UFO Encounters by Politicians and Celebrities

Every time there is a presidential election nearing, I take the opportunity to contact representatives of all the major candidates to ask about their position on the subject of UFOs. I have been doing this since the 1988 election. Now as 2008 draws near, I find no change in their position. Based on the response of their keepers, they simply do not seem to have one. Despite the fact that I am a serious journalist and author with a reasonably impressive body of work to display, none of the representatives of the major candidates have ever bothered to respond to me.

According to a number of recent polls, over seventy per cent of Americans believe that aliens are visiting our world and over eighty per cent say that life exists elsewhere in the universe. Considering those percentages, I find it troubling that candidates desiring to lead us refuse to respond to such a simple and uncomplicated question. I am not looking for a long-winded answer, although that would be fine; I just want to know how they feel about the subject. If they wish to separate their opinion about whether life exists elsewhere in the universe from any feelings they have about UFOs, that’s fine too. I just want some insight about where they stand on these issues.

The way a politician feels about UFOs and Aliens may not seem important to most people, but it says a lot about their mindset. Most people that believe in Alien visitations are open-minded. Most that do not are skeptical. Open-minded people tend to over-simplify a situation and believe that everyone deserves to be heard and have their position considered, even terrorists. Many skeptics have problems with non-traditional medical treatments, believe that anyone questioning the government is probably a conspiracy nut and almost always favor government intervention over individual freedoms.

I guess the time of politicians actually telling us how they really feel about anything is gone if it ever existed in the first place. In place of honesty, they offer convoluted, self-serving statements with spin doctors always standing by just in case something of substance is gleaned from those proclamations. If there is something that they feel compelled to comment on, most tend to use third parties to convey their feelings. Sometimes, however, third parties speak for them whether they want that or not. Such was recently the case when Shirley MacLaine had some things to say about Dennis Kucinich and UFOs in her new book, Sage-ing While Age-ing.

According to Ms MacLaine, Dennis Kucinich had a UFO sighting while he was visiting her home in Graham, Washington, about fifteen years ago. She writes, “And then the smell of roses drew him out to my balcony, where he looked up. He saw a gigantic, triangular craft, silent and observing him. He said it hovered, soundless, for ten minutes or so and sped away with a speed he couldn"t comprehend." Kucinich was later asked if he really did see a UFO by Tim Russert of NBC News during a debate involving the 2008 Democratic presidential candidate hopefuls and replied, “I did…you have to keep in mind that Jimmy Carter saw a UFO." I’m guessing that the Congressman felt a need to play the Carter card to add credibility to his answer.

Congressman Kucinich is known for his passionate and very liberal stance on a number of issues. Like Jimmy Carter, he is often at odds with members of his own party. Most prognosticators of presidential elections consider him far too left of center to be elected. However, he is respected by prominent members of both major political parties in the USA and most pundits as someone who believes what he says, whether they agree with him or not. It’s little wonder that Shirley MacLaine is a friend of his and godmother to his daughter.

I believe that Shirley MacLaine is a very sincere and thoughtful person with strong opinions on many subjects. I had the opportunity to meet her in the 1980s just after the publication of her book, Out on a Limb. I was invited to sit in on an interview that a friend of mine was conducting with her for a New York newspaper. He wanted my impression of her opinions and statements regarding paranormal, holistic and alternative subjects. Although I didn‘t agree with many of her conclusions, I admired her absolute honesty and candor.

One of the reasons that I agreed to attend the interview was that I had hoped my friend might take the opportunity to ask Ms MacLaine her opinion about Warren Beatty’s claim of seeing a UFO during the infamous 1960s New York City power outage. Warren Beatty is her brother and claimed that he saw a classic disc-shaped object from a hotel room late at night during the blackout. Unfortunately, my friend passed on that question and I didn’t want to embarrass him by asking any questions of my own. However, my presence was certainly noted by Ms MacLaine. She was gracious and very hospitable to both of us during our brief stay in her apartment.

There are a number of important politicians and celebrities connected to the UFO subject in one way or another. Former U.S. Presidents Reagan and Carter have openly talked about experiencing UFO sightings, while President John F. Kennedy had a close encounter that was a little too close for comfort. Carter saw a classic nocturnal light while standing around waiting for a meeting to begin with ten members of the Lion’s Club of Leary, Georgia in October of 1969. The object appeared to change color and shape during the roughly ten to twelve minutes they watched it.

