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The 1954 French flap:

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September 17, 1954, Omont, Ardennes:

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

Summary:

The regional newspaper L'Ardennais for September 22, 1954, on page 1, had published a story of a "flying spinning top" that allegedly landed in Omont on Friday, thus on September 17, 1954.

The newspaper claimed that the witness was not a "little joker", but a farmer from Omont, "a man esteemed by all, councilman", who had hesitated a few days before telling "his incredible adventure." The newspaper was nevertheless publishing his story "with all reservations, of course," but it was their "duty to inform our readers of this 'extraterrestrial visit'."

The newspaper reported that this farmer went to pick apples around 08:30 at a few hundred meters from Omont, and he saw, coming out of the clouds, an object that he first took for a balloon, then for a parachute. The object allegedly landed at the edge of a wood, in a meadow, masked in the eyes of the witness by a small hillside.

The witness accelerated and arrived at about sixty meters of the object and "to his great surprise, was in the presence of a craft of conical shape, from which came out a strange being who reached the edge of the forest located at about fifty meters, remained there only two or three seconds, regained the apparatus which in a gyratory movement resumed its ascent" at a speed which did not appear fast, to "disappear in the clouds from which it had left a few minutes before."

Fearing to be viewed as a joker, the witness remained silent "about this extraordinary fact" until two days later, Sunday, 19, when he talked about it to several people.

Asked about the craft, he said it was similar to a metallic spinning top, four meters in diameter by 2.50 meters in height, with walls of the appearance of matt aluminum.

He said that the being could as well have been a shaggy man as a big monkey. His face was masked by long hairs, his back was covered with a yellow-brown cloth, and he was moving on all fours.

The newspaper assures that there was almost a second witness, one Mr. Lebrun, who was in one of his pastures a few meters from the landing site, but he had left about twenty minutes before - it is said that he regretted that a lot.

The story was then published in the national weekly Samedi-Soir for October 14, 1954, then, in 1970, in a book by Peter Kolosimo - an Italian author with little credibility - who dated it September 10, 1954 instead of 17, in "Olmont" instead of Omont, but with the witness name: Pierre Delvenne. It was apparently cataloged as a hoax in the "HumCat" catalogue compiled by David Webb and Ted Bloecher. For his part, René Fouéré of the GEPA ufology group had doubts, expressed in 1971 in this ufology group's magazine Phénomènes Spatiaux.

In 1979, the two "skeptical" ufologists Gérard Barthel and Jacques Brucker learned that the alleged witness was a merry prankster named Pierre Delvenne, councilor of Omont. Their explanation, as usual, was essentially made of scoffing, since they say that Mr. Delvenne had met a "shaggy dwarf who ignores the use of the comb and who is touring in France on an old balloon", and who was actually "an alien 'tramp'".

The case is then discredited at least for ufologists Michel Figuet and Jean Sider, but it is only in 1995 that Raoul Robé gave useful details: the same newspaper L'Ardennais, the next day, October 23, 1954, had announced that the alleged witness denied the case as a hoax, something that Barthel and Brucker apparently did not see.

Three years later, Raoul Robé gives a somewhat different opinion: it would be a "simple case of misinterpretation" that would have been "inflated" by "journalists in search of sensation." He indicated that the denial in the newspaper indicated that, in fact, Mr. Delvenne did not know exactly what he had seen, "there at the edge of the woods, campers probably having fun perhaps with a ball..."

All this did not prevent the case from being taken up in brief summaries, without its explanation, in many ufology catalogs of the 2000s: that of Larry Hatch, that of Albert Rosales, one "UFO Datenbank", and some others, including the "skeptical" catalog by Peter Rogerson even though the explanation was available here.

