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The 1954 French flap:

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October 11, 1954, Fonfrède, Loire:

Reference number for this case: 11-oct-54-Fonfrede. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Summary:

An observation of October 11, 1954, near Fonfrède, Loire, was reported by the Press on October 13 and 14, 1954.

The witness was Mr. Baptiste Jourdy, 30, from Jonzieux, a small village on a high wooded plateau 25 kilometers south of Saint-Etienne.

Around 04:15 in the morning, Baptiste Jourdy was driving Mr. Vallat's milk truck to Saint-Etienne, after picking up milk in the area.

Arriving near the junction of the road Chambon-Feugerolles, before the hamlet of Fonfrède, or at Saint-Genest-Malifaux, his engine suddenly stalled and his headlights extinguished. The driver instinctively braked, shifted the gear lever to neutral, put on his handbrake, and exited his truck.

As a good mechanic, he had immediately thought of a possible loosening of a battery cable; which would have logically explained this double breakdown of light and engine. Groping under the hood, he was checking the cables, when he suddenly saw in the sky, above him, a huge glow that moved in the sky, perpendicular to the road.

This glow was at a rather important height, but under the clouds ceiling, and was moving away at a great speed.

It was apparently a luminous ball, multicolored, quite big, spinning, going towards the Quizay in a plume of blue and pink light.

He followed it with his eyes for a few seconds, maybe a minute.

When he recovered from his stupor, he noticed this extraordinary thing: the headlights had come back, without him having maneuvered the switch. The cables and ropes of the batteries were intact; and the engine responded to the first solicitation of the starter.

Reports:

[Ref. afp1:] A.F.P. - U.S.A.F.:

Near St. Etienne, France, October 10, 1954

Lyon, Oct. 13, 1954 (A.F.P) -- Could flying saucers be responsible for ignition failures of automobiles on the road of France?

This question is suggested by the statement of a truckdrier printed in the newspaper "Le Progrès de Lyon", an abstract of whch is given here.

A strange adventure happened Sunday night to Mr. Baptiste jourdy, a "solid" and calm man of about 30, who drives a milk pick-up truck every night to St. Etienne.

At about 4 a.m., under an overcast sky, M. Jourdy was driving across an uninhabited plateau, when his motor suddenly stalled and his headlights went out. The young man stopped his vehicle, and got out to examine the battery for the cause of the ignition failure. All of a sudden, he saw above him an enormous multicolored "thing", moving in the sky perpendicularly to the road. The witness could not be definite about the shape of this light, which receded at great speed beneath the cloud ceiling. The passage of the object lasted for some seconds, possibly a minute. When the young man recovered from his amazement, he noticed that, without his having touched anything, his headlights were on again. The motor started at the first trial. The battery cables were intact. (Transl. by A. Mebane)

[Ref. lqh1:] "LE QUOTIDIEN DE LA HAUTE-LOIRE" NEWSPAPER:

[...]

DAILY SAUCERS

ENGINES STALL AND HEADLIGHTS DIE OUT IN THE PASSING OF STRANGE THINGS

A strange adventure, in the night of Sunday to Monday, occurred to Mr. Baptiste Jourdy, of Jonzieux, a small village nested on a timbered high mesa, 25 kilometers in the south of St Etienne. Mr. Baptiste Jourdy was driving the milk truck of Mr. Vallat to St Etienne, after having carried out the collecting in the area towards 04:15. As he arrived near the junction of the road of Chambon-Feugerolles, before the hamlet of Fonfrède, the engine stalled suddenly and the headlights died out. Instinctively, the driver slowed down, put the gear lever in the stop position, tightened the handbrake and went out. As a good mechanic, he had immediately thought of a possible loosening of a battery cable, which would have logically explained this double breakdown of light and engine. As he was trying to feel things under the cap, he checked the cable... Suddenly, he saw in the sky, above him, an enormous gleam that moved in the sky, perpendicular to the road. The gleam was at a rather high altitude, but under the ceiling of the clouds and moved away at high speed. He followed it with the eyes a few seconds, perhaps a minute, he does not know. When he recovered from his stupor, he noted that - something even more extraordinary - the headlights had re-ignited, without him operating the switch. The cables and the cords leading to the battery were intact and the engine answered the first request of the starter.

