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The 1954 French flap:

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

October 16, 1954, Wissembourg, Bas-Rhin:

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

Summary:

The regional newspaper L'Alsace for October 19, 1954, reported among other observations that day, that in Eguisheim, on October 16, 1954, at 09:20 p.m., "a flying saucer flew at low altitude, in a burst of sparks, on the Stanislas hospital in Wissembourg. The craft was seen by the local police and residents."

Reports:

[Ref. la1:] "L'ALSACE" NEWSPAPER:

Flying saucers flew over Alsace

After cigars, brooms, barrels, it is now the "melons" that appear in the sky of Alsace. In fact, many people claim to have seen a shining machine on Saturday night, in the form of a melon, and leaving a white-orange trail of two meters, flying over the Bas-Rhin.

This has indeed been observed not only in Strasbourg but also Niederhaslach, Haguenau and Wissembourg. Finally, in the Haut-Rhin, people also saw a craft that seems to be the same crossing the Bas-Rhin sky at a frightening speed.

It is at 07:30 p.m. that the phenomenon was observed for the first time on Saturday night in Strasbourg. Three people near the EDF plant on the street of Hobsheim saw a craft shining with light and in the shape of a bowler hat who spun in the sky.

At 9:35 p.m. nine people were enjoying the warmth of the evening at the bar of the flying club, at the Polygone, also saw the same craft cross the night sky from east to west. The same description was given by a dozen young people in Niederhaslach awaiting the results of the election of the new mayor on the village square. A craft flew over them at 09:35 p.m., at an estimated altitude of very roughly fifteen thousand meters. The assumption that this would be a balloon lit by the last rays of the sun was rejected given the extraordinary speed at which the "flying melon" crossed the sky from one side of the horizon to the other. An investigation was opened by the police. A quarter of an hour before, that is to say, at 09:20 p.m., a flying saucer flew at low altitude, in a burst of sparks, on the Stanislas hospital in Wissembourg. The craft was seen by the local police and residents.

Finally in Haguenau, at 07:30 p.m., a round and red machine crossed the sky from north to south, followed by a bright white and orange trail. At 11:30 p.m., another craft was seen. In Masevaux, seven people who saw between 9:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. a craft that was shaped like a cigar and was followed by a green trail. From the Hundsrück, the "flying cigar was heading to the Sundel."

In Eguisheim, at 10:30 p.m., a few people were surprised by the appearance of a spherical apparatus that at a breathtaking speed and in total silence, crossed the sky in the direction of the Trois-Châteaux.

[Ref. lm1:] "LE MERIDIONAL" NEWSPAPER:


After the saucers and the cigars

A "FLYING MELON" IN THE SKY OF ALSACE

STRASBOURG. -- After the cigars, the brushes, the barrels, it is now the "melons" that make their appearance in the sky of Alsace. Indeed, several people, among them pilots of the flying-club of Strasbourg, claim to have seen Saturday evening a shining machine, having the shape of a melon, and leaving a trace of two meters of white-orange colour, that flew above the area of the Bas-Rhin.

This machine is said to have been seen almost at the same hour in Strasbourg, Haguenau and Wissembourg.

The "melon" evolved at a high altitude and moved according to some in a south-eastern direction, according to the others in an East-West direction.

A similar phenomenon was observed in Niederhalslach (valley of the Bruche).

An unknown apparatus flies over a soccer game

CHAUMONT. -- During more than one hour, Sunday afternoon, the 400 witnesses of the soccer game in Langres could follow the evolutions of an unknown apparatus which was at very high altitude.

Some believed that it was a weather-balloon, which, say the others, appears not very probable, for before disappearing, the machine moved in opposite direction of the wind.

In addition, in Chaumont, a mechanic, Mr. Auguste Poulot and his three children noticed at the beginning of the night the passage of a flying cigar.

The "saucer" seen by the roadmender was only an alibi as he was late for work

DIJON. -- Ten days ago, Mr. André Narcy, aged 47, roadmender, arrived at his work very breathless: "I saw a flying saucer", he claimed.

