From Stig Agermose

Source: ABC News, January 22,

President Carter's CLOSE ENCOUNTER

When a President Says He's Seen a UFO, You Really
Have to Wonder If the Truth Is Out There

President Carter filed two formal reports when he was
governor of Georgia describing his observation of an
unidentified flying object to organizations that
collect and promote UFO sightings as unexplained
phenomena. (

Thirty years ago, Jimmy Carter risked being labeled a
"crackpot" when he said he saw a UFO. Now, other
prominent Americans join him.

( Buck Wolf


Jan. 22 It was just another fun night at the Lion's
Club for Jimmy Carter when suddenly from the sky a
UFO "as bright as the moon" flashed before his eyes.

[Image: While leaving a Lion's Club in Leary, Ga.,
then-Gov. Jimmy Carter noticed an object in the sky.
( Geographix)]

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."

Meet the Fox Mulder of Silicon Valley

Though an insignificant news tidbit back then,
Carter's sighting may have encouraged other people to
step forward. You could hardly say he started a
trend, but he set a precedent. And recently, several
prominent people, including two astronauts and a
renowned CEO, have said they, too, are believers.

Two weeks ago, Silicon Valley legend Joe Firmage quit
his job as the CEO of USWeb/CKS, a $2 billion company
that employs nearly 2,000 people. The reason: He's
had contact with extraterrestrials and wants to
expose the government conspiracy to conceal a 1947
space crash in Roswell, N.M.

I'm not praying for a spacecraft to come pick me up,"
says Firmage, who calls himself the "Fox Mulder of
Silicon Valley."

"I'm just saying there is good, rational, left-brain
evidence of things out there."

Firmage said his priorities shifted 15 months ago,
after an encounter at his Los Gatos, Calif., home
with a "remarkable being" clothed in brilliant white

"I don't call them aliens," he says. "I call them

He says it's necessary to quit his high-paying job
because of the "public relations complications" it
might cause his company. He plans to write a book and
is posting his findings on his Web site.

Astronauts Say Truth Is Out There

The CIA closed the Colorado Project, the last
comprehensive government UFO probe, in the late
1960s, after a government panel concluded "further
extensive study of UFOs probably cannot be justified
in the expectation that science will be advanced."

But astronauts Edgar Mitchell and Gordon Cooper say
that new investigations are warranted in UFOs: 50
Years of Denial?, a documentary set to air March 3 on
The Learning Channel.

"The evidence points to the fact that Roswell was a
real incident and that indeed an alien craft did
crash and that material was recovered from that crash
site," says Mitchell, who became the sixth man on the
moon in the Apollo 14 mission.

Mitchell doesn't say he's seen a UFO. But he says
he's met with high-ranking military officers who
admitted involvement with alien technology and

Cooper told a U.N. committee recently, "Every day in
the U.S.A., our radar instruments capture objects of
form and composition unknown to us." In the
documentary, Cooper speculates that public skepticism
toward UFOs will shift dramatically.

Pictures of flying saucers strike a dramatic image.
But documentary filmmaker James Fox says it will take
the testimony of credible witnesses like these to
change public opinion and force the government's

"As a rule, I steer clear of pictures and video
footage of UFOs," he says. "If it's too good, people
think it's a fake, and if it's not good people think
it's a fake."

Mom, Dad, I've Seen a UFO

Coming out of the closet at least in the UFO sense
is no easy task.

"Most people who claim to see UFOs lead sad lives.
They get laughed at by colleagues and family. They
become outcasts," says Nick Pope, who was the British
Ministry of Defense's investigator in charge of UFO
sightings from 1991 to 1994.

"I've seen a lot of marriages end in divorce because
one partner is embarrassed that the other tells
everyone he's seen a UFO."

Pope has interviewed thousands of people who claim to
have had paranormal experiences. "I can't say I have
proof these people really saw what they claim to have
seen. But I believe a lot of them were telling the
truth. Many of them are credible. And some of them
have bizarre scars on their body that no doctor can

Pope notes a phenomenon that many of the people he's
interviewed have developed spontaneous skills in
music, painting, and poetry. "It can be a
life-transforming event. Whatever happened to these
people," he says, "it somehow comes out."

It's had to say how Carter was affected by his close
encounter. In recent years, Carter has become a
prolific writer and peace activist. But the former
president has never really spoken of the impact of
those mysterious red and green lights all those years

Yet while he was on the campaign trail, he tried to
use it to his advantage. "A light appeared and
disappeared in the sky," he told a Washington Post
reporter in 1975. "It goes brighter and brighter I
have no idea what it was I think it was a light
beckoning me to run in the California primary."

January  1999
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