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The 1954 French flap:

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October 11, 1954, Oléron Island, Charente-Maritime:

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

Summary:

Among the few truly ridiculous stories that the Press had published widely, without any investigative work, perhaps just to amuse, there was that of the encounter with "two pretty Martian woment" by a so-called teacher in the island of Oléron in the Charente-Maritime.

For example: "Here is the visit that everyone was hoping for: the Martian girls. It was Mr. Martin who was delighted to be the first to welcome them."

"Mr. Martin is currently on vacation in the Island of Oléron, and is resting, watching the waves and pine forests, from the heavy climate of Africa under which he teaches reading and writing to the little blacks. His favorite pastime, the one he made on Monday, will mark his memory in any case. At the turning of the road that blossomed good in autumn, he saw two pretty people whom he identified as Martian women. They measured about 1m70, were booted, gloved, and leather-covered, and Mr. Martin, scarcely recovered from his surprise, tried to begin a conservation, but failed to make himself understood."

"Then the two Martians grabbed his pen and notebook to write incomprehensible signs."

It is concluded that "Mr. Martin kept this manuscript piously."

Reports:

[Ref. ha1:] "LE HAVRE" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

FLYING SAUCERS

(4) Continued from the first page

above Machault a circular craft emitting a fairly bright light, of orange color. The disc, which was about the diameter of a full moon, was moving at relatively slow pace, crossing the sky horizontally.

MELUN. -- Mr. Demarchy, butcher in Seine-Port, and one of his friends, who were traveling by car in Nandy, reported seeing a luminous disc flying at an altitude of about 800 meters. The two butchers left their car and followed the evolution of the craft for about a minute.

QUIMPER. -- Mr. Correntin Couarch, 58-year-old, resident of the village of Elliant (the Finistère), farm worker, saw in the sky, at 200 meters above sea level, a luminous craft which he can not specify the shape and size. He said that, frightened, he had turned off the lantern of his bicycle to avoid attracting attention and walked away quickly. At one kilometer, he said, he looked back and saw the light stopped at ground level.

TOULOUSE. -- In the night from Saturday to Sunday, a baker from Bompas (Pyrénées-Orientales), Mr. Sebelli saw, landed in a street of this village a cigar-shaped object about two feet long, surrounded by iridescent glow.

Mr. Sebelli woke up neighbors who witnessed the fast departure of the craft.

Elsewhere, three young hunters yesterday saw the moves above Gaillac (Aveyron), at high altitude, of a cigar-shaped object in the sky which followed a series of large "S". Each course was accompanied by a noise comparable to a jet of pressurized steam. The craft disappeared suddenly towards the North.

Lastly, in Pont-de-Salars (Aveyron), a person saw in the sky, toward the Couhant, a disc surrounded by a wide luminous circle of an unsustainable shine. Slowly descended toward the horizon, the disc disappeared at breakneck speed.

RIOM. -- During the last night, the police officers Roger Thévenin and Albert Daury, of the Riom urban squad, who were on patrol saw in the sky a cigar-shaped craft that was heading from South to North. Three balls of red fire detached and illuminated for a few moments a part of the sky. The cigar was of a metallic appearance, similar to duralumin.

NANCY. -- During the night from Sunday to Monday, the residents of a farm located a few hundred meters from the village of Moncourt (the Meurthe-et-Moselle), have been excited by an abnormal whistling sound outside. Through the shutters, they distinguished a blinding light that seemed set on a hillside and disappeared soon after by rising vertically. This afternoon, the research undertaken towards the place indicated by the witnesses discovered on a dirt road, traces of intense burn. Samples of rock and dirt were taken to be submitted to experts.

LA ROCHELLE. -- A colonial teacher currently on vacation in the Oléron Island, Mr. Martin, claims to have met two lovely Martian, measuring about 1 m. 70, booted, gloved and helmeted of leather. Both Martians seized Mr. Martin's pend and traced incomprehensible signs in his notebook while trying to make themselves understood. Mr. Martin reportedly carefully kept this manuscript.

[Ref. er1:] "L'EST REPUBLICAIN" NEWSPAPER:

And here are the "Martian girls"!

