Jimmy Carter Saw a UFO on This Day in 1973

 Governor Jimmy Carter speaking at campaign event, ABC News coverage of the 1976 New Hampshire presidential primary.
I want to believe. Photo: Walt Disney Television Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty

This morning when I was catching up on the news, I saw two things you don’t see every day. The first was a Jimmy Carter story, relating the former president’s comment that he could not have done a good job as chief executive at the age of 80, which is the landmark Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders would reach in a first term if elected in 2020. Since Carter went on to suggest these two old birds were in fact his favorites for the nomination, I chose not to write up his apparently humorous endorsement of an age limit.

There was also a UFO story, courtesy of the United States Navy, as CNN reported:

The US Navy has finally acknowledged footage purported to show UFOs hurtling through the air. And while officials said they don’t know what the objects are, they’re not indulging any hints either.

The objects seen in three clips of declassified military footage are “unidentified aerial phenomena,” Navy spokesperson Joe Gradisher confirmed to CNN.

The clips, released between December 2017 and March 2018 by To The Stars Academy of Arts & Sciences, appear to show fast-moving, oblong objects captured by advanced infrared sensors.

Here’s the best part:

Two of the videos, both from 2015, contain audio from US fighter pilots attempting to make sense of what they’re seeing.

“It’s a f****g drone, bro,” a pilot says to his colleague in the first clip.

“My gosh! They’re all going against the wind.”

“Look at that thing, dude!”

I didn’t write about that, either, because, well, I had no idea what it meant.

But then, late today when looking at that old reliable source This Day In History, I found an eery coincidence: a Jimmy Carter UFO Story. Seriously:

Future President Jimmy Carter files a report with the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) on September 18, 1973, claiming he had seen an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) in October 1969.

During the presidential campaign of 1976, Democratic challenger Carter was forthcoming about his belief that he had seen a UFO. He described waiting outside for a Lion’s Club Meeting in Leary, Georgia, to begin, at about 7:30 p.m., when he spotted what he called “the darndest thing I’ve ever seen” in the sky. Carter, as well as 10 to 12 other people who witnessed the same event, described the object as “very bright [with] changing colors and about the size of the moon.” Carter reported that “the object hovered about 30 degrees above the horizon and moved in toward the earth and away before disappearing into the distance.” He later told a reporter that, after the experience, he vowed never again to ridicule anyone who claimed to have seen a UFO.

That would have been while he was serving as governor of Georgia.

But even the usually unusually honest Carter backtracked on UFO candor after his rise to national power:

During the presidential campaign of 1976, Carter promised that, if elected president, he would encourage the government release “every piece of information” about UFOs available to the public and to 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.

Sounds like they got to Jimmy Carter before he blew the whistle.

Jimmy Carter Saw a UFO on This Day in 1973