Finally, Renaud Leclet, also of CNEGU, published in 2003 a transcript of the article of L'Ardennais for September 23, 1954. One learns in there, that the newspaper had gone to find Mr. Delvenne, and that the latter assured that he was not silly, claiming that he had actually seen something, maybe campers playing ball, 600 meters away from him and in rainy weather, but not a "flying saucer" because he does not "believe in it." But he apparently talked around about it, since two young people of the country, who were flying saucers buffs, had questioned him. Just to please them and to have some fun, he had answered "yes" to all their questions about the "craft" and the "man". The two young people had believed him, and the rumor spread quickly.

Reports:

[Ref. ad1:] "L'ARDENNAIS" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

A "FLYING SPINNING TOP"

said to have landed Friday, in Omont

Decidedly, the "saucers", "spinning tops" and other flying "cigars" multiply. We echoed, in our general chronicle, the latest apparitions of these mysterious craft. In some cases, traces have been noted. So there is something to disturb the most skeptical, especially since, in most cases, witnesses are not smart pranksters.

Such is the case of a farmer of Omont, a man esteemed by all, a municipal councilman, and who hesitates a few days before telling his incredible adventure.

We publish this account with a grain of salt, of course, but it seems to us a duty to inform our readers of this "extra-terrestrial visit".

Falling from the clouds

Going to pick apples last Friday at 8:30 a.m., a few hundred yards from the locality, this farmer saw, coming out of the clouds, an object that he took at first for a balloon, then for a parachute. This object landed on the edge of a wood, in a meadow, and was masked to the eyes of the cultivator by a small hill. The witness arrived at a distance of about sixty yards from what he believed to be a parachute, and, to his great surprise, found himself in the presence of a conical apparatus, from which came out a strange being, going in the forest about fifty yards away, remaining there for only two or three seconds, going back to the apparatus which, in a gyratory movement, resumed its ascent.

The witness saw it disappear into the clouds from which it had come a few minutes before.

Not wishing to ne taken an author of galleys or a liar, he remained silent on this extraordinary fact until two days later, on Sunday 19, when he spoke to several people.

A metallic spinning top

When questioned about the appearance of this craft, the witness stated that he had seen a device similar to a metallic spinning top, four meters in diameter by 2 m. 50 of height. The walls resembled matt aluminum. Its speed was not considerable.

As for the being that came out of it, it could have been as much a shaggy man as a big monkey. The face was masked by long hair, and the being moved on all fours. The back was girded with a yellow brown stuff.

It must be observed that a second witness was almost present; which would have split the believers and the unbelievers. Mr. Lebrun, who was in his pasture, a few yards from the landing place, went away about twenty minutes before. He regrets it, it is said, enormously.

[Ref. ad2:] "L'ARDENNAIS" NEWSPAPER:

L'Ardennais, Thursday, September 23, 1954. (Page 1)

THE STORY OF 'FLYING SAUCERS' DOES NOT RESIST AN INVESTIGATION

Flying saucers? One sees them (or at least one believes in seeing them) everywhere, in France and also in other countries of the globe. The radios talk about it, the newspapers of course...

And "L'Ardennais" echoed yesterday information from a person worthy of faith, who claimed to have seen in Omont, a flying saucer.

Why not?

Clostermann, the French "Ace" of the Free French Forces, believes in it!

In our current century, there is, you would say, nothing impossible. Let us refrain from commenting. "L'Ardennais" wanted to investigate at the source of this information and saw Mr. Delvenne, a friendly Omont councilor, who claimed to have seen the "flying saucer".

We caught him yesterday morning in hunting action, and munching a beautiful apple in a orchard.

- Flying saucer? Who told you about saucers?

- I had the misfortune to joke with two young people of the country who call me the "Martian" and they believed what I said to them.

- The rumor very quickly spread in this country of 100 inhabitants and friends interrogated me immediately.

For a laugh, adds Mr. Delvenne, I answered their questions: they had read in a newspaper "The Secret of the Flying Saucers". They knew more than me.

- How was the craft, was it like this... or like that? And the man?

Each time I answered "yes" to please them and especially to have fun...

They believed in the fable, I regret it because I do not know anything about "flying saucers". However, Mr. Delvenne is not calm.

