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The 1954 French flap:

The index page for the 1954 French flap section of this site is here.

October 15, 1954, Sinceny, Aisne:

Reference number for this case: 15-Oct-54-Sinceny. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Reports:

[Ref. lf1:] "LE FIGARO" NEWSPAPER:

Mr. Ruant, farmer with Sinceny (Aisne) was busy, in the night, in repairing his car, in a meadow near his home, when two blows of shotgun were aimed at his direction. Leads crushed on the body of the vehicle, not far from his head. Mr. Ruant pressed charges and the investigation opened at once made it possible to quickly find the author of the two shots, who was a neighbor, Mr. Faisan. The latter last declared to the police force: "I believed, seeing a silhouette evolving in the light of two headlights, being in the presence of a Martian repairing his flying saucer. I went to get my rifle and I shot." Mr. Faisan will be prosecuted, in spite of his good faith.

[Ref. rt1:] "LA REPUBLIQUE DE TOULON ET DU VAR" NEWSPAPER:

MISSED SHOOTING
AGAINST
A FALSE MARTIAN

Lille, October 16 -. Mr. Maurice Ruant, farmer in Sinceny, close to Chauny (Aisne) was close to become the victim of the panic which some of the appearance of the flying saucers or other objects causes. Yesterday evening he busy repairing its car, in meadow near his place, when two blasts of shotgun were fired to his direction. Leads were crushed on the body of the vehicle, not far from his head. Mr. Maurice Ruant pressed charges and the investigation opened immediately made it possible to quickly find the author of the two shots, who was a neighbor of Mr. Ruant, Mr. Faisan.

The latter told the police forces:

"I believed, when seeing a silhouette evolving in the light of the headlights, to be in the presence of a Martian repairing his flying saucer. I went to get my rifle and I shot".

Despite his good faith, Mr Faisan will be prosecuted.

[Ref. vm1:] "VAR MATIN - REPUBLIQUE" NEWSPAPER:

Attack on a false Martian

Lille, 16 October. -- Mr. Maurice Ruant, a farmer in Sinceny, near Chauny (Aisne), was almost the victim of the panic caused by the appearance of saucers and other flying objects. Last night he was busy repairing his car in a meadow near his home, when two shots were fired in his direction. The pellets crashed into the body, not far from his head. Mr. Maurice Ruant filed a complaint, and the inquiry immediately opened, permitted the rapid discovery of the author of the two shots, who was a neighbor of Mr. Ruant. He told the police:

"I thought, seeing a silhouette evolving in the light of the headlights, being in the presence of a Martian repairing his flying saucer, I went to get my rifle and I fired."

Despite his good faith, Mr. Faisan will be prosecuted.

Rene Mante

[Ref. hm1:] "LA HAUTE-MARNE LIBEREE" NEWSPAPER:

MYSTERIOUS CRAFT
continue to furrow the skies of France

Testimonies accumulate coming each day to bring some new detail either on the saucers, or on the flying cigars.

Whereas Saturday evening, several witnesses in good faith, including M. Béranger, Mayor of Saint-Laurent-du-Var, regional councilman, had seen above Nice, a disc of orange color, this time above Cannes, several people observed a luminous machine of yellow color with a green tail. But the most interesting witness was to be brought by an employee of the municipal receipt of Antibes, Mr. Casella, resident of Biot, who, returning home in the evening, was face to face with an enormous mechanical machine measuring 7 to 8 meters in diameter posed in the middle of the road. The witness who was on a bicycle approached the craft until almost touching it but then the latter rose vertically and, with a soft whistling sound, disappeared in the sky.

In the sky of Provence, in Venergues, several vintagers saw a craft of lengthened form like a cigar, one of them stated, and of white and blue color, a second specified. A third vintager indicated that the rocket appeared to emit luminous beams.

At Le Puy, a brilliant object was observed between 17:30 and 18:35 by the weather station of Puy-Chaudrac. The machine looked like a straight ["vertical" probably] olive with at the top, a kind of black antenna. The chief of the station specified that he believed being in the presence of the planet Jupiter, but the sudden disappearance of the object proved that he had made a mistake. The same phenomenon was seen by the center of meteorology of Ruyères (Cantal). One can bring closer these testimonies to that of thousands of residents of Tulle who, towards 15:30, saw in the sky, in the south south-eastern direction, a large shining and motionless dot. It seemed transparent and had the shape of a cylinder whose two ends were conical.