And he gave much details: a machine of orange color stopped in a field, a small being dressed of a hairy cape, a beautiful vertical take-off of the mysterious apparatus. Moreover Mr. Narcy could show the place. With two of his comrades, Misters Riel and Henry, he went back there. All three stated that indeed the dew had dried on a great surface, that the grass had taken "a milky colour", that one saw traces of "round feet", etc...

In short, questioned again by the gendarmerie, Mr. Narcy comes to acknowledge that he made up this story entirely to excuse his late arrival at work.

A written question to the government

FOIX. -- Following the many appearance of flying machines of unknown type currently reported in all the areas of France, Mr. Rene Dejean, deputy of Ariège (socialist) addressed to the president of the Council a written question asking him among other questions:

- "Whether were created or not a service missioned to gather the existing documentation on this matter and to study the nature and the origin of the said machines.

- "Whether the information currently collected and gathered makes it possible to absolutely exclude the assumption of machines piloted or controlled by living beings of unknown species and origin.

- "Whether the government has, on the contrary, sufficient information to allot the production of these machines to the industry of a foreign Country.

- "Whether in this last case the international agreements signed by France already allowed consultations relating to the use of such machines in a possible conflict.

[Ref. ml1:] "LE MIDI LIBRE" NEWSPAPER:


The flying craft

(Continued from the first page)

ernational treaties signed by France already allowed consultations relating to the use of such machines in a possible conflict".

A "cigar" near Alès

Sunday, around 15 o'clock, Mr. Soulier, shoe-maker in Vézenobres, was hunting in the commune of Bouquet, close to Alès, when he suddenly heard a noise similar to that of a chain going down at the bottom from a well. Intrigued, he looked up and saw 30 meters high only a machine of cylindrical form going down vertically. This "cigar", of a metallic blue, 5 to 6 meters in height, by 3 meters in diameter, carried four crutches at its base.

The craft remained motionless more than one minute, then climbed back vertically to a vertiginous pace. And Mr. Soulier again the same noise of chain heard.

A luminous ball in the Lozère

A resident of Saint-Privat-de-Vallorgue (the Lozere), absolutely worthy of faith, stated he saw a luminous ball from 3 to 6 meters in diameter, which suddenly rose in the sky while changing color.

Mr. Maillet adds that the sphere hovered without any noise and that it left behind a light whitish cloud.

A "melon" in Alsace

After the cigars, the brushes, the barrels, the rugby balls, "melons" are appearing, this time in the sky of Alsace. Several people, including pilots of the Flying Club of Strasbourg, claim to have seen a shining machine, melon-shaped, and leaving a trace of two meters white-orange in color, flying over the area of the Bas-Rhin.

It is said this craft was seeing almost at the same hour in Strasbourg, in Haguenau and in Wissembourg.

Soccer unthroned by the "saucers"

Sunday afternoon, in Langres, the show was not on the ground, but in the sky.

During more than one hour, the 400 attendees of the soccer game managed to follow the moves of an unknown apparatus which was at very high altitude. Some believed that it was a sounding-balloon but, others say, it does not look very likely, because, before disappearing, the craft moved in opposite direction of the wind.

[Ref. am1:] 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. fr1:] MICHEL FIGUET AND JEAN-LOUIS RUCHON:

The two authors report that in Wissenbourg in the department of the Bas-Rhin, on October 16, 1954, several people saw a shining machine having the shape of a melon and leaving a trace of orange white color.

The source is noted "La Montagne for 10/19/54".

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

The two authors note this case of October 16, 1954:

"Wissembourg - 67 - 09:20 p.m.: no investigation. Enters in the category of the sparse cases."

Further in their book, they claim that "the few serious investigators" who had admitted the fact that it was a meteor which had generated this type of observations were the technicians of the scientific office of the Air Force.

[Ref. cv1:] CHRISTIAN VALENTIN:

In 2004, Christian Valentin wrote a dossier published in the magazine "Les Saisons d'Alsace", which was devoted to the french flap of 1954 as it was lived in Alsace.

