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The 1954 French flap:

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

September 20, 1954, Saint-Père-en-Retz, Loire-Atlantique:

Reference for this case: 20-sep-54-Saint-Père-En-Retz.
Please cite this reference in any correspondence with me regarding this case.


[Ref. aml1:] AIME MICHEL:

According to the French ufologist Aime Michel, on September 20, 1954, at Saint-Père-En-Retz, close to the mouth of the river Loire, in the department of Loire Atlantique, a mysterious explosion is heard in the area, causing windows to tremble in the nearby villages. People went out of their homes and looked for the cause of the noise, but the sky was empty and nothing was seen.

A few minutes later, white flakes of a creamy consistency and transitory aspect fell on the countryside. Aimé Michel indicates that his nearest correspondent in the area, engineer Durivault, who lives in Nantes at 35 kilometers of Saint-Father-in-Retz, forwarded a very intriguing report on this phenomenon to him.

Aimé Michel notes that as of this period of 1954, people started to be willing to see flying saucers everywhere after the phenomenon had been publicized in the press. He noted that three cases of the same day have been explained, two by a plane and the third by a meteor. When reading this case report it appears clearly that he considers it explained by a commonplace cause, however he does not precisely specify which explanation he has thought of.

[Ref. gqy1:] GUY QUINCY:


September 20 [1954]

Evening: Saint-Père-en-Retz (Loire Atlantique): explosion and white flakes


French ufologist François Lagarde lists this case in a listing of French cases of observations with "angels hair" within an article about this phenomenon:

Sepember 20, 1954, in Saint-Père-du-Retz (Loire-Atl.) [sic]
October 13, 1954 in Graulhet (Tarn)
October 14, 1954, in Méral (Mayenne)
October 18, 1954 in Vienne (Isère)

[Ref. hdt1:] "HENRI DURRANT":

In a chapter about the "angel hair" phenomenon, Henri Durrant evoked the article of the magazine "Lumières Dans La Nuit (LDLN), Volume XII, nr 99, p. F.G.H.," in which Mr. F. Lagarde published "on this topic an excellent article of synthesis" and where appears the theory of the threads of migratory spiders was developped. He quotes:

"One of the spectacular manifestations of our MOCs [Mysterious Celestial Objects], which never ceases to intrigue the observers, is the drop of white filaments, said to be melting; which one observes at the passage of some of these craft. They sometimes fall in considerable mass. clinging to trees, roofs, telegraph wires, fences, or spreading on clothes or on the ground, questions arise both about their nature and about the process of their appearance."

Cases are cited as examples, including these four French 1954 cases:

"Sepember 20, 1954, in Saint-Père-du-Retz (Loire-Atl.) [sic]"
"October 13, 1954 in Graulhet (Tarn)"
"October 14, 1954, in Méral (Mayenne)"
"October 18, 1954 in Vienne (Isère)"

[Ref. gep1:] UFOLOGY GROUP "GEPO":

20 09 54 ( ) Besançon and St Gère [sic] en Retz 000V2 B

[Ref. lgs1] LOREN GROSS:


[... Other cases...]

News from St-Pere-en-Retz on September 20th raised questions again among UFO buffs whether mysterious sky blasts, frequently reported; as well as "Angel Hair;" had anything to do with the UFO riddle. Speculation was that UFOs were breaking the sound barrier high in the atmosphere,and that the ephemeral material called "angel Hair" was some sort of by product of saucer propulsion.( Conventional scientists blamed meteors for the unexplained sky quakes, and the whitish threads on wind-blown spider web filaments.)

The evening of the 20th a powerful blast shook houses in the region sur rounding St-Pere-en-Rrtz, a town in France situated near the mouth, of the Loire river. People rushed from their homes and scanned the sky but could see nothing unusual, but within a few moments strands of "Angel Hair" were seen raining down on the countryside. 95.

[... Other cases...]

[Ref. hct1:] HERVE CLERGOT:

On September 20, 1954, at 8:00 p.m., in the locality of Saint-Père-en-Retz, in the Loire-Atlantique, an angel hair fall was also reported.


The Belgian ufologist indicates that in 1954, on September 20 in France in " Saint-Pèr-du-Retz (the Loire Atl.)", "There was an explosion making the windows shake. One did not see an object in the sky but soon there was a fall of white flakes, of a consistent, transitory matter, which completely sublimated."

The source is indicated as "Henry DURRANT: 'Le dossier des OVNI' - Laffont 1973 - p. 149."

[Ref. lcn1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the Loire Atlantique in St Père en Retz on September 20, 1954, at an unknown hour, "In the evening, a mysterious explosion suddenly resounded. The windows shake. People go outside, nothing is visible. A few minutes later kinds of white flakes fall sublimating when one touches them."

The source is indicated as "M.O.C. by Michel Aimé ** Arthaud 1958".

[Ref. uba1:] "UFO-DATENBANK":

This database recorded this case three times:

Case Nr. New case Nr. Investigator Date of observation Zip Place of observation Country of observation Hour of observation Classification Comments Identification
19540920 20.09.1954 St. Pere Retz France Nightfall
19540920 20.09.1954 St. Pere Retz France Evening
19540920 20.09.1954 St. Pere Retz France



Contrarily to the source indication in [goe1] thre is no mention of this case in "Le Dossier des O.V.N.I." by "Henri Durrant" on p149.

I submit that the bang was cause by the sonic boom of a passing jet, The mysterious flakes which dissolve themselves in my opinion are caused by the fuel remnants ejection of the passing plane.


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

September 20, 1954, Saint-Père-En-Retz, Loire Atlantique, jet, airplane, flakes, explained, multiple, bang, boom, sonic boom, explosion


[----] indicates sources that are not yet available to me.

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross September 21, 2003 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross January 4, 2010 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Additions [goe1], [lcn1].
1.1 Patrick Gross January 31, 2017 Addition [uba1].
1.2 Patrick Gross August 28, 2019 Addition [hdt1].
1.3 Patrick Gross March 12, 2021 Additions [gqy1], [lgs1].
1.4 Patrick Gross April 13, 2022 Addition [gep1].
1.5 Patrick Gross July 4, 2022 Addition [hct1].

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