The Everglades Case
Keyhoe, Donald E., and Lore, Gordon I. R., Jr., 1969,
Strange Effects from UFOs, NICAP, Washington, D.C., pages 12-16

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 Knocked Unconscious

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.

Investigation Commences

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 Capt. Adams.

Letter from Flynn’s ophthalmologist reproduced on pages 14-15 of Strange Effects:

2243 McGregor Blvd.
Fort Myers, Florida  33901


January 26, 1968
G. E. Arrington, Jr., M.D.
Herndon Medical Center
77 Third Street
Herndon, Virginia

Re: FLYNN, James W.

Dear Dr. Arrington:

This is in answer to your letter of Dec. 13, 1967, for information on Mr. Flynn.  I apologize for the lateness of this letter.

I first examined Mr. Flynn on March 17, 1965.  He stated that while he was out hunting in the woods in this area two days before I saw him he noticed an unnatural light in the woods off in the distance.  He stated that he went closer to the light to observe it and suddenly he was struck by “something from a space ship”.
He said that he was knocked out and blinded.  He said he recovered some sight in the left eye but he could not see out of his right eye.  Mrs. Flynn accompanied him into my office, and Mr. Flynn seemed to be in quite an agitated state of mind at that particular time.  He kept repeating over and over “I know you wont believe me, but this is what happened” and then he would begin to relate the same story.

When I examined him on 3/17/65 vision was 20/800 in the right eye and 20/60 in the left eye.  Intraocular tension was 2 on the right and 6 on the left using the 5.5 gm weight on the Schiotz tonometer.  Examination revealed a slight bruise over the right brow and right upper lid and there was some gross hyphemia on the right.  I could not see the retina on the right.  The left eye appeared to be normal.

The patient was admitted to Lee Memorial Hospital for treatment of the traumatic hyphemia.  He had a benign hospital course with good resorption of the hemorrhage.  On 3/29/65 there was no evidence of injury.  Visual acuity was 20/20 on the right and 20/25 on the left.  I discharged him at that time and told him to return on a prn basis.

I examined him again on 7/1/66 at which time the vision was 20/15 in each eye with correction.  Intraocular pressure was normal and equal in each eye.  Pupillary reactions were normal, but the right pupil did measure 1 mm larger than the left.  Slit lamp and funduscopic examination was unremarkable.  The patient did show some early presbyopia and some reading glasses were prescribed.  He was instructed to return on a prn basis and I have not seen him since that visit.

He was also examined while in the hospital by Dr. Harvey Stipe here in Ft. Myers.  Dr. Stipe did a brain scan with mercury 203 labeled Neohydrin and this scan was negative at that time.  He found no other evidence of injury.

As best as I can tell, Mr. Flynn appears to be a rather stable individual.  He is not considered to be a person who likes to make up wild tales.  Although his story could be a cover-up story for some other type of incident, I feel that this is quite unlikely since a more plausible story could have been thought up to cover up for him should he have felt the need for such cover-up.  Since the incident Mr. Flynn quoted to me that he actually was sorry he even related the incident because it had caused him quite a bit of trouble and apparently not many people believed him anymore.  At the time of the incident I was somewhat skeptical myself, but quite frankly at this stage of the game I am not quite as certain as I was before.  I keep asking myself why should he have to make up a story like this.  However, we must face the fact that this could have happened by tree branch or some other object striking him over the forehead.  The only thing we can be sure of is that he did suffer some physical blow to the right eye.

I hope that the above information is sufficient for your purposes.  Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

/s/ Paul R. Brown, MD
Paul R. Brown, M. D.