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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2002 > Nov > Nov 3

Re: Jimmy Carter The Nobel Prize &

From: Jerry Cohen <rjcohen.nul>
Date: Sun, 03 Nov 2002 00:58:42 -0500
Archived: Sun, 03 Nov 2002 10:30:44 -0400
Subject: Re: Jimmy Carter The Nobel Prize &

>From: Bob Young <YoungBob2.nul>
>To: ufoupdates.nul
>Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 21:27:08 EST
>Subject: Re: Jimmy Carter The Nobel Prize & Extraterrestrials

>>From: Jerry Cohen <rjcohen.nul>
>>To: ufoupdates.nul
>>Date: Fri, 25 Oct 2002 09:56:05 -0400
>>Subject: Re: Jimmy Carter The Nobel Prize & Extraterrestrials

>>>From: Richard Hall <hallrichard99.nul>
>>>To: ufoupdates.nul
>>>Date: Mon, 14 Oct 2002 22:29:30 +0000
>>>Subject: Re: Jimmy Carter The Nobel Prize & Extraterrestrials

>>>>From: Bob Young <YoungBob2.nul>
>>>>To: ufoupdates.nul
>>>>Date: Sat, 12 Oct 2002 21:10:09 EDT
>>>>Subject: Re: Jimmy Carter The Nobel Prize & Extraterrestrials

>>>>This famous IFO was actually the planet Venus, as
>>>>determined by Robert Sheaffer many years ago and
>>>>published in The Humanist, July-August 1977, p. 46.

>>>>The problem was that Carter was mistaken about the
>>>>date when recounting it years later. Sheaffer got to the
>>>>bottom of it.
>>>>Please see:


>>It is certainly possible for a person to make an error regarding
>>a date while hastily filling out a form and still be quite
>>accurate in remembering what he/she saw at a particular moment,
>>especially if that event imprinted on the mind.

>Hi, Jerry:

>The point about the date error was that on the correct date
>Venus was visible in the direction Carter looked. Also it
>allowed Sheaffer to locate other people who were also present:
>they didn't recall seeing anything unusual. This suggests
>strongly that what Carter saw was not brighter than the Moon or
>exhibiting the bizarre motions that he reported.

Hi Bob,

Not necessarily. Please see my sighting and how my own wife
reacted to it back in 1967.


She didn't have an answer for it but, since she felt it couldn't
exist, she didn't react to it at all. I'm not trying to convince
you concerning my sighting but rather to note the difference
between my wife's reaction and my own.

>The argument that any witness is not capable of mistaking Venus
>for a UFO ignores 50 years of IFOs by "qualified" people who
>probably also saw Venus many times before.

>That's why it's so often called an Identified Flying Object.

Yes, no problem. I did understand your point and my argument was
not that Carter could not have made a mistake. My point is that
generalized statements like "....ignores 50 years of IFOs by
'qualified' people who probably also saw Venus many times
before" does not solve our dilemma. A examination and analysis
of each individual case's "specifics" is the only way an honest
solution can be found for that case, and that case alone.

In the course of my own research over the years, I have seen the
"Venus" and certain other celestial object explanations proposed
for no other reason than to attempt to "create" an IFO in cases
where researchers have no other explanation to offer. For this
reason I am not so quick to jump on that bandwagon any more.

Illustration of the above:

I'll use the Illinois 2000 case as one perfect example of what I
mean and I can easily point out others.

[Begin example]

Apparently, witnesses, including police officers, gave an
extremely detailed accounting of a "massive elongated triangle"
seen and one skeptic's retort was to admonish the people who
studied it for not considering the "Venus" explanation. I am
sure you are probably familiar with it, but for those not,
clicking below will take other readers directly to it.


This flippant attitude on the part of some people to debunk UFO
sightings "at any cost," including the suspension of rational
analysis, has made me become extremely cautious regarding the
"Venus" explanation.

Incidentally, readers not familiar with same can also view the
abstract of the Illinois case at the NIDS web site by visiting:


[End example]

Getting back to Carter's case:

I am not closed-minded to the fact that some sightings are
generated by astronomical objects, etc. However, if David Rudiak
was correct in what he stated about Venus (perhaps you could
help me here if he's not), I believe researchers may have just
cause to think the "Venus" explanation though a little more


From: DRudiak <DRudiak.nul>[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


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.

jc   I have read this is approximately two hours before
it would normally set, if that is correct.

Rudiak continued:
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." ....snip....

{End quote]

If Rudiak was correct, Venus was not exactly where Carter
claimed he saw the UFO; and it completely disappeared two hours
before Venus should have set.

Then I found myself asking "I wonder who Bob Scheaffer
interviewed? No supporting evidence was given to make it
possible for others to check what he says in this regard.

So I performed a web search to see what else I might find
regarding this case.

Grant Cameron, who has posted a monumental analysis on Carter
and an investigation of his UFO Report on his web site


had the following comments to make:

[Begin quote]

Carter had, in fact, described the UFO sighting many times in
the years since it occurred. In every instance, including the
latest known telling of the story at Emory University in 1997,
Carter has never backed off on the spectacular nature of the
event. He has also never conceded that was he saw was some
misidentification of a natural phenomena.

