For nearly 30 years, I have dedicated myself to finding these answers by using a scientific approach to fully understand and bring explanations to those who seek help and who are experiencing themselves the same things I experienced some 30 years ago. I can say that out of all of the cases I have investigated over the years as a paranormal investigator, 99% can be explained as a product of environment. There is, however, that 1% that can only be considered Beyond The Grave.
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Jimmy Carter is one of two U.S. Presidents who have reported seeing a UFO before becoming the President. Carter’s UFO sighting began shortly after dark on a windless night. Jimmy Carter was standing outside the Lion’s Club in Leary, Georgia, waiting for a meeting to start. Suddenly, he and ten or more witnesses, sighted a red and green orb radiating in the western sky. Carter described an object that “it seemed to move towards us from a distance, stop, move partially away, return, then depart.
Bluish at first; then reddish – luminous – not solid.” “At times,” reported Carter, “it was as bright as the moon, and about as big as the moon – maybe a bit smaller. The object was luminous; not solid.” In an interview with the Atlanta Constitution, Carter described the moving nature of the event. He described the sighting as a “very remarkable sight.” This is an important event, because many of the skeptical investigations done on the Carter sighting, have tried to paint the event as a ho-hum occurrence.
None of the descriptions Carter has made of the event have ever described it as ho-hum. Jimmy Carter’s mother Lillian also confirmed that Carter had been very impressed by what he had seen. “The UFO made a huge impression on Jimmy,” she stated. “He told me about the sighting many times. He’s always been a down-to-earth no-nonsense boy, and the sighting by him, as far as I am concerned, is as firm as money in the bank.” Carter had, in fact, described the UFO sighting many times in the years since it occurred. In every instance, including the latest known telling of the story at Emory University in 1997, Carter has never backed off on the spectacular nature of the event. He has also never conceded that was he saw was some misidentification of a natural phenomena. Carter estimated that the object was three hundred to one thousand yards away.
He estimated that the event had lasted 10 minutes. Then the object disappeared. Carter was so impressed by what he had seen, he recorded his impressions of the event on a tape recorder at the time. In the ensuing years, there has been a great deal of discussion as to what the UFO had been. Skeptical UFO buffs, such as Robert Sheaffer, struggled to explain Jimmy Carter’s sighting away, by stating that Carter had viewed the planet Venus. Sheaffer, the vice-chairman of the UFO subcommittee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, wrote up his guess as to what the object Carter and the others had seen in the July 1977 Humanist Magazine. Many UFO “researchers” wanting to show that they, too, can be “discriminating” joined in stating Carter had viewed the planet Venus. Others stepped forward quickly to challenge the accuracy of Shaeffer’s claim. Sheaffer’s response to these challenges ended up taking his Venus explanation from the shaky to the bizarre. For example,probably seen stranger and more unexplainable things than that just during his time in government.”
Many years after being President, when asked about the sighting by citizens, Carter would still describe in detail the events that he witnessed. On September 24, 1997, for example, Carter spoke at the 16th annual Emory town Hall Meeting in Atlanta. When the question and answer session began, the first question was about the UFO sighting that Carter had experienced 28 years before. As he had on so many previous occasions Carter described in detail what he had seen. In conclusion to the story he stated that “he knew of no extraterrestrials and he did “not think any were on the UFO he saw.”
Campaign UFO Talk
At a Southern Governors Conference a few years after the sighting Carter stated ” I don’t laugh at people anymore when they say they’ve seen UFOs. I’ve seen one myself. It was the darndest thing I have ever seen. It was big, it was bright, it changed colors and it was about the size of the moon.” In 1975 Carter again mentioned the UFO as he was campaigning for President. He told a Washington Post reporter, ” A light appeared and disappeared in the sky. It got brighter and brighter . . . I have no idea what it was . . . I think the light was beckoning me to run in the California primary.” In June 1976, Jimmy Carter was quoted by the National Enquirer as promising, ” If I become President, I’ll make every piece of information this country has about UFO sightings available to the public and scientists. I am convinced that UFOs exist because I have seen one.”
President Jimmy Carter’s UFO Sighting Report (text reprint)
Summary: Following is the form Jimmy Carter filed with NICAP (originally filed with IUFOB) on Sep. 18, 1973. Only the questions that were responded to are listed. Carter’s responses are in quotation marks.
1. Name: “Jimmy Carter” Address: “State Capitol Atlanta” Occupation: “Governor”
2. Date of Observation: “October 1969”
3. Location of Observation: “Leary, Georgia”
4. How long did you see the object?: “10-12 minutes.”
5. Please describe weather conditions and the type of sky; i.e., bright daylight, nighttime, dusk, etc.: “Shortly after dark.”
6. Position of the Sun or Moon in relation to the object and to you: “Not in sight.”
7. If seen at night, twilight, or dawn, were the stars or moon visible?: “Stars.”
8. Were there more than one object?: “No.”
10. Was the object(s) brighter than the background of the sky?: “Yes.”
11. If so, compare the brightness with the Sun, Moon, headlights, etc.: “At one time, as bright as the moon.”
12. Did the object(s)-: a. Appear to stand still at any time?: “Yes.” g. Change brightness?: “Yes.” h. Change shape?: “Yes.” I. Change color?: “Yes.”
13. Did object(s) at any time pass in front of, or behind of anything? If so, Please elaborate givingdistance, size, etc, if possible.: “No.”
14. Was there any wind?: “No.”
15. Did you observe the object(s) through an optical instrument or other aid, windshield, window pane, storm window, screening, etc.? What?: “No.”
17. Please tell if the object(s) was (were)- c. Sharply outlined: “Yes.”
18. Was the object- b. Self-luminous?: “Yes.”
19. Did the object)s_ rise or fall while in motion?: “Came close, moved away, came close and then moved away.”
20. ..Or, if easier, give apparent size in inches on a ruler held at arm’s length: “About the same as moon, maybe a little smaller. Varied from brighter/larger than planet to apparent size of moon.”
21. How did you happen to notice the object(s)?: “10-12 men all watched it. Brightness attracted us.”
22. Where were you and what were you doing at the time?: “Outdoors waiting for a meeting to begin at 7:30 pm.”
23. How did the object(s) disappear from view?: “Moved to distance then disappeared.”
26. Please estimate the distance of the object(s): “Difficult. Maybe 300-1000 yards.”
27. What was the elevation of the object(s) in the sky?: “About 30 degrees above horizon.”
28. Names and addresses of other witnesses, if any: “Ten members of Leary Georgia Lions Club.”
31. Please draw a map of the locality of the observation showing North; your position; the direction from which the object(s) appeared and disappeared from view; the direction of its course over the area; roads, towns, villages, railroads, and other landmarks within a mile.: “Appeared from west about 30 degrees up.”
32. Is there an airport, military, governmental, or research installation in the area?: “No.”