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The 1954 French flap:

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

September 1954, Gelles, Puy-de-Dôme:

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

Summary:

Many newspapers had succinctly reported that a resident of Gelles in the Puy-de-Dome, "Mrs. Wid [widow] Melles" had "claimed to have seen in the sky a luminous craft of elongated shape 'in the style of a cigar'. The craft was moving noiselessly."

The case was dated September 24, 1954 "in the early hours of the night" by ufologist Aimé Michel, referring to the newspaper France-Soir for September 26, 1954. This was copied by many others, as Michel made it one of the spot of observations of his famous "BAVIC line" of September 24, 1954, a straight line on which he assured that six observations had taken place that day.

But in 1976, ufologist Michel Jeantheau echcked into the date of this observation and found the article used by Aimé Michel, actually he thought Le Parisien Libéré for September 27, 1954; which did not give a date to the sighting. He then found the date in the regional newspaper La Montagne for September 24, 1954, page 3, of which he quoted the beginning:

"Friday, September 17, around 07:15 p.m., Mrs. Widow Mellée, of Gelles, canton of Rochefort-Montagne, took the fresh air near her villa, when she saw in the sky", etc.

He added that other witnesses were mentioned, including Mrs. Mellée's neighbors, the Estrades and the Gannes.

Actually, the ufology magazine Lumières Dans La nuit #125 in May 1973 had found the case in Gelles at 19:30 on September 17, 1954, but not having understood that it was the same case, also noted Aimé Michel's version of September 24, 1954.

Despite Michel Jeantheau's clarification, others would continue to misdate the case in articles about the "BAVIC" line, and nobody notices it might have been the jet contrail in the sunset sometimes mistaken for a "flying cigar" at the same hour in Clermont-Ferrand, 24 km East of Gelles.

Reports:

[Ref. lml1:] "LE MERIDIONAL" NEWSPAPER:

"CIGARS" AND "SAUCERS" SEEN IN THE AUVERGNE

CLERMONT-FERRAND. -- Six inhabitants of Langeac (Haute-Loire) saw a white gleam moving in the sky in direction of the South.

A resident of Gelles (Puy-de-Dome), Mrs. Vve Melles, claimed to have seen in the sky a luminous machine of elongated form "in the kind of a cigar". The machine moved without noise.

A resident of Clermont-Ferrand was picking mushrooms: he saw in the sky, at high altitude, a luminous trail "slightly colored in pink".

Rugby players training at the Vichy stadium saw a "flying cigar".

... and near La Rochelle

LA ROCHELLE. -- In Charron (Charente-Maritime) three fishermen and a customs officer state to have seen, during one of these last nights, a formation of flying saucers evolving very low and flying over the shore before disappearing.

[Ref. mle1:] "LE MIDI LIBRE" NEWSPAPER:

Flying saucers

of a rugby ball and appeared to be at a considerable height."

In the Meurthe-and-Moselle, several tens of workmen of "Sidelor", living the area of Lantefontaine-les-Baroches (M.-and-M.). claim to have seen six flying cigars between 04:30 and 05:00 in the sky .

"We initially saw, they said, two "cigars", then afterwards, four other craft came to join the two first. All remained motionless one moment for finally disappearing instantaneously."

In Le Puy, Mrs. Chaumard, resident of the district of La Girète, saw in the sky a machine having the shape of a cigar reddish glowing at an end, silent and appearing motionless. She managed to observe the machine during nearly a quarter of hour, then the "cigar" suddenly disappeared by taking altitude.

The same observations were made by six inhabitants of Langeac (Haute-Loire) and several inhabitants of Gelles (Puy-de-Dome) or Clermont-Ferrand.

In this area, rugby players training at the Vichy stadium saw a "flying cigar".

In the Aveyron

From Villefranche-of-Rouergue in Aveyron, it is reported that an owner of Vabre-Tézac, Mr. Marre, saw a yellowish mass of color which moved away towards the south, without leaving behind any trace of smoke.

The attention of Mr. Marre had been drawn by the noise of an engine.

Other inhabitants of the locality also heard, from the inside of their house, the same noise, but not having come out, they did not see the weird "mass."

