On Friday, March 12, 1965, James W. Flynn, rancher and former constable, of Fort Myers, Florida, climbed into his truck, with a swamp buggy in back, and headed deep into the Everglades to “work” four of his hunting dogs. He had been training dogs for his own benefit all his life and, according to his wife, “grew up in those swamps.” Like the native inhabitants, the Seminoles, he is an experienced woodsman.
After driving as far as he could on the regular road, Flynn unloaded his swamp buggy and proceeded at a snail’s pace through the swampy back country.
On Sunday evening, March 14, the dogs spotted a deer and gave chase. Flynn heard them baying and barking in the distance. One of the dogs returned. Then Flynn heard what sounded like a shot. Fearing for this dogs, he started the buggy and headed in the direction of the noise.
As he was still driving, at 1 a.m., March 15, he first saw a strange cone-shaped object hovering about 200 feet over some cypress trees. The UFO flew to the northeast but returned to its original position in two or three minutes. After hovering again for close to five minutes, it spurted off to the southwest, but returned a few minutes later to “a small knoll among some cypress trees.” Flynn followed, thinking it might be a helicopter.
The witness approached to within a quarter of a mile and spotted the object through an opening in the dense vegetation. Looking through his binoculars, he saw it was not a helicopter. Perhaps some new device from Cape Kennedy in some sort of trouble? It appeared to be about 25 feet high, slightly larger in diameter, and it had four tiers of windows emitting a yellowish glow. After watching for about 40 minutes, Flynn decided to approach it and offer help.
As Flynn got closer he heard a noise “like a Diesel generator.” The sound disturbed one of his dogs. He saw that the UFO was actually hovering about four feet off the ground. Within 200 yards, he stopped the buggy. The dog “was howling in his cage and trying to get out.” Jumping out of the vehicle, the witness approached the object, waving his arms in an attempt to elicit a response. Then, with “a jet-like noise,” the UFO emitted a blast of “wind” that almost knocked him down. He very cautiously approached to within a few yards, still waving, when the object shot off a light like a “welder’s torch.”
Flynn immediately blacked out. He regained consciousness once, then blacked out again. When he finally awoke, the sun was shining. It was Tuesday morning. He had been lying unconscious in the Everglades for more than a full day’s cycle. He tried to focus his vision, but discovered that he could only see a little out of his left eye. His right eye was totally blinded.
The nearly-blinded woodsman gathered his dogs and began the long trek home in his buggy, stopping at the home of a Seminole Indian, Henry Osceola. Osceola helped him back to his truck and he continued onto East Fort Myers alone, arriving about noon on Wednesday.
On the day of his return home, Flynn was examined by a Fort Myers ophthalmologist.
Flynn also had a small dark spot on his forehead, “about the size you’d make by twisting an eraser around on it.” According to Mrs. Flynn, her husband suffered loss of hearing and became numb during one of his days in the hospital.
Meanwhile, a Sheriff’s department investigator, Robert Daubenspeck, who did not know Flynn, investigated the sighting and remarked that the witness might have been hit by a overhanging limb. But, according to Dr. James E. McDonald, who interviewed Flynn via telephone late in 1966, the Sheriff himself, Flanders Thompson, wasn’t buying his own investigator’s suggestion. Neither did the editor of The Fort Myers News-Press. In an editorial entitled “A Fantastic But Legitimate Story,” William R. Spear attested to Flynn’s reliability: “Jimmy Flynn is a substantial citizen, a practical, down-to-earth type who has never been subject to hallucinations and who certainly tells no fibs….Flynn’s report may go down as one more on the long list of legitimate but unexplained sightings.”
While still in the hospital, Flynn said, the Air Force became “interested” in his case and the witness offered to take officials to the site. After Flynn was discharged from the hospital, the Sheriff’s office notified nearby Homestead Air Force Base that Flynn was ready to return to the site. A Colonel said that he would send a man to the site if Flynn would mark the area with lime.
The witness and four others, including Ed Smith, former manager of the Florida Power and Light Company, returned to the site. They discovered that the sawgrass was burned in a circle 74 feet in diameter. The ground was “turned up.” Trees were burned and there were “scuff-marks” on some cypress tree trunks. Flynn and the others marked the area and collected soil samples for analysis by Homestead. The base never responded regarding the samples and there is no record that the Air Force did any follow-up on the case.
Flynn later said he took photography of the area and sent them to Homestead. (9)
Early in 1967, the NICAP
Assistant Director, Gordon Lore, wrote Homestead
concerning the sighting and received the following
response, dated April 20, 1967, from Capt. Jon H.
Adams, Chief, Information Division: “We here at
Homestead have researched our files and find nothing
concerning this particular incident….Nothing
concerning this specific case was found in the files
of the base commander, intelligence division, civil
engineering, nor this office.” It is known
that base level UFO reports are routinely destroyed
after six months, which could explain the reply from
2243 McGregor Blvd.
Fort Myers, Florida 33901