[...]

Full article here.

[Ref. det1:] "THE DERBY EVENING TELEGRAPH" NEWSPAPER:

Lyon, Oct. 15, 1954 (AFP) -- Could flying saucers be responsible for ignition failures of automobiles on the roads of France?

This question is suggested by the statement of a truck driver printed in the newspaper "Le Progrès de Lyon", an abstract of which is given here.

A strange adventure happened Sunday night to M. Baptiste Jourdy, a "solid and calm" man of about 30, who drives a milk pick-up truck every night to St. Etienne. At about 4 a.m., under an overcast sky, M. Jourdy was driving across an uninhabited plateau, when his motor suddenly stalled and his headlights went out. The young man stopped his vehicle, and got out to examine the battery for the cause of the ignition failure. All of a sudden, he saw above him an enormous multicoloured "thing", moving in the sky perpendicularly to the road. The witness could not be definite about the shape of the light, which receded at great speed beneath the cloud ceiling. The passage of the object lasted for some seconds, possibly a minute. When the young man recovered from his amazement, he noticed that, without his having touched anything, his headlights were on again. The motor started at first trial. The battery cables were intact.

[Ref. aml1:] AIME MICHEL:

Aimé Michel notes that towards the end of the night between the 10th and the 11th of October 1954, Jean-Baptiste Jourdy, aged 30, was driving the truck that he uses daily to collect milk in the area. Around 04:00 in the morning, the night was still black and the truck used its headlights. The sky was covered by a low clouds layer.

At 04:15 A.M., while he had arrived close to the junction of the road of Chambon-Feugerolles, before the hamlet of Fonfrède, the engine of the truck stalled and the headlights died out. Mr. Jourdy slowed down, stopped, tightened the handbrake and stepped down of the truck thinking that he will find a disconnected or loosened power cable. But at the very moment when he put foot on the ground, he sees a multicoloured luminous object apparently rather large moving perpendicular to the road under the clouds layer, passing in front of him and moving away at high speed. Mr. Jourdy follows the object with the eyes during one minute approximately and when he recovers from his amazement he notes that the headlights of the truck are lit again. He goes up in the truck, actuates the starter and the engine restarts normally, so he resumes driving.

[Ref. mme1:] "MECCANO MAGAZINE":

Scan

A curious celestial object extinguishes the headlights of the cars.

1959. - A Frenchman, Aimé Michel, publishes a book, Mystérieux Objets Célestes (Arthaud pub.). Without any fuss, he exposes his ideas. First he begins by citing observations and then deduces a troubling hypothesis.

At the moment when he was about to enter the hamlet of Fonfrède (Haute-Loire), the truck of M. Baptiste Jourdy stopped abruptly. Instinctively, the driver braked, stopped, locked his brake and went down to check his engine. It was 4 o'clock in the morning and the sun had not yet risen that 11 October 1954.

But barely descended Mr. Baptiste Jourdy perceived that a multicolored luminous object was spinning over his head. He could observe it for a minute, until the "phenomenon" disappeared in the night behind large clouds. When he turned to his truck, he noticed that the headlights, which at the moment of the breakdown had died out, now shone with a thousand lights.

[Ref. mcs1:] "MICHEL CARROUGES":

The author indicates that on October 11, 1954 in the Haute-Loire, "Jourdy. Car. Overflight of a multicoloured luminous object. Stalled engine. Extinct headlights. (M. II, p.294)".