Attack missed against a false Martian

Mr. Maurice Ruant, farmer in Sinceny, close to Chauny (Aisne), failed to be victim of the panic which causes to some people the appearance of the flying saucers or other machines. He was busy repairing hiss car, in a meadow near his home, when two gunshots were fired in his direction. Bullets crushed on the hull of the vehicle, not far from his head. Mr. Maurice Ruant pressed charges and the investigation at once open allowed to quickly find the author of the two shots who was neighbor to Mr. Ruant, Mr. Faizan.

The latter told the police force:

"I believed, when seeing a silhouette moving in the light of two headlights, I was in the presence of a Martian repairing his flying saucer. I went to get my rifle and I shot."

Despite his good faith, Mr. Faizan will be prosecuted.

[Ref. ak1:] "THE AKRON BEACON JOURNAL" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

Man From Mars?

No, It's Maurice

LILLE, France (UP) -- Maurice Ruant got out of his stalled auto to examine the motor and was narrowly missed by pellets from two shotgun shells.

An excited neighbor explained: "When I saw a man standing in the light of a machine I thought it was a Martian repairing his flying saucer."

[Ref. cp1:] "COURIER-POST" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

Man Shoots at Motorist He Thought a Martian

LILLE, France (UP) -- Maurice Ruant got out of his stalled auto to examine the motor and was narrowly missed by pellets from two shotgun shells.

An excited neighbor explained: "When I saw a man standing in the light of a machine I thought it was a Martian repairing his flying saucer."

[Ref. pd1:] "ST.LOUIS POST-DISPATCH" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

FIRED ON AS 'MARTIAN' FOE

LILLE, France, Oct. 18 (UP) -- Maurice Ruant got out of his stalled auto to examine the motor and was narrowly missed by pellets from two shotgun shells.

An excited neighbor explained: "When I saw a man standing in the light of a machine I thought it was a Martian repairing his flying saucer."

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

LILLE, 17. -- Mr. Maurice Ruant, a farmer in Sinceny, close to Chauny (Aisne), was nearly a victim of the panic caused to some people by the appearances of saucers.

Sunday night, he was busy repairing his car in a field near his home when two shots of a hunting shotgun were fired in his direction. The shot crashed into the vehicle body, not far from his head. Maurice Ruant filed a complaint and the investigation opened immediately made it possible to quickly find the author of the two shots; who was a neighbor to Mr. Ruant, Mr Faisant.

The latter told the police:

"I thought, seeing a silhouette moving in the light of two headlights, being in the presence of a Martian repairing a flying saucer. I went for my gun and I fired it."

Despite his good faith, Mr. Faisan will be prosecuted.

[Ref. ra1:] "RADAR" MAGAZINE:

Three candidates to the
MILLION.

SHOOTING AT THE MARTIAN!

[Insert:] "You'll see that one of these days, the Martians will walk in Chauny" one said while laughing to Mr Faisant. And this honest farmer of the Aine had shaken the head with an understanding nod. "I have what it takes to reveive them!", he had retorted simply. Mr. Faisant had reinstated his home. He had sat down near the window, the eyes staring on the shade which drowned the meadows and the wood little by little. Suddenly, he trembled...

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Note:

The "million de radar" was a contest organized by this magazine, who promised a million of old francs (aka cents of modern francs, 7 modern francs being 1 of today's euro) to whoever would deliver a Martian to the magazine, DOA.

[Caption of the 3 pictures:]

]

Mr. Faisant: "We had telked so much about it!"

"I was leaning on my rear wheel, says M. Ruault, when I heard whistling."

"Immediately after, a gunshot! ... My car's body is sifted with bullets."

[Ref. sp1:] "THE STAR PRESS" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

France, Too, 'Invaded' By Martians

Paris (UP) -- A flying saucer epidemic has Frenchmen seeing men from Mars.

The other evening in the Lorraine village of Waldscheid a terrified band of youngsters stampeded homeward to report that the men from Mars had landed in a villager's garden. Womenfolk dashed into the village church, hoping for Divine sanctuary.

