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The 1954 French flap:

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October 14, 1954, La Tour d'Aigues, Vaucluse:

Reference number for this case: 14-oct-54-Tour-d'Aigues. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Summary:

The regional newspaper Le Provençal on page 9 for October 17, 1954, reported an observation of October 14, 1954, near La Tour d'Aigues, in the Vaucluse.

Mr. Gervais Reynier, residing at La Roustidioure, near La Tour d'Aigues, told them: "I was going to the farm on Thursday night with my son when suddenly the little boy started shouting: Daddy, dad, the sun is falling on us! Looking up, I saw in the sky a disc of 6 to 7 meters, with a kind of tail several meters long, having hastened to the place where I it seemed to me to have seen the strange machine land, I found nothing."

Still moved by what he had just seen, Mr. Reynier added: "I admit that I was a little afraid, and my son was sick because of this."

The newspaper stated that this testimony was confirmed by several people who saw the object at different places.

In 1979, the "skeptical" ufologists Gérard Barthel and Jacques Brucker noted for this case on October 14, 1954: "La Tour d'Aigues - 84 - twilight: investigation, sphere of fire plus trail."

They gave the description in the newspaper, and indicated that during their conversation with the witness, a friendly farmer from La Tour d'Aigues, he told them that this sphere of fire was bigger than the full moon, it had seemed to him that it had landed in his vineyard and had gone out. They specify that this took place the same day as the case of Biot and that they found in ufological catalogs not less than 19 observations of the passage of a big meteor in the department of Gard, Vaucluse, Bouches du Rhône, Drôme and Alpes-Maritimes (I found more than 60 reports myself).

Later in 1979, ufologists Michel Figuet and Jean-Louis Ruchon indicated that on October 14, 1954, at La Tour d'Aigues in the Vaucluse, a disk, six to seven meters in diameter, with a sort of tail, had been observed, according to Le Provençal for October 17, 1954.

They commented, elsewhere, that all the observations of 6 p.m. that day obviously related to an object at very high altitude, seen simultaneously from very distant places; which was probably a big meteor according to the descriptions.

However, Michel Figuet then forgot the explanation, in his 1993 book with Henri Julien, "OVNI en Provence". These authors anonymized the witness name, make "rise from the ground", "at some distance", the "very brilliant disc of 6 to 7 meters of diameter". The meteor's trail became "a luminescence of several meters."

Where the witness said that it seemed to him to have seen the disc land, they say he rushed to the place where the disc was posed.

In September 1993, ufologists Gérard Paulhiac and Joël Mesnard, in the ufology magazine Lumières Dans La Nuit #369, showed that they believe that it was a "crash of nothing" case, expression that they use for cases where it is reported that something crashed on the ground, whereas nothing is found when the place is checked.

They repeated the distorted version of Michel Figuet and Henri Julien, and also claimed that this "very brilliant disc of 6 to 7 meters in diameter" was seen "rise from the ground", "at some distance ". They describe what was the meteor trail as "a luminescence of several meters" left behind the disc.

In 1997, it was Jean Sider who took up the case in his book on the French wave of 1954, quoting correctly the text published in Le Provençal, but omitting any explanation or attempt of explanation, although it is clear that he had read the book by Barthel and Brucker; which he criticized abundantly (sometimes wrongly, sometimes correctly) in his book.

Reports:

[Ref. lpl1:] "LE PROVENCAL" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

Flying saucer courier (Continued)

Near la Tour-d'Aigues
The Vaucluse

"Daddy, the sun is falling upon us!"

Looking up, I saw in the sky a disc from 6 to 7 meters provided with a kind of tail of several meters. Having gone in all haste at the place where it had seemed to me that the strange machine had landed, I did not find anything."

And M. Reynier adds: "I acknowledge that I was a little afraid; as for my son, he was sick with it."

This testimony was confirmed by several people who saw the object from different places.

A BALL OF FIRE
IN THE SKY OF THE DROME

Valence (C.P.)

Thursday night a little after 6 p.m., Mr. Jean Gabert, agent of the principal receipt of Valence, returned by car with his young woman, from Saint-Perey when before Grange-les-Valence, they saw at a low height a ball of fire which followed the valley of the Rhone. They both had the impression that the machine flew over Valence. It was a ball of green color with a tail that ended in yellow color. Mr. and Mrs. Gabert saw it well during a few seconds. Then suddenly the unknown object disappeared.

IN THE GARD

Tresques (C.P.)

Thursday, at 05:30 p.m., Mr. Payan Yves, who was plowing his field, Saint Martin district, had the surprise to see passing above him at low altitude a machine of an intense luminosity, leaving a dazzling trail and not making any noise. The object moved at a vertiginous speed from West to East. He alerted Mr. Teissier Raoul who was hunting and both followed its flight until complete disappearance in direction of the east.

A CIGAR
IN CARPENTRAS
DROPPED SPARLES

Carpentras (C.P.)

