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ANALYSIS RE: JIMMY CARTER SIGHTING (1/69)
To: " UFO UpDates - Toronto" <email@example.com>
From: " Jerry Cohen" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Summation re J. Carter's Sighting & comments
Regarding the correspondence that began as Filer's Files #20
From: "Jerome Clark" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 22 May 98 10:30:09 PDT
Fwd Date: Sat, 23 May 1998 08:31:27 -0400
Subject: Re: Filer's Files #20
where Jerome said:
"As no serious ufologist disputes, Carter saw Venus, not a UFO.",
and having carefully read and reread the information presented by
DRudiak & DLedger & RGates in regards to same, I find myself
in basic agreement with the latter three gentlemen."
With all the information given by all parties concerned, the "Venus"
explanation doesn't really lock it down tightly for me either. By
virtue of this, one can conclude either that David, Don, Robert &
Jerry (Cohen) are "non-serious ufologists" or we can conclude that
Jerome's original sentence may need "some minor adjustment."
The "Venus" explanation in this instance definitely tends to remind
me of some of those old Blue Book "get the public off our back"
explanations that under really close scrutiny wound up being
reclassified as "unidentified."
> > Date: Sat, 23 May 1998 09:52:58 +0100
> > From: Don Ledger <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> > To: email@example.com
> > Subject: Re: UFO UpDate: Re: Pres. Carter
> >Was Carter not a scientist of some sort, physicist
> >perhaps. He was not only a peanut farmer.
and David answered:
> Correct. Carter had a degree in nuclear physics and served as an
> officer on US nuclear submarines. I suspect he had also seen
> Venus a few times down on the peanut farm.
> >From: "Jerome Clark" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> >Date: Sat, 23 May 98 11:24:41 PDT
> >Fwd Date: Sat, 23 May 1998 21:45:48 -0400
> >Subject: Re: Filer's Files #20
> >Here is my entry "Carter Sighting" in The UFO Encyclopedia:
> >2nd Ed., p. 174:
> >As they stood outside waiting for a Lions Club meeting to start,
> >Gov. Jimmy Carter and 10 residents of Leary, Georgia, noticed
> >an unusually bright light at about 30 degrees' elevation in the
> >western sky. Carter was to recall it appeared slightly smaller
> >than the apparent size of the moon., It "came close, moved away,
> >came close, then moved away," he reported. He estimated it to be
> >"maybe 300-1000 yards" away. It "moved to [a] distance[,] then
> >disappeared" ("Jimmy Carter's," 1977). The sighting took place
> >on January 6, 1969, between approximately 7:15 and 7:30 p.m.
> >Except for this sketchily rendered last detail, this object
> >sounds very much like Venus,
and then he said ....snip....
"I do confess it's hard for me to understand why anyone would get
worked up about this monumentally unimpressive sighting, which
didn't have any impact even on the other witnesses -- which certainly
has not been the case in multiply witnessed observations of REAL UFOs."
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JC: Several things here.
1) It obviously wasn't "monumentally unimpressive" to Jimmy Carter,
highly political public figure of his time, who thought enough of it
to report it, possibly jeopardizing his own political standing &
reputation with the other "normal" politicians of the world who never
witnessed one of these things for themselves.
2) It is not "monumentally unimpressive" to a minimum of four
researchers who, after examining the "Venus" explanation, find it
lacking as a totally credible explanation for what Carter saw,
because, as David Rudiak pointed out:
. . .
From: DRudiak <DRudiak@aol.com> [David Rudiak]
Date: Mon, 25 May 1998 01:55:52 EDT
Fwd Date: Mon, 25 May 1998 03:08:22 -0400
Subject: Re: Pres. Carter
a) Venus never appears to be the "size of the moon" or "slightly
smaller than the apparent size of the moon."
b) Venus doesn't loom dramatically in size as described by Carter.
c) Venus doesn't disappear by seeming to move into the
distance. At the reported time of the sighting, Venus would
have remained well-elevated and visible in the sky. It would not
have disappeared. It fact, it didn't set until about 9:20.