[Ref. ask1:] A. SCHOPICK:

Scan

On Monday, three days later (Oct. 11), Mr. Baptiste Jourdy, a 30 year old milk truck driver, was crossing the mountains south of St.-Etienne, on his daily collection at 4:15 A.M. It was still completely dark, the sky very overcast. As Mr. Jourdy approached the fork where the road to le Chambon-Feugerolles branches off, near the village of Fronfrede, the truck's engine suddenly died and the headlights went out. He stopped immediately, put the engine in neutral, set the handbrake, and got out to inspect the ignition. Immediately after getting out, he noticed overhead, flying under the cloud cover and at right angles to the road, a glowing multicolored object, apparently of considerable size. It crossed the road an front of him and disappeared into the distance at high speed. After watching for a minute or two and recovering from his amazement, he saw that his headlights were shining again. He climbed back into the truck and tried the starter; the engine turned over normally and he continued on his way. 4.

4 Ibid [aml1], p.157

[Ref. jve5:] JACQUES VALLEE:

300 -004.32621 45.39600 11 10 1954 04 15 101 FONFREDE F 151133 C** 267

[Ref. jve3:] JACQUES VALLEE:

October 11, 1954, 04:15. Fonfrede (France):

Baptiste Jourdy, who was making the daily collection of milk, was suddenly stopped as the engine and headlights of his truck died. He got out and saw a light above him. After it crossed the road, the headlights came on again and he was able to restart his truck. (Libération, le Parisien, Oct. 14, 1954).

[Ref. jve2:] JACQUES VALLEE:

The author indicates that on October 11, 1954, a man who daily collected milk, in Fonfrède in the Loire, stopped suddenly when the truck's engine stopped and the headlights died out at the same time. He came out and saw a light in the sky, above him. When it finished crossing the road, the headlights functioned again and the witness could start his truck again.

[Ref. prn1:] PETER ROGERSON - "INTCAT":

407 ll October 1954 0415 hrs

FONFREDE nr. CHAMBON FEUGEROLLES (FRANCE) Baptiste Jourdy (30), who was making his daily milk collection, was stopped as the engine and headlights of his truck died. He got out to look at the engine, and saw a large, multicoloured object cross the road at right angles. After it had passed, the headlights came on again, and he was able to restart his truck. (M232; Liberation, Parisien, 14 Oct 54; Michel II, 157, Cramp, 212)

[Ref. fru1:] MICHEL FIGUET AND JEAN-LOUIS RUCHON:

These two authors and ufologists indicate that on October 11, 1954 at 04:45 of the morning, the witness, a milk-delivery driver, was driving his truck in Saint-Genest-Malifaux in the department of the Loire at the south of Saint-Etienne, while the night was still black, the sky clouded and overcast, with the headlights of its truck perforating the darkness.

Whereas the witness arrived at the junction of a road which leads to Chambon-Feugerolles, his motor stalled and the headlights died out.

Instinctively, the witness halted his vehicle, tightened the handbrake went down while thinking that a battery wire might have disconnected.

The witness got out of his truck and then saw a rather large luminous and multicoloured which evolved below the cloud layer, slipping by in direction of Quizay in a plume of blue and pinkish light.

When he recovered from his amazement, he noted that the headlights were re-ignited. He went up in his truck and in actuated the starter. The motor restarted normally.

The sources are indicated as case 232 in the Vallée catalogue; Aimé Michel in "A Propos des S.V." page 196; an article about the Lumières Dans la Nuit magazine in Le Progrès; Libération and Le Parisien Libéré for October 14, 1954.

[Ref. mrr1:] MARK RODEGHIER:

Scan

Oct. 11, 1954 0415

FRANCE , Fronfrede : Mr. Baptiste Jourdy, a 30-year-old milk truck driver, while out on his normal route, had his engine suddenly die and the headlights go out. He got out to inspect his vehicle and saw overhead a glowing, multi-colored object. It crossed the road at right angles and disappeared in one to two minutes. His headlights came back on and the engine could then be restarted. (Flying Saucers and the Straightline Mystery, Michel)

[Ref. mft1:] MICHEL FIGUET:

This ufologist noted:

CASE Nr CLASSIFICATION DATE HOUR PLACE ZIP CODE CREDIBILITY SOURCE
173 CE0-2 11 10 1954 Fonfrède 4250 D6 NI-P, OVNI: p.147

[Ref. lgs1:] LOREN GROSS:

October 11th. Jonzieiux [sic], France. (4:00 a.m.)

