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The 1954 French flap:

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

October 19, 1954, Criteuil-la-Magdeleine, Charente:

Reference number for this case: 19-Oct-54-Criteuil-la-Magdeleine. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Reports:

[Ref. nr1:] "LA NOUVELLE REPUBLIQUE" NEWSPAPER:

Observed by hundreds of witnesses

A STRANGE CRAFT CROSSES THE SKY OF ILE-DE-FRANCE

Melun. -- Hundreds of witnesses, living the communes of the areas of the Bray-sur-Seine, Lagny, Moret and Thoméry say they have seen, Thursday evening, a strange phenomenon: a machine of oval shape, orange yellow color, measuring more than twenty meters, at 300 meters of altitude.

The machine remained motionless during a certain time and disappeared at a vertiginous speed.

One of the witnesses, Mr. André L..., a weather specialist, who lives in Thoméry, estimates that the speed of the machine was about 10.000 kilometers per hour, quite simply. Mr. L... specified:

"I am absolutely certain, because I know this matter well, that this was neither a plane nor a weather balloon."

Tickle, tickle...

A motorist of Cherbonnières (Charente-Maritime), drove on the road of Souzou in company of his three year old son, when he felt on all the body ticklings similar to electric discharges which were accentuated as his car advanced.

The child, who felt the same annoying sensation, started to cry. Soon the engine of the car stopped and the headlights died out. At the same time, a sharp gleam passing from a sharp red to the orange color dazzled the motorist who could nevertheless distinguish a craft, motionless in space during a few moments. Then, the latter soon disappeared. At once afterwards, the driver was able to restart the engine of his car.

Same phenomenon in Critreuil-la-Magdeleine (Charente), where Tuesday around 8 p.m., Mr. Sion had the headlights of his car extinct and his battery emptied by a red ball of two meters in diameter, which rose from road causing a violent displacement of air volume.

In Italy, saucers and cigars are reported everywhere, while in Sweden, a "disc in rotation" was seen in various points of the area. It was said to be a meteor.

[Ref. fs1] "FRANCE-SOIR" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

Invasion of ...imaginary Martians in Anzin

VALENCIENNES, October 23 (A.F.P). - The "War of the Worlds" has not occurred in Anzin, where many people believes the other night, in an invasion of Martians.

It was about 10 p.m. when some walkers circulating on the Anatole France avenue saw "luminous dots" in the sky. A person seized with fear, gave the alarm to the police station, while firefighters, on duty in a movie theater, flocked to the cries of witnesses in the street.

The saucers were going faster and faster and led a hellish round at the great excitement of passersby who expected their landing. A firefighter even prevented motorists to drive with their headlights on.

Ten minutes later, it was discovered that it was luminous reflections on glass insulators placed at the top of the mast of a high voltage power line.

The "hairy Martian" of Loctudy (Finistère) was a savant goat!

BREST, October 23 ("France-Soir" telegram). -- The mystery of the hairy Martian of Loctudy (Finistère) is finally solved. And the bakery worker who, at night, was followed in the courtyard of the bakery by a being with a face covered in hair and enormous eyes, recovered from his emotions, as well as the people of the town. The Martian was a learned goat belonging to a circus passing in the area and it had wandered into the yard of the baker.

  • A HUGE FIREBALL arrested in Criteuil (Charente) the car of Mr. Fillonneau M., mason. The witness who had felt "a violent gust of air" found that the battery was discharged and the bulbs of his headlights were burned out.
  • A LUMINOUS STOVE PIPE was observed by the country guard of Montboubert near Abbeville, Mr. Fernand Poirel.
  • A CIGAR LIGHTER, which is then divided into three, was seen by many, many people in Schleswig (Germany).

[Ref. la1:] "L'ALSACE" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

Many saucers observed in Italy

Rome, Oct. 25. -- Many "flying saucers" were again observed today in Italy. From Catanzaro, in the south of Calabria, to Pesaro, on the Adriatic in the north of Italy, strange flying machines were reported.

Fishermen cruising off San Benedetto, Fiano, Pesaro and even Ostie [Rome's harbor] near Rome, stated to have seen a red and green "object" crossing the sky at a terrifying speed.

"Saucers" [or meteors, according to the descriptions] were also observed in Urbino, Chieti, and Forlimpopoli.

According to some witnesses, they were followed of a green trail. According to others, they had the shape of a mushroom with a tail.