During the 1976 Presidential Campaign, Jimmy Carter talked about his sighting and promised to reveal anything he could find out about UFOs if elected. Although a former Navy Officer, he was considered a dove by members of the military hierarchy. They didn’t trust him and believed Carter was trying to starve them down into smaller and less influential departments through funding cuts. It’s assumed that he was never told anything of substance about UFOs by military insiders.

While many historians choose to paint Carter as having a cozy relationship with intelligence gathering agencies because of his less threatening assessment of the Soviet Union’s military abilities that agreed with some of theirs, this doesn’t mix well with the facts. During his first briefing by then CIA Director George H.W. Bush, President Elect Carter asked to see documents related to UFOs. Bush told him that any documents which might exist about such things were classified above his immediate need to know. If he wanted to see any, he would have to ask the appropriate congressional committee to declassify them. As president, Carter sought to dismantle the CIA superstructure into smaller agencies, but failed.

Ronald Reagan was a completely different story. As a member of Army Air Force Intelligence during World War II, a supporter of military modernization and a president with a vice president that once served as CIA Director, we assume he was told more about UFOs than most elected officials. Reagan’s own interest in and experience with the phenomenon is well known. His daughter, Patti Davis, said he was "fascinated with stories about unidentified flying objects and the possibility of life on other worlds."

Ronald Reagan had two UFO sightings that we know about. The first occurred while he was still acting in films sometime during the 1950s. After showing up late for a dinner party attended by other Hollywood celebrities, Ronald and Nancy Reagan said they saw a UFO. This story was later confirmed by the Kitty Kelly, Lucille Ball and Steve Allen. The second sighting occurred in 1974 while he was Governor of California.

Less than a month after leaving the presidency in 1989, Ronald Reagan reiterated a story he first told to a Bureau Chief for the Wall Street Journal in 1974:

“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 greenish-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.” Reagan’s pilot on the occasion of his UFO sighting, Bill Paynter, later confirmed the report:

“I was the pilot of the plane when we saw the UFO…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. 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.”

During his first summer as President, John F. Kennedy retreated to the Kennedy compound along the Nantucket Sound in Hyannis, Massachusetts, for some rest and relaxation. While cruising around in one of the Kennedy motor boats, the president and a few guests reportedly saw a classic disc-shaped object suddenly appear at a low altitude near their vessel. At one point, the disc may have been as close as one hundred feet away. This sent secret service agents in nearby launches scrambling to get the president’s boat to safety. After the object vanished and the motor boat was back on shore, the president told his guests not to talk about what happened.

While Carter, Reagan and Kennedy saw unidentified flying objects and George H.W. Bush probably knew all about them, UFO stories involving Presidents Truman and Eisenhower have become legendary. The story of an alleged meeting between Alien dignitaries and President Dwight D. Eisenhower is one that refuses to die. It stems from a report that the president disappeared briefly during a trip to a Palm Springs resort which occurred in February of 1954.

On Saturday, February 20, 1954, some members of the white house press corps noticed that President Eisenhower missed a planned event. They contacted his spokesperson who seemed unable to provide an immediate explanation for the absence. After it became obvious that the president was no longer at the Palm Springs resort, rumors flew that he might have become seriously ill and been moved to a military infirmary or hospital for treatment. Finally, a besieged spokesperson told the press that the president chipped a tooth during a meal and was taken to visit a nearby dentist.

A steak barbeque was held a few days later and the dentist who allegedly treated Eisenhower was introduced to the press. The man seemed embarrassed and nervous. Years later his widow was unable to provide any particulars about the president’s visit to the dentist’s office that was located in their home. Instead, a number of stories have surfaced about a late night trip that President Eisenhower made to Edwards Air Force Base.

Eisenhower’s alleged visit to Edwards has always been a point of conspiratorial contention. Some say it had to do with an invitation to view some new super weapon or secret military aircraft. Others claim that Eisenhower actually met and signed agreements with some type of Aliens. Personally, I believe he was shown what remained of a crashed UFO and its occupants from any one of several crashes that may have taken place in the Southwest USA during the late 1940s or early 1950s.