Carter estimated that the object was three hundred to one
thousand yards away. He estimated that the event had lasted 10
minutes. Then the object disappeared. Carter was so impressed by
what he had seen, he recorded his impressions of the event on a
tape recorder at the time.

Carter's UFO sighting began shortly after dark on a windless
night. Jimmy Carter was standing outside the Lion's Club in
Leary, Georgia, waiting for a meeting to start. Suddenly, he and
ten or more witnesses, sighted a red and blue orb radiating in
the western sky. Carter described an object that "it seemed to
move towards us from a distance, stop, move partially away,
return, then depart. Bluish at first; then reddish - luminous -
 not solid."

In the ensuing years, there has been a great deal of discussion
as to what the UFO had been. Skeptical UFO buffs, such as Robert
Sheaffer, struggled to explain Jimmy Carter's sighting away, by
stating that Carter had viewed the planet Venus. Sheaffer, the
vice-chairman of the UFO subcommittee for the Scientific
Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, wrote up his guess as
to what the object Carter and the others had seen in the July
1977 Humanist Magazine. Many UFO "researchers" wanting to show
that they, too, can be "discriminating" joined in stating Carter
had viewed the planet Venus."

Others stepped forward quickly to challenge the accuracy of
Shaeffer's claim. Sheaffer's response to these challenges ended
up taking his Venus explanation from the shaky to the bizarre.
For example, Sheaffer argued UFO researchers challenging his
conclusions were wrong because they relied on eyewitness
testimony, and eyewitness testimony is unreliable. There are,
wrote Sheaffer, "volumes of scientific analysis documenting
unreliability of unsubstantiated human eyewitness testimony."
Yet Sheaffer, in his own analysis of the case, had used
eyewitness testimony for one hundred percent of the data that he
collected to come to his Venus conclusion.

In a response to a letter written to the Skeptical Inquirer by
Jon Beckjord, published in the Winter 1980-81 Skeptical
Inquirer, Sheaffer cited four books and articles Beckjord could
refer to that would show you "can't take unsubstantiated
testimony at face value."

In the very next sentence of his reply, however, Sheaffer
retreated to eyewitness testimony. "I note that Beckjord fails
to mention," Shaeffer wrote, " that many UFO proponents agree
with me that the Carter UFO sighting is a very poor one and that
another Georgian standing with Carter, as my Humanist piece
makes clear, [was] quite unimpressed with the light they saw in
the sky." Shaeffer's Venus conclusion relied on the assumption
that Carter's eyewitness testimony was inaccurate, but the other
eyewitness accounts were accurate.

In the end, it is safe to conclude that the object was not
Venus, no matter how bad witness testimony might have been. A
review of the evidence would show:

 Venus was in the southwestern sky on January 6, 1969,
 not in the west as claimed by Sheaffer. Carter who had
 spent watches, while in the Navy doing watches in
 cruisers and destroyers, as a navigation officer, taking
 star shots with a sextant, stated the object was in the
 western sky.

 Carter described the object as being the "size of the
 moon" or"slightly smaller than the apparent size of the
 moon." Venus never appears this way.

 Venus at the time was at between 15 and 21 degrees
 over the horizon at 7:15 p.m. Carter, a trained observer
 stated the object was 30 degrees above the horizon, or
 almost double the height of Venus at the time.

 Sheaffer described Venus as "being at it's brightest" on
 the date in question. It wasn't at its brightest.

 The witnesses declared that the object disappeared after
 10 minutes or at 7:25 p.m. Venus, on the evening in
 question, was visible in the clear sky till 9:20 p.m. If it
 had been Venus, it would still have been visible for
 another 115 minutes after the witnesses claimed it had
 disappeared in a clear sky. During these 115 minutes
 the planet Venus would have increased in brightness
 (not disappeared) as it approached the horizon. Venus
 does not disappear, and would have been eliminated as
 a suspect by a grade six astronomy class investigation.

[End quote]

Grant Cameron also mentions:

"Carter who had spent watches, while in the Navy doing watches
in cruisers and destroyers, as a navigation officer, taking star
shots with a sextant, stated the object was in the western sky."

If this is true, I believe Carter would be less likely to make a
mistake in what he reported. He would have to be considered a
trained observer. One can research a little further to check
this and I know I will.

Getting back to what I said in my original post:

With all this in mind, I did not say that the Carter sighting
was an ET, but I did say the facts given by both sides appear to
cancel each other out. We cannot honestly say for sure, one way
or another, what Carter saw. From what has been stated regarding
where the UFO was seen, I, and others, believe there is the
distinct possibility it may not have been Venus which Carter
saw, but we will never know.

We do know, however, that proposing an estimated explanation is
not the same thing as having a solid explanation. The IFO
"proposal" is exactly that, an estimated explanation. Therefore,
it cannot be guaranteed as the correct solution for this
specific case. Readers are free to form their own conclusions.


Jerry Cohen


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