While nibbling his apple picked up in the huge orchard in which he sought, in vain, a piece to shoot, Mr. Delvenne confides to us again:

- You told me about "flying saucers"? On this subject I say no but I saw.... What? I do not know.

- There at the edge of the wood, campers probably having fun with a balloon! I went there, I did not find anything. From where I am there is 600 meters... And that day it was raining!

Mr. Delvenne smiled.

"I would not want to be taken for a joker for having seeing something, I saw it. But what? I do not know.

Especially do not tell me "flying saucers" I, I do not believe it!

Thereupon M. Delvenne adjusted the strap of his rifle.

"I have some potatoes to snatch," he said to us as a goodbye. In any event, my buddies gave me a nice joke.

This is the story of Omont's "flying saucer". It is pleasant, and far from nasty. It's better to laugh than to weep....

4 photos (portraits) of Mr. Delvenne with these captions:

- "What? A flying top?..."

- "Of course I talked about it ... but the funniest thing..."

- "The whole country believed it!"

- "What? It could get me into trouble? Not with the Martians!"

[Note: credit for the find of this article goes to source [rl1].]

[Ref. jd1:] J. BERNARD DELAIRE:

September 10th., 1954. time unnoted. Olmont, St-Bonnet (Puy-de-Dôme).

Witness: Pierre Delvenne.

Refs: Peter Kolosimo, "Des ombres sur les etoiles" (Albin Michel), 1970, p.352.

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

According these two French ufologists, a person named Pierre Delvenne who was a happy chap invented a flying saucer sighting of September 17, 1954, in Olmont.

They write: "We could have never known when we tried to obtain details on this kind of observations, what was prompting our interlocutors' giggles..."

One page before, they explain that the encounter of Pierre Delvenne, city council man of Omont in the Ardennes is little known but no less strange, for he had encountered a "dwarf hirsute who is unaware of the use of the comb and who does tourism in France on an old balloon", and that it was in fact "an 'extraterrestrial' tramp."

They give for this as source: "Peter Kolosimo, 'Des ombres sur les étoiles', Albin Michel, 1970."

They indicate that Kolosimo was mistaken when he wrote "Olmont" instead of Omont, and that Rene Fouéré seemed to have guessed when he wrote in 1971 in "Phénomène Spatiaux", publication of the GEPA of which he is the Secretary-general: "This is not serious, Mr Kolosimo!"

[Ref. mf1:] MICHEL FIGUET:

Michel Figuet indicates in a list of solved CE3 cases that the case in "Olmont" on September 17, 1954, is solved this way: "Mr. Pierre Delvenne was a happy prankster".

He indicates that the source is "BB p 76-77", i.e. [bb1] Barthel and Brucker, above.

[Ref. mf2:] MICHEL FIGUET:

This ufologist noted:

CASE Nr CLASSIFICATION DATE HOUR PLACE ZIP CODE CREDIBILITY SOURCE
67 CE3 17 09 1954 08.30 Omont 08 E [= Elucidé] = canular, webb

[Ref. rr1] RAOUL ROBE - CNEGU:

Case nr7:

On Friday, September 17, 1954, at Omont (08) around 8:30 a.m., a municipal councilor picking apples in his field sees an object fall. (Balloon, parachute?) The object lands at the edge of the wood. He approaches 60 m away. The "spinning top" matt aluminum color measures 4 m in diameter and 2.5 m in height. A strange being comes out; he looks like a shaggy monkey and walks on all fours. The back is surrounded by a yellow-brown tissue. After 3 seconds, he returns to the craft which takes off in a gyratory movement.

Explication: hoax by the witness confessed in the local newspaper of 09/23/1954.

Sources: newspaper L'Ardennais for 09/22/1944 and for 09/23/I954 (witness confession); newspaper "L'Alsace" for 09/24/54 page 8; Barthel and Brucker "la grande peur martienne" (1979) pages 76/77 (citing P.Kolosimo and R.Fouéré).