Thursday evening, around 6 p.m., several people saw from the district of Peyguière, a machine which crossed the sky west of Carpentras. It had the shape of a cigar, shone, and appeared to drop sparks behind.

A LUMINOUS CRAFT
SEEN IN THE SKY
OF FUVEAU

by a schoolteacher and his pupils

Fuveau (C.P.)

Thursday, October 14, at 6:10 p.m., on the ground of basket-ball of "Trente-Gouttes", Mr. Martin, schoolteacher in Fuveau, initiated his pupils and alumni to basket-ball when, in the middle of the meeting, he saw in the sky a luminous machine of lengthened form, whose color reminded that of the glow-worms. The appearance lasted 3 to 4 seconds. According to the distance, the observer thinks that the machine was moving at high speed to fly over Peynier while moving towards Rousset; besides he described a trajectory which disappeared behind the village's bell-tower. This kind of rocket left behind a short luminous sparkling trail.

The pupils who surrounded their teacher also saw for a short moment this "phenomenon".

THE INTERPLANETARY "DIVER"
IS AFRAID
OF THE DOGS

Perpignan (A.F.P.).

M. Damien Siguères 56 years old, retired customs officer, stated to have seen on the road, close to his home, in the suburbs of Perpignan, a large red sphere. A tall man came out of it, dressed like a diver. Having made a tour of his apparatus, the "diver" went back inside hurriedly while Mr. Siguères' two dogs were rushing towards him.

The machine then rose without noise and disappeared at an extraordinary speed.

Mr. Siguères was then at about thirty meters of the machine, of which no trace was found on the ground.

[Ref. bbr1:] GERARD BARTHEL AND JACQUES BRUCKER:

The two authors note this case of October 14, 1954:

"La Tour d'Aigues - 84 - twilight: investigation. Sphere of fire plus trail."

Elsewhere in the book they indicate that Mr. Gervais Reynier told:

"I was going to the farm with my son when suddenly the little one started to shout: Dad, dad, the sun falls on us! Looking up, I saw in the sky a disc from 6 to 7 meters provided with a kind of tail of several meters. Going in all haste at the place where it had seemed to me that the strange object landed, I did not find anything."

They indicate that at the time of their conversation with the witness, a sympathetic farmer of La Tour d'Aigues, he specified that this sphere of fire was larger than the full moon, than it had seemed to him that landed in his vine then was extinct. They specify that this occurred the same day as the case of Biot and that they found in the ufological catalogues no less than 19 observations of the passage of a large meteor in the department of Gard, Vaucluse, Bouches du Rhone, Drôme and the Alpes Maritimes.

[Ref. vau1:] "VAUCLUSE UFOLOGIE" UFOLOGY BULLETIN:

THURSDAY OCTOBER 14, 1954 - in the evening

LA ROUSTIDIOURE (near la Tour d'Aigues)

Reference 7

Mr. Gervais R. says: "I went to the farm with my son when suddenly the little boy started shouting: Daddy, daddy the sun is falling on us!" Looking up, I saw in the sky a 6 to 7 meter disc with a kind of tail of several meters too. Having hastened to the place where it seemed to me that I saw the craft land, I could not find anything."

Mr. R. was very frightened, and his son was sick. Several other people reportedly observed the craft from different places.

"Reference 7" refers to "Le Provençal".

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

The two authors indicate that on October 14, 1954 at La Tour d'Aigues in the department of Vaucluse, a disc from six to seven meters in diameter equipped with a kind of tail was observed.

The authors note that all the observations at 6 p.m. that day obviously refer to an object at very high altitude, seen simultaneously from very distant places, which is probably a large meteor according to descriptions.

The source is indicated as Le Provençal for October 17, 1954.

[Ref. jfu1:] MICHEL FIGUET AND HENRI JULIEN:

The two ufologists report that on October 14, 1954, Mr. Gervais R. went to his farm "La Roustidioure" near la Tour d'Aigues.

His summons him, calling "Daddy, the sun is falling upon us!"

Mr. Gervais R. then saw a very shiny disc of 6 to 7 meters in diameter rising from the ground, "at some distance" say the two authors. The disc leaves behind itself a luminescence of several meters.

Mr. Gervais R. rushed towards the site where the disc had been landed and found nothing abnormal there. His son was sick with fear after the observation.

The authors indicate that several people who were at several different points of observation confirmed the testimony of Mr. Gervais R.

[Ref. pmd1:] GERARD PAULHIAC AND JOEL MESNARD:

The authors indicate that on October 14, 1954, in La Roustidioure, La Tour d'Aigues, Vaucluse, Mr. Gervais Reynier was going to his farm Thursday evening with his son, when suddenly the child exclaimed:

"Daddy! Daddy! The sun falling on us!"

Looking up, Mr. Reynier saw in the sky a disk of six to seven meters with a kind of tail of several meters.

He went in haste to where the thing seemed to have landed, but he found nothing.

The son became ill. Several people at different observation points had confirmed the testimony of Mr. Reynier.