In Chieti, the observed craft was circular, of a diameter of ten meters and moved at low altitude.

In Pesaro, in the north of Anconia, on the Adriatic, many people stated to have seen an incandescent red sphere, with a bluish trail.

In Trieste, about twenty witnesses stated to have observed this morning a flying disc at high altitude, in direction of the North-East and leaving a luminous trail behind.

An official statement of the Italian ministry for the Air

The testimonys collected since more than one month about the "flying saucers" and flying "cigars" seen in the sky of the peninsula, were the topic of an official statement from the Italian ministry of the air forces.

"Until now, the official statement specifies, the radar devices did not detect any machine of this kind, except for the planes and weather balloons, whose characteristics are known."

Special instructions were given to the chiefs of the detection stations, in order to intensify the monitoring during the twilight and nocturnal hours, during which according to the witnesses, the "flying discs" were seen, the official statement adds.

As of documentation on the "flying discs" that the Italian Air Force owns, it is only, the official statement specifies, some testimonies coming from officers who reportedly saw these machines above the thyrrenian littoral, moving in a south-north direction at a speed higher than 2.000 kilometer-hour".

Cigar or meteor?

Vienna, Oct. 25. -- This morning at 0:20, a kind of flying cigar, of yellow and violet color and leaving in its wake a trail of fire, flew over the septentrional part of Vienna, moving at high speed towards the east.

Scores of Viennese saw it, and they are ready to testify about this.

At the observatory, the possibility of a weather balloon is discarded, and it is thought it is a meteor.

Ball of fire in the Charentes

Angouleme, Oct. 22. -- A mason from the Charentes, Mr. Filloneau, resident of Critreuil-la-Magdeleine, saw yesterday evening, towards 8 p.m., an enormous ball of fire as he was driving his car.

The headlights died out at once and the engine stopped while the ball rose slowly without noise.

"I felt a violent draught", the mason, still under the blow of the emotion, said.

"When I was able to restart my car, the battery was completely empty and all the light bulbs were roasted."

The Segonzec gendarmerie opened an investigation.

[Ref. jv1:] JACQUES VALLEE:

299

Oct. 21, 1954, 08:00 P.M., Critreuil-la-Madeleine (France).

The car driven by a bricklayer, Mr. Fillonnau, stoped as a large ball of fire flew near it. A violent air displacement was felt. "The battery was dead and the headlights were burned out." Thorough police investigation failed to identify the cause of the phenomenon. (79) (France-Soir, Le Soir, 24 oct 1954).

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

The two authors indicate that on October 21, 1954 at 08:00 p.m. in Criteuil-la-Magdeleine, Mr. Filloneau, mason brick-maker, saw a large ball of "fire" which stopped its car. He felt a violent displacement of air volume. "The battery of the car was emptied and the bulbs of the headlights burned." The authors add that the police forces performed a thorough investigation.

The sources are given as the Vallée catalogue and France-Soir for 24/10/54.

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

The two authors provide this texte which they say comes from "Jacques Vallée's catalogue" [jv1]:

"A mason of the Charente, Mr Fillonneu, resident of Criteuil-la-Magdeleine, saw an enormous ball of fire, whereas he was at the steering wheel of his car."

"The headlights died out at once and the engine stopped while the ball rose slowly without noise."

"- I felt a violent draught - stated the mason, still under the blow of the emotion."

"- When I wanted to restart my car, the battery was completely discharged and all the bulbs were roasted."

"The Segonzac gendarmerie opened an investigation."

They then say that it is not an extraterrestrial machine since the witness told them that he never observed an object on the ground but a "thing which passed very quickly in the air, it was very brief."

[Ref. mf1:] FRANCAT - MICHEL FIGUET:

In an extract of his Francat catalogue, Michel Figuet recorded that the CE1 case in Criteuil la Madeleine was a "fireball + hoax" according to "B.B. p. 122".

[Ref. mr1:] MARK RODEGHIER:

Oct. 21,1954

2000 FRANCE, Criteuil-la-Madeleine: A bricklayer's car engine and lights failed when a ball of fire passed nearby. The witness felt a violent displacement of air as it passed. The car could not be restarted--it was found to have a dead battery and burned-out headlight bulbs. (Passport to Magonia, Vallee; The Humanoids, Bowen)

[Ref. lg1] LOREN GROSS:

October 21st. Criteuil-La-Madeleine, France. (8:00 p.m.)