A milkman making his rounds at 4:00 in the morning, M. Baptiste Jourdy, had his headlights go out and his truck's engine stop for no apparent reason. Immediately thereafter a brilliant body crossed the sky beneath the clouds at right angles to the road. Within seconds after the UFO passed out of sight, the headlights:".. .went back on by themselves." 101. Also, the truck's engine turned over normally when M. Jourdy turned the key. 102.

  • 102. Michel, Aime. "Flying Saucers in Europe." Fate. January 1958. p.76.
  • 102. Ibid.

[Ref. jsr1:] JEAN SIDER:

Jean Sider indicates that on October 11, 1954 at 04:15 in Fonfrède, the Loire, Mr. Baptiste Jourdy drove by truck in the south of Saint-Etienne when, at the Chambon-Feugerolles junction, the engine stalled and the headlights died out. He climbed down to check the battery wires and then observed a luminous and "quite large" multicoloured ball which evolved below the clouds layer to go to Quizay in a plume of a blue and pink light. Recovered from his surprise, the witness notes that the headlights were on again, he climbs in his truck, actuates the starter, the engine functions normally again.

Jean Sider wonders what "quite large" is supposed to mean, and indicates that the source is "Figuet" page 147.

[Ref. lhh1:] LARRY HATCH - "*U* COMPUTER DATABASE":

4060: 1954/10/11 04:10 12 4:23:20 E 45:20:40 N 3333 WEU FRN LRE 4:8

FONFREDE,FR:MILKTRUCK EMEs:NLT PASSES >>NE:NOW ENGINE+LIGHTS OK:/r79p3

Ref#138 GROSS,L.:UFOs a HISTORY-1954/10 bks Book # 9 Page 34 : ROAD+RAILS

[Ref. djn1:] DONALD JOHNSON:

Donald Johnson indicates that on October 11, 1954, in Fonfrede, near Chambon Feugerolles, France, Baptiste Jourdy, who was making the daily collection of milk, was suddenly stopped as the engine and headlights of his truck died. He got out and saw a light above him. After it crossed the road, the headlights came on again and he was able to restart his truck.

The source is indicated as Jacques Vallee, Passport to Magonia: A Century of Landings, p. 224.

[Ref. lcn1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the Loire in St Genest Malifaux, on October 11, 1954 at 04:15 hours, the witness drives in the south of Saint-Etienne, the night is still black, the sky covered and low, the headlights of his truck perforate the darkness. As he arrives at the junction of a road which leads to Chambon-Feugerolles, his engine stalls and the headlights die out. Instinctively, the witness puts the gear to null, brakes and goes down thinking of a battery wire that may be disconnected. The driver gets out of his truck and then sees a luminous and multicoloured ball, rather large, evolving below the cloud cover, it slips by in direction of Quizay in a plume of blue and rosy light. Recovered from the surprise, he notes that his headlights were re-ignited, he goes up in its truck and actuates the starter, the engine restarts normally.

Luc Chastan indicates that the source is "Ovni, Premier dossier complet... par Figuet M./ Ruchon J.L. ** éd. Alain Lefeuvre 1979".

[Ref. jbu1:] JEROME BEAU:

Jerome Beau indicates that on October 11, 1954, at 04:15 in Fonfrède, France, close to Chambon-Feugerolles, Baptiste Jourdy, who does the daily collecting of milk, is suddenly stopped when the engine of his truck fails, as well as the lights. He goes down, sees a light above him. After it crossed the road, the headlights re-ignited, and he starts again his truck.

Jérôme Beau indicates as sources "Libération, Le Parisien, October 14, 1954."