Lacking conversation skills they give autographs

Paris. -- The saucers are inhabited: dozens of french people say so, and the descriptions roughly match: small hairy men, not mean, but using an incomprehensible language and gifted with an uncommon talent for escaping.

Here is now the visit that everybody hoped for: that of the Martian girls. Mr. Martin had the pleasure to be the first to welcome them.

Mr. Martin is currently on vacation on the Oléron island. He is resting, contemplating the waves and the pine rees forest, from the heavy climate of Africa under which he teaches the little black kids to read and write. Hiking is his favourite passtime. The walk he made on Monday will surely stay in his memory. At the turn of the path that smelled a good autumn air, he saw two pretty girls he identified as Martian. They were about 1m70, were wearing boots, glove and had leather helmets. Mr. Martin, barely recovering from his surpize, wanted to start a conservation, but failed to be understood.

Then the two Martians grabbed his pen and his notebook to trace signs that were incomprehensible all the same.

The interview was over.

Mr. Martin reportedly faithfully kept this manuscript. Probably to show it to his young pupils...

The noisy ballet of the Aveyron cigar

Apart from that, the descriptions of the last twenty-four hours are really lacking originality. Let's note all the same the testimony of Mr. Jean-Pierre Mitto, technical agent. "Coming back from Toulouse with two relatives, he said, I suddenly distinguished in the beam of my headlights two small beings who crossed the road only a few meters above my car, I immediately stopped and, to our great amazement, we saw a big red disc take off from a nearby meadow, of a six meters diameter approximately, rising vertically. The craft disappeared in the sky in a few seconds."

The cigar of Bompas (Pyrénées Orientales) spread a commotion in the village, because it landed in the middle of the street, at midnight, however. It is the country's baker, Me. Sebelli, who saws this. In the Aveyron, three hunters followed, above Gaillac, the moves of a two meters long cigar; which followed in the sky a series of big "S". Each move was made with a noise comparable to a stream of vapor under pressure.

Three balls of fire and a red cigar disturbed the night patrol of two police officers of Riom, Roger Thévenin and Albert Daury, and a luminous disc moving at 800 meters of altitude approximately interrupted the travel of two butchers of Melun, who came out of the car to better see the the phenomenon.

[Ref. fa1:] "FEUILLE D'AVIS" NEWSPAPER:

Two pretty Martian girls give an autograph to a French teacher!

Flying saucers are decidedly not finished surprize us. So far the pilots of these celestial machines were hairy gnomes or unsightly giants who although polite did not give us a particularly encouraging vision of the Martian humanity.

A colonial teacher on leave in Oléron island (Charente-Maritime), Mr. Martin, has just discovered amiable representatives of a world that constantly rains down on us objects, for the less, unsightly. This happy mortal was therefore set the other day, in the presence of two pretty "Martian" girls wearing boots, jackets and leather gloves and shiny helmets. At the sight of these women from Mars and of martial looks, Mr. Martin stepped forward and held out gallantly his notebook and pen to get an autograph. Without any reluctance, they traced hieroglyphics commenting them volubly in an unknown language. Then the "Martians", measuring about 1 m. 70, bowed at the teacher and flew away aboard a saucer...

It is said that Mr. Martin carefully preserved this unique manuscript...

[Ref. im1:] "L'IMPARTIAL" NEWSPAPER

Two pretty Martian girls give an autograph to a French teacher!

Flying saucers are decidedly not finished surprize us. So far the pilots of these celestial machines were hairy gnomes or unsightly giants who although polite did not give us a particularly encouraging vision of the Martian humanity.

A colonial teacher on leave in Oléron island (Charente-Maritime), Mr. Martin, has just discovered amiable representatives of a world that constantly rains down on us objects, for the less, unsightly. This happy mortal was therefore set the other day, in the presence of two pretty "Martian" girls wearing boots, jackets and leather gloves and shiny helmets. At the sight of these women from Mars and of martial looks, Mr. Martin stepped forward and held out gallantly his notebook and pen to get an autograph. Without any reluctance, they traced hieroglyphics commenting them volubly in an unknown language. Then the "Martians", measuring about 1 m. 70, bowed at the teacher and flew away aboard a saucer...

It is said that Mr. Martin carefully preserved this unique manuscript...

[Ref. ss1:] "SAMEDI-SOIR" NEWSPAPER:

[...]

