The former NASA astronaut Edgar Mitchell has claimed that aliens exist and their visits are being covered up by the United States government. Mitchell is in good company in his beliefs. Here we highlight 12 other public figures who believe that extraterrestrials may have been visiting our planet over the last 100 years.
Jimmy Carter, US President from 1976 to 1980, promised while on the campaign trail that he would make public all documents on UFOs if elected. He said: "I don't laugh at people any more when they say they've seen UFOs. I've seen one myself."
General Douglas MacArthur, the Korean and Second World War soldier, said in 1955 that "the next war will be an interplanetary war. The nations of the earth must someday make a common front against attack by people from other planets. The politics of the future will be cosmic, or interplanetary".
J Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI from its inception in 1935 to 1972, said of a famous incident when flying saucers were allegedly fired at over Los Angeles in 1942: "We must insist upon full access to disks recovered. For instance, in the LA case the Army grabbed it and would not let us have it for cursory examination."
Monsignor Corrado Balducci, a Vatican theologian, said: "Extraterrestrial contact is a real phenomenon. The Vatican is receiving much information about extraterrestrials and their contacts with humans from its embassies in various countries, such as Mexico, Chile and Venezuela."
Professor Stephen Hawking: "Of course it is possible that UFO's really do contain aliens as many people believe, and the Government is hushing it up."
Dr. Herman Oberth, a Nazi rocket engineer who was taken to the US after the war and became one of the fathers of modern spaceflight, said: "It is my thesis that flying saucers are real and that they are spaceships from another solar system.There is no doubt in my mind that these objects are interplanetary craft of some sort. I and my colleagues are confident that they do not originate in our solar system."
Dr J Allen Hynek, director of the US Air Force's Project Blue Book investigation into UFOs, said: "When the long-awaited solution to the UFO problem comes, I believe that it will prove to be not merely the next small step in the march of science, but a mighty and totally unexpected quantum leap... we had a job to do, whether right or wrong, to keep the public from getting excited."
Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding, commander of RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain: "I am convinced that these objects do exist and that they are not manufactured by any nations on earth."
Ronald Reagan, US President from 1980 to 1988, "I looked out the window and saw this white light.It was zigzagging around. I went up to the pilot and said, 'Have you ever seen anything like that?' He was shocked and he 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 I got off the plane I told Nancy all about it."
Mikhail Gorbachev, the USSR's last head of state: "The phenomenon of UFOs does exist, and it must be treated seriously."
Richard Nixon, US President from 1969 to 1974: "I'm not at liberty to discuss the government's knowledge of extraterrestrial UFO's at this time. I am still personally being briefed on the subject."
Dr. Walther Riedel, research director at the Nazi rocket research establishement at Peenemunde: "I am completely convinced that UFOs have an out-of-world basis."