[Ref. js1:] JEAN SIDER:

French ufologist and author Jean Sider learned in an article from the newspaper L'Ardennais of September 23, 1954, page 2, that Mr. Devenne, the prankster, told stupidities to the newspaperman who came to interview him.

[Ref. rr2] RAOUL ROBE - CNEGU:

The case of Omont (08) of September 17 would be a hoax according to Sider who quotes the newspaper L'Ardennais of September 23, 54 and who blames B &B to have broken an open door. Now what do we learn from this newspaper: "What, I do not know, there on the edge of the woods, campers, no doubt, who perhaps amused themselves with a balloon. Is this the definition of a hoax in Sider manners and B&B manners? We think for our part that this could be again a simple case of misinterpretation "inflated" by journalists in need of sensation material.

[Ref. lh1] LARRY HATCH - "*U* COMPUTER DATABASE":

3788: 1954/09/17 20:30 2 4:44:00 E 49:36:00 N 3333 WEU FRN ADN 8:5

OMONT,FR:FARMER:4M MTLC TOP-SCR ^:HAIRY FIG EXITS to WOODS:REBOARDS+^^:wierd [sic]

Ref#197 WEINSTEIN, D: French Newsclips 1954 Page No. 17 : FARMLANDS

[Ref. rl1:] RENAUD LECLET:

L'Ardennais, Wednesday, September 22, 1954. (Page 1)

A "FLYING SPINNING TOP" said to have landed Friday, in Omont

Decidedly, the "saucers", "spinning tops" and other flying "cigars" multiply. We echoed, in our general chronicle, the latest apparitions of these mysterious craft. In some cases, traces have been noted. So there is something to disturb the most skeptical, especially since, in most cases, witnesses are not smart pranksters.

Such is the case of a farmer of Omont, a man esteemed by all, a municipal councilman, and who hesitates a few days before telling his incredible adventure.

We publish this account with a grain of salt, of course, but it seems to us a duty to inform our readers of this "extra-terrestrial visit".

Falling from the clouds

Going to pick apples last Friday at 8:30 a.m., a few hundred yards from the locality, this farmer saw, coming out of the clouds, an object that he took at first for a balloon, then for a parachute. This object landed on the edge of a wood, in a meadow, and was masked to the eyes of the cultivator by a small hill. The witness arrived at a distance of about sixty yards from what he believed to be a parachute, and, to his great surprise, found himself in the presence of a conical apparatus, from which came out a strange being, going in the forest about fifty yards away, remaining there for only two or three seconds, going back to the apparatus which, in a gyratory movement, resumed its ascent.

The witness saw it disappear into the clouds from which it had come a few minutes before.

Not wishing to ne taken an author of galleys or a liar, he remained silent on this extraordinary fact until two days later, on Sunday 19, when he spoke to several people.

A metallic spinning top

When questioned about the appearance of this craft, the witness stated that he had seen a device similar to a metallic spinning top, four meters in diameter by 2 m. 50 of height. The walls resembled matt aluminum. Its speed was not considerable.

As for the being that came out of it, it could have been as much a shaggy man as a big monkey. The face was masked by long hair, and the being moved on all fours. The back was girded with a yellow brown stuff.

It must be observed that a second witness was almost present; which would have split the believers and the unbelievers. Mr. Lebrun, who was in his pasture, a few yards from the landing place, went away about twenty minutes before. He regrets it, it is said, enormously.

L'Ardennais, Thursday, September 23, 1954. (Page 1)

THE STORY OF 'FLYING SAUCERS' DOES NOT RESIST AN INVESTIGATION

Flying saucers? One sees them (or at least one believes in seeing them) everywhere, in France and also in other countries of the globe. The radios talk about it, the newspapers of course...

And "L'Ardennais" echoed yesterday information from a person worthy of faith, who claimed to have seen in Omont, a flying saucer.

Why not?

Clostermann, the French "Ace" of the Free French Forces, believes in it!