[Ref. mps1:] MICHEL PADRINES:

Michel Padrines indicates that on October 11, 1954, at 04:15 in Fonfrède, France, close to Chambon-Feugerolles, Baptiste Jourdy, who does the daily collecting of milk, is suddenly stopped when the engine of his truck fails, as well as the lights. He goes down, sees a light above him. After it crossed the road, the headlights re-ignited, and he starts again his truck.

Michel Padrines indicates as sources "Libération, Le Parisien, October 14, 1954."

[Ref. uda1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that on October 11, 1954, at 04:15 in Fonfrede, France, a car failed as UFO crossed road. Baptiste Jourdy, who was making the daily collection of milk, was suddenly stopped as the engine and headlights of his truck died. He got out and saw a light above him. After it crossed the road, the headlights came on again and he was able to restart his truck.

The source is indicated as "Vallee Magonia Database".

[Ref. nip1:] "THE NICAP WEBSITE":

*Oct. 11, 1954 - In Fonfrede, near Chambon Feugerolles, Loire, France, Baptiste Jourdy, who was making the daily collection of milk at 4:15 a.m., was suddenly stopped as the engine and headlights of his truck died. He got out and saw a light above him. After it crossed the road, the truck headlights came back on again and he was able to restart his truck. (Sources: Aime Michel, Flying Saucers and the Straight Line Mystery, p. 157; Jacques Vallee, Passport to Magonia: A Century of Landings, p. 224, case # 232).

[Ref. lps1:] "LE PAYS" NEWSPAPER:

When the aliens land in the Loire

They crossed the Loire sky within a few seconds but still feed the conversations. Figment of the imagination, astronomical hazard proven events or presence of curious visitors, the mysteries remain.

The UFO phenomenon is not new. Any time, any place, writings telling puzzling observations were kept. For proof, NASA published in 2014 a report on UFO reports by the Romans, headlined unidentified flying objects in classical antiquity.

And the Loire is no exception to the rule. On October 11, 1954, in Saint-Genest-Malifaux, a delivery driver said he saw in the sky a huge multicolored glow, moving away at high speed and moving through the cloud. Another witness, that of a young motorcyclist in Roanne on December 14, 1979: he reported seeing six oval objects, very bright; which moved quickly in the sky, training threes.

Hoax in Feurs

If these two cases are unexplained, many UFO observations, in the department, were quickly resolved. The witnesses were undoubtedly in good faith, but what they took to an unidentified flying object was something else. This was the case in Saint-Just-Saint-Rambert on July 25th 2009. Towards 7 p.m., several people watched the passage of a white object moving silently in the valley, with a regular speed and height. The object suddenly gained altitude, sped and disappeared immediately into the sky. Strange, indeed. Yet this UFO was probably a weather balloon.

Other observations find their explanation through astronomy, like that of 13 August 1998 in Saint-Chamond. One family said they saw a very bright stationary object which emitted red lights, green and yellow. The next day, an enlightened astronomer explained that it was actually the star Antares, which by its low position on the horizon, was prone to chromatic and luminous distortions.

Finally, some observations can result from a simple hoax like that of September 15, 1954, in Feurs. A group of four Saint-Etienne residents, immobilized by a breakdown on a country road, saw an object shaped like an egg, with a red shell, that landed near the place where they were. They saw coming down from the "spacecraft" a little creature with the appearance of Hitler who fled when he saw them?! It was of course a joke having the great wave of French UFO in 1954 as frame.

Both troubling to Montbrison

In Montbrison, one finds traces of two troubling observations. The first of April 26, 1970: five witnesses observed for at least ten seconds a white ovoid object whose path was complex and regular. The second took place a few months later, on 9 September 1970, a witness observed a spot moving among the stars. A second person scanned the same object with binoculars and certified that it was not a plane...

Finally, more recently, a UFO was filmed in Riorges at the end of July 2013 and the video was posted on the YouTube website on August 5, 2013. This video gives everyone the opportunity to make his own opinion... always keeping in mind that a UFO remains an unidentified flying object that is not necessarily synonymous with aliens?!

