The Reagan and Carter UFO Sightings

  • #1
Ivan Seeking
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"I was in a plane last week when I looked out the window and saw this white light. It was zigzagging around. I went up to the pilot and said, ‘Have you seen anything like that before?’ He was shocked and said, ‘Nope.’ And I said to him: ‘Let’s follow it!’
We followed it for several minutes. It was a bright white light. We followed it to Bakersfield, and all of a sudden to our utter amazement it went straight up into the heavens. When we got off the plane, I told Nancy all about it.’

The pilot of Governor Reagan plane was Bull Paynter, and he backed up Reagan’s version of the incident with the UFO.

I was the pilot of the plane when we saw the UFO. Also, on board were Governor Reagan and a couple of his security people. We were flying a Cessna Citation. It was maybe nine or ten o’clock at night. We were near Bakersfield when Governor Reagan and the others called my attention to a big light flying a bit behind the plane.

It appeared to be several hundred yards away. It was a fairly steady light until it began to accelerate, then it appeared to elongate. The light took off. It went up at a 45-degree angle - at a high rate of speed. Everyone on the plane was surprised.

Governor Reagan expressed amazement. I told the others I didn’t know what it was. The UFO went from a normal cruise speed to a fantastic speed instantly. If you give an airplane power it will accelerate - but not like a hotrod, and that is what this was like.
We didn’t file a report on the object because for a long time they considered you a nut if you saw a UFO.

Paynter added the UFO incident didn’t stop there. He stated that he and Reagan had discussed their UFO sighting "from time to time" in the years following the incident.
Reagan, in his discussion of the sighting with Norman C. Millar added that he had told Nancy about the UFO he had seen, and they had done personal research on UFOs. This research had uncovered the facts that there were references to UFOs in Egyptian hieroglyphics. Reagan was telling his story in a very animated way. This led Millar to conclude that Reagan seriously believed in UFOs. He asked him, "Governor, are you telling me that you saw a UFO?"

Suddenly, according to Millar, Reagan realized that he was talking to a reporter. "This look crossed his face," recalled Millar, "and he said let’s just say that I’m an agnostic." [continued]
http://www.ufoevidence.org/documents/doc851.htm

Former US Presidents Carter and Reagan claim to have seen a UFO.
http://www.odci.gov/csi/studies/97unclass/ufo.html [Broken]
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
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Not long ago there was a UFO program on TV which focused on the Presidency and UFO's, and they told the Reagan story (with a reenactment). They also explored the UFO/ET references/imagery Reagan was fond of putting into his speeches and made the obvious connection between this and his own sighting.

I'd heard about the Jimmy Carter story a few times but that was the first time I'd heard the Reagan story.
 
  • #3
Ivan Seeking
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I should have posted Carter's as well; especially since he filed a report.
http://www.presidentialufo.com/carter_ufo_report.htm [Broken]
 
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  • #4
SGT
If Reagan and Carter say so, it must be true. They were never caught lying.
 
  • #5
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SGT said:
If Reagan and Carter say so, it must be true. They were never caught lying.
Actually, I think they both saw something. "Unidentified Flying Object" is a perfectly good, accurate term. I've seen them myself on two separate occasions and without flying to any rash conclusions they were from another planet, I can assure you I couldn't identify them. The second time was particularly notable since I was waiting in line outside a movie theater with a crowd of 20-30 people. Someone in the line called everyone's attention to two yellow glowing balls of light that were in the sky above us moving around each other in "non-ballistic" ways, as they say. They weren't moving outside a certain radius, it seemed, and their movements were suggestive of Brownian Motion, although much slower. It was overcast and slightly misty out, so there was no telling their size relative to anything or judging any distances. One of them suddenly zipped over to the other, merged with it, and then the single light that was left blinked out.
 
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  • #6
Ivan Seeking
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SGT said:
If Reagan and Carter say so, it must be true. They were never caught lying.
So you think we should just assume that they are lying?
 
  • #7
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Ivan Seeking said:
So you think we should just assume that they are lying?
No, I am saying that they are not the most reliable witnesses we can find. The thread seems to imply that, since two former presidents say they saw something, we must believe it because of the importance of the witnesses. Most alleged sightings are either frauds, delusions or misidentification of natural phenomena, but when some important person claims to a sighting, people tend to take them more seriously.
 