[Ref. vmr1:] "VAR-MATIN - REPUBLIQUE" NEWSPAPER:

New invasion of flying cigars in the sky of France
Witnesses claim: "They had the dimension of a rugby ball"

Bayonne, September 25. -- Residents of Bayonne claim to have seen, this afternoon, very high in the sky, in the north-eastern direction, three mysterious objects of light color, constrasting on the pure sky at this hour there.

A policeman, Mr. Carrions, who was in the district of the Halles, observed these three motionless machines, laid out in triangle, of slightly oval shape. They had, he said, the dimension of a rugby ball and appeared to be at a considerable height.

Passers by stated to have seen the same luminous objects in other places.

In the Meurthe et Moselle

Several tens of workmen of "Sidelor" living the area of Lantefontaine-les-Baroches (Meurthe et Moselle) claim to have seen in the sky, six flying cigars, between 04:30 and 05:30. "We initially saw, they stated, two "cigars" then four other apparatuses came to join the two first. All remained perfectly motionless one moment to finally disappear instantaneously." These statements are confirmed by several other people.

In Le Puy

Mrs Chaumard, living in the La Girette district in Le Puy, saw in the sky, a machine having the shape of a cigar, reddish at an end. Silent and appearing motionless, she managed to observe the machine during nearly a quarter of an hour, then the "cigar" suddenly disappeared by taking altitude.

In the sky of the Auvergne

Clermont Ferrand. -- Six residents of Langeac (the Haute Loire) saw a white gleam moving in the sky in direction of the ground.

A resident of Gelles (the Puy de Dôme), Mrs widow Melles claimes to have seen in the sky, a luminous machine of lengthened form "of the cigar kind". The craft moved silently. A resident of Clermont Ferrand gathered mushrooms: he saw in the sky at high altitude, a luminous trail "slightly pink colored".

Rugby players, training in the Vichy stadium, saw a flying cigar.

Near La Rochelle

La Rochelle. -- At La Charron - (the Charente Maritime), three fishermen and a customs observer state to have seen, during one of these last nights, a formation of flying saucers moving very low and flying over the shore, before disappearing.

[Ref. aml1:] AIME MICHEL:

Aimé Michel report that on September 24, 1954 there was an observation by a large number of witnesses in Gelles in the Puy-de-Dôme.

He indicates that at the first hours of the night, the witnesses saw a luminous machine "in the shape of a cigar" which crossed the sky at a rather sharp pace and without noise.

Aimé Michel indicates that the case is briefly reported in the newspaper "France-Soir" for September 26, 1954.

[Ref. jve6:] JACQUES VALLEE:

Jacques Vallée indicates that for the day of September 24, 1954, the French Press mentioned a number of sightings, including one in Gelles, in the Puy-de-Dôme, in the beginning of the night, of a "single phenomenon".

Jacques Vallée indicates that the observation was of type "IV"; which he defines as an observation where an "abnormal object" was seen in translation movement in the atmosphere, whatever accelerations, luminous variations or rotations this movement would be associated to.

He notes that the observations of the type IV "could be considered insufficient", that half of testimonies of that day "would be rejected within the framework of an official investigation operating on the usual criteria".

He notes that the observation of Gelles was of a "luminous craft in form of a 'cigar' which crosses the sky at rather sharp pace and without noise" and asks if it should "be excluded 'immediately' as a meteor?", and comments on that he cannot answer.

[Ref. fsy1:] FRANK B. SALISBURY:

2. Gelles, early night: The witnesses saw a luminous, cigar-shaped object cross the sky at fairly high speed and without noise.

[Ref. fsc1:] "PHENOMENES INCONNUS" UFOLOGY MAGAZINE:

Six observations of Space Craft of Undetermined Origin were found, on September 24, 1954, on a single line of 485 kilometers, connecting Bayonne [actually on the 23rd] and Vichy [actually without precise date] by passing at Lencouacq [actually on the 23rd], Tulle [actually on the 22nd], Ussel [actually on the 20th] and Gelles [actually on the 17th]; the readers who have followed the research of past years in the orthotenic branch have recognized the famous "BAVIC" line that resists all the examinations of the skeptics.