In our current century, there is, you would say, nothing impossible. Let us refrain from commenting. "L'Ardennais" wanted to investigate at the source of this information and saw Mr. Delvenne, a friendly Omont councilor, who claimed to have seen the "flying saucer".

We caught him yesterday morning in hunting action, and munching a beautiful apple in a orchard.

- Flying saucer? Who told you about saucers?

- I had the misfortune to joke with two young people of the country who call me the "Martian" and they believed what I said to them.

- The rumor very quickly spread in this country of 100 inhabitants and friends interrogated me immediately.

For a laugh, adds Mr. Delvenne, I answered their questions: they had read in a newspaper "The Secret of the Flying Saucers". They knew more than me.

- How was the craft, was it like thit... or like that? and the man?

Each time I answered "yes" to please them and especially to have fun...

They believed in the fable, I regret it because I do not know anything about "flying saucers". However, Mr. Delvenne is not calm.

While nibbling his apple picked up in the huge orchard in which he sought, in vain, a piece to shoot, Mr. Delvenne confides to us again:

- You told me about "flying saucers"? On this subject I say no but I saw.... What? I do not know.

- There at the edge of the wood, campers probably having fun with a balloon! I went there, I did not find anything. From where I am there is 600 meters... And that day it was raining!

Mr. Delvenne smiled.

"I would not want to be taken for a joker for having seeing something, I saw it. But what? I do not know.

Especially do not tell me "flying saucers" I, I do not believe it!

Thereupon M. Delvenne adjusted the strap of his rifle.

"I have some potatoes to snatch," he said to us as a goodbye. In any event, my buddies gave me a nice joke.

This is the story of Omont's "flying saucer". It is pleasant, and far from nasty. It's better to laugh than to weep....

4 photos (portraits) of Mr. Delvenne with these captions:

- "What? A flying top?..."

- "Of course I talked about it ... but the funniest thing..."

- "The whole country believed it!"

- "What? It could get me into trouble? Not with the Martians!"

[Ref. ar1:] ALBERT ROSALES:

68.
Location. Omont France
Date: September 17 1954
Time: 0830A

M Delvenne told 2 friends that he saw a metallic top 4 meters in diameter and 2.5 meters high descend from the clouds; a being emerged who had a hairy face and walked on all fours. It quickly re-entered the object and flew away.

Humcat 1954-49
Source: Humcat quoting Newspaper source
Type: B

[Ref. ud1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that on 17 September 1954 at 08:30 in Omont, France, "Story was told only as a joke. Explanation: Hoax."

And: "Close encounter with an unidentified craft and its occupants. One metallic top-shaped object was observed by one male witness in an orchard (Delvenne)."

And: "M Delvenne told 2 friends that he saw a metallic top 4 meters in diameter and 2.5 meters high descend from the clouds; a being emerged who had a hairy face and walked on all fours. It quickly re-entered the object and flew away."

The sources are indicated as "Webb, David, HUMCAT: Catalogue of Humanoid Reports; Hatch, Larry, *U* computer database, Author, Redwood City, 2002; Rosales, Albert, Humanoid Sighting Reports Database; Poher, Claude, Etudes Statistiques Portant sur 1000 Temoignag, Author, undated."

[Ref. pr1:] PETER ROGERSON:

September 10 1954.

OLMONT [sic] (PUY-DE-DOME : FRANCE)

Town councillor [sic] Pierre Delveen [sic] saw a hairy being emerge from a spherical object.

Alain Gamard citing Kolisimo [sic] 1970, p.353.

[Ref. ta1:] "THINK ABOUT IT" WEBSITE:

Location: Omont France

Date: September 17 1954

Time: 0830A

M Delvenne told 2 friends that he saw a metallic top 4 meters in diameter and 2.5 meters high descend from the clouds; a being emerged who had a hairy face and walked on all fours. It quickly re-entered the object and flew away.

