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The 1954 French flap:

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

October 16, 1954, Metz, Moselle:

Reference number for this case: 16-Oct-54-Metz. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Summary:

The regional newspaper Le Provençal for October 18, 1954 reported on page 8 that in Metz, Mr. Hellers had reportedly seen "Saturday" - thus on October 16, 1954 - around 9:25 p.m., "an oblong-shaped luminous craft crossing the sky from east to west at breakneck speed."

These newspapers reported that the object, "orange in color and about the size of a hen's egg, was sliding silently into space, leaving an incandescent trail behind it. The witness evaluated the speed of this machine at about ten times that of a jet plane."

These newspapers added that this testimony had been confirmed by a sentinel of the factional air police station on the height of Plappeville in the suburbs of Metz.

Ufologist Charles Garreau - who was seldom able to identify a meteor - reportedly published later a brief sumary of this sighting in one of his books.

Ufologist Aimé Michel first denied, in 1956, that it was a meteor, but changed his mind in his 1958 book.

Reports:

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

THE SAUCER COURIER (CONTINUED)

An unknown craft gets stationnary at 2 m. of the ground and 100 m of a farmer of Entraigues

A farm labourer also saw the object

Entraigues (C.P.).

Mr. Louis Ollier, farmer in Entraigues, worked, Thursday after midday, in his field, in the district of Malgouverte, with tractor, when, between 17 and 18 hours, he saw a craft appear which seemed to him to have the shape of a lengthened spindle, "which colors, he says, "were clearly those of the rainbow ". The machine, which seemed 8 meters long approximately, was immobilized at a hundred meters of him and at less than two meters of the ground.

Mr. Ollier called a neighbor, domestic at Mr. Poutrot's, who worked not far from there and who also saw the apparatus rising quickly and to move towards Ventoux. They realized at this time that what they had taken for a lengthened spindle was an appreciably circular object. The object besides disappeared quickly.

Metz, Saint-Malo and Issoire overflown by "luminous discs"

Paris (A.C.P.)

The flying saucers once more honoured of their presence the most various areas of France: in Metz, in Saint-Malo, Issoire, the mysterious machines have been seen.

* * *

In Metz, Mr. Hellers claimed to have seen Saturday evening around 09:25 p.m., a luminous machine of oblong form that crossed the sky from East to West at a vertiginous speed. The object, of orange color and the size of a hen egg, slipped silently into space while leaving behind itself an incandescent trail. The witness evaluated the speed of this machine with approximately ten times that of a jet.

This testimony was confirmed by a sentinel of the air police station in faction on the height of Plappeville in the suburbs of Metz.

* * *

In the Ille-et-Vilaine, in Paramé, a plasterer stated to have seen Saturday evening, around 07:45 p.m., two luminous discs which went up and went down in the sky at an extraordinary speed. A third luminous disc seemed to follow a line parallel to the horizon, at a much slower pace than the two others. The discs, while moving away, left behind them a tail similar to that of a comet.

* * *

Lastly, the personnel of the airfield of Issoire-le-Broc and the chief pilot Hebaut, which was in flight, observed a shining craft of circular form which hovered during nearly two hours at very high altitude before moving very slowly towards the West.

[Ref. cpd1:] "LE COURRIER PICARD" NEWSPAPER:

Scan.

Near Chauny

Believing to be in the presence of a "Martian"

A FARMER FIRED
two gunshots at a neighbor

LILLE, October 17. - Mr. Maurice Ruant, farmer in Sinceny, near Chauny (Aisne), almost fell victim to the panic that is caused to some people by the appearance of saucers and other flying objects.

Friday evening, he was busy repairing his car, in a meadow near his home, when two shots from a hunting rifle were fired in his direction. The pellets crashed onto the vehicle body, not far from its head.

Mr. Maurice Ruant complained and the investigation immediately opened made it possible to quickly find the author of the shots, who was a neighbor of Mr. Ruant, Mr. Faisan.

The latter told the police.

"I thought, seeing a silhouette moving in the light of two headlights, that I was in the presence of a Martian repairing his flying saucer. I went to get my shotgun and I fired."

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

Cigars and saucers

The flying saucers once again honored of their presence the most diverse regions of France: in Metz, in Saint-Malo, in Issoire, in particular, mysterious craft have been seen.