[Ref. aml4:] AIME MICHEL:

This is how on September 24, 1954, there are in France (and there is only) nine observations: at Lantefontaine [Actually on the 23rd], Vichy [Actually without exact date], Gelles, Ussel [Actually on the 20th], Tulle [Actually on the 22nd], Lencouaq [Actually on the 23rd], Bayonne [Actually on the 23rd], Langeac [Actually on the 22nd], Le Puy [Actually on the 23rd]. To check this, one just needs to read "France-Soir" for the 26th, "Paris-Presse" fot the 28th, "La Croix" for the 28th, "Le Parisien Libéré" for the 27th, where these observations are recorded.

Checking four Parisian newspapers, it this so tiresome? This being done, let's search this places on a map. One finds that Vichy, Gelles, Ussel, Tulle, Lencouaq and Bayonne are on a single line that is absolutely straight, and that Le Puy and Langeac are on a line with Tulle. Only Lantefontaine is not on a line. So: a) is this true?; b) is this explainable? It is Vallée who went the deepest in the explanation. However he did let this alinement and numerous others unexplained; c) did I invent the four newspapers?; d) is it likely that local correspondents who did not know each other invented all this so that, three years later, it is discovered that they are in line on a large circle?

[Ref. pdl1:] "PHENOMENES INCONNUS" UFOLOGY MAGAZINE:

- Map rep. A

(I): BAVIC (Bayonne - Vichy)

  1. Bayonne [actually on the 23rd]
  2. Lencouacq [actually on the 23rd]
  3. Tulle [actually on the 22nd]
  4. Ussel [actually on the 20th]
  5. Gelles [actually on the 17th]
  6. Vichy [actually without precise date]

"BAVIC" is an orthotenic alinement (day of 9/24/1954, map Nr 1 of "MOC" by Aimé Michel.)

[Ref. ldl1:] "LUMIERES DANS LA NUIT" MAGAZINE:

The magazine indicates that on September 24, 1954, in the evening, in Gelles, in the Puy-de-Dome, a luminous cigar-shaped craft has been seen by witnesses. The magazine indicates Aimé Michel as reference.

The magazine also indicates that on September 17, 1954, at 07:30 P.M., in Gelles, in the Puy-de-Dome, a luminous cigar-shaped craft slowly moved in the sky from the South towards the North, seen by Mrs. Mellée, of Estrade, and by Mr. and Mrs. Ganne.

[Ref. ioi1:] "INFO-OVNI" UFOLOGY MAGAZINE:

WHAT ABOUT BAVIC IN ALL THIS!

And yes, BAVIC remains! because orthoteny, more or less consciously, has finally identified with this line. For this memorable day of 09/24/1954, it remains undeniable at the challenge of all the "certainties of chance", six places of observation (Vichy, Gelles, Ussel, Tulle, Lencouacq and Bayonne) are yet perfectly alined.

Unable to refute the alignment, many researchers tried to deny any meaning to it.

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

The two authors indicate that the case has nothing exceptional about it since Jacques vallée in his book "Les phénomènes insolites de l'espace" explains that considering the lack of details, the witness, Mrs. widow Melles, "could have seen anything".

[Ref. mf1:] MICHEL FIGUET:

DATE PLACE EXPLANATION
18.10.1954 Gelles TD - Explained by MM. Barthel and Brucker p. 137

[Ref. pha1:] "PHENOMENA" UFOLOGY MAGAZINE:

Orthoteny

It is nice to remember that it is his friend, poet Jean Cocteau, who will suggest to Aimé Michel the idea of seeking an order in the observations of the "mysterious celestial objects" that appeared during the autumn of 1954.

To begin with, Aimé Michel painstakingly pointed out on a map the observations of October 14, 1954, made between 06:30 p.m. and 07:35 p.m.. His stupefaction will be great in discovering that five points seem to align perfectly. He then resumes all the observations, and reports them, for every 24 hours, on a map. Here again, everything seems to be ordered according to lines of which the most famous, that of September 24, 1954, will be known under the name of "BAVIC line", contraction of BAyonne and VIChy, which will align no less than six observations (Bayonne [in reality on the 23rd], Lencouacq [in reality on the 23rd], Tulle [in reality on the 22nd], Ussel [in reality on the 20th], Gelles [in reality on the 17th] and Vichy) [without precise date].

