Jimmy Carter's UFO Sighting

On September 18, 1973, future President Jimmy Carter filed a report with the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena about something he and ten other people had witnessed in Leary, GA. It was “very bright [with] changing colors and about the size of the moon,” he said, adding that, “The object hovered about 30 degrees above the horizon and moved in toward the earth and away before disappearing into the distance.”

He promised never to ridicule people who claimed to see UFOs.

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Had the Internet existed then, Carter might have quickly determined that NASA had been used short-range rocket to launch a payload of barium, strontium, and cupric oxide—typical firework chemicals—into the upper atmosphere so that scientists could better understand high-altitude air currents and cloud movement.

If he believed NASA, that is.

During his 1976 presidential campaign, he promised that, if elected, he would release “every piece of information” about UFOs available to the public and to scientists. After winning, however, he decided against the release of information on the grounds that it might pose a threat to national security.

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