What did TV character Fox Mulder have in common with John Winthrop, the Puritan founder of Boston? They both recorded strange lights in the sky and other unexplained phenomena in extensive detail. This week, we’re going to explore the close encounters Winthrop described in 1639 and 1644. There were unexplained lights darting around the sky in formation at impossible speeds, ghostly sounds, and witnesses who claimed to have lost time. It’s a scene straight out of the X-Files, except these are considered the first recorded UFO sightings in North America.
If youve been listening to the show for a while, youll know that the Boston Harbor Islands are one of our favorite local destinations. This week, were sharing three stories from the Harbor Islands, all of which originally aired within the first 20 episodes of the podcast. Well hear about the zoo shipwreck, a hermit who made her home on the harbor, and the secret Harbor Island base where Nazis were smuggled into the country after World War II.
In 1747, a British Commodore began kidnapping sailors and working men in Boston, and the people of the city wouldnt stand for it. Three days of violence followed, in a draft riot that pitted the working class of Boston against the Colonial government and Royal Navy.
During the Civil War, thousands of Confederate soldiers, diplomats, and politicians were imprisoned behind the walls of Fort Warren on Georges Island. Today, the fort is home to the only Confederate monument in Massachusetts, but not for much longer.
In this episode, we continue our tale of Boston in the Golden Age of Piracy, picking up at the end of the War of The Spanish Succession. Well learn about some of the most fearsome and notorious pirates in history, as well as one of the most ineffective. Well see how one of these pirates gave a founding father his start in public life, which US presidents great grandfather bought a former pirate as a slave, and what other presidents great grandfather decapitated a pirate with an axe.
Shiver me timbers! This is the first in a two-part series about Bostons role in the Golden Age of Piracy, from 1650 to 1726. A few pirates set sail from our city, some preyed on the shipping coming in and out of our port, and even more met their ends on the gallows in Boston. Well hear stories of daring raids and buried treasures, of mutiny, jailbreak, and double crossing.
This week’s episode examines two people who chose to live as hermits in and around Boston. When you think of a hermit, your mental image is probably a monk or an aging eccentric in a cabin in the woods somewhere. But our subjects this week sought out that kind of solitary existence among the hustle and bustle of the growing city of Boston in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. James Gately was known as the Hermit of Hyde Park, and Ann Winsor Sherwin was the Hermit of Boston Harbor. Listen to the show to meet these unique characters!
There is a long history of shipwrecks in Boston Harbor. Many are terrifying, some are tragic. But one shipwreck is such an oddity that Boston hasn’t stopped talking about it for the past 75 years. When a freighter called The City of Salisbury steamed into Boston Harbor in 1938, it was loaded with exotic, tropical zoo animals. When it ran aground near Graves Light, you’ll never guess what happened next!
At the end of World War II, the Allied powers raced across Germany, competing to capture technology related to Nazi super-weapons and the scientists who developed them. The US military operated a secret program that located high-value scientists, smuggling them into the US and falsifying their wartime records. For many of the scientists who went on to work on the Manhattan Project or the space race, their first stop in America was a secret base in Boston Harbor.