The authors indicate that the original source is "Le Provençal" of Marseille, October 17, 1954, page 9.

They comment that a disc from six to seven meters "that 'lands' in disaster?" or falling without anyone can discover any debris is still something weird.

[Ref. jsr1:] JEAN SIDER:

Jean Sider found this case in the newspaper "Le Provençal" of October 17, 1954, page 9, and summarizes it as follows:

On October 14, 1954 in the evening, between Roustidioure and La Tour-d'Aigues, in the Vaucluse, Gervais Reynier and his son made the observation of the landing of a UFO, because of which the son, upset, fell sick.

He quotes the newspaper Le Provençal, Marseilles, for October 17, 1954, which writes on page 9: "Mr. Reynier left his firm Thursday evening, with his son. Suddenly the child yelled: "Daddy! Daddy! The sun is falling upon us". Looking up, Mr. Reynier sees in the sky a disc from six to seven meters provided with a kind of tail of several meters. He went in all haste to the place where it seemed to have been landed but did not find anything. The son fell sick from that. Several witnesses placed in different points of observation confirmed the testimony of Mr. Reynier."

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

4130: 1954/10/14 22:00 1 5:32:40 E 43:44:00 N 3331 WEU FRN VCL 6:6

La TOUR-d'AIGUES,FR:SVRL OBS:7M SCR W/GLO-TAIL TAKES OFF:1 OBS SICK:/r30p167

Ref#217 Jean SIDER: Le DOSSIER 1954 (2 vol.) Page No. 106 : MOUNTAINS

[Ref. lcn1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates in his database that in the Vaucluse at La Tour d'Aigues on 14 October 1954 at an unknown hour, "a father and his son its [sic] on the way to the place called Ristidioure [sic]. Suddenly the child shouts that the sun is falling upon them. The father looks up and observes a disc from six to seven meters in diameter equipped with a kind of tail. The witness runs towards the place were the object seems to have landed but nothing is visible. The son fell sick following the adventure. Several other witnesses confirm the observation."

The source is noted "Lumières dans la Nuit".

[Ref. uma1] "UFOMANIA" UFOLOGY MAGAZINE:

[...] On October 14, 1954, at La Tour d'Aigues (Vaucluse), Gervais Reynier went to his farm with his son, when suddenly the child screamed that the Sun was falling on them. The father saw then in the sky a disc of 6 to 7 meters with a tail of several meters. If a UFO in the effigy of the star could play, in Fatima, the role of the Sun, it was necessary, given the low cloud cover at this precise moment in the sky, that the true Sun was hidden at the view of the spectators so that they can take the UFO for the solar star. [...]

Explanations:

Probably the 06:13 p.m. meteor that day.

Here we have all the signs of mistakes sometimes made by proponent ufologists about meteor observations:

The time given as 05:30 p.m. or 05:45 p.m. must not be taken as perfectly accurate; a farmer in 1954 did not necessarily walk with a wristwatch, and "05:30 p.m." is thus not incompatible with the meteor of 06:13 p.m.. It should be noted that the hour of passage of the meteor was the hour of the passage of the sun under the horizon, the fall of the night, perfectly opportune moment for the return of the witnesses to the farm.

The size of the disc of "6 to 7 meters" obviously means nothing, only an angular or relative size, like that obtained by Barthel and Brucker ("bigger than the full moon" so significantly a little higher than the size of the Moon or a bit more 0.5 degrees, makes sense. A visual witness cannot give an exact size to an unknown phenomenon at an unknown distance.

The disc was not seen "rising from the ground" according to the primary source. We do not know where that came from. But even if a report had said that, it is clear that a meteor arriving from the horizon may appear to "rise from the ground".

We are told that it rose from the ground "at some distance". This does not mean anything, obviously.

It had seemed to the witness that the disc had landed and then extinguished. That a witness gets that impression for a meteor passing behind the horizon is not an aberration. What is absurd is to change what the witness said to be his impression, to a fact.

Observations of meteors, when correctly reported in the press, obviously mention the characteristic trail of meteors (sometimes in the form of "it was cigar-shaped"). The mere presence of a trail should prompt any ufologist to at least consider the possibility that a meteor might be the explanation.

That Mr. Reynier's son "was sick" should not be mistaken for an "effect" caused by the "UFO" beyond emotion or fear, perfectly natural for the child.

Keywords:

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

Tour d'Aigues, Vaucluse, La Roustidioure, Gervais Reynier, multiple, disc, tail, trail, shiny, luminous, landing, fright

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross October 21, 2004 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross April 8, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Additions [lcn1].
1.1 Patrick Gross October 17, 2016 Addition [lpl1].
1.2 Patrick Gross November 5, 2016 Addition [pmd1].
1.3 Patrick Gross July 17, 2019 Additions [lhh1], [uma1], Summary. Explanations changed, were "Probably the 06:15 p.m. meteor."
1.4 Patrick Gross August 10, 2019 Addition [vau1].

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This page was last updated on August 10, 2019.