Source: Humcat quoting Newspaper source

[Ref. gz1:] JULIEN GONZALEZ:

The author indicates that there was a false close encounter of the third type at Omont, in the Ardennes, on September 17, 1954, at 08:30 a.m.:

Mr. Delvenne, a municipal councilman of Omont, went to gather apples in his orchard, a few hundred yards from the village. Looking up he discovered in the sky an unusual object that he first took for a balloon and then for a parachute. The object descended and then disappeared behind a small hill at the bottom of which was Mr. Delvenne. The "parachute" seemed to have landed at the edge of the forest. The witness hastened and discovered at 60 meters from him not a parachute but a kind of metal spinning top 4 meters in diameter by 2.50 meters in height, posed on the grass. The witness came forward when suddenly a door opened in the top and a strange being came out, his face covered with hair and dressed in yellow-brown cloth. The being moved on all fours, went as far as the edge of the wood, came back hastily and got back into the spinning top. The door closed, the machine began to spin and then took off and disappeared into the clouds.

The sources are indicated as L'Ardennais for September 22, 1954; Samedi-Soir for October 14, 1954.

Julien Gonzalez indicates that in fact, this hoax was confessed at the time in the Press. Indeed, Mr. Delvenne, the jester, had told nonsense to the journalist who came to question him.

He indicates that the sources for the explanation are L'Ardennais for September 23, 1954; Jean Sider, "Le dossier 1954 et l'imposture rationaliste", page 64.

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

This database recorded the case twice:

Case Nr. New case Nr. Investigator Date of observation Zip Place of observation Country of observation Hour of observation Classification Comments Identification
19540917 17.09.1954 Omont France CE III
19540917 17.09.1954 Omont France CE III

[Ref. pr2:] PETER ROGERSON - "INTCAT":

September 10 or 17 1954.

OLMONT [sic] (PUY-DE-DOME : FRANCE)

Town councillor [sic] Pierre Delveen saw a hairy being emerge from a spherical object 4m diameter 2m high and walk away on all fours.

Alain Gamard citing Kolisimo [sic] 1970 p353

Patrick Goss citing Sider 1997 p64 citing L'Ardennais 23 September 1954. p2)

The case was recorded a second time with many mistakes:

September 17 1954. 0830hrs.

DOMONT (CAL-D'OISE [sic]: FRNACE [sic])

Mr Delvenne saw a metallic looking top shaped object, 4m diameter, 2.5m high come own [sic] from the clouds. A being emerged from the thing and walked around on all fours before re-entering rhe [sic] object which rapidly took off again.

Rosales 1950/54 p256 citing HUMCAT citing press sources

Evaluation - Press joke?

Explanations:

I do not think Mr. Delvenne saw anything. Indeed, at a distance of 600 meters, it is absolutely not possible to see a balloon with which people would play, even less in rainy weather. And his story has so little to do with such an explanation that one can only consider this is pure invention, probably on the part of the alleged witness, and not on the part of the newspaper L'Ardennais.

I think that actually, Mr. Delvenne had invented everything to have fun at the expense of two young "saucer buffs", and that it took an importance he had not expected.

Keywords:

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

Omont, Olmont, Ardennes, Pierre Delvenne, farmer, city councilman, hoax, invention, joke, prank, ape, brown, yellow, balloon, parachute, cone, rotation, slow, aluminum, occupant, quadruped, hairy, landing, take-off, spinning top, metallic

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross September 30, 2006 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross June 15, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Addition [ud1].
1.1 Patrick Gross August 13, 2013 Addition [pr1].
1.2 Patrick Gross November 15, 2014 Addition [ta1].
1.3 Patrick Gross January 12, 2017 Additions [ad1], [ub1].
1.4 Patrick Gross February 20, 2017 Addition [gz1].
1.5 Patrick Gross February 9, 2017 Additions [ad2], [jd1], [mf2], [rr1], [rr2], [lh1], [rl1], [pr2], Summary. Explanations changed, were "Probable hoax."

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