The men grabbed scythes, clubs, and the few available guns and marched against the Martians. They marched to the garden. There stood the invaders, half human size, heads glowing motionless. Turned out they were big-blossomed chrysanthemums the resident had covered with brilliant cloth against the frost.

The Standard Model

When the big scale visitation from the outer reaches began, the flying saucer was the standard model. Since then luminous cigars, frying pans, discs, melone and even bells have hurtled through the French skies in increasing numbers.

Within the week the villagers of Momy (Basses-Pyrenees) took to the fields with makeshift weapons to deal with a flying saucer freshly arrived. They found a hollow pumpkin with a candle burning inside.

Two nights earlier a farmer in the Bordeaux area stopped to repair his car on a lonely road, and narrowly missed death when a resident mistook him for a celestial invader and fired both barrels of his shotgun at him.

Ten days ago Gilbert Lelay told his parents at Chateaubriant that a little Martian stepped from a flying cigar and readily gave him permission to look at it, but warned him not to touch it.

Near Toulouse, a mechanic, Jean Marty, 43, informed police he saw an orange saucer land near his home. It soon zoomed away into the night, but Marty found two sheets of paper on the ground, covered with cryptic markings which none could deny might be Martian literature.

The weekly magazine Express offered a reward of 10,000,000 Francs ($28.570) to the first person bringing a real live Martian to its office.

The more scholarly newspaper Le Monde, lamenting on the rash of flying saucers, mourned in print for "the days of our well beloved sea serpent."

[Ref. rp1:] REVUE DE LA PENSEE FRANCAISE:

The magazine indicates that in the fall of 1954, a resident of Sinceny fired a rifle at a stopped motorist as he believed to see a Martian repairing his saucer. As the gunman aimed as badly as he reasoned, the pseudo-Martian was only frightened.

[Ref. rc1:] R. COMBALDIEU, DOCTEUR EN DROIT:

R. Combaldieu, Doctor in Law, Substitute of the Attorney General at Court d'Appel of Paris, Member of the Commission d'Etudes Pénal Legislative, published an article entitled "Flying saucers, Martiens and... Criminal law" in the issue of October-December 1954 of the Revue de Science Criminelle et de Droit Pénal Comparé.

He tackles the legal question of whether to shoot at a Martian is an act that can be judged according to the laws.

He notes from the start that that the question may seem to be silly or of science fiction relevance, without practical application, but it is precisely not the case because of Sinceny case.

It seems that the charges pressed against the shooter were not known to him, and since no wound was caused, he evokes as a possibility the attempt at murder, or something of the order of a hunting regulation violation, or that the case could have no qualification, which would exclude charges.

Approaching what the influence of the error can be on the penal responsibility in general, he concludes that the gunner wanted the action but not the outcome of having nearly hurt or killed a man.

He notes that the responsibility for the gunner can be established if it can be demonstrated there was a neglect on his part in the fact of not having checked what he shot at, and that in this case, the error being a negation of intent, charge for intended murder gets excluded.

He notes that there is a real error in this case, because he did not shoot to hurt or kill is neighbor if one believes the reports, but he shot while sincerely believing to be confronted to a Martian, which however does not cancel his penal responsibility.

He notes that the gunner wanted "to kill Paul and killed Peter", but that that is did not happen within an error of shooting, he wanted to kill Peter, so there is still an intent at murder.

This brings logically to a discussion of the obvious question: his attempt at voluntary manslaughter makes sense if he had wanted to kill a human being, but is there any sense in that since he wanted to kill a Martian?

He must indeed be judged for having wanted to kill a Martian, and not for having wanted to kill a man.

This brings the following questions: can it be said that a Martian equates a man whereas it is not known what a Martian is? Can a Martien be equated to a man insofar both are anthropomorphic (we say "humanoid" today)?

He concludes in the negative: "human" comes from homo and is related with humus, or the ground. The human is terrestrial by virtue, in opposition to celestial creatures. The Martien could be pronounced a being, necessarily adapted to the physical conditions of his original environment, and also as an evolved being, with reason and intelligence, insofar he invents and uses spacecraft to come on our planet (not without humour, he notes that it is not reciprocal).

