President Carter’s 1969 UFO sighting
Many are unaware that several United States Presidents have reported seeing UFOs including Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States, who reported seeing a UFO while seeking to become Governor of Georgia in 1969. After hearing of the sighting, the International UFO Bureau of Oklahoma City asked Carter to file a report of the incident – which he did.
One evening in 1969 (the exact date has been undetermined), Carter was preparing to give a speech at the Lions Club in Leary, Georgia while campaigning for governorship of Georgia. Around 7:15 PM, one of the attendees pointed out a strange bright white light in the western sky. About as “bright as the Moon”, the object first appeared about 30 degrees above the horizon and glowed brightly before beginning to change colors – blue, red, and then back to white. After about 10-12 minutes, the object slowly receded and disappeared into the night sky.
According to Carter, the object was witnessed by 10-12 people (at least one other attendee came forward and reported seeing the same object).
The exact date of the sighting is unknown. In the official report, which Carter filed four years after the sighting, Carter indicated the object was seen sometime in October 1969. However, Lions Club records show the date of Carter’s speech being January 6, 1969 which is almost certainly the true date of the sighting.
Carter spoke of the sighting in 1973:
“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.”
Again in 2005, Carter told of the sighting:
“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.”
Immediately after the event, detractors noted that Venus would have been visible that night and located in the general area of the sky that Carter claims to have seen the bright blue/red/white light. However, Carter denounced the suggestion pointing out the he was an amateur astronomer and knew what Venus looked like.
Carter never publicly theorized that the object in question was extraterrestrial in nature. Instead, he has been quoted as saying he thought the object was likely some sort of military aircraft. Still, the sighting impacted him and his belief in UFOs. During his 1976 election campaign, he once told reporters.
“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.”
After winning the presidency, though, Carter backed away from this pledge, saying that the release of some information might have “defense implications” and pose a threat to national security.
Transcript of President Carter’s UFO sighting report to NICAP
The following is a transcript of a facsimile of the form that Jimmy Carter filled out for NICAP. The text between asterisks in the form is Carter’s own words verbatim.
NATIONAL INVESTIGATIONS COMMITTEE ON AERIAL PHENOMENA (NICAP)
3535 University Blvd. West
Kensington, Maryland 20795
REPORT ON UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECT(S)
This form includes questions asked by the United States Air Force and by other Armed Forces’ investigating agencies, and additional questions to which answers are needed for full evaluation by NICAP. After all the information has been fully studied, the conclusions of our Evaluation Panel will be published by NICAP in its regularly issued magazine or in another publication. Please try to answer as many questions as possible. Should you need additional room, please use another sheet of paper. Please print or typewrite. Your assistance is of great value and is genuinely appreciated. Thank you.
1. Name *Jimmy Carter* Place of Employment
Address *State Capitol Atlanta* Occupation *Governor*
Date of Birth
Special Training *Nuclear Physics*
Telephone (404) 656-1776 Military Service *U.S. Navy*
2. Date of Observation *October 1969* Time AM PM Time Zone *7:15* *EST*
3. Locality of Observation *Leary, Georgia*
4. How long did you see the object? [BLANK] Hours *10-12* Minutes [BLANK] Seconds
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.* If so, please tell how many, and draw a sketch of what you saw, indicating direction of movement, if any. [BLANK]
9. Please describe the object(s) in detail. For instance, did it (they) appear solid, or only as a source of light; was it revolving, etc.? Please use additional sheets of paper, if necessary. [BLANK]
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) — (Please elaborate, if you can give details.)
