Oldest Documented Ufo Sighting? | UFOs of Massachusetts | Vault Notes

Updated: a day ago

By: Brittany "Pagan" Adkins


As we enter October, we enter a new state. Massachusetts will prove to be a land of strange wonders from UFOs, to Cryptids, to Witches. Join us as we recount a few UFO encounters that you should know about including one that dates much further back than the Salem witch trials themselves. 


You can listen to the episode here!


Though Massachusetts does have its wonders when it comes to UFO’s we found that two of the cases there really caught our interest. Massachusetts has the oldest reported UFO sighting in the United States and another famous case that connects very closely to the Betty and Barney Hill case and the Exeter Incident case. 


Oldest UFO report in the US


The first reported sighting took place in 1639 when Massachusetts Bay Colony cofounder and governor John Winthrop. 



Winthrop recorded a secondhand observation of unidentified objects in the sky over Boston. In his diary entry of March 1st of 1639, Winthrop recounted the sighting from a man named James Everell. In his diary, he called it a “sober, discreet man’s tale.” 


The following is the recount of Everell’s tale. “Everell was rowing a boat up the Muddy River at night when he saw a “great light” in the sky. 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.” 


This story already has common UFO types in it including the flaming up and the mysterious time disappearance. We see some of the similarities to the cases we have covered such as the Hill case and the Exeter case, especially in the similarities with memory loss. 

Interesting to note that this was Puritan times - how does that play into UFOs?


What could it have been?


According to a Histroy.com article, people say the glow in the sky could have been swamp gas. Basically, as the gas raises from decomposing organic matter, it can combust and make this light called an Ignis Fatuus. This explanation is debunked if the object really was moving across the sky, but that's an answer we won’t be able to get. 


It didn't stop there though! Five years later in Boston, there was another report in John Winthrop's diary. “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.” 


Another week after that he wrote another account about lights above 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." 


There was another odd report in Winthrop’s Diary. One that we cannot conclude as UFO-related or more supernatural related. “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.” 


Berkshire UFO


We have another case that we found that fell right into the timeline of the Hill case and the Exeter case. Each case fell four years apart from each other which makes their connection odd but interesting, to say the least. 


The reboot of Unsolved Mysteries has an episode titled “Berkshire’s UFO” that recounts the story of the September 1, 1969 incident in which multiple people reported sighting a UFO across a small corner of the Berkshire mountains, in the towns of Great Barrington and Sheffield. These reports span an area of about twenty miles. Some of the people that had experiences with this UFO knew each other while others did not.



Thomas Reed, one of the people interviewed for the episode, recounted his experience from that night. “Reed, who on that night was riding in the back seat of his mother’s car, along with his brother, as his mother drove, and his grandmother sat in the front passenger seat. They were driving through a covered bridge when the car was filled with inexplicable light despite it being after 9 p.m. The next thing they knew, three hours had passed and they were now over a mile away from where they had previously been, with his mother now in the passenger seat and his grandmother – who never drove – behind the wheel." 

Reed shared his story on WBSM’s Spooky Southcoast in 2018, retelling the story of the 1969 incident also shared that it was actually the third time he and his brother had encountered a UFO, although the 1969 incident was by far the most significant. According to Reed, in 1966, the two boys, Reed, and his brother saw a craft they described as looking like “a turtle shell” on the ground. “It almost had panels of some sort. It was about 60 feet around,” Reed said. “We did not see any landing gear or windows. It looked completely sealed.” In 1967, the two boys saw the same craft again. but Reed described the craft that led to his family’s alleged abduction in 1969 as looking more like “an upside-down Hershey’s Kiss.”

The Governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, eventually recognized the 1969 UFO sighting with a historic monument, however, the monument was later removed. During the Spooky Southcoast episode below, not only does Reed share his family’s UFO experiences, but Judge Kevin Titus joins the conversation to discuss the legal issues involved with the monument.


Closing

While there have been numerous sightings over the years in Massachusetts, these two cases continue to remind us that even as we venture into new areas we still see the likeness of other cases and the high strangeness of their connectivity to each other. 


Sources and Links:

The Real Story Behind Mass. UFO Case from 'Unsolved Mysteries' | https://wbsm.com/the-real-story-of-the-massachusetts-ufo-case-featured-on-unsolved-mysteries/?utm_source=tsmclip&utm_medium=referral

UFO Sightings in Massachusetts https://patch.com/massachusetts/woburn/ufo-sightings-massachusetts-0

Aliens in New England? A Timeline of UFO Sightings and Unusual Encounters https://newengland.com/today/living/new-england-history/ufo-sightings-alien-sightings/

America’s First UFO Sighting https://www.history.com/news/americas-first-ufo-sighting

2018 sighting: https://patch.com/massachusetts/woburn/ufo-sightings-massachusetts-0

Jacques Vallee & Chris Aubeck's "Wonders in the Sky: Unexplained Aerial Objects from Antiquity to Modern Times": https://amzn.to/2HKWskQ

https://patch.com/massachusetts/woburn/ufo-sightings-massachusetts-0

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