Among briefly mentioned cases for this date, he indicates that on October 16, 1954, at 09:20 P.M., residents and the city police of Wissembourg saw a flying saucer fly above the Stanislas hospital at low altitude while producing many sparks.

Christian Valentin points out that the observations auround 09:30 P.M. at this date can probably be of the splendid meteor which was seen from a score of departments of the north-eastern quarter of France.

[Ref. cv2:] CHRISTIAN VALENTIN:

Former journalist Christian Valentin published in 2012 a very interesting book telling the story of UFO sightings, flying saucers sightings, in Alsace, from the beginning to 1980.

In this book, he indicates that the 16th of October 1954 was an eventful evening throughout Alsace, from 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. with numerous reports of bright balls in different directions, and that observations located around 21:30 were those of a superb meteor, visible that evening from twenty departments of France, according to "Mysterious Objects in the Sky" by A. Michel, Seghers publisher, on page 245, and "La Grande Peur Martienne" by G. Barthel and Brucker, Nouvelles Editions Rationalistes, page 202. He adds that the proximity, a few hours apart, of fireballs with opposite trajectories and perpendicular paths "is, according to the experts, a remarkable phenomenon."

He indicates that in the newspaper L'ALSACE for Tuesday, October 19, 1954, in the French-speaking issue, published the following article:

Flying saucers flew over ALSACE

After cigars, brooms, barrels, it is now the "melons" that appear in the sky of Alsace. In fact, many people claim to have seen a shining machine on Saturday night, in the form of a melon, and leaving a white-orange trail of two meters, flying over the Bas-Rhin.

This has indeed been observed not only in Strasbourg but also Niederhaslach, Haguenau and Wissembourg. Finally, in the Haut-Rhin, people also saw a craft that seems to be the same crossing the Bas-Rhin sky at a frightening speed.

It is at 07:30 p.m. that the phenomenon was observed for the first time on Saturday night in Strasbourg. Three people near the EDF plant on the street of Hobsheim saw a craft shining with light and in the shape of a bowler hat who spun in the sky.

At 9:35 p.m. nine people were enjoying the warmth of the evening at the bar of the flying club, at the Polygone, also saw the same craft cross the night sky from east to west. The same description was given by a dozen young people in Niederhaslach awaiting the results of the election of the new mayor on the village square. A craft flew over them at 09:35 p.m., at an estimated altitude of very roughly fifteen thousand meters. The assumption that this would be a balloon lit by the last rays of the sun was rejected given the extraordinary speed at which the "flying melon" crossed the sky from one side of the horizon to the other. An investigation was opened by the police. A quarter of an hour before, that is to say, at 09:20 p.m., a flying saucer flew at low altitude, in a burst of sparks, on the Stanislas hospital in Wissembourg. The craft was seen by the local police and residents.

Finally in Haguenau, at 07:30 p.m., a round and red machine crossed the sky from north to south, followed by a bright white and orange trail. At 11:30 p.m., another craft was seen. In Masevaux, seven people who saw between 9:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. a craft that was shaped like a cigar and was followed by a green trail. From the Hundsrück, the "flying cigar was heading to the Sundel."

In Eguisheim, at 10:30 p.m., a few people were surprised by the appearance of a spherical apparatus that at a breathtaking speed and in total silence, crossed the sky in the direction of the Trois-Châteaux.

Explanations:

Although Aimé Michel explained that meteor in his 1956 book, nor Figuet and Ruchon neither Barthel and Brucker seemed to have understood that it was just that.

Keywords:

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

Wissembourg, Bas-Rhin, craft, round, object, multiple, saucer, police, sparks, low, round, orange, white, trail

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross March 12, 2005 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross December 26, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version.
1.1 Patrick Gross July 14, 2010 Addition [ml1].
3.0 Patrick Gross April 29, 2014 Additions [la1], [cv2], Summary, Explanation that were previously "Not looked for yet. The October 16, 1954, 09:30 p.m. meteor."

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