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The 1954 French flap:

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

October 21, 1954, Momy, Pyrénées-Atlantiques:

Reference number for this case: 21-Oct-54-Momy. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Reports:

[Ref. ppe1:] "PARIS-PRESSE" NEWSPAPER:

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The latest flying saucer trend is in the shape of a 4 CV.

The most disturbing thing about the mystery of the flying saucers is that they show themselves to the eyes of people that higher primary education and the gravity of their functions protect from vulgar superstitions and the dreams of old women.

How to doubt the word of Mr. Jean Gambier, sworn police officer in Hesdin (Pas-de-Calais) and Mrs. Michèle Vitkosusky, notary clerk in Normandy! Mr. Jean Gambier going to his service saw, above the forest an elongated apparatus whose upper part was bright red. The center of a bright white and whose lower part left behind a trail of stars. The craft quickly took to the vertical and disappeared at a dizzying pace.

Other observers have seen the saucer of Mrs the notary clerk. It was near Saint-Valery-en-Caux. Several unidentified objects - saucers, dammit! - have maneuvered for two hours. One of them, violently lit, landed in a field. Two others, seen not far from the cliff of Mers-les-Bains, seemed to correspond with the first group. Alas when the gendarmes arrived, to fine them, gosh! The saucers were gone: they must not have been in good legal standing.

The Lormes-Nevers coach driver and his passengers, also saw a saucer. Mr. Lucien Fiesch, from Issenheim in Alsace, also, who seized with fear is still running. And also Mr. Pierre Ackermann, from Guebwiller. And again Miss Fleck, from Soulzmatt (Bas-Rhin). Without forgetting the Pyreneans of Vic-Bigorre, the postman of Saint-Pierre-la-Cour station, Mr. Roumy, Houard and Fressard, at Cheverron [sic]; and the students of the Saint-Cyr Institute, in Clevers.

Flying pumpkin

The most extraordinary case was noted by an Algerian motorist, Mr. Gaston Blanquère who, near the village of Jean-Mermoz saw a saucer in the shape of a 4 CV Renault. It consisted of an upper dome from which a yellow glow came out, let out a bluish luminous spray at its lower part and finally swept the plain of very powerful headlights.

Impossible to confuse this saucer with the humble pumpkin emptied and lit by a candle that the villagers of Momy (Basses-Pyrénées) chased yesterday armed with pitchforks, picks and rifles.

[Ref. ccc1:] "THE CALLER-TIMES" NEWSPAPER:

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'SAUCER' LOSES WINGS

Reuters

MOMY, France, Oct. 22 -- Villagers armed with shotguns and pitchforks closed in on a "flying saucer" in a field last night and found a hollowed-out pumpkin with a burning candle inside -- the work of a practical joker.

[Ref. tsp1:] "THE STAR PRESS" NEWSPAPER:

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France, Too, 'Invaded' By Martians

Paris (UP) -- A flying saucer epidemic has Frenchmen seeing men from Mars.

The other evening in the Lorraine village of Walscheid a terrified band of youngsters stampeded homeward to report that the men from Mars had landed in a villager's garden. Womenfolk dashed into the village church, hoping for Divine sanctuary.

The men grabbed scythes, clubs, and the few available guns and marched against the Martians. They marched to the garden. There stood the invaders, half human size, heads glowing motionless. Turned out they were big-blossomed chrysanthemums the resident had covered with brilliant cloth against the frost.

The Standard Model

When the big scale visitation from the outer reaches began, the flying saucer was the standard model. Since then luminous cigars, frying pans, discs, melone and even bells have hurtled through the French skies in increasing numbers.

Within the week the villagers of Momy (Basses-Pyrenees) took to the fields with makeshift weapons to deal with a flying saucer freshly arrived. They found a hollow pumpkin with a candle burning inside.

Two nights earlier a farmer in the Bordeaux area stopped to repair his car on a lonely road, and narrowly missed death when a resident mistook him for a celestial invader and fired both barrels of his shotgun at him.

Ten days ago Gilbert Lelay told his parents at Chateaubriant that a little Martian stepped from a flying cigar and readily gave him permission to look at it, but warned him not to touch it.

