President Reaganís first UFO sighting was made public by Steve Allen, a well known entertainment personality at the time, on his WNEW-AM radio show in New York. Allen said a well known personality in the entertainment area had secretly revealed a UFO story to him, which had happened many years earlier. He was referring to Ronald Reagan.
The President and his wife, Nancy, were scheduled to attend a casual dinner party in Hollywood with friends. All the guests had arrived except the Reagans, and the party was held up until they arrived nearly 30 minutes to an hour late, and obviously disturbed about something. As he described to a guest how he and Nancy had seen a UFO while coming down the coast highway to Los Angeles and had stopped to watch it, he was overheard by Lucille Ball, who was also at the event.
According to both Allenís and Ballís version of events, Reagan was very excited. In her book Lucy in the Afternoon, she describes the event and writes:
After he was elected president, I kept thinking about that event, and wondered if he still would have won if he told everyone that he saw a flying saucer.
A second Reagan sighting occurred in 1974 just before Reagan ended his second term as governor. The story was told by Air Force Colonel Bill Paynter who became the pilot of Reaganís Cessna Citation jet plane following his retirement from the Air Force.
It's a story Ronald Reagan told to Norman Miller, Washington Bureau Chief for the Wall Street Journal, the governorís plane was making an approach to land in Bakersfield California. It was during the descent that Reagan noticed a strange light behind the plane.
We followed it for several minutes, Reagan told Miler. 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.
Paynter, the pilot stated: It appeared to be several hundred yards away, and it was a fairly steady light until it begun to accelerate. Then it appeared to elongate. Then the light took off. It went up a 45į angle at a high rate of speed. Everyone on the plane was surprised. The UFO went from normal speed cruise to a fantastic speed instantly. If you give an airplane power, it will accelerate, but not like a hot rod, and that's what this was like.
Governor Reagan expressed amazement. I told the others I didnít know what it was. We didnít file a report on the object because for a long time they considered you a nut if you saw a UFO.
Reagan, in his discussion of the sighting with Norman C. Miller added that he had told Nancy about the UFO, 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 Reagan said:
Letís just say that Iím an agnostic.