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The 1954 French flap:

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

September 17, 1954, Château-Gaillard, Ain:

Reference number for this case: 17-sep-54-Château-Gaillard. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Reports:

[Ref. rr1:] LE ROUERGUE REPUBLICAIN:

Le "cigare volant"
n'est pas un mirage

Un ingénieur fait une description
précise de celui qu'il a vu près de Thiers

The fact of the unknown flying machines, "saucers" or "cigars" is on the way to become a daily topicality.

Hardly a day goes by without bringing forth new testimonies of people "who saw" and increasingly precise assertions of people whose reliability and perfect cerebral balance cannot be questionned.

It seems, moreover, that the sky of France, without mentioning other countries skies, becomes an excursion field more and more visited by the mysterious "objects", so that, without being too much a prophet, one may predict that the time is close when the "saucers" and "cigars" will not be a mystery anymore.

The observers are closing in on them now: one can follow their evolutions with binoculars, and draw sketches of their silhouettes.

It will not take long before their occupants are photographed - if there are indeed occupants - We do say photograph, and not draw according to memories, or imaginative mind, as it happened in the past.

Very recently still three assumptions were put forth concerning the nature and the origin of these machines: 1. they come from another planet; 2. they were built secretly by the Russians or the Americans; 3. they were only play of lights, fruits of collective or individual self-hallucinations.

Of these three assumptions, one, according to the latest observations, can be eliminated right now: the third.

Saucers or cigars - it is perhaps the same thing - exist indeed; they cannot be doubted anymore.

Where do they come from? To whom do they belong? This is, obviously, the heart of the question. But already some light is shed, revealing of a reality which, soon, we are convinced of that, will not be disputable any longer.

And if you were still skeptics, the technical report - for that is an appropriate title for this remarkable document - that we borrow from our fellow "La Liberté", of Clermont-Ferrand, must shake your scepticism seriously.

It originates from a technician, familiarized with exact science. Engineer, captain of artillery of the reserve, Knight of the Legion of Honour, he is a witness all the more qualified since before convincing our readers, he had to convince himself, for he did not believe "in the saucers" and other "cigars." He believes in it now. Not in the existence of "saucers" or "cigars" per se, but in "unknown flying machines."

So here is the account provided to "La Liberté" by this engineer.

Engineer at Company X..., I left my work by car on Friday, September 17, around 01:00 P.M. in company of my wife who had come to take me at the exit of the factory.

At 07:12 P.M. very precisely, whereas we are on the Clermont - Lyon National Road, and between Château-Gaillard and the railway crossing known as of the "Grand-Tournant" [Large-Turning], my wife had me observe a mobile located on our left in the portion of visible sky between the mountains constituting in this place there, the two slopes of the valley of the Durolle river.

I stopped my car at once and we could very clearly observe a luminous body of a white glare similar to that of the sun, but not dazzling and which moved from left on the right, that is to say in the apparent direction South to North. It is obvious that this direction is only an apparent direction and that the body would have appeared to us in the same way if it had moved SE to NW or SW to NE for example.

This body seemed to us an isosceles triangle with a very pointed angle, point backwards, and we had the impression to distinguish at its front part a small spot slightly less luminous than the rest. However, given that the contours of this ensemble constantly remained perfectly clear and a constant length, I could not affirm if only the less luminous point located at the head constituted the mobile, the triangle constituting a luminous trail (what appears the most probable to me) or if on the contrary it was an entire solid body having this shape of "half-cigar" which I already had heard in the press.

The body had a slight slope realtive to the horizontal, the tail slightly higher than the head, which made me think that its travel was slightly downward though that was difficult to note because of the very low rate of travel of the mobile.

Indeed I tried to evaluate this speed by blocking me at the bottom of my seat and by delimiting a length of one centimeter approximately on my windshield. I thus could count 34" approximately for a displacement of one centimeter, which enabled me to later calculate that the apparent displacement of the mobile was approximately 2 degrees by minute, my eye being located at approximately to 57 cm of my windshield at the time of this examination.

Given that the machine itself could be contained 8 times approximately in this centimeter, I could deduce from it that its apparent diameter (tail included) was about 1/8 of a degree, that is to say 7 to 8 meters approximately.

In order to continue to see the machine, I started my drive again and discovered it on several occasions still at the exit of the many turns of the road and this up to 07:18 P.M. when the machine disappeared behind the hill located above the railway crossing of the Grand-Tournant.

It is thus on the whole during 6 minutes approximately that my wife and myself have observed this machine lengthily.

