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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, Montigny-les-Jongleurs, Somme:

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

Summary:

On October 18, 1954, over the north of France and mainly above the Somme and Pas-de-Calais, an obvious meteor passed, interpreted as a "flying saucer" probably by a good part of the witnesses who reported it and certainly interpreted as such in press articles.

In the local newspaper L'Abeille de la Ternoise for October 30, 1954, this passage of this "saucer" is mentioned, as having taken place between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., and Montigny-les-Jongleurs (in the Somme department) is mentioned as one of the places where it was observed. But no detail is given.

In the UFO literature, the observation does not seem to have been mentioned by anyone.

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:

Totally insufficient information, probably the 08:45 p.m. meteor.

Note that while most of the briefly mentioned sightings in L'Abeille de la Ternoise very probably or certainly relate to the meteor, I am certainly not claiming that the one in Beauvoir-Rivière was also caused by that meteor.

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.

Keywords:

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

Montigny-les-Jongleurs, Somme, saucer, craft, meteor

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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