But he concludes: "It nevertheless remains true that any assimilation of the "Martian" with the human would be purely baseless, as it is not proven, and thus without value, in a matter where any argument based on analogy must be banished."

He mentions quotes of Professor Oberth, the inventor of the V-2 rocket, that had been published in the Press in a naive form: Oberth had explained that Martians, or other extraterrestrial beings, are perhaps as different from us than a vegetal of an animal, and the newspapers had thus headlined that according to Oberth, the Martians are vegetal!

From this, he shows that in this legal problem, there is a complete disintegration of the concepts and framework for which our laws had been established.

He condemns the act of the shooter: the existence of "Martians" not being proven yet, even if at that particular time more and more in more people believed in the existence of Martians - which would have been reason for psychiatric intervention a few months earlier - to him the gunner should have thought: "If what I interpret as a Martian has a chance to be a normal human being, I should not shoot before checking."

For the purpose of the discussion, he then takes the business under the angle of a hunting regulation violation. But it would then be necessary to view the Martian as a noxious or dangerous animal, "whereas they appear peaceful and even tender, if one believes some witnesses!" He also evokes the motivation of the shooting, which is not known or is not known to him: is it fear, a defensive reaction against the Martian thought to be dangerous, or is this an attempt to neutralize the Martian, even if it meant to kill him, so as to seize him or it, to get a proof of his or its existence?

Beyond the humorous aspects of the legal discussion of the case, he notes that the shooter, "lacking the most elementary interplanetary courtesy, took the risk, with this ill-considered gesture, to start the most incredible war of the worlds."

[Ref. mc1:] MICHEL CARROUGES:

The author reports in the chapter on the confusions cases at the time of the French 1954 saucers flap that in Sinceny in the Aisne, a serious confusion has resulted in a shooting at a neighbor, according to the newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche for October 17, 1954. The author of the gunshot had stated:

"I believed, when seeing a silhouette evolving in the light of two headlights, to be in the presence of a Martian repairing his flying saucer. I went to get my rifle and I shot."

The concerned Martian was in fact Maurice R., who was busy repairing an ordinary car in a meadow next to his place. Luckily, leads of the shotgun by Mr. F only hit the car.

[Ref. jv6:] JACQUES VALLEE:

Jacques Vallée mentions that that during the 1954 French flap one shot at vagabonds mistaken for Martians.

[Ref. bb1:] GERARD BARTHEL AND JACQUES BRUCKER:

The two authors cite the AFP news release about this confusion:

"Lille, October 18 (A.F.P.). -- Mr. Maurice Ruant, farmer in Sinceny, close to Chauny (Aisne), almost became the victim of the panic that the appearance of the flying saucers or other objects causes to some people. He was occupied repairing his car in the meadow near his residence, when two hunting shots were fired in his direction. The leads crushed on the body of the vehicle, not far from his head. Mr. Maurice Ruant pressed charges, and the at once opened investigation allowed to quickly find the author of the two shots, who lived close to Mr. Ruant: Mr. Faisan, himself a farmer. The latter told the police force:"

"I believed, by seeing a silhouette evolving in the light of two headlights, that I was in the presence of a Martian repairing his flying saucer. I went to get my rifle and I shot." Despite is good faith, Mr. Faisan will be prosecuted."

[Ref. mf1:] MICHEL FIGUET:

Michel Figuet notes in his catalogue of solved Close Encounters:

10.1954
Sinceny
Confusion, E. Zurcher, p. 175

[Ref. dc2:] DOMINIQUE CAUDRON:

Dominique Caudron indicates that in France in 1954 a farmer shot at a neighbor he mistook for a Martian.

[Ref. lg1] LOREN GROSS - UNKNOWN US NEWSPAPER:

Scan

November 2, 1954

French Have Epidemic Of Disks

By Priscilla Buckley

PARIS, (UP). -- A flying saucer epidemic has Frenchmen seeing men from Mars.

The other evening in the Lorraine village of Waldscheid a terrified band of youngsters stampeded homeward to report that the men from Mars had landed in a villager's garden. Womenfolk dashed into the church, hoping for divine sanctuary.

The men grabbed scythes, clubs, and the few available guns and marched against the garden. There stood the invaders, half human size, heads glowing motionless.

Turned out they were big chrysanthemums the resident had covered with brilliant cloth against the frost.