I first of all believed in a comet (I had never seen any, but this mobile seemed to correspond to the idea that I had about it, except perhaps with regard to the tail which was clearly closing instead of widening), and it is only on Monday, September 20, while reading in the newspapers that a similar body had flown over Rome three quarters of an hour before I saw it myself above Thiers that I gave some importance to my observation.

Statements published these last days in the newspapers, which corroborate perfectly my own statements with the color of the machine excepted (the article speaking about a reddish gleam whereas I saw it perfectly white) decided to me to report my observation to you.

It must be noticed about this matter that the inhabitants of Clermont speak about a reddish colour whereas the observers of the countryside announce a yellow color (like myself) or orange. This difference may come from the filtering of the luminous rays through the relative fog which constantly hovers above large cities.

[Ref. am1:] AIME MICHEL:

In his book, Michel sets this observation as one of a large number having started in Rome, Italy, in front of thousands of witnesses and continuing towards France.

Although with the reading of this testimony one may think that it was possibly all about a plane, in the more global context of other testimonies as well as official statements in Italy, a plane does not seem to really be the explanation. This is why, sometimes, the press of those days seemed to have a tone which could appear too much convinced.

Aimé Michel provides extracts of the statement by the anonymous witness quoted in Le Rouergue Républicain in his book. He specifies that the witness is a former artillery observer.

[Ref. lc1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the "Puy de Dômes" in La Monnerie le Montel on September 17, 1954 at 19:12 hours, "the witness and his wife are in the car on the Main road Clermont - Lyon, and between the places known as "Chateau-Gaillard" and the level the crossing known as the "Grand-Tournant". He tells the observation himself: ' My wife noted a mobile located on our left in the visible portion of the sky between the mountains constituting in this place there, the two slopes of the valley of Durolle. I stopped my car at once and we managed to very clearly observe a luminous item of a white glare similar to that of the sun, but not dazzling and which moved from left to the right, that is to say apparently in the direction South-North. It is obvious that this direction is only an apparent direction and that the body could have appeared to us in the same way if it had moved S.E. - NW or S.W. - N.E. for example. This body seemed to us an isosceles triangle with a very closed point, point backwards, and we had the impression to distinguish at its fron part a small spot a little less luminous than the whole. Being given however that the contours of the whole constantly remained perfectly clear and a constant length, I could not affirm if the less luminous point located at the head constituted the mobile, the triangle constituting a luminous trail (what appears to me most probable) or if on the contrary it was a solid body having this shape of a "half-cigar" of which I already had heard about in the press. The body had a slight slope on the horizontal, the tail slightly higher than the head, which lets me think that its apparent move was slightly downward though that was difficult to note because of the very low rate of travel of the mobile. I indeed sought to evaluate this speed by inserting myself deep in my seat and by delimiting on my windshield a one centimeter length approximately. I thus could count 34 "approximately for a displacement of one centimetre, which enabled me to calculate later on that the apparent displacement of the mobile was approximately 2 minute degrees, my eye being approximately at 57 cm of my windshield at the time of this examination. Being given that the machine itself could be contained 8 times approximately in this centimetre, I could deduce from it that its apparent diameter (tail included) was about 1/8 of degree, that is to say 7 to 8 meters approximately. In order to continue to see the machine, I resumed my travel and discovered it on several occasions again at the exit of the many turns of the road and this to 19.18 when the machine disappeared behind the hill located above the level crossing of the Grand-Tournant. It is thus on the whole during 6 minutes approximately that my wife and I managed to observe this machine at length. I first of all believed in a comet (I had never seen one, but this mobile seemed to correspond to the idea that I had about it, except perhaps with regard to the tail which was clearly closed again instead of widening), and it is only Monday September 20, while reading in the newspapers that a similar body had flown over Rome three quarters of hour before I saw it myself above Thiers that I gave some importance to my observation. The statements published these last days in the newspapers, which corroborate perfectly my own statements except for the color of the machine (the article speaking about a reddish gleam whereas I saw it perfectly white) decided me to report my observation to you. It is to be noted on this matter that the resident of Clermont speak about a reddish colour whereas the observers of the countryside announce a yellow color (like myself) or orange. This difference could come from the filtering of the luminous rays through the relative fog which hovered constantly above large cities.'"

The source is dindicated to be my website at "http://ufologie.net".

Explanations:

Not looked for yet.

Keywords:

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

Château-Gaillard, Ain,

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross March 13, 2004 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross June 15, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Addition [lc1].

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This page was last updated on June 15, 2009