You can't have it both ways, with Venus supposedly being
brilliantly bright and otherwise highly visible (to supposedly
account for the report), yet supposedly disappearing as well.
Lesser discrepancies are:
a) Venus was in the southwestern, not western sky (between 237
and 240 degrees azimuth, not 270).
b) If the time was correct, the elevation was between 21 and 24
degrees, not 30 degrees.
c) According to my planetarium programs, Venus wasn't even at
its brightest on this date, much less an "unusually bright
light." Carter's report said that the "10-12 men all watched
it. Brightness attracted us." None of these people had ever
seen Venus in the sky before?"
. . .
JC: For these reasons alone, many readers should be able to realize
the "Venus" explanation is "proposed" but certainly not written in
stone. Therefore, at least some, if not many of those same readers
might consider it premature to dismiss any sighting when that
proposed explanation doesn't completely fit the description given
by the claimant.
- They might also wonder what type of scientific person would attack a man's
_wife_ (in print), in an attempt to prove the man, himself, had to be mistaken
in what he reported. -
3) In using the words "multiply witnessed REAL UFOs," Jerome,
who I respect greatly, seems to be implying that singularly witnessed
UFOs are, by converse definition, UNREAL; therefore Jimmy Carter's
sighting wasn't real since the impact on the other case witnesses was
minimal and Jimmy Carter was thereby, in effect, a "singular witness."
However, to imply that his sighting wasn't "real" because he was the
only one affected by it doesn't make the UFO he saw "less real."
I do have some personal empathy with Jimmy Carter's report since I
found myself in a similar position with my own two sightings many
years ago, unfortunately, with even less witnesses to back me up. I
excerpted most of the following from a letter I had written to Kal
Korff, May of last year, from some correspondence we had together.
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This researcher's sighting in 1967:
My sighting was of a silent craft with rotating lights, at helicopter
height, and lasted for 3-5 minutes. I had a second sighting one month
later which I eventually forced myself to discount because I was in a
car by myself, on my way to an evening job, and had no other witness.
As to the first: My wife had passed her comprehensive teaching exam
and we were going out to dinner. We were happy, nothing else was on
my mind except going out to celebrate. I went to take out what little
garbage we had that night, before leaving for our celebration dinner,
when "whack," it came in overhead. (Except there was no "whack.")
At first glance, I first thought it was an airplane with its engines
sparking. I turned away to put down the garbage pail and all of a
sudden realized I didn't hear the sound of the engines from the plane
which should have been passing directly overhead at the angle it was
coming in. (It was fairly low. I normally can easily hear planes an
awful lot higher. I am a respected musician/teacher with really
When it first hovered, I remember it having a mist around it that
eventually cleared; Also when it hovered, it exhibited the "typical"
falling leaf motion mentioned back then..also .. its lights were
rotating. (jc 7/24/2006: Horizontally around the craft) I cupped my ears and
aimed them right toward it and all I could hear was a super-faint,
light sort of "peal of static electricity." It was around for at least
3 minutes; generally over 2-3 neighbor's houses.
At that point, it completely blew my mind because there was
absolutely no doubt what I was looking at. It was a definite craft
and fairly large. (Way too large to be up there with virtually no
sound) Things raced through my mind: I asked myself if it was
a balloon, dirigible, kite, helicopter (actually didn't have to do that...
no sound), model "anything" ... and _nothing_ fit. I'd never seen
anything like it before or since. (It wasn't a dirigible or blimp of
any type because the movement was totally wrong and I could
always hear the motor on any blimp I ever observed and focused
my ears on. It was, for the most part, quiet in our area at the time
of the sighting; i.e. no competing noise.)