  • #8
Ivan Seeking
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So your answer is no; meaning that we should accept their stories?

The information was posted as a matter of fact. The witnesses obviously makes it a story of interest. You can believe them or not.
 
  • #9
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Ivan Seeking said:
So your answer is no; meaning that we should accept their stories?
The information was posted as a matter of fact. The witnesses obviously makes it a story of interest. You can believe them or not.
No, my answer is that their witnessing must be treated as that of any other person. May be with a little more doubt, since they have been caught lying before.
You are free to believe what you want. I only believe in things for wich there is evidence. After more than 50 years of sightings and alleged abductions, no material evidence of extraterrestrial crafts has being presented. All we have is the word of people. We know that people lie, that people can misinterpret what they see and that therapists can create false memories in people they treat.
 
  • #10
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What if Seth Shostak said he saw a UFO of the same sort and was sure that it was ET-related? Should we treat what he says he saw the same as UFO crazies?
 
  • #11
SGT
Tony11235 said:
What if Seth Shostak said he saw a UFO of the same sort and was sure that it was ET-related? Should we treat what he says he saw the same as UFO crazies?
We certainly should give more weight to his witnessing. An expert witness provides a stronger evidence than a layman's opinion.
But even experts can be wrong, so while increasing the credibility of ET origin of UFOs, it would still be a lesser evidence than an ashtray made with an unknown material brought to Earth by an abductee.
 
  • #12
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Excellent sighting.
I will not assume they are lying, hallucinating, or that they misinterpreted what they saw: an objective mind is required to look into these matters!
 
  • #13
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SGT said:
We know that people lie, that people can misinterpret what they see and that therapists can create false memories in people they treat.
There seems to be some confusion here between believing that Carter and Reagan saw what they claimed they saw, and whether or not what they saw was extra-terrestrial. You don't have to believe the latter to believe the former, regardless of what they, themselves might believe about it.

In other words, just because visits from other planets are both unproven, and incredibly improbable, it doesn't mean there isn't something else as yet unexplained going on in the skies that people are actually seeing and mistaking for spacemen. There have been successful hoaxes done by putting lights on balloons, and there has been at least one strange atmospheric condition uncovered in Australia where light from many miles away is piped through the atmosphere to a desert location where it appears to hover and move around in the sky. The people who see these explained things without knowing what they were are not lying in their reports nor are they the victims of false memories.

So, I think it is safe to believe that Carter and Reagan actually saw something very unusual. You don't have to believe any particular train of speculation about what they saw to believe they are reporting details of size, motion, speed etc. more or less accurately.
 
  • #14
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SGT said:
We certainly should give more weight to his witnessing. An expert witness provides a stronger evidence than a layman's opinion.
But even experts can be wrong, so while increasing the credibility of ET origin of UFOs, it would still be a lesser evidence than an ashtray made with an unknown material brought to Earth by an abductee.
Eyewitness accounts are basically worthless I know, but I still don't think we can completely ignore them. Especially if you have lots of witnesses that do not know each other, and do not confuse stars and planets with planes and helicopters, or vise a versa. Unfortunately there are people that do.
 
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  • #15
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I seem to recall that soon after it was reported, Carter's UFO was identified as the planet Venus. As a Naval Academy graduate, Carter shouldn't have made that mistake, but "navigation" has been in a sorry state at Annapolis for a long time, and after all, Carter was trained as a submarine officer.
 
  • #16
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selfAdjoint said:
I seem to recall that soon after it was reported, Carter's UFO was identified as the planet Venus. As a Naval Academy graduate, Carter shouldn't have made that mistake, but "navigation" has been in a sorry state at Annapolis for a long time, and after all, Carter was trained as a submarine officer.
I don't think the Venus explanation is accurate. Carter says, in the report linked to by Ivan, that the light did things like change color, and the sighting ended when it moved away to the distance and disappeared.

It could be that someone determined Venus was visible in that direction, on that night, at that time, but that doesn't mean he didn't see a UFO.
 
  • #17
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The 'venus' thing sounds like a typical debunk-line, so im even more skeptical about that explanation than Reagans story.
 
