It’s a known fact that many early civilizations allegedly had their fair share of extraterrestrial and paranormal encounters although they may have described things a bit differently than we do today. Rather than watching an episode of Ghost Hunters on TV or scanning through an article just like this one on the internet, the first-ever recorded accounts of anything suspicious were written down in things such as journals. Rarely, they would make it in the village paper, and often, stories of the unknown would be spread through town via word of mouth.One such account is actually that of early settler John Winthrop in 1639 and it has proven to have been the first known account of something seemingly extraterrestrial. While the Puritans certainly didn’t refer to these things as UFOs or strange beings as ‘aliens,’ his account, for all intents and purposes, is quite interesting… and it’s not the only one from that time.

March 1, 1639: The Encounter

For starters, we must remember that during the 1600s, things such as jet engine planes and military craft were not in existence (at least, not to the knowledge of the common people). Therefore, spotting anything in the sky that wasn’t a star or potentially a planet was shocking, as satellites certainly didn’t exist then, either. This is why on a particularly dark spring night during 1693, the account by John Winthrop was so chilling. Among stories of early Puritan life, Winthrop recorded an incident during which a man by the name of James Everell and two others had been out on a rowboat on the river when a light lit up the night sky. Everell was described as a ‘sober’ man, according to, therefore his word was not to be taken lightly.

a ufo hovering over the woods
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The light they saw appeared to ‘flame up’ and was estimated to be roughly three square yards. After it lit up the sky and remained stationary for a short time, Everell’s account says that it sped off ‘in the figure of a swine.’ Interestingly, the entire event was said to have gone on for hours with the light darting back and forth above them. The account takes an even stranger turn, however, when it’s alluded to that the men were actually momentarily abducted – or at least, that’s what it would have been called in today’s age. Since the distance the light flew back and forth between was a span of roughly two miles, this eyewitness account was confirmed by other eyewitnesses in the area, as well.

two ufos over a lake
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As for the men in the boat, they claimed that when the light finally faded, they found themselves upstream with no idea as to how they arrived there. Their location was roughly one mile away from where they were prior and none of them have any memory of having rowed themselves in that direction. Some have speculated that the boat drifted thanks to a strong current or wind, however, others believe that there was something even more unexplainable at work.

A Second Incident

This was not the first incident to be recorded by Winthrop, however. Nearly five years later, something strange also happened in Boston in January of 1644. This entry reads that the second incident took place around midnight and was also over a body of water, as three men pulling into Boston witnessed lights emerging from a cave in the shape of a human being. According to the men, the lights then flew over town before seeming to vanish into thin air. Within the same week, a second incident was recorded by Winthrop in the same area of Boston, over Boston Harbor, specifically. In this case, a light that was described to be as bright as the ‘moon’ rose over the harbor before joining with another. The two lights converged and split several times, according to Winthrop, before flying out of view and disappearing into the night. As opposed to the previous account, this happened at eight in the morning, making it far different from the other two (seemingly related) incidents. Winthrop also added that the lights sometimes ‘flamed’ and sometimes ‘sparkled.’

a ufo sighting over an open meadow
via Shutterstock

However, this was not the end of the account. A voice was heard to have accompanied the lights this time, saying, ‘Boy! Boy! Come away! Come away!’ and is said to have gone between places within the area, repeating a total of 20 times. Two weeks later, a second account corroborates the fact that the same voice was heard at the opposite end of the town.


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