As M. Filloneau drove near Criteuil-La-Madeleine he got the fright of his life. A "ball of fire" dove at his auto, passing so close a rush of wind shook the vehicle. The close pass had other effects too. The man told the press:"The battery was dead and the headlights were bumed out." 189. The police conducted an enquiry but found nothing that could explain the damage.

  • France-Soir. 24 October S4.

[Ref. js1:] JEAN SIDER:

French ufologist and author Jean Sider discovered the case in the newspaper La République de Bordeaux et du Sud-Ouest for October 23:

On October 19, 1954 at 08:00 P.M. in Criteuil-la-Magdeleine in Charente, Mr. Sionneau was driving in his car and saw a big red ball of two meters in diameters suddenly rising from the road with a sharp displacement of air. The car's headlights died out and the battery was emptied.

Jean Sider notes that for this case Michel Figuet indicates "Mr. Filloneau" as the name for the witness and that it is likely an erroneous name that Michel Figuet may have picked in the national press, rather careless with respect of spelling of people's names.

[Ref. go1:] GODELIEVE VAN OVERMEIRE:

The Belgian ufologist indicates that in 1954, on October 19 in France in Criteuil Magdeleine (Charente), "At the time of the apearance of a flying saucer, the battery of Mr. Sionneau's vehicle was emptied of his electric power."

The source is indicated as "Jean SIDER : 'Ovni, les envahisseurs démasqués', RAMUEL pub. 1999, p 140".

[Ref. go2:] GODELIEVE VAN OVEMEIRE:

The Belgian ufologist indicates that in 1954, on October 21, in France, in Criteuil la Madeleine, "At 20:00 the engine of the car driven by Mr. Filonneau stalled, at the approach of a large ball of fire. A violent displacement air volume was felt. The battery had died and the headlights roasted. The in depth investigation, carried out by the police force, did not manage to identify the cause of this phenomenon".

The sources are indicated as "France-Soir, Le Soir, 24 oct 1954", "Jacques Vallée: 'Chronique des apparitions ET' - DENOEL 1972 - J'AI LU COLL. - p. 287, 288".

[Ref. dj1:] DONALD JOHNSON:

October 21

1954 - At 8:00 p.m. a car being driven in Criteuil-la-Madeleine, Charente, France by a bricklayer, Mr. Fillonneau, stopped running when a large fiery ball flew near it. A violent air displacement was felt. "The battery was dead and the headlights were burned out." A thorough police investigation failed to identify the cause of the phenomenon. (Sources: France Soir, October 14, 1954; Jacques Vallee, Passport to Magonia: A Century of Landings, p. 236, case 299; Gregory Falla, BUFORA Vehicle Interference Report, p. 8; Mark Rodeghier, UFO Reports Involving Vehicle Interference, p. 4).

[Ref. jv1:] JEROME BEAU:

Jérôme Beau reproduces the [mr1] source.

[Ref. jb2:] JEROME BEAU:

Thursday, October 21, 1954

[...]

8 p.m.: In Criteuil-la-Madelaine (France), the engine of a car driven by Mr. Fillonneau, mason by profession, stalls at the approach of a large ball of fire. A violent displacement of air volume is felt. The battery died and the headlights roasted. The in depth investigation, carried out by the police force, will not manage to identify the cause of this phenomenon.

[...]

The sources are indicated as "France-Soir, Le Soir, October 24, 1954".

[Ref. lc1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the Charente in Criteuil la Magdeleine on October 21, 1954 at 20:00 hours "the engine of the vehicle driven by the witness stalled when a large ball of fire came to fly near him. A violent displacement of air volume was felt. The battery had died and the headlights roasted. The investigation carried out by the police force, did not manage to identify the cause of this phenomenon."

The soures are indicated as "List of the cases Magonia by Jacques Vallée" and "Les OVNI vus de près by Gross Patrick ** http://ufologie.net".

[Ref. ud1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that on 21 October 1954 at 20:00 in Criteuil-La-Madeleine, France "A mysterious phenomena was reported by one male witness on a farm."

The source is indicated as Hatch, Larry, *U* computer database, Author, Redwood City, 2002.

[Ref. ud2:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that on 21 October 1954 at 20:00 in Criteuil-la-Madeleine, France, "The car driven by a bricklayer, Mr. Fillonnau, stopped as a large ball of fire flew near it."