At least two former members of the military that can prove they served at Edwards AFB in those days have contacted me over the years. They claim that Eisenhower viewed UFO wreckage and alien bodies, but neither was able to provide any hard evidence that Eisenhower actually visited the base or viewed anything out of the ordinary at that time. However, they remain credible witnesses with stable backgrounds. During the 1980s, a former White House Aide to Eisenhower also stated that the late president did travel to Edwards AFB in February of 1954, but denied knowing the purpose of the visit.

President Harry Truman has become an enigmatic figure within UFO research thanks to a series of documents that tell the tale of a quickly-formed scientific advisory committee known as Majestic Twelve. The committee was ordered into existence by Truman in 1947 and consisted of twelve people which included prominent scientists, members of the military and elected officials. Originally created to study all available evidence that UFOs might be extraterrestrial crafts and offer advice to the President, the group may have evolved into a government within a government to deal with UFOs and Aliens in a manner that was completely separate from other U.S. Government departments or agencies.

Dwight D. Eisenhower comes back into the picture as the U.S. President that may have looked at some of the findings of the MJ12 committee and decided that the information was too sensitive or upsetting for public consumption. Many believe he used any and all available presidential powers to bury the matter and place any further dealings with UFOs and Aliens in the hands of the joint chiefs and others that might have a need to know about it for intelligence or oversight purposes.

Despite a great deal of cursory and circumstantial evidence to support the idea of a secret group of scientists, members of the military and politicians thrown together to deal with UFOs and Aliens, the documents remain controversial and unproven. In 2007, UFO researcher Brad Sparks proposed the theory that the MJ12 documents were nothing more than an elaborate disinformation campaign. He claims that the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, along with intelligence operatives and disinformation specialists placed inside the UFO research community have helped spread and keep alive the myth.

When I visited the Harry Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri, I found it strange that the one year missing from a timeline display of his presidency was 1947. That was the year the Air Force was born, the National Security Act was signed by Truman and MJ-12 was allegedly created at his request or command. Despite all of those important events, it was as if none of them ever happened. That and many other things lead me to believe that the MJ12 documents may be much more than some elaborate hoax. I believe that an MJ12 disinformation campaign does exist within the UFO research community, but I think it’s geared to throwing us all off the track of the knowledge, power and influence such a committee might possess.

John Lennon’s UFO experiences are among the most popular and controversial celebrity UFO events ever discussed and all are said to have occurred in New York City. Most people have heard about the August, 1974 sighting, so I will relate that story first. It began with the return of Lennon and May Pang from a long day at the Record Plant East where Lennon was working on tracks for his upcoming Walls and Bridges album. The two were staying at his 52nd Street Apartment which had a commanding view of the East River and the sky.

Sometime after 8:30pm, May was taking a shower while Lennon went up to the roof. After a few minutes, he began yelling for her to come up there. May rushed to the roof and found John pointing to what looked like a classic disc-shaped UFO that was silently hovering about 100 feet from them. The object seemed to change shape as it rotated and moved slowly towards the United Nations Building and out over the East River. Before it moved away, May ran and retrieved a 35mm camera from the apartment. She was able to get back to the roof in time to snap off a few photos of the object.

After the disc moved away, Lennon and May returned to the apartment. John made arrangements to have the film developed immediately by a photographer who was also a friend. Bob Gruen came and picked up the film. He returned to his studio and developed the film along with two rolls of his own. Gruen’s film developed perfectly, but he said that Lennon’s was blank. Fortunately, Lennon started making sketches of what he and May saw while it was all still fresh in his mind.

John Lennon learned the hard way how that any statements he made would probably be either misquoted or misunderstood. As a result, he didn’t immediately report the sighting to authorities or the news media. Instead, he wrote a note about the sighting which appeared on the back cover of his Walls and Bridges album. He also wrote a song about it. Interestingly enough, it turned out that at least five people saw the disc around the same time that Lennon and May did and reported it to police.

Lennon talked about the sighting for weeks, made more drawings and continued to write down his impressions of the event. Like most UFO witnesses, he went though the process of excitement, speculation, fear and anticipation. According to May, John gave no credibility to the idea that it might be some sort of secret government aircraft. He believed that the object was a craft from another world and that it may have been attracted to the area by the nearby Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant and might even be part of a larger fleet of Alien ships.

Problems arise with some accounts of the first Lennon sighting because of the romantic entanglements between May Pang, John Lennon and Yoko Ono. The first version that I heard and the first published in a now-defunct UFO publication state that the event occurred on the roof of the Dakota where John Lennon and Yoko Ono lived. They moved into the Dakota in April of 1973, so the timeframe wouldn‘t be a problem. However, the magazine article wasn’t published until sometime in 1975.