Must we go on?
Do we need to mention the furry being, bearing for it around the size a broad corset of orange color, seen close of a saucer by Mr. Narcy, in edge of the road of Wassy (Haute-Marne), October 5 with 7 a.m.. 15 of the morning?

Or also, the 96 centimeters man, carrying a broad leather belt, shoes and panties, which rose in the airs thanks to two boxes in the shape of pears, placed under each arm. This being was seen by Mr. Lacambre, forestry workman in Saint-Pardoux (the Lot), on Monday, October 4, at 8:10 a.m., and the witness has even determined from the footprints that the small being fitted shoe size 21 [Europe standard]...

What to think of the assertion of Mr. Garreau, who swears "on his honor" to have seen a "flying soup tureen" landed in his property, and two perfectly normal men get down of it, who shook hands with him and cuddled his dog before leaving as quickly as they came...

And this handworker of Lavoux (Vienna), Mr. Roger Barrault who, on Saturday October 9, at 7 p.m., was paralyzed by a luminous ray emanating from a "diver" high of 1 m. 50, fitted with boots, with shining eyes, and carrying a heavy moustache...

And the cigar posed in a clearing, in Diges in Yonne, near which Mrs. widows Gaffroy [sic, Geoffroy] saw a man, from the back, in combination and capped of a khaki bonnet...

And Mr. Jean Labonne, of Bergerac, who, on October 2, at 10 p.m., saw a metal mushroom in his garden. "Who's there?" he shouted when distinguishing a shade. "What do you want from me?" But the shade climbed in the mushroom which rose in the airs at an extraordinary speed.

Even in England which started to worry and almost become indignant that not the least saucer, not the least "cigar" or cigarillo, had made the honor of an appearance to the people which had won the battle of Trafalgar. This gap has been just been largely filled by the sensational revelations of an ornithologist, Mr. Cedric Allingham, who claims to have met, on February 18, in the north of Scotland, not a Martian, but a Venusian with whom he had a lengthy and difficult conversation!

This Venusian measured about 1 m 73, he short brown hair, and his skin seemed tanned. He was completely wrapped in a kind of combination which had the appearance of a armored coat. In his nose were two small tubes joined by a metallic wire... Mr. Allingham managed to touch the saucer whose metal was slightly warm, and he finally took the leave of Venusian, not without having offered him his pen, which the man carefully put in a pocket of his combination and after having taken on the run a photograph of the strange character. This rather fuzzy image is, it should be acknowledged, rather unrevealing. One sees the silhouette of a man seen from the back, walking slightly curved, and that, without a little imagination, could easily be matched with the silhouette of any earthman.

Lastly, with the latest news, it is a true avalanche of Martians that comes falling on our grounds.

In Pournoy La Chétive, in the Moselle, three children were roller skating, when a round machine, of 2.50 meters of diameter, lands close to them. A man left from there, holding in the hand a lit lamp which dazzled the children.

He was dressed of a black cassock "like that of our priest", and after having said some unintelligible words, he flew away in his saucer.

In the island of Oléron, for the first time, it was two Martian girls who put foot on the ground. It is Mr. Martin, a colonial teacher on holiday, who brings their description to us. They carried small boots and leather gloves, as well as brilliant helmets. They were extremely pretty and nicely agreed to sign an autograph to the teacher.

I would take a whole book to bring back all the cases in detail. But all these good people swear to god that they invent nothing. Their entourage echoes that. Him, to invent such a story? A family man known for his respectability... A boy who never drank any drop of alcohol in his life? Come on!

So what? Should it be concluded from this that they really saw strange beings, hairy, helmeted, in boots, speaking an incomprehensible language? Do we need to have faith to this story of mysterious green ray which paralyze human beings? Are their accounts, on the contrary, totally invented? Do they rest on a serious basis exaggerated thereafter?

Nothing, absolutely nothing in the current state of the collected information which was made available to the public allows to conclude in the sense of the authenticity. The investigations were led as if it were a question of "checking" the statements of the witnesses and not in the spirit to eliminate all the assumptions leading to plausible and relatively simple explanations. These assumptions are numerous, they go from the joke to the hallucination not to mention the optical illusion. To eliminate them, one would need extremely thorough police information, doubled, in all the cases, of a thorough psychological investigation.