And: "Criteuil-la-Madeleine, France. The car driven by a bricklayer, Mr. Fillonnau, stopped when a large fiery ball flew near it. A violent air displacement was felt. 'The battery was dead and the headlights were burned out. ' Thorough police investigation failed to identify the cause of the phenomenon."

And: "The car driven by a bricklayer, Mr. Fillonnau, stoped as a large ball of fire flew near it. A violent air displacement was felt. "The battery was dead and the headlights were burned out." Thorough police investigation failed to identify the cause of the phenomenon."

And: "An object was observed. It buzzed a witness. Electromagnetic effects were noted."

And: "One orange ball was observed by one male witness on a farm (Fillonneau)."

The sources are indicated as Bowen, Charles, The Humanoids: FSR Special Edition No. 1, FSR, London, 1966; Vallee, Jacques, Computerized Catalog (N = 3073); Vallee, Jacques, A Century of Landings (N = 923), (in JVallee04), Chicago, 1969; Schoenherr, Luis, Computerized Catalog (N = 3173); Rodeghier, Mark, UFO Reports Involving Vehicle Interference, CUFOS, Chicago, 1981; Falla, Geoffrey, Vehicle Interference Project, BUFORA, London, 1979.

[Ref. ni1:] "THE NICAP WEBSITE":

*Oct. 21, 1954 - At 8:00 p.m. a car being driven in Criteuil-la-Madeleine, Charente, France by a bricklayer, Mr. Fillonneau, stopped running when a large fiery ball flew near it. A violent air displacement was felt. "The battery was dead and the headlights were burned out." A thorough police investigation failed to identify the cause of the phenomenon. (Sources: France Soir, October 14, 1954; Jacques Vallee, Passport to Magonia: A Century of Landings, p. 236, case 299; Gregory Falla, BUFORA Vehicle Interference Report, p. 8; Mark Rodeghier, UFO Reports Involving Vehicle Interference, p. 4).

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

This database recorded this case four times instead of one time:

Case Nr. New case Nr. Investigator Date of observation Zip Place of observation Country of observation Hour of observation Classification Comments Identification
19541021 21.10.1954 Criteuil Madeleine France 20.00 CE II
19541021 21.10.1954 Criteuil Madeleine France 20.00 CE II
19541021 21.10.1954 Criteuil Madeleine France 20.00 CE II
19541021 21.10.1954 Critieul Madeleine France 20.00 CE II

Notes:

According to the newspaper "La Nouvelle République" of Bordeaux for October 23 reproduced in this file as ref. [1430], the sighting occurred "Tuesday" which would be October 19 and not October 21 as indicated by Vallée and Figuet.

Barthel and Brucker are like usually quite surprising in their "explanation". They indeed affirm that the witness told them that he had never observed an object on the ground, and that it was not slow but fast, and and that for this reason this observation is not that of an extraterrestrial machine.

The only source they quote from is indicated as "catalogue Jacques Vallée" but the quotation has more information than Vallée gave. It seems obvious that what is allotted to "catalogue Jacques Vallée" is actually an extract of a newspaper article and not the entry in Vallée's listing, and that Barthel and Brucker again showed a lack of care in the referencing of their sources, a criticism they often address to others.

In any events nobody ever really talked of an object on the ground, if it were not, indirectly, for Jacques Vallée, since as for other cases he puts it in his list of "UFO landings" It nevertheless remains that the "explanation" of Barthel and Brucker is not an explanation. The only thing which seems to arise here is that a person made an interesting observation and that neither Vallée, neither Figuet, nor Barthel and Brucker documented this seriously. The correct information is possibly in the Segonzac gendarmerie file, but that is classified at least until 2014, if not lost already.

Explanations:

Not looked for yet.

Keywords:

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

Criteuil-la-Magdeleine, Charente, road, headlight, battery, effect, landing, ball, red, Sionneau, Filloneau, Fillonneau, Sion, bricklayer, mason, car, engine, stall, failure, sphere, fire, electric, electricity, police

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross February 5, 2007 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross January 3, 2010 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Additions [go1], [jb1], [lc1], [ud1], [ud2].
1.1 Patrick Gross January 12, 2010 Additions [go2], [jb2].
1.2 Patrick Gross June 7, 2010 Addition [la1].
1.3 Patrick Gross September 18, 2014 Additions, [fs1], [ni1].
1.4 Patrick Gross December 14, 2016 Additions, [lg1], [ub1].

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