In 1973, Jimmy Carter reported seeing a UFO.

  • President Jimmy Carter
President Jimmy Carter
Keystone Press/ Alamy Stock Photo

In addition to having one of the most remarkable post-White House lives of any President, Jimmy Carter had one of the most interesting trajectories toward the Oval Office. That includes not only being a peanut farmer but also reporting seeing a UFO in 1973, at which time he was governor of Georgia and three years away from being elected to the nation’s highest office. The actual sighting took place in 1969, while Carter was visiting the Lions Club in Leary, Georgia. In his report, he wrote that “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.”

An amateur astronomer with a strong knowledge of physics stemming from his time in the U.S. Navy’s nuclear submarine program, Carter insisted that what he saw wasn’t Venus, as some skeptics suggested, and that 10 to 12 others witnessed it as well. He also vowed to encourage the government to release “every piece of information” about UFOs to the public if he were to become President, though he ultimately opted not to do so for fear that the information could have “defense implications” that might risk national security.

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