Then only the facts would remain, logically unexplainable, which would constitute the true file on the Martians. One would then notice that this file is extremely thin, if not non-existent, and that in this business, there is much, far too much, literature.

[Ref. ht1:] "HINDUSTAN TIMES" NEWSPAPER:

Martians Reported Seen Near France

PARIS, Oct. 13. - A schoolmaster on leave from one of the French colonies has capped France's "flying saucer" serial with a tale about two young women from Mars.

M. Martin said he met the two Martians on the island of Oloron off the French Atlantic coast. They were about 5'-7" tall, wore leather helmets, gloves and boots and were very good-looking.

They borrowed his fountain pen and scribbled some mysterious signs on it. M. Martin could not read the writing but he kept it as evidence.

Flying discs, balls and cigars have again been reported everywhere from the Pyrenees to Alsace and back to Britanny in the past 24 hours. - Reuter.

[Ref. qh1:] "LE QUOTIDIEN DE LA HAUTE-LOIRE" NEWSPAPER:

[...]

On his side a colonial teacher currently in holidays in the island of Oléron, Mr. Martin, claims to have encountered in the island two pretty girls from Mars measuring approximately 1,70 meters, wearing boots, gloves and a leather helmet. The two Martians took Mr. Martin's pen, and traced incomprehensible signs on his notebook, while trying make them understandable. Mr. Martin is said to have carefully preserved this manuscript.

[...]

Full article here.

[Ref. hw1:] HAROLD T. WILKINS:

The author indicates that on October 14, 1954, Jules Martin, schoolmaster, swears that in the island d'Oleron, he encountered two pretty ladies from Mars, in leather helmets, gloves and bootees. The ladies from Mars had borrowed his fountain-pen, jotted down some hieroglyphs, then taken off without making a date with him.

[Ref. gb1] GRAY BARKER:

Although they were greatly outnumbered by the saucermen, saucerwomen also were reported. A vacationning schoolmaster, M. Martin, said he met two beautiful young ladies, presumably from Mars, on the Island of Oloron [sic], off the French Atlantic coast. One report had them about four feet tall, another five feet, seven inches, but all dispatches agreed they wore leather helmets, gloves and boots. They borrowed M. Martin's fountain pen and scribbled some mysterious signs for him on a piece of paper, which he had kept as evidence of the interplanetary encounter.

[Ref. 312] GERARD BARTHEL AND JACQUES BRUCKER:

The two authors quote from a text without indicating a source:

"On October 11, in the island of Oléron, Jules Martin saw two "ladies" close to an object on the ground (not described). The entities borrowed Jules' pen to trace some hieroglyphs before leaving."

They add that according to Le Figaro for October 13, the ladies are described as "two pretty Martian measuring approximately 1.70 meters, with boots, gloves, and helmeted of leather."

The authors comment on that Mr. Martin was quite lucky since normally the encountered creatures are rather ugly.

[Ref. mf1] FRANCAT, MICHEL FIGUET:

10/11/1954

Ile d'Oléron

Invention of M. J. Martin who observed two pretty Martian girls. Communication by M. Duquesnoy and B.B. p. 80-81.

("B.B." refers to the book by Barthel and Brucker, see references.)

[Ref. bh1:] ROBERT E. BARTHOLOMEW AND GEORGE S. HOWARD:

The authors indicate that on October 14, 1954, in the island of d'Oleron, Bay of Biscay, France, schoolmaster Jules Martin claims to have encountered two beautiful females from Mars wearing leather helmets, boots and gloves. The Martian girls borrowed his pen to write down hieroglyphs, then left, apparently flying off.

The authors indicate that their source is Harold T. Wilkins, Flying Saucers Uncensored (New York: Pyramid, 1974), page 245, originally published in 1955 by Citadel Press (New York).

[Ref. go1:] GODELIEVE VAN OVERMEIRE:

The Belgian ufologist indicates that on October 11, 1954 in France on the Island of Oléron, Jules Martin, colonial school teacher on vacation, observed two delighful "Martian" females close to an object posed on the ground.

These two women wore ankle boots and leather gloves, as well as brilliant helmets, and before leaving they nicely agreed to give an autograph to the teacher.

The author indicates that the source is Samedi-soir for 10/14/54 as well as J.L. Rivera.

