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The 1954 French flap:

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

October 18, 1954, Lépanges-sur-Vologne, Vosges:

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

Summary:

The ufology group CNEGU indicated in 1986 that an article in the regional newspaper La Liberté de l'Est for October 21, 1954 reported an observation of October 18, 1954, at 19:50 in Lépanges-sur-Vologne in the Vosges.

Miss Thérèse Grandemange and Miss Claudine Leconte came down as each evening from "La Bure" where they had been getting milk, when they were stunned to see "a mysterious craft" in the sky. The said rge "craft" spun fairly quickly, stopped at times, and took all kinds of colors.

Frightened, they went to the nearest houses to show the phenomenon to the inhabitants, and soon fifteen people including the baker Remy Marcel also observed the "craft."

The phenomenon traveled from west to east for about a quarter of an hour, Mr. Marcel told the newspaper. He said he "did not believe in it", but that there is "surely something in the story."

Reports:

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

The two authors indicate that in Lepanges-sur-Vologne, in the department of the Vosges, on October 18, 1954 at 07:50 p.m., about fifteen people observed a "mysterious machine" slipping by quickly in the sky, stopping sometimes, and taking all kinds of colors.

The authors indicate that the source is their archive.

[Ref. cn1:] CNEGU:

Case #F/98/88541018 (01) of the CNEGU file indicates that there was an observation at La Bure, Lépanges, Monday, October 18, 1954 at 07:50 p.m. local time, whose witnesses were Miss Thérèse Grandemange and Miss Claudine Leconte.

The source indicated is an article of "La Liberté de l'Est" for October 21, 1954, entirely cited as:

"THE BAKER SAW AN APPARATUS BUT IS IS NOT KNOWN WHETHER IT WAS A DONUT"

"Huge was the amazement of Mrs. Thérèse GRANDEMANGE and Mrs. Claudine LECONTE who like each evening descended Monday from "LA BURE" where they had been picking up the milk, to see a mysterious machine in the sky. The said machine slipped by rather quickly stopped per moments and took all kinds of colors. Frightened they went in the closest houses in order to show the phenomenon to the inhabitants: thus soon about fifteen people among them Mr. Rémy MARCEL, baker, observed the machine."

"It was 07:50 p.m. and the phenomenon wandered from West to the East during approximately a quarter of an hour, entrusted Mr. MARCEL to us. I did not believe in it, he added, but there is surely something in the story."

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

4197: 1954/10/18 19:50 1 6:40:00 E 48:10:20 N 3333 WEU FRN VSG 7:A

LEPANGES-sur-VOLOGNE,FR:15 OBS:ODD-MACHINE JERKS ACRS SKY:STOP+GO:MANY CLRs

Ref# 30 FIGEUT[sic]&RUCHON: OVNI: Le 1er Dossier Page No. 183 : TOWN &CITY

[Ref. lc1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the Vosges in "Lepanges sur Vologne" on October 18, 1954 at 07:50 p.m., "about fifteen people observe a 'mysterious machine' slipping by quickly in the sky, stopping sometimes, and taking all kinds of colors."

The source is indicated as "Ovni, Premier dossier complet... by Figuet M./ Ruchon J.L. ** Alain Lefeuvre pub. 1979".

Explanations:

An astronomical misinterpretation might be the explanation, a priori. At least that is the first idea that came to my mind.

The place is at 48° 10' 16'' North, 6° 40' 00'' East. At that date and at 07:50 p.m., Mars is clearly visible at 194° and an elevation of 17°; but Mars is unlikely to be the explanation because this planet does not offer the mentioned color changes as far as I know.

These could be the fact of Venus, but this planet went below the horizon at 06:20 p.m. - and became non visible a bit before, given the reliefs of the Vosges.

There remain the stars, which easily offer the "color changes" and the effects of movements due to both autokinesis and the agitations of the atmosphere, when they are low on the horizon.

We have as candidates, the three bright stars of that night:

(And of course there were other stars, but much less brilliant.)

My favorite would be Acturus, which is indeed to the West and passes under the horizon at 08:30 p.m. (with a flat horizon, so a bit before that hour, from the place of observation). Its disappearance under the horizon may well correspond to the duration of observation.

The two young women were returning from "La Bure", going to Lépanges-sur-Vologne. "La Bure" is undoubtedly a local place name; which probably corresponds to the current street of La Bure, on the edge of the hamlet La Levrée in the North and 400 meters from the first houses of the main part of Lépanges-sur-Vologne. From La Bure, they must have walked the north to south descending road. It is therefore logical that the young women saw Arcturus on their left, rather than Capella almost behind them and hidden by the relief, or Fomalhaut, well in front of them but South.

Of course, this explanation is in no way a certainty, it is just a "less worse" explanation for lack of better data.

The only aspect that would go against the explanation by a star is the mention that the "craft" "wandered from West to East". But as the amplitude of this move is not really specified, it may be unwise to take it to the letter as a 180° angular move.

Keywords:

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

Lépanges, Vosges, evening, La Bure, Thérèse Grandmange, Claudine Leconte, Rémy Marcel, multiple, machine, apparatus, fast, stop, manoeuvers, colors, duration

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross June 18, 2005 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross June 6, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Addition [lc1].
1.1 Patrick Gross January 20, 2019 Additions [lh1], Summary. Explanations changed, were "Not looked for yet."

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This page was last updated on January 20, 2019.