[Ref. mju1:] MICHEL JEANTHEAU:

Ufologist Michel Jeantheau closely checked the date of this observation allegedly being one of the points of an alignment of sightings pled by ufologist Aimé Michel and called "the BAVIC line" for "BAyonne-VIChy."

Making research in 1976 in press, he finds the article used by Aimé Michel which is Le Parisien Libéré for September 27, 1954, which says, without indication of date:

"A resident of Gelles (Puy-of-Dome), Mrs. widows Melles, claimed to have seen a luminous machine of elongated shape "like a sort of cigar" in the sky. The machine moved without noise."

The paragraph starts with "Clermont-Ferrand, September 25", which means that the writer was in Clermont-Ferrand on September 25, 1954, therefore the observation cannot be after this date.

He finally found the date in the local newspaper "La Montagne" for September 24, 1954, page 3, which is:

"Friday, September 17, at approximately 07:15 p.m., Mrs. widow Mellée, of Gelles, county of Rochefort-Montagne, was taking some fresh air close to her villa, when she saw in sky etc..."

He notes that the name of the witness is Mellée and not Melles, and that other witnesses are mentioned, among those neighbors of Mrs. Mellée, the Estrades and the Gannes.

[Ref. jca1:] JACQUES COSTAGLIOLA:

The author indicates that on September 24, 1954, there were 9 sightings, 6 being on the Bayonne - Vichy line, one of those sighting was at "Celles".

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

3787: 1954/09/17 19:30 1 2:46:40 E 45:46:00 N 3333 WEU FRN PDD 6:6

GELLES,FR:FAST SLNT LUMn.CGR >>NE S/L::+24SEP54 LUMn.CGR >>N/r3p71:/LDLN#125

Ref#197 WEINSTEIN, D: French Newsclips 1954 Page No. 16 : FARMLANDS

[Ref. lcn1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the "Puy de Dômes" in Gelles on September 17, 1954 at 19:30 hours, "Three people observed a luminous machine in the shape of an orange cigar slowly moving from the South towards the North."

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

[Ref. lcn2:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the "Puy de Dômes" in Gelles on September 24, 1954 at an unknown hour "In evening a woman observed a luminous object in the shape of a cigar."

Luc Chastan notes the sources as "M.O.C. by Michel Aimé ** Arthaud 1958" and "Var Matin".

[Ref. ubk1:] "UFO-DATENBANK":

Case Nr. New case Nr. Investigator Date of observation Zip Place of observation Country of observation Hour of observation Classification Comments Identification
19540924 24.09.1954 Gelles France Night NL
19540924 24.09.1954 Gelles France

Explanations:

Totally insufficient information. But at 07:15 p.m., there was a jet plane contrail in the sunset sometimes mistaken for a UFO over Clermont-Ferrand.

Aimé Michel said there were multiple observations; which would exclude a plane as an explanation of some of the September 17, 1954, sightings. I need to summarize the actual situation.

This is a map of the places indicated in the various versions of the sightings to consider, those of September 17, 1954, between 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in the Puy-de-Dôme and not too far:

The width or the territory shown on this map is about 200 km.

The cases are, in reality:

Keywords:

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

Gelles, Puy-de-Dôme, object, craft, luminous, cigar, multiple, Mellée, Estrade, Ganne, evening

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross April 11, 2006 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross June 15, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Additions [lcn1].
1.1 Patrick Gross January 28, 2010 Addition [vmr1].
1.2 Patrick Gross February 11, 2010 Addition [jca1].
1.2 Patrick Gross February 9, 2017 Addition [ubk1].
1.3 Patrick Gross June 29, 2019 Additions [jve6], [fsc1], [pdl1], [bbr1], [aml4], [ioi1], [mft2], [pha1], [lhh1], Summary. Explanations changed, were "Not looked for yet."

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