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The 1954 French flap:

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October 18, 1954, Beauvoir-Rivière, Somme:

Reference number for this case: 18-Oct-54-Beauvoir-Rivière. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Summary:

An article in the local newspaper L'Abeille de la Ternoise, from Saint-Pol-sur-Ternoise, for October 30, 1954, mentioned sightings of October 18, 1954, between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. of a "saucer" which was probably a meteor.

But the article also spoke of an observation on that date at Beauvoir-Rivière, which would have lasted half an hour to three quarters of an hour, which would exclude the explanation by this meteor for this observation.

The main witness is said to have been an elder Beauvoir-Rivière farmer, "very serious" according to the newspaper, who agreed to talk to them only under the promise that he would not be named, because he didn't want to sound like a "saucer voyeur"; which explains why he had said nothing for eight days, without telling anyone about his adventure.

That October 18, 1954, he had lingered in the fields to cover a beet silo, when he suddenly saw "the saucer" coming towards him, at a very low altitude given as four or five meters, and flying very slowly.

The man had declared that according to him the thing did not fly faster than 10 kilometers per hour. He had the impression that it was trying to land.

The thing was shaped like a bell with a red light below, and he thinks it was "remarkably piloted", because it had taken into account obstacles on the ground: it slowly rounded a small grove that was in its path, although its height would have allowed it to pass over it.

Then it continued to come towards the witness. Between the thing and him, there was a pasture closed with barbed wire and iron stakes. In the dark, this fence was practically invisible; it was necessary to know of its existence. Now, said the witness, arriving at this fence, the "saucer" made a right turn, at a right angle, to go alongside it, and then, arrived at the corner post, made a left turn to follow its other side, thus resuming the general north-south direction it followed before.

This happen though the thing could have "easily hovered over those fences, without risk given the height."

It then moved along a ridge that was then to its left for a while, then it climbed a little higher to cross it. It then flew over, in a northwesterly direction, upward sloping fields, increasing as its height, so that it continued to remain at the same distance from the ground.

It then crossed a second ridge, in the same manner as the first one, which then hid it from the sight of the witness, who assumed that it had then landed in the plain above.

When he got home three quarters of an hour later, his wife told him that on returning from milking, shortly before her husband returned, she saw a bright red glow in the direction where the saucer had disappeared according to him.

The newspaper had asked questions to the man, rather climsily; we learn that the contours of the "saucer" were not clear but blurry, that the "lower edge" did not stand out more clearly "on the fire red."

Asked to describe the fire as either that of a light, a lantern of an "exhaust pipe fire," or sharp, or diffuse, the man said it was diffuse, "rather a kind of luminosity."

Asked to describe the appearance of possible "walls" of the "craft", he specified that in the twilight, he could only see a sort of "gray canvas frayed from the upper part" which did not fit "at all with the silhouette of a metallic craft, or other material, even in the twilight", but "this blur would fit very well with a gaseous nebula formation."

Reports:

[Ref. abt1:] NEWSPAPER "L'ABEILLE DE LA TERNOISE":

Scan

The October 18 "Saucer"

In our last issue, we reported the passage of a saucer on Monday, October 18, between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. in the evening first east of Doullens, then on Frévent and St-Pol, from where the phenomenon (or craft?) took the direction of the sea. Its route from Hem-Hardinval to Frévent is now established. It went to Montigny-les-Jongleurs, then to Beauvoir-Rivière (Somme) at the limit of the Ternoise. It seems that it took a break of half an hour to three quarters of an hour in this last town, either on the ground or at very low altitude. It allowed, in any case very instructive observations, which seem to invalidate certain hypotheses and tend to confirm others, on the nature and the means of maneuvering of these mysterious machines.

A farmer from Beauvoir-Rivière, a man already of some age, and very serious, had lingered in the fields to cover a beets silo. He suddenly saw the saucer coming towards him, at a very low altitude four or five meters and flying very slowly. "Its speed was probably not exceeding, he told us, 10 kms per hour. I had the impression that it was trying to land. It was shaped like a bell with a red light below. It seemed to me to be remarkably piloted: a small grove being in its path, it rounded it slowly, although its height would have allowed it to pass over it.

"Then an extremely curious fact happened. The saucer kept coming at me. Between it and me was a pasture closed with burl wire and iron stakes. In the falling evening this fence was practically invisible. It was necessary to know its existence. Now, on arriving there, the saucer made a right [turn] at a right angle to go alongside it, and then, arriving at the corner stake, one to the left to follow its other face, thus resuming the general north-south direction it followed before.

