The Jimmy Carter UFO Incident
UFO Incident refers to a UFO sighting which took place on
January 6, 1969, at about 7:15 p.m. (EST) while future United States
President Jimmy Carter was preparing to give a speech at a Lions Club
meeting in Leary, Georgia.  The sighting was innocuous (no little
grey aliens peaking through windows) to say the
least with Carter
describing the object in a report filed with the International UFO
Bureau in Oklahoma City, September 1973 as arriving from the west,
being as bright and about the size of the Moon, its proximity
(difficult to determine) around 300-1000 yards and its elevation about
30 degrees above the horizon. The UFO was luminous, not solid, changed
color, blue, then red, before disappearing. The incident was witnessed
by 10-12 men and lasted 10-12 minutes.
the facts were slightly revised:
"There were about twenty of us standing outside of a little restaurant,
I believe, a high school lunch room, and a kind of green light appeared
in the western sky. This was right after sundown. It got brighter and
brighter. And then it eventually disappeared. It didn't have any solid
substance to it, it was just a very peculiar-looking light. None of us
could understand what it was."
a 2005 interview a little more
drama: "all of a sudden, one of the men looked up and said, 'Look, over
in the west!' And there was a bright light in the sky. We all saw it.
And then the light, it got closer and closer to us. And then it
stopped, I don’t know how far away, but it stopped beyond the pine
trees. And all of a sudden it changed color to blue, and then it
changed to red, then back to white. And we were trying to figure out
what in the world it could be, and then it receded into the distance."
or not the sighting has obviously had a
lasting impact on Carter’s perception of UFOs. During his 1976
presidential campaign he purportedly told journalists that as a result
of the sighting he would, if elected, introduce a policy of openness,
saying: "One thing's for sure, I'll never make fun of people who say
they've seen unidentified objects in the sky. If I become President,
I'll make every piece of information this country has about UFO
sightings available to the public and the scientists."
elected, however, Carter distanced himself from disclosure, citing
“defense implications” as the reason.
Jimmy Carter served two terms as a Georgia State
Senator in the early 1960s, as Governor of Georgia from 1971 to 1975
and as the 39th President of the United States from 1977 to 1981.
A misidentification of the planet Venus has been offered by some as a
possible explanation (on the evening of the meeting the skies over
Leary were clear, and Venus, visible in the west, was near its maximum
brightness) but not by Carter who said that as an amateur astronomer he
knew what Venus looked like. He also added that as a scientist he did
not believe it was an alien spacecraft. (Carter has a background in
other guests later contacted apparently
only one, a Mr. Fred Hart, remembered seeing the object, which he
described as blue and possibly a weather balloon. His take on the
2007, perhaps believing his narrative
on the incident had become a little overblown, Carter stated that he
didn’t remember why he had filed a report with the International UFO
Bureau but thinks that it was likely at the request of one of his
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