  • #18
Ivan Seeking
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selfAdjoint said:
I seem to recall that soon after it was reported, Carter's UFO was identified as the planet Venus. As a Naval Academy graduate, Carter shouldn't have made that mistake, but "navigation" has been in a sorry state at Annapolis for a long time, and after all, Carter was trained as a submarine officer.
Just about every UFO in the last fifty years was claimed to be the planet Venus by debunkers somewhere. The first rule of thumb in the UFO world is that the debunkers are rarely any more credible than the true believers.

A red and green glowing orb radiated as it hurtled across the southwestern Georgia skies that January 1969 evening. Ten minutes later, it vanished. That was Jimmy Carter's story — and he's sticking to it. Carter, then Georgia's governor, became the first major politician to risk achieving "crackpot" status by claiming he had had a close encounter."... "I don't laugh at people any more when they say they've seen UFOs," Carter said at a Southern Governors Conference a few years later. "I've seen one myself."

Former President Jimmy Carter
ABC News interview
Sound like Venus to you?

Here is another UFO claimed to be Venus.

In November, 1986, a Japanese crew of a jumbo freighter aircraft witnessed three unidentified objects while flying over Alaska, USA. This sighting gained international attention when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it was going to officially investigate this sighting because the Air Route Traffic Control Center in Anchorage, Alaska, had reported that the UFO had been detected on radar. Captain Terauchi was featured on numerous radio and TV programs and in People Magazine. Within a few months of these events he was grounded, apparently for his indiscretion of reporting a UFO, even though he was a senior captain with an excellent flying record. Several years later he was reinstated. The UFOs in this case were tracked on both ground and airborne radar, witnessed by experienced airline pilots, and confirmed by a FAA Division Chief
http://www.ufoevidence.org/topics/JALalaska.htm

People get 1% of the story and assign Venus as the explanation. Terauchi took the airline to court.
 
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  • #19
Ivan Seeking
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Tony11235 said:
What if Seth Shostak said he saw a UFO of the same sort and was sure that it was ET-related? Should we treat what he says he saw the same as UFO crazies?
That's an easy one. He would have a following of true believers and the debunkers would trash him. Dr. Hynek had outstanding credentials, but he was quickly assigned to the realm of nutcases when, after acting as chief scientist to project Bluebook for I think twenty years, he reversed his position and became the father of modern "Ufology". From the UFO Napster: https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=2805

During the years that I have been its consultant, the Air Force has consistently argued that UFO's were either hoaxes, hallucinations or misinterpretations of natural phenomena. For the most part I would agree with the Air Force. As a professional astronomer--I am chairman of the department of astronomy at Northwestern University--I have had no trouble explaining the vast majority of the reported sightings. But I cannot explain them all. Of the 15,000 cases that have come to my attention, several hundred are puzzling, and some of the puzzling incidents, perhaps one in 25, are bewildering. I have wanted to learn much more about these cases than I have been able to get from either the reports or the witnesses....Getting at the truth of "flying saucers" has been extraordinarily difficult because the subject automatically engenders such instantaneous reactions and passionate beliefs. Nearly all of my scientific colleagues, I regret to say, have scoffed at the reports of UFO's as so much balderdash, although this was a most unscientific reaction since virtually none of them had ever studied the evidence. Until recently my friends in the physical sciences wouldn't even discuss UFO's with me. The subject, in fact, rarely came up. My friends were obviously mystified as to how I, a scientist, could have gotten mixed up with "flying saucers" ---Saturday Evening Post: 1966
-- Dr. J. Allen Hynek: Professor emeritus and chairman of the astronomy department at Northwestern University. Earlier, he was director of the Lundheimer Astronomical Research Center at Northwestern. He has written astronomy books and articles that have appeared in numerous science journals, as well as an astronomy column for Science Digest magazine. He was chief scientist for NASA's satellite tracking program, and for twenty years was the scientific consultant to the United States Air Force in the investigation of the UFO phenomenon. He is credited with coining the phrase "close encounters of the third kind" and was Steven Spielberg's technical consultant on the film of that name. Dr. Hynek died in April 1986.
.
 
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  • #20
Ivan Seeking
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and why not...

Here is another favorite nut of mine

"The definitive resolution of the UFO enigma will not come about unless and until the problem is subjected to open and extensive scientific study by the normal procedures of established science. This requires a change in attitude primarily on the part of scientists and administrators in universities." (Sturrock, Peter A., Report on a Survey of the American Astronomical Society concerning the UFO Phenomenon, Stanford University Report SUIPR 68IR, 1977.)