When the big scale visitation from the outer reaches began, the flying saucer was the model. Since then, luminous cigars, frying pans, disks, melons and even bells have hurtled through the French skies in increasing numbers.

Within the week the villagers of Momy (Basses-Pyrenees) took to the fled with makeshift weapons to deal with a flying saucer freshly arrived. They found a hollow pumpkin with a candle burning inside.

Two nights earlier a farmer in the Bordeaux area stopped to repair his car on a lonely road, and narrowly missed death when a resident mistook him for a celestial invader and fired both barrels of his shotgun at him.

Ten days ago Gilbert Lelay told his parents at Chateaubriant that a little Martian stepped from a flying cigar and readily gave him permission to look at it, but warned him not to touch it.

Near Toulouse, a mechanic, Jean Marty, 43, informed police he saw an orange saucer land near his home. It soon zoomed away into the night, but Marty found two sheets of paper on the ground, covered with cryptic markings which none could deny could be Martian literature.

The weekly magazine express [L'Express] offered a reward of 10 million francs ($28.570) to the first person bringing a real live Martian to its offices.

The more scholarly newspaper Le monde, lamenting the rash of flying saucers, mourned in print for "the days of our well beloved sea serpent."

[Ref. dc1:] DOMINIQUE CAUDRON:

In Sinceny (Aisne), a certain Mr. Faisant [sic] shot at a "Martian" who was repairing his saucer, but it proved to be only his neighbor who was repairing his car.

[Ref. dt1:] DIANA G. TUMMINIA:

The author says that when a UFO wave engulfed France in 1954, one man shot at his neighbor because he thought he was a Martian.

[Ref. ud1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that on October 17, 1954, in Sinceny, France, "Close encounter with a an unidentified craft and its occupants. An unidentifiable object and its occupants were observed at close range."

The source is indicated as Carrouges, Michel, Les Apparitions de Martiens, Fayard, Paris, 1963.

[Ref. at1:] SITE WEB "ASSOCIATION ON OFFICIELLE DES TEMOINS D'OVNIS":

REAL STORIES ABOUT THE UFOs

The Martian neighbor

During the Autumn of 1954, France saw a true frenzy of "Martians". Tens of observations are reported each day so that a quasi-hysteria seizes the population. Not astonishing, under these conditions, that one assists to a certain number of more or less dangerous "overflows" of which the most known remains that of Sincery. Seeing a light in front of which a silhouette was moving, M.F. opened fire with a shotgun. Later he told the newspapers: "I believed to be in the presence of a Martian repairing his flying saucer. I went to get my rifle, and I shot". In fact, the extraterrestrial was his neighbor busy fixing his car's engine, headlights lit. A neighbor who really was lucky no bullet hit him.

[Ref. lm2:] "LA MONTAGNE" NEWSPAPER'S WEBSITE:

[... Other case ... ]

In certain areas, the fear takes sometimes dramatic forms. In Sinceny (the Aisne), Mr. Faisan shoots two cartridges at his neighbor who fixes his car: "I believed to be in the presence of a Martian repairing his flying saucer" the gunman says. The victim survives.

[... Other case ... ]

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

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 Sincey [sic] France
19541017 17.10.1954 Sinceny France CE III

Explanations:

Confusion, known as such at the time.

Keywords:

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

Sinceny, Aisne, confusion, martian, humanoid, road, car, saucer, light, gun, law, charges

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross 12 décembre 2004 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross April 24, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Additions [rp1], [ud1].
1.1 Patrick Gross March 18, 2010 Addition [hm1].
1.2 Patrick Gross April 5, 2010 Additions [mf1], [dt1].
1.3 Patrick Gross June 17, 2010 Additions [dc2], [at1].
1.4 Patrick Gross October 22, 2011 Addition [lm2].
1.5 Patrick Gross September 23, 2014 Addition [li1].
1.6 Patrick Gross October 10, 2016 Addition [fa1].
1.7 Patrick Gross November 25, 2016 Additions [lg1], [ub1].
1.8 Patrick Gross January 20, 2017 Additions [vm1].
1.9 Patrick Gross September 18, 2017 Addition [sp1].
2.0 Patrick Gross September 19, 2017 Additions [ak1], [cp1], [pd1].

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