In Metz, Mr. Hellers claimed to have seen an oblong luminous craft cross the sky from East to West at breakneck speed. The object, orange in color and the size of a chicken egg, glided silently through space, leaving behind an incandescent trail. The witness estimated the speed of this craft to be approximately ten times that of a jet plane.

This testimony was confirmed by an air police station sentry on the height of Plappeville, in the suburbs of Metz.

In the Ille-et-Vilaine, in Paramé, a plasterer, said he saw two luminous discs going up and down in the sky at an extraordinary speed. A third luminous disc seemed to follow a line parallel to the horizon, at a much slower pace than the other two. The discs, moving away, left behind a tail like that of a comet.

Finally, the staff of the Issoire-le-Broc airfield and the chief pilot Hébaut, who was in flight, observed a brilliant craft of circular shape which hovered during nearly two hours at very high altitude before moving slowly towards the West.

The opinion of an Italian scientist

ROME, October 17. - Many Italians having observed "disks", "saucers", "cigars" etc... flying in the sky of the peninsula, the "Giornale d'Italia" interviewed professor Antonio Eula, holder of the aerodynamics chair at the University of Rome.

This eminent scientist about the possible origin of the so-called spacecraft from other planets, said in particular: "We do not fully know the mysteries of our solar system. Astronautics, when it can be put in practical use, will perhaps allow us to penetrate them. But we already know that beings similar to us cannot exist on the currently known planets. If they exist, they can only be profoundly different. Thus is it absurd to speak of Martians capable of human-like activities."

In response to another question, Professor Eula said he did not believe he was authorized to exclude, in an absolute manner, that it could be "experimental craft intended for military use, and protected by an impenetrable secret." In conclusion, the professor said: "If this last hypothesis corresponds to reality, the time will come when their secret will be revealed, because no secret of a technical nature can be preserved indefinitely."

[Ref. lon1:] NEWSPAPER "L'OISE-MATIN":

Scan

THE SAUCERS CONTINUE
TO PASSIONATE THE OPINION

... and the carousel continues

Contrary to what happened last week, the "flying saucers" did not respect the Sunday rest and showed themselves everywhere, say many testimonies, in Italy, in France where a motorist, mistaken for a Martian, narrowly avoided a discharge of buckshot. It was a farmer from Sinceny, near Chauny, in Aisne, Mr. Maurice Ruant, who almost fell victim to this unfortunate mistake.

He was busy, late in the evening, troubleshooting his car in a meadow near his home when two shots from a shotgun were fired in his direction. The pellets crashed into the body of the vehicle, not far from the head of Mr. Ruant, who lodged a complaint.

The investigation established that the author of these shots was a neighbor, Mr. Faisan, who declared, protesting of his good faith: "I believed, seeing a figure moving 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 fired."

To this incident, which annoyingly illustrates the psychosis of fear created in certain quarters by the "saucers", we must add the many reports indicating these in: Rome, where, it is said, a flying cigar was seen by many inhabitants of the St Jean de Latran district; Metz, where a witness saw his statements confirmed by a sentry at the air police station, at Paramé, in the Ile-et-Vilaine [sic], at the Mont Ventoux observatory, at the Issoire-le-Broc airfield where the observation of a saucer was made, one says, for almost two hours by ground staff and Chief Pilot Habau [sic], who was in flight.

Finally, again in Italy, reports of saucers have come from Varese, near Milan, Turin and Messina.

For Professor Antonio Eula, holder of the aerodynamics department at the University of Rome, "saucers" cannot be piloted by Martians.

"We do not know the mysteries of our solar system thoroughly, he told "Giornale d'Italia." Astronautics when it can be put into practice, will perhaps allow us to penetrate them "But we already know that beings similar to us cannot exist on the planets currently known. If there are, they can only be profoundly different. So it is absurd to speak of Martians capable of human activity."

In response to another question, Professor Eula said, he does not believe he is authorized to exclude, absolutely, that they can be "experimental devices intended for military use, and protected by impenetrable secrecy." In conclusion the professor declared: "If this last assumption corresponds to reality, the moment will come when the secret will be revealed, because no secret of a technical nature can be preserved indefinitely."

[Ref. aml7:] AIME MICHEL:

[... other cases...]