"Although... the scientific community has tended to minimize the significance of the UFO phenomenon, certain individual scientists have argued that the phenomenon is both real and significant. Such views have been presented in the Hearings of the House Committee on Science and Astronautics [and elsewhere]. It is also notable that one major national scientific society, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, set up a subcommittee in 1967 to 'gain a fresh and objective perspective on the UFO phenomenon.'

In their public statements (but not necessarily in their private statements), scientists express a generally negative attitude towards the UFO problem, and it is interesting to try to understand this attitude. Most scientists have never had the occasion to confront evidence concerning the UFO phenomenon. To a scientist, the main source of hard information (other than his own experiments' observations) is provided by the scientific journals. With rare exceptions, scientific journals do not publish reports of UFO observations. The decision not to publish is made by the editor acting on the advice of reviewers. This process is self-reinforcing: the apparent lack of data confirms the view that there is nothing to the UFO phenomenon, and this view works against the presentation of relevant data." (Sturrock, Peter A., "An Analysis of the Condon Report on the Colorado UFO Project," Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 1, No. 1, 1987.)"
-- Dr. Peter A. Sturrock, Professor of Space Science and Astrophysics and Deputy Director of the Center for Space Sciences and Astrophysics at Stanford University; Director of the Skylab Workshop on Solar Flares in 1977
 
  • #21
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Ivan Seeking said:
The first rule of thumb in the UFO world is that the debunkers are rarely any more credible than the true believers.
"...the UFO world..."?
 
  • #22
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zoobyshoe said:
"...the UFO world..."?
??? I mean the sum of all information regarding UFOs and the sources for this information - the media, internet websites, books, magazines, forum discussions...
 
  • #23
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Ivan, you are definitely right about the use of Venus. I have heard the Venus explanation way too many times, even when Venus is not even close to the description.
 
  • #24
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Here is another UFO claimed to be Venus.


Quote:
In November, 1986, a Japanese crew of a jumbo freighter aircraft witnessed three unidentified objects while flying over Alaska, USA. This sighting gained international attention when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it was going to officially investigate this sighting because the Air Route Traffic Control Center in Anchorage, Alaska, had reported that the UFO had been detected on radar. Captain Terauchi was featured on numerous radio and TV programs and in People Magazine. Within a few months of these events he was grounded, apparently for his indiscretion of reporting a UFO, even though he was a senior captain with an excellent flying record. Several years later he was reinstated. The UFOs in this case were tracked on both ground and airborne radar, witnessed by experienced airline pilots, and confirmed by a FAA Division Chief
I went to the page you linked to, only to find a page of links to other sites with brief citations or summaries. Rather than make me open and read
them all, just link me, if you would, to the one(s) where this sighting is dismissed as Venus.
 
  • #25
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zoobyshoe said:
I went to the page you linked to, only to find a page of links to other sites with brief citations or summaries. Rather than make me open and read
them all, just link me, if you would, to the one(s) where this sighting is dismissed as Venus.
Here is a link:

Captain Terauchi said the UFO was "two times bigger than an aircraft carrier" but sceptics later attempted tp put down his sighting to temperature inversions, the planet Venus and lights from fishing vessels and/or from the town of Anchorage, all of which were dismissed by Captain Terauchi.
http://members.fortunecity.com/actt1/id46.htm [Broken]
On another site I read that it was Phil Klass that came up with the Venus/Jupiter explanation.
More, but this time its Mars and Jupiter:

Nevertheless, his statement indicates that his sighting line to the lights had a noticeable depression angle (the angle below horizontal). At 35,000 ft the horizon distance is about 214 nm so the depression angle of the horizon is about 1.5 degrees which is hardly noticeable. The pilot's statement therefore implies that the lights were below, probably considerably below, his horizon, i.e., between himself and the ground, thus ruling out any astronomical source for the lights. (Note: CSICOP published its initial "solution" of the
sighting as Jupiter and Mars. This will be described later.)
http://www.fsplanet.com/ditano4.htm [Broken]
Here is another link with sketches of the UFO seen:
http://www.brumac.8k.com/JAL1628/JL1628.html [Broken]
 
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