Reverend Cotton Mather, in his Magnalia Christi Americana, recorded what can be described today as a major UFO sighting. Mather received a letter from a Pastor in New Haven, Connecticut, that described the "apparition of a ship in the air." A large vessel was lost at sea in 1646, and one year later witnesses observed this ship appear in the sky above New Haven. Some readers may consider this a Flying Dutchman or ghost story. The following letter summarizes this most grievous incident:
"In the year 1647, besides much other lading, a far more rich treasure of passengers, (five or six of which were persons of chief note and worth in New-Haven) put themselves on board a new ship, built at Rhode-Island, of about 150 tons; but so walty [liable to roll over], that the master, (Lamberton) often said she would prove their grave. In the month of January, cutting their way through much ice, on which they were accompanied with the Reverend Mr. Davenport, besides many other friends, with many fears, as well as prayers and tears, they set sail. Mr Davenport in prayer with an observable emphasis used these words, Lord, if it be thy pleasure to bury these our friends in the bottom of the sea, they are thine; save them!
The spring following, no tidings of these friends arrived with the ships from England: New-Haven's heart began to fail her: this put the godly people on much prayer, both publick and private, that the Lord would (if it was his pleasure) let them hear what he had done with their dear friends, and prepare them with a suitable submission to his Holy Will.
In June next ensuing, a great thunder-storm arose out of the north-west; after which (the hemisphere being serene) about an hour before sun-set a Ship of like dimensions with the aforesaid, with her canvass and colours abroad (though the wind northernly) appeared in the air coming up from our harbour's mouth, which lyes southward from the town, seemingly with her sails filled under a fresh gale, holding her course north, and continuing under observation, sailing against the wind for the space of half an hour.
Many were drawn to behold this great work of God; yea, the very children cryed out, There's a brave ship! At length, crouding up as far as there is usually water sufficient for such a vessel, and so near some of the spectators, as that they imagined a man might hurl a stone on board her, her main-top seemed to be blown off, but left hanging in the shrouds; then her missen-top; then all her masting seemed blown away by the board: quickly after the hulk brought unto a careen, she overset, and so vanished into a smoaky cloud, which in sometime dissipated, leaving, as everywhere else, a clear air.
The admiring spectators could distinguish the several colours of each part, the principal rigging, and such proportions, as caused not only the generality of persons. to say, This was the mould of their ship, and thus was her tragick end: but Mr. Davenport also in publick declared to this effect, That God had condescended, for the quieting of their afflicted spirits, this extraordinary account of his sovereign disposal of those for whom so many fervent prayers made continually. Thus I am, Sir, Your humble servant, James Pierpont."