a. Appear to stand still at any time? *yes*
b. Suddenly speed up and rush away at any time? [BLANK]
c. Break up into parts or explode? [BLANK]
d. Give off smoke? [BLANK]
e. Leave any visible trail? [BLANK]
f. Drop anything? [BLANK]
g. Change brightness? *yes*
h. Change shape? *size*
i. Change color? *yes*
*Seemed to move toward us from a distance, stopped — moved partially away — returned, then departed. Bluish at first, then reddish, luminous, not solid.*
13. Did object(s) at any time pass in front of, or behind of, anything? If so, please elaborate giving distance, size, etc., if possible. *no.*
14. Was there any wind? *no.* If so, please give direction and speed. [BLANK]
15. Did you observe the object(s) through an optical instrument or other aid, windshield, windowpane, storm window, screening, etc? What? *no.*
16. Did the object(s) have any sound? *no* What kind? How loud?
17. Please tell if the object(s) was (were) — a. Fuzzy or blurred. [BLANK] b. Like a bright star. [BLANK] c. Sharply outlined. *x*
18. Was the object — a. Self-luminous? *x* b. Dull finish? [BLANK] c. Reflecting? [BLANK] d. Transparent [BLANK]
19. Did the object(s) rise or fall while in motion? *came close, moved away-came close then moved away.*
20. Tell the apparent size of the object(s) when compared with the following held at arm’s length:
e. Half dollar
f. Silver dollar
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 7:30pm.*
23. How did the object(s) disappear from view? *Moved to distance then disappeared*
24. Compare the speed of the object(s) with a piston or jet aircraft at the same apparent altitude. *Not pertinent*
25. Were there any conventional aircraft in the location at the time or immediately afterwards? If so, please elaborate. *No.*
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? Please mark on this hemisphere sketch. *About 30 [degrees] above horizon.* [Mark on arc representing sky elevation looks marked at about 30 degrees.]
28. Names and addresses of other witnesses, if any. *Ten members of Leary Georgia Lions Club.*
29. What do you think you saw?
a. Extraterrestrial device? [BLANK]
b. UFO? [BLANK]
c. Planet or star? [BLANK]
d. Aircraft? [BLANK]
e. Satellite? [BLANK]
f. Hoax? [BLANK]
g. Other? (Please specify). [BLANK]
30. Please describe your feeling and reactions during the sighting. Were you calm, nervous, frightened, apprehensive, awed, etc.? If you wish your answer to this question to remain confidential, please indicate with a check mark. (User a separate sheet if necessary.) [BLANK]
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 form 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*
33. Have you seen other objects of an unidentified nature? If so, please describe these observations, using a separate sheet of paper. *No*
34. Please enclose photographs, motion pictures, news clippings, notes of radio or television programs (include time, station and date, if possible) regarding this or similar observations, or any other background material. We will return the material to you if requested. *None.*
34. Were you interrogated by Air Force investigators? By any other federal, state, county, or local officials? If so, please state the name and rank or title of the agent, his office, and details as to where and when the questioning took place. [BLANK] Were you asked or told not to reveal or discuss the incident? If so, were any reasons or official orders mentioned? Please elaborate carefully. *No.*
35. We should like to use your name in connection with this report. This action will encourage other responsible citizens to report similar observations to NICAP. However, if you prefer, we will keep your name confidential. Please note your choice by checking the proper statement below. In any case, please fill in all parts of the form, for our own confidential files. Thank you for your cooperation.
You may use my name ( *x* )
Please keep my name confidential ( )
37. Date of filling out this report Signature: [signed]
*9-18-73* Jimmy Carter
Actual scans of the UFO report President Jimmy Carter filed with IUFOB
Below are actual scans of the forms President Jimmy Carter filed along with the IUFOB letter requesting that he file a report.
The Brian Lehrer Show – March 25, 2014
I witnessed a UFO in South Georgia but it was an unidentified flying object and I made a report about it at the time. It was just a light in the sky that looked about like the moon except it changed colors and then disappeared and we never did identify what that object was. I don’t claim that it came from outer space. I don’t claim that it was a vehicle or something like that. But it was unidentified, it was flying, and it was an object.
CNN Interview, Larry King – approximately 2000
I was the District Governor of 56 Lions Clubs in southwest Georgia and I had to visit all the Lions Clubs and make a speech. I was outside a school lunchroom one night right before sundown. It was getting dark and we were getting ready to eat supper. I and about 25 men were standing around and all of a sudden in the western sky we saw a strange light coming toward us, a round light, and it got closer and closer [to] right above the pine trees. It stopped and then it began to change colors from blue to red to white. It stayed there for a while. We were all aghast, we didn’t know what it was. And then it just disappeared into the west.