Source. "The new mysteries of the Loire" Philippe Marconnet, De Boreas publisher in 2011.

Ségolène Perret

[Ref. ubk1:] "UFO-DATENBANK":

This database recorded the case 10 times instead of one:

Case Nr. New case Nr. Investigator Date of observation Zip Place of observation Country of observation Hour of observation Classification Comments Identification
19541009 09.10.1954 Jonzieux France NL
19541011 11.10.1954 Chambon Fronfrede France CE II
19541011 11.10.1954 Fronfrede France CE II
19541011 11.10.1954 Fronfrede France CE II
19541011 11.10.1954 Fronfrede France CE II
19541011 11.10.1954 Fronfrede France CE II
19541011 11.10.1954 Fontfrede France
19541011 11.10.1954 Fontfrede France CE II
19541011 11.10.1954 St. Etienne France CE II
19541011 11.10.1954 Fronfrede France CE II

[Ref. prn2:] PETER ROGERSON - "INTCAT":

October 11 1954. 0415 hrs.

FONFREDE (LOT ET GARONNE : FRANCE)

Baptiste Jourdy (30) was making his daily milk round in the mountains south of St Etienne, when, as he approached the cross-roads to Chambon and Feugerolles his truck engine and headlights died. He stopped and dismounted to see, flying under the clouds overhead, at right angles to the road, a large glowing, multi-coloured object, which crossed the road in front of him, then went into the distance at speed. Jourdy now saw that his headlights were on again, and he could re-start the truck.

Michel 1958b p158

Vallee Case 232 citing Liberation + Le Parisien both 14 October 1954

Cramp 1966 p212

Gross 1954. citing Le Quotidian [sic] de Haute Loire 14 October 1954.

Evaluation - LQ actually states that the light was at rather high altitude.

[Note 1: "Gross 1954" was supposed to indicate my web page, but no URL was provided, and my page was certainly not just a quote of Le Quotidien de la Haute-Loire!]

[Note 2: "LQ" actually did not state that the light "was at rather high altitude"; it stated that the light light was "at rather high altitude but below the cloud ceiling." It may be an illusion of the witness, but is it fair to knowingly censor information that would rather go against a "skeptical" explanation?]

Explanations:

There are three "Fonfrède" in France; the correct one is not in the Lot-et-Garonne but in the Loire department, since Saint-Genest-Malifaux and Saint-Etienne are mentioned to be in the proximity.

Above:
The cited places.

The gleam or ball may be a meteor.

It may have appeared as a gleam, as stated by the witness, rather than a ball of fire, precisely because it would have been above the cloud ceiling.

I plan to, soon:

- Check the other cases of the day that would confirm this explanation (there is a least one).

- Check whether a big meteor could create electrical systems interferences in vehicles.

Keywords:

(These keywords are only to help queries and are not implying anything.)

Fonfrède, Loire, Saint-Genest-Malifaux, Chambon-Feugerolles, Baptiste Jourdy, failure, vehicle, light, lights, headlights, road, luminous

Sources:

[----] indicates sources which I have not yet checked.

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross April 6, 2003 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross December 19, 2008 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Additions [det1], [uda1], [jsr1], [jbu1], [mps1].
1.1 Patrick Gross December 20, 2008 Addition [lcn1].
1.2 Patrick Gross June 28, 2010 Addition [jve5].
1.4 Patrick Gross October 18, 2014 Addition [nip1].
1.5 Patrick Gross October 26, 2016 Addition [lps1].
1.6 Patrick Gross December 21, 2016 Additions [lgs1], [ubk1].
1.7 Patrick Gross January 31, 2017 Additions [mme1], [ask1], [mrr1].
1.8 Patrick Gross April 29, 2019 Additions [mft1], [lhh1], [prn2], Summary.
1.9 Patrick Gross May 2, 2019 Addition [prn1].
2.0 Patrick Gross June 22, 2019 Addition [afp1].

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May 2, 2019 This page was last updated on June 22, 2019.