Flaming flying swine: The first documented UFO sighting in America

North America has been home to stories about UFOs and extraterrestrials for untold thousands of years, and the sightings continued when Europeans arrived. The first documented UFO sighting in America happened in the sky over Boston, and it’s a bizarre report. The source: a wealthy London lawyer and staunch Puritan governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony named John Winthrop.

The last person you’d expect to report a UFO?

Winthrop established the center of government in Boston, where he held intermittent governorship between 1630-1648. He was an avid writer, creating a journal referred to later as The History of New England as he voyaged to the New World on the Arabella. He also created a sermon called A Model of Christian Charity.

Winthrop is not someone you would expect to make up tall tales about UFOs. He was a pious man who believed himself a virtuous model of Christian ideals for the whole world.

“We shall be as a city upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us,” wrote Winthrop in A Model of Christian Charity.

Now considering this background, read the strange tale from Winthrop’s diary on March 1, 1639.

A tale of pigs flying…on fire

According to New England Today:

“The first documented UFO sighting in America dates back to 1639 when Massachusetts Bay Colony cofounder and governor John Winthrop recorded a secondhand observation of unidentified objects in the sky over Boston. In his diary entry of March 1 that year, Winthrop wrote that a ‘sober, discreet man’ named James Everell was rowing a boat up the Muddy River at night when he saw a ‘great light’ in the sky.”

This was no ordinary light, but one that ran like a “swine.”

“Winthrop reports that ‘when it stood still, it flamed up, and was about three yards square; when it ran, it was contracted into the figure of a swine: it ran as swift as an arrow towards Charlton [Charlestown], and so up and down about two or three hours.’ By the time the lights moved away, Everell and his boatmates had been delivered one mile upstream, although they had no memory of how.”

The men had no memory of rowing against the tide for a mile upstream.

According to History.com, Winthrop corroborated the story with other credible witnesses.

“Diverse other credible persons saw the same light, after, about the same place,” Winthrop added.

Later in a diary entry from January 18, 1644, Winthrop noted another UFO.

“About midnight, three men, coming in a boat to Boston, saw two lights arise out of the water near the north point of the town cove, in form like a man, and went at a small distance to the town, and so to the south point, and there vanished away.”

Whatever the strange swine-like UFO was, it may have stayed in the Massachusetts area for hundreds of years. In 1808, the diary of Cynthia Everett, 24, revealed a similar account.

“Cynthia Everett, a 24-year-old Massachusetts woman working as a schoolteacher in Camden, Maine, in 1808, recorded in her diary a somewhat similar account. Her entry on July 22 reads: ‘About 10 o’clock I saw a very strange appearance. It was a light, which proceeded from the East. At the first sight, I thought it was a métier [meteor], but from its motion, I soon perceived it was not. It seemed to dart at first as quickly as light; and appeared to be in the Atmosphere, but lowered toward the ground and kept on at an equal distance sometimes ascending and sometimes descending.'”

A possessed sailor lost at sea

A week after writing about the flaming swine in his diary, Winthrop wrote about another event that he attributed to the possessed ghost of a sailor killed in a ship explosion in the Boston Harbor.

“A light like the moon arose about the N.E. point in Boston, and met the former at Nottles Island, and there they closed in one, and then parted, and closed and parted diverse times, and so went over the hill in the island and vanished. Sometimes they shot out flames and sometimes sparkles. This was about eight of the clock in the evening, and was seen by many.”

Next, Winthrop described hearing the voice of a man he believed was a sailor whose body was lost at sea. He had accidentally ignited gunpowder aboard the ship, killing himself and five others, including Captain John Chaddock. The bodies were all recovered, aside from the sailor who caused the blast.

According to the account, this man was known to talk about communicating with the dead. He was also a suspected murderer of his master from Virginia.

“About the same time, a voice was heard upon the water between Boston and Dorchester, calling out in a most dreadful manner, ‘Boy! Boy! Come away! Come away!’; and it suddenly shifted from one place to another a great distance, about 20 times. It was heard by diverse godly persons. About 14 days after, the same voice in the same dreadful manner was heard by others on the other side of the town towards Nottles Island.”

Today, the UFO sightings continue in New England. Below is a report from CBS Boston showing strange moving lights over Concord, New Hampshire.

In June 2019, these glowing and vibrating orbs were caught on video over Lake Superior.

Video from The New York Post:

Featured image: Flames and Winthrop via Wikimedia Commons

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