The James Flynn Incident – UFO Over The Florida Everglades

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
September 10, 2018
Last Updated
October 6, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
7 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Close Encounters

A hunting trip with his four dogs in the Florida Everglades by experienced woodsman, James Flynn in March 1965 would result in a close encounter that would leave physical consequences for the rest of his life, including being legally blind in one eye. While there is debate as to whether the craft Flynn witnessed was extraterrestrial in nature or a clandestine military project, there is little doubt that he witnessed something very real in the cut-off environment of the Everglades.

A depiction of a UFO over the Everglades

A depiction of a UFO over the Everglades

At the time, Flynn firmly believed the craft was “some secret aircraft of ours”. Furthermore, once he could prove it, he would bill them for the repairs to his injured eye. Over three decades later, in 1996, however, he would state when speaking of the incident in light of no satisfactory explanation for it that, “I’m (still) waiting for the day someone turns up the truth about this thing”.  Now, twenty years on from that statement, and over half a century removed from the incident itself, that truth is still waiting to be uncovered.

The US military, aside from an initial interview with the witness, would essentially wash their hands of the affair. This is very likely due to a wave of UFO sightings in the south Florida area at the time. One of which occurred at the Crestview School several years later, which we have examined before. It is highly likely the craft witnessed by James Flynn was under the same intelligent control as many others witnessed across the state of Florida in the mid-sixties.

A Shotgun Blast Over The Everglades

James Flynn arrived in the Everglades on the evening of the 12th March 1965. He had with him his four dogs and traveled in his custom-made “swamp-buggy” [1] that allowed him to negotiate the unsure and muddy terrain of the region. He had been here many times and was as experienced as any who ventured out into this isolated part of the Sunshine State. His plan was to spend several days here in the wilderness-like region. A chance for his dogs to enjoy the open space and to assist him in hunting deer. The first two days went pretty much as planned. Late in the evening of the 14th March, however, things changed.

As he sat near the open fire next to his tent on the third evening of his trip, preparing food for a small supper, his dogs suddenly took off into the dark woodland around their makeshift base. He reasoned they were very likely in pursuit of the scent of a nearby deer. They had done this often, so Flynn let them do as they pleased content that they would return very shortly. Perhaps, he thought, they would return with their prize. When he heard a sound like a shotgun blast ring out, though, he suddenly feared someone was shooting at his dogs.

He took to the swamp buggy looking to track down his pets, one of whom would return just before he set off. He quickly checked there was no injuries or wounds before placing it in one of the custom-made cages that sat on the back of the buggy. Then, sending splats of mud into the air behind him as the thick tires pressed into the soggy ground, he set out deeper into the Everglades.

A Bright Yellow Glow Over The Trees

It was around 1 am in the opening hours of the 15th when Flynn first caught sight of something slightly strange. The object was around a mile in front of him. It would glow a bright yellow as it moved just above and through the tree-tops ahead. After several moments it disappeared into the distance. However, only minutes later, it returned and hovered over the trees once more, again for around five minutes.

Flynn continued to force the swamp-buggy forward, now heading directly for the strange craft’s location. As he did so, he witnessed the object once again vanish into the distance. He continued to head towards its previous location, though, and once again the glowing craft soon returned.

With the marshland becoming increasingly thick he stepped out of his swamp-buggy. He would continue forward on foot. He scanned his surroundings once more, refocusing on the object ahead, and then set out in its direction.

Now, only a quarter-of-a-mile away, Flynn watched as the object appeared to land in a small clearing in front of him. Believing he was witnessing a helicopter he snatched a quick look through his binoculars. It didn’t take long for him to realize it wasn’t a helicopter he was seeing. At least not a conventional one. Perhaps, he reasoned, it was a secret military aircraft from the (relatively) nearby Cape Canaveral. Either way, he was as intrigued with glowing craft as he was concerned for his still missing dogs.

A depiction of a UFO over Florida at night

A depiction of a UFO over Florida at night

Light Beam Delivers “A Blow Like A Sledgehammer!”

Although determined to see what this strange object was, he would proceed forward with caution. As he neared its location he could see it was like an “upside-down cone” with a distinct circular underside, from which came an orange-yellow light. He would estimate it to be around seventy-five feet across and around thirty feet high. As he studied the craft even closer, he could make out “portholes or windows” around the side in rows. A yellow glow leaked out from the inside of the craft through these windows. Although he tried to see signs of activity inside, he was unable to make out any particular details.

Then, as he studied the craft more intently, an intense “diesel generator-type whirring” filled the air. Inside the cage on the swamp-buggy nearby, Flynn’s dog became immediately agitated and nervous. Flynn remained in the shadows on the outskirts of the circle of light cast on the ground from the craft’s underside.

He took a breath before walking forward, waving his arms as he did so in an attempt to communicate. Suddenly, the whirring intensified into something more akin to a jet engine. At the same time, a powerful wind appeared out of nowhere within the circle of light. So powerful was this blast of air that he fell to the ground unable to stand. He pulled himself to his feet, gathered his thoughts and approached the craft again.