"Note that it could have easily flown over these fences, without risk given its height.

A curtain or crest was then to its left, it moved along it for a moment. Then pressing on this side, it took a little more height to cross it. It then flew over it, in a northwesterly direction, upward sloping fields, increasing its height accordingly, so that it continued to stay at the same distance from the ground.

"It then crossed a second ridge, similar to the first. This then hid it from my sight. I assumed it then landed in the plain above.

"This supposition seemed to me to be confirmed when, returning home three quarters of an hour later, my wife said that on returning from milking, shortly before my return, she had seen a bright red glow in the direction where the saucer was gone for me.

The cultivator only made these statements to us under the express promise not to name him. He does not want to pass for a "saucer voyeur". And that had prompted him to be silent for eight days, without telling anyone about his adventure.

We asked him the following additional questions, which we found of interest.

- Were the contours of the saucer sharp?

- No, blurry.

- Yet a metallic object standing out against the twilight sky must give sharp edges.

- It was not.

- Did the lower edge stand out more clearly on the red light?

- Neither.

- What was the appearance of this fire? That of a light? Of a lantern? Of an exhaust fire? Was it sharp? Or blurred?

- Blurred; a kind of brightness rather.

- Did you observe the appearance of the walls?

Impossible in the twilight for the whole mass, which was dark. I could only see [sic] gray canvas from the top not at all fit the silhouette of a metallic aircraft, or other material, even in the twilight. On the other hand, this blur would fit very well with a gaseous nebula formation.

We are thinking here of the theory according to which saucers "could be" vortices of grouped electrons, and taking the shape of a saucer, around a "condensing nucleus" provided either by a cosmic particle or by a radioactive particle among the millions that are thrown into the upper atmosphere by nuclear explosions.

Note that this theory would fit in with the episode of the burl wires, the vortices of electrons being known to be repelled by the metal.

As for the diffuse red light, it is accepted that such electron eddies can create phosphorescent luminosities, on contact with the neon gas floating in the lower layers of the atmosphere in the same way as the electric current, does it in a neon light tube. The experiments show that this coloring varies according to the intensity of the radio electric agent which causes them: red for the low frequencies and voltage intensities for the electric current then orange, brown, purple, even tending to green, when they increase.

Regarding this question of luminosity, let us note again that at Beauvoir-Rivière, where it was going very slowly, the saucer only showed red luminosity in its lower part, while the ten Saint-Pol residents who saw the saucer a little later (indisputably the same) noticed a dazzling tail. The light emission therefore takes on an increasing intensity with speed, the tail being explained by the very movement of the object in the air. Peremptory reversal of Lieutenant Plantier's theory, according to which the saucers would be surrounded by a belt of air moving with it: in this case there could indeed be no luminous trail, forming a tail.

Let us add that the craft was seen the same day and almost at the same time in Hesdin, Montreuil and Etaples.

Explanations:

Note that while most of the briefly mentioned sightings in L'Abeille de la Ternoise very probably or certainly relate to the meteor that passed over the Somme and Pas-de-Calais department at about 08:45 p.m., I am certainly not claiming that this one in Beauvoir-Rivière was also caused by that meteor. This seems exluded to me; but I do not see what the slow moving low maneuvering luminosity might have been.

The "theory" of the "electron vortices" in L'Abeille de la Ternoise comes from earlier Press articles. Though introduced as a "scientific" explanation of the saucers sightings at the time, it was only "saucer-skeptics" pseudo-science. It nevertheless inspired the famous "UFO debunker" Philip Klass in the 1970's. Plasma balls related to thunderstorms floating near the ground, aka "ball lightning" do exist, extremely brief upper-atmosphere phenomena do exist, but none of those are a solution of the UFO problem.

The famous 1953 theory by French Lieutenant Plantier is of course not at all disproved by these sightings since they were certainly not a saucer but a meteor.

The village of Beauvoir-Rivière, in the Somme department, was later integrated into the commune of Beauvoir-Wavans.

Keywords:

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

Beauvoir-Rivière, Somme, anonymous, farmer, blurry, light, luminosity, red, maneuver, slow, low, duration

Sources:

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

Document history:

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1.0 Patrick Gross October 29, 2020 First published.

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