After investigating the matter further, I have come to believe that two separate UFO sightings involving John and May have been confused and consolidated into one. The first occurred at the 52nd Street apartment in 1974 and the second occurred at the Dakota sometime after John moved back in with Yoko in 1975. Because of the tension between John, May and Yoko, I’m certain that John did not want any word to spread about the second sighting which occurred while he was alone with May in the Dakota.

Based on what I recall from those days and the recent research I have done, I believe that the second sighting had John and May seeing the UFO from a window in John and Yoko’s Dakota apartment and then heading up to the roof for a better look. This UFO had a slightly different appearance from the first they saw. That may help account for two differing descriptions of the Lennon UFO sighting from May and why the second doesn’t seem to fit their original experience at the 52nd street apartment. May described the second UFO as kind of bell-shaped. I also get the impression that the second sighting was very brief and didn’t leave the kind of lasting impression on John that the first one did.

Another story about Lennon and a possible UFO experience comes from Uri Geller. He met Lennon in November of 1974 during a concert that Elton John was giving at Madison Square Garden. Geller was a kind of mystic to the Stars in those days and Lennon was in need of any help he could find. Distraught over his separation from Yoko, he wanted her back and asked Geller to use his alleged psychic powers to help. Yoko phoned John within thirty-six hours, the lovers reunited and John and Uri became friends.

Sometime after their reconciliation, Geller was eating with John and Yoko in a New York City restaurant. Yoko was pregnant, so it had to be sometime before Sean Lennon was born in October of 1975. Geller says that John became very serious and asked him to step over to a smaller table in a quiet corner of the restaurant. Once seated, Lennon spoke in discreet tones and told Uri about an incident that happened six months before. He and Yoko were asleep in bed when John suddenly woke up and noticed a blazing light shining through the cracks and keyhole of their bedroom door.

Thinking there was a fire or someone with a powerful flashlight trying to get into the room; he jumped out of their bed and opened the door. He was confronted by four beings. Lennon said, “They were, like, little. Bug-like. Big bug eyes and little bug mouths and they were scuttling at me like roaches.” He tried to resist the beings, but they kept coming at him. Lennon said that his next memory was of being back in bed with Yoko.

Yoko didn’t wake up during the incident, but later when she did it was obvious that John was very upset and confused. He couldn’t tell her what happened right away and waited for an unspecified period of time before he did. Exclaiming that he was sober and wasn‘t doing any drugs at that time, Lennon said it wasn’t some sort of hallucination or lucid dream. According to Geller, John’s assertion about the reality of what happened was backed up by physical evidence.

When Lennon woke up, he claimed to be holding a small egg-shaped object in his hand. After eventually telling Yoko about the incident, he showed it to her. He also showed it to Geller. None of them had ever seen anything like it. However, apart from the golden color and egg shape, little is none about the object and it would be up to Geller to proceed with any investigation of its properties. Many abductees have told stories of being given various objects by their Alien abductors, only to have them taken back later

Although John Lennon’s nocturnal visitation sounds like a scene from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, that film wasn’t released until late in 1977. Geller says that Lennon told him the story almost two years before that, so the film would not have been an inspiration or catalyst for Lennon’s experience. As far as Geller’s part in the story goes, he kept Lennon’s revelations to him from the public until 2004. Regardless of the egg-shaped object, I feel that Lennon’s story about the beings is true. I don’t know if it occurred exactly when or where Geller says it did, but it’s a fact that May Pang has stated that both she and Lennon have experienced Alien abductions. Their other close encounter sightings help back up that assertion.

I never met John Lennon, but he did call into a radio show a few minutes after I completed a guest spot on an FM rock music radio station sometime in 1977. He related his own UFO experience at the 52nd Street apartment to the radio personality that interviewed me. I believe the two were friends. I listened in with keen interest and was very grateful to later receive an audio cassette of John’s call which I have played many times in my seminars.

Having met many celebrities over the years, I can appreciate their need to weigh any statement they might consider making about anything carefully in the balances before speaking or writing it for public consumption. A fickle public and press can easily turn on someone famous for the smallest indiscretion. Imagine how they might react to news that a famous celebrity or important politician has had a UFO or other paranormal experience.

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