-shaped object with a pulsating glow. It hovered just above the ground with a slightly perceptible wobbling motion. He detected, after a bit of study, a sound he could only describe as a hum. He estimated the size at well 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.

For many minutes Flynn just stood there, amazed. He had heard of such things, but, until now, had never really taken them seriously. Overactive imagination, he'd thought. But this was not imagination. It was real.

Curiosity overcame fear. He started to approach the craft to get a better look. He never made it. A pencil thin blue light shot out from "somewhere" on the craft hitting Flynn on the forehead "right between the eyes." He was unconscious before he hit the ground.

When he regained consciousness, he was partially blind, sluggish, had a terrific headache and a large, sore bruise on his forehead. The craft was gone. Somehow he got his swamp buggy going and got to his hometown of Ft. Meyers, Florida. He was rushed to a hospital for examination and treatment.

After he told his story, investigators went back to the spot. They found a large circular spot in the clearing where the ground and grass were charred. The tops of some nearby trees were severely burned. The trunks and limbs of some of the trees were scarred.

The Air Force, at that time, normally debunked and belittled UFO sightings and the people who reported them out of hand, but in this instance, they did not reckon with Flynn's standing in his community. On this occasion the Air Force had to partially back off. They only took one shot, that I can find, in that they labeled it by innuendo to be a hoax. Question is, how did Flynn fake the charred circle of ground, how did he burn and scar the trees and, most importantly, how did he self-inflict a bruise of such shape and intensity?

One final piece of evidence helped exonerate James Flynn. One of his physical injuries was atrophy of internal muscles. Medical science tells us that one can't be faked; period! - Republican Journal - Belfast, Maine - July 2, 1987 - Glenn Sparks

"The UFO Encyclopedia, The Phenomenon from the Beginning, Volume 1" - Jerome Clark - 1998
Keyhoe, Donald E., and Lore, Gordon I. R., Jr. - "Strange Effects from UFOs" - NICAP - 1969
"UFOs at Close Sight" - Patrick Gross
Fort Myers, Florida News-Press - March 18, 1965
"The Encyclopedia of UFOs" - 1980
Republican Journal - Belfast, Maine - July 2, 1987 - Glenn Sparks