But simultaneously [as in Dijon on October 16, 1954] people saw it at Hurecourt in Haute Saone, that is to say at a point several dozen miles to the right of the trajectory outlined by the preceding sightings, and even at Metz and Plappeville, some 100 miles to the right. Instead of talking of disks, the witnesses evoked a very elongated form.

[... other cases...]

The French Air Force Inquiry Commission, after studying the case [of the October 16, 1954 sightings in the night], concluded that the object was a "slow meteor." The Commission did not take into account the change of direction of the last Paris sighting. To the several witnesses who saw the UFO halt in the sky, the Commission answered: "Optical Illusion," and since this time differentials reported suggested a meteor traveling at an impossibly slow speed (2400 miles per hour), the Commission supposed that the witnesses' watches had broken.

[... other cases...]

[Ref. gqy1:] GUY QUINCY:

Scan.

October 16 [1954]

09:30 p.m. (approximately): Center-East and East of France, Orly (Seine), Metz (Moselle), Montmirey (Jura), Hurecourt (Hte.Saône), Mailly-la-Ville (8 km 500 SSW. Vermenton--Yonne), Moulin? (Allier),: big luminous ball with a tail (slow meteor, speed=3.000 km/h?)

[Ref. aml1:] AIME MICHEL:

Aimé Michel wrote about the October 16, 1954, 09:30 p.m. meteor:

THE TEST OF THE METEOR. October 16, as if it was purposely, a splendid meteor crossed the north of France towards 09:30 p.m.. It was observed on a score of departments by thousands of people, from the Allier to Lorraine and from the Swiss border to Paris. Naturally many witnesses believed to have seen a Flying Saucer and said so. The newspapers printed "Flying Saucer in Orly", or "in Montididier", or "in Metz." But once again the description made by all these weak brains appeared of a remarkable honesty.

[...]

The innumerable gathered testimonys show indeed that even when the witnesses called "Flying saucer" the observed object, their description is identical on 200.000 square kilometres where the visible phenomenon was visible: an "orange ball followed by a trail", a "large luminous ball with a tail", a "flying egg followed by a trail", a "bottle's bottom with a trail of thirty times its diameter", etc. The same phenomenon is uniformly described.

[...]

[Ref. lcn1:] LUC CHASTAN:

The database's author indicates that in Metz in the department of Moselle on October 16, 1954, there was an observation of an elongated object, "having the size of an hen's egg, sliding silently in the sky at a speed five of six times faster than a jet airplane."

The source is indicated as "Alerte dans le ciel by Garreau Charles ** Alain Lefeuvre 1981".

Explanations:

The meteor of October 16, 1954, at 09:30 p.m.

Map.

That October 16, 1954, around 9:30 p.m., it was indeed a large meteor which had caused this series of observations. Ufologist Aimé Michel admitted it in his 1958 book, but in 1956, he and the other pioneer of ufology Charle Garreau had made the mistake of taking the hours of observation reported as being precise to the minute. Taking the earliest and the latest hours, they had thought fit, by applying them to the extreme spots of the trajectory of the "object", to deduce that it had moved at 3,000 km/h, noting that such slowness excluded a meteor.

Michel opposed this reasoning to the explanation by a meteor which would have been given by the Air Force. According to Michel, the Air Force had explained that the witnesses' watches "had broken" (I think they had more wisely explained that the writwatches were not necessarily all set precisely to the minute).

Keywords:

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

Metz, Moselle, night, object, elongated, egg, fast, Hellers, sentinel, police, trail, glowing, orange, silent

Sources:

[----] indicates sources that are not yet available to me.

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross March 1, 2006 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross December 27, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version.
1.1 Patrick Gross December 14, 2019 Addition of the Summary.
1.2 Patrick Gross February 7, 2020 Addition [cpd1]. In the Summary, "The regional newspaper Le Provençal" changed to "The regional newspapers Le Provençal and Le Courier Picard".
1.3 Patrick Gross February 26, 2020 Additions [aml7], [gqy1]. In the Summary, addition of the paragraph "Ufologist Aimé Michel..." In the Explanations, addition of the paragraphs "That October 16, 1954..." and "Michel opposed this reasoning..."
1.4 Patrick Gross May 16, 2021 Addition [lon1].

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This page was last updated on May 16, 2021.