He was only yards away from the mysterious object when a sudden “light beam” shot out and hit him directly in the middle of his forehead. Flynn would later describe it as “a blow like a sledgehammer between the eyes”. He looked around the scene for several more moments, although his mind wasn’t able to process what was happening. Then, he lost consciousness.

Strange Internal Injuries That “Can’t Be Faked!”

When he awoke several hours later, his eyesight was severely hampered. So much so that he was almost blind. His head also ached terribly. He would later discover a dark bruise where the light beam struck him. He looked around him. The strange craft was no longer there. However, as he stood he could see the grass underneath him was “charred” in a distinct circular shape. He also noticed some of the nearby trees were also singed and burnt somewhat.

He would call on a friend to assist him in returning to his home in Fort Myers. Once there he would seek out medical treatment and would remain in hospital for several days. As well as the apparent damage to his sight, doctors would discover slight damage to his hearing. Perhaps a little stranger, he also had damage to his muscle and tendon reflexes, which were discovered during examination. It is worth noting, when considering Flynn’s integrity, the report of Dr. Paul Brown. It would state this muscle and tendon damage could not have been faked.  Incidentally, although his vision would return to normal over time in one eye, the other is permanently, and legally, blind.

While he was in the hospital he would receive communication from several military intelligence officers. This phone call apparently came at the orders of General O’Keefe who was stationed at Homestead Air Force Base nearby. They would record basic details of the encounter before informing Flynn that they would visit him again once he was out of the hospital. To the best of anyone’s knowledge, this second visit never happened. In fact, the military appeared to positively distance themselves as much as possible from the incident. This, as we shall see, despite Flynn offering evidence of something untoward for analysis.

A depiction of a UFO over Florida at night

A depiction of a UFO over Florida at night

Evidence Remains At The Scene

Flynn also began to experience numbness in his arms over the following days, leading him to visit Dr. Harvie Stipe. Stipe was not only an expert in his field, but he had known Flynn for over twenty-five years. He also had a genuine interest in Flynn’s encounter. So much so that he, along with two other local residents, would accompany Flynn back to the scene of the incident on the afternoon of 26th March.

The burned circle of grass that Flynn had recalled waking in following being hit with the light beam was still very visible. A measurement would reveal it to be over seventy-feet across. While elsewhere the usual “forest debris” lay, in this circle of scorched grass, there wasn’t a single item. It appeared as though someone had swept it clean. Flynn would recall the strong gust of wind and how it must have been responsible for the clean appearance of the area.

The group would even take soil samples and photographs of the scene and send them to the Homestead Air Base. However, not only were they not returned, they were not even acknowledged, or answered. Whether this silence was down to involvement on the US military’s part or whether it was simply an attempt to publicly distance themselves from a situation they “officially” had no interest in, and very likely, no explanation for is open to debate. That strange aerial crafts were zipping around the skies over Florida throughout 1960s, though, isn’t. Indeed, Florida as a location is interesting, both due to its (relative) close proximity to the South American continent, another hotbed of UFO activity, as well as the ample amount of US military bases there.

And as we will see from our following encounter, another Florida sighting shares very similar details.

The Similar Sighting Of James O’Connor, 1966

On the morning of 20th September 1966, at a little after 10 am, private pilot, James O’Connor was flying near Winter Haven when a “giant cone-shaped UFO” [2] began to follow his aircraft. Flying at just under 10,000 feet he suddenly noticed the strange craft approaching his plane. From his perspective, the object was “increasing in size as it descended”.

As it followed him, his entire aircraft was under the shadow the huge mysterious vehicle cast. He could also make out a noise like “tires on a wet pavement” which he attributed to the object above him. Beginning to become a little unnerved he lowered his altitude to around 7,000 feet. Much to his horror, however, the object remained at the exact same distance from him and continued to follow. The underside of the craft was round, like a saucer, while the top – the cone part of it – pointed directly upwards.

He reached down for his .38 pistol, contemplated firing a warning shot at the craft. However, even as he changed his mind, the craft began to ascend again and disappear. O’Conner would describe its motion as unlike any aircraft he knew. He would describe the object’s climb as being “more like the thing was falling up”. He would estimate the object remained with him for around seventeen minutes before vanishing. Whether this was a similar, albeit considerably larger craft to the one that terrorized James Flynn in the Everglades remains unknown. The sightings of two “upside-down cone-shaped crafts” in a similar geographical location, though, are interesting, to say the least.

The short video below features a recent UFO sighting over the aforementioned Homestead Air Force Base. Are these sightings actually of secret military aircraft? Or, are they the result of an alien intelligence?


1 1965, James Flynn, Project UFO
2 Pilot ‘flees’ from giant cone-shaped UFO pacing plane, UFO Evidence

Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.

Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

Read Marcus' full bio.

You can contact Marcus via email.

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1 Comment

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  • Ricky Turner says:

    My family and I saw a ufo I believe on the same night on Loop Rd. While fishing. I was 8 years old at that time. My mother who was there is still alive.

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