The author specifies that actually the witness would have entirely invented this alleged encounter, and she indicates as source for this explanation "Les apparitions d'humanoïdes" by Eric Zurcher, Alain Lefeuvre publisher, 1979, page 179.

[Ref. ar1:] ALBERT ROSALES:

159.

Location. Island D'Oleron Bay of Biscay France

Date: October 14 1954

Time: unknown

A schoolmaster, Jules Martin, encountered two beautiful females wearing leather helmets, boots, and gloves. They wrote down some symbols on the sand before departing in a silvery flying disc shaped object. No other information.

HC addition # 307

Source: Robert E Bartholomew, quoting Wilkins

Type: B

[Ref. ta1:] "THINK ABOUT IT" WEBSITE:

Location: Island D’Oleron Bay of Biscay France

Date: October 14 1954

Time: unknown

A schoolmaster, Jules Martin, encountered two beautiful females wearing leather helmets, boots, and gloves. They wrote down some symbols on the sand before departing in a silvery flying disc shaped object. No other information.

Source: Robert E Bartholomew, quoting Wilkins

[Ref. jg1:] JULIEN GONZALEZ:

The author indicates that there was an alleged close encounter of the third type on the island of Oléron, in the Charente-Maritime, on October 11, 1954, unknown time:

Jules Martin, a colonial teacher on leave, observed two delighful "Martian women" near an object on the ground. The two "women" were wearing boots and leather gloves, as well as shiny helmets. Before leaving, they agreed nicely to give an autograph to the teacher.

He indicates as source: Samedi-Soir for October 14, 1954.

He adds that in reality the witness "is said to have invented this alleged encounter."

He gives as source of the explanation: Eric Zurcher, Appearances of humanoids, page 179, quoting a communication of Mr. David Duquesnoy.

[Ref. ub1:] "UFO-DATENBANK":

This case was recorded 3 times in this database:

Case Nr. New case Nr. Investigator Date of observation Zip Place of observation Country of observation Hour of observation Classification Comments Identification
19541000 00.10.1954 Oleron France
19541008 08.10.1954 Ile Oleron France
19541014 14.10.1954 Ile Oleron France CE III

Explanations:

Hoax.

The story made the delights of skeptical ufologists. As a negative case, it shows that invented stories can describe extraterrestrials that bear no resemblance to those in more serious reports, and that invented stories lack any continuity and consistency, as the sequence of the arrival and departure of the Martian girls is missing and as the supposed saucer is not even mentioned. The autograph signing too shows how the fantasy tale did not refrain from describing alien behavior that the passing of time makes utterly nonsensical.

There is a ufology school of thought that claims that aliens are too absurd to be aliens and thus all the close encounters of the third kind and UFO sighting reports are to be interpreted as "paranormal" phenomena, or visions of some "other realm" rather that extraterrestrial visits. Such cases are used as examples for this sort of thesis, by ignoring that plain hoaxes can simply be nothing more than plain hoaxes and thus should not be viewed as bona fide reports that require exotic explanations.

This particular case makes me wonder whether it was not simply a story invented by some newspaperman for ridiculisation purpose: "Jules Martin" sounds as a made up name, and it does not seem that anyone ever spoke to this Jules Martin. Also conveniently, Mr. Martin is said to have been on holiday on the Island of Oleron, as if someone wanted to make clear that there would be no success in trying to find him on the island.

Keywords:

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

Ile d'Oléron, Charente-Maritime, hoax, Martian girls, two, occupants, humanoids, writing

Sources:

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

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross April 3, 2004 First published.
0.2 Patrick Gross November 5, 2007 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict..
1.0 Patrick Gross December 20, 2008 First formal version.
1.1 Patrick Gross March 18, 2010 Addition [ht1].
1.2 Patrick Gross September 21, 2014 Additions [ha1], [ta1].
1.3 Patrick Gross October 10, 2016 Additions [fa1], [im1].
1.4 Patrick Gross November 20, 2016 Additions [er1], [ub1].
1.5 Patrick Gross December 9, 2016 Addition [gb1].
1.6 Patrick Gross December 31, 2016 Addition [jg1].
1.7 Patrick Gross February 12, 2017 Addition of the Summary.

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