This next part gets to the point I am trying to make by mentioning all
this: I ran into the house to get my wife and finally got her to come
out to take a look. (We didn't own a camera back then.) She is not
into mechanical things or electrical equipment & wouldn't, at the time,
touch a computer. This "craft" was up there doing its silent thing with
a "controlled" movement (i.e. it wasn't just floating,) and I went
through a whole series of questions with her; i.e. was it any of the
above things previously mentioned in the last paragraph. When I was
finished and got a "no" to everything I asked, and we were staring at
it together, I asked her; "Hon., do you think we could be looking at a
UFO." Her reply to me was; "It can't be. There are no such things."
To her, it couldn't exist. For her, this was a "non-event" and
remained that way, diminished to nothingness in her memory over
the years, to my extreme frustration. (I was incredibly angry about it
for years.) Yet I on the other hand, absolutely without the least bit
of doubt, knew what I was looking at. It didn't fit anything I knew
about aeronautics or aerodynamics.
So, just because Jimmy Carter was the only one "impressed" by what
he saw (and I too would be curious to see all the interviews), it
certainly is not fair to deny what he says simply because we "think"
he could have made a mistake. What if he didn't? What if all his
training in nuclear physics and as a military observer actually made
him more likely to identify what he saw than the other lesser-trained
individuals around him? What if they didn't have the background or
interest to ask themselves the same questions he asked himself when
he saw it? (Don Ledger said this a bit more neatly than I but, I guess
I need to say it my way too.)
Now all you skeptics who are out there thinking to yourselves "he
can't prove any of this," you are absolutely right....and that's why I
usually don't talk in depth about my own two sightings years ago. But
I will tell you this, I have never been more positive about anything
in my entire life. I am not a person who is quick to come to
conclusions which have other rational answers. I tortured myself over
this for years and refused to let it go. I wanted an answer and
neither the Air Force or the Condon Committee gave it to me. I read
the whole Condon report because of it and had my eye on every article,
documentary, etc. I ever saw after that, looking for some solution to
my dilemma & frustration.
BTW, it was still light out during my sighting, so I hadn't just seen
a "light" in the sky. I had just gotten out of the Air Force the year
before and had some fairly close contact with various types of
airplanes. I was in the air getting ready to land at, I believe it was
Homestead AFB, Florida when Kennedy was shot and watched the
B-52's going up into the air. Does this make me an expert on aircraft?
No. But it is more than thirty years later and I still have never seen an
aircraft or discovered any in research, etc. that comes even close to
resembling what I saw that late afternoon. (And I never stopped
looking and trying to figure out anything else it might have possibly
been.) No, I don't have a problem with the sizes of objects I see.
When I look at something for a minimum of 2-3 minutes in the light, I
can tell what it is. (my depth perception test for my driver's license
So when someone writes a book, essay, whatever, and gives all these
generalized reasons that someone could have made a mistake because
_other_ people make mistakes or, they weren't familiar with all the
existing phenomena up there or, some people have a problem with their
depth perception or someone else does a study with helmets, whatever,
to say people hallucinate, I say hogwash; it's the cheater's way out.
Case details are where it's at. Either satisfy them in a reasonable
manner or just simply say to yourself, "This case is still
I've always been interested in science, bought a telescope and went
out with my son when he was younger, to observe the constellations,
shooting stars, look for satellites in orbit, etc. I got him
interested in computers (and he's extremely successful today) because
I was interested. I enjoy science fiction but I'm not an "X-Files"
fan. I do know fiction from fact. I'm a college graduate and I don't
have a driving desire to have contact with extraterrestrials. But,
what I saw back then said unequivocally to me that, just possibly,
some of the people that claim they have had contact in this regard
could be telling the truth. It is why I never stopped researching this
over the years.
So, as a plea to others out there trying to decide for yourselves
where this whole thing is at, please just try to be a little more
critical of proposed explanations that don't really fit claimants'
descriptions. I can't emphasize more strongly that you or all of us
may possibly be missing perhaps the most important thing to ever
happen to the human race.
Author: Oberg/Cooper rebuttals
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