Near Toulouse, a mechanic, Jean Marty, 43, informed police he saw an orange saucer land near his home. It soon zoomed away into the night, but Marty found two sheets of paper on the ground, covered with cryptic markings which none could deny might be Martian literature.

The weekly magazine Express offered a reward of 10,000,000 Francs ($28.570) to the first person bringing a real live Martian to its office.

The more scholarly newspaper Le Monde, lamenting on the rash of flying saucers, mourned in print for "the days of our well beloved sea serpent."

[Ref. tbg1:] "THE BOSTON GLOBE" NEWSPAPER:

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France Abuzz Over Saucers

Craze Matches Witch-Hunting

PARIS (Reuters) -- Frenchmen have taken to the flying saucer craze with all the enthusiasm that their medieval forebears devoted to witch-hunting.

Not a day passes without reports from all over France of "flying saucers," "flying cigars," "flying mushrooms," and "flying bells" piloted by 20th century sorcerers.

Villagers seize shot guns and pitchforks and sally forth valiantly to meet any saucer reported landing nearby. Police spend hours following up reports.

Flying saucer stories and speculation about their origin fill the national press. They have even driven sex from the front pages of some popular weekly newspapers. One has offered a reward of 1.000,000 francs (about $2800) to the reader who sends in the first authentic photograph of a flying saucer.

The Mayor of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, a wine village of 1600 people has decreed that any flying saucer which lands in his village will be impounded.

Flying saucer stories come from all levels and ages of the population.

A select few claim that they have actually seen the creatures who pilot the saucers over France. They generally agree that the creatures, usually referred to as Martians, are shorter than human beings in size and appear to be very hairy. Most of these creatures, if they speak, utter unintelligible sounds, but some have made themselves understood in French and even Russian.

Thirteen year-old Gilbert Lafay [sic], of Chateaubriant, said that he saw in a field a flying saucer piloted by a man who spoke to him in French.

Baker's assistant Pierre Lucas of Loctudy claimed that he met a four-foot flying saucer pilot with a hairy oval face and eyes as big as crow's eggs.

A workman, Louis Ujvari, met a flying saucer pilot near Epinal who spoke Russian and asked how far it was from the German frontier.


Saucers with sirens

The saucers seem generally to be piloted by males. One exception was reported by a schoolmaster, Mr. Martin, who said he met two beautiful Martian girls on the island of Oloron [sic] off the French Atlantic Coast. They were about four feet, four inches, and wore leather helmets, gloves and boots.

The strange visitors from outer space are said to be equipped with "ray guns" which stop witnesses in their track with an electric shock effect and temporarily immobilize automobile engines, but no really unfriendly act by them has so far been reported.

Frenchmen are less well disposed towards their uninvited guests and some accidents have occurred in the hunt for Martians. At Sinceny, Jean Faisan fired two shots at his farmer neighbor, Maurice Ruan, who was repairing his car one night, narrowly missing his head but damaging the radiator.

Faisan explained that when he saw a figure illuminated by two lamps he thought he was in the presence of a "Martian repairing his flying saucer." He ran for his shotgun and fired.

In the village of Troussey, sugar beet gatherer Alexandre Ronneji, who had not had a haircut for several months, was manhandled by a crowd who mistook him for a hairy Martian.

At Tain-l'Hermitage, in central France, a wineyard worker decided that his neighbor, M. Neyret, looked "extraordinary" in the dusk and attacked him savagely, beating him so severely that one ear was torn off. Only then did he find that Neyret was not a Martian.

Press cartoonists and practical jokers are having a field day over the whole affair. Newspapers and popular weekly magazines fill their cartoon pages with saucer jokes.


Flying Saucer-ers

A worker at a Paris railway depot started his mates on a Martian hunt by capering about in a welder's helmet with a green light inside.

But the king of the saucer jesters was a retired miner of the village of Beuvry-Les-Bethunes, near Lille, who built some flying saucers in his backyard. He made his "saucers" out of gray paper on the fire-balloon principles and lit a paraffin-soaked rag at the base. The warm air lifted the "saucers", some of them over nine feet in diameter, and off they went with the wind showing orange and yellow lights from the flames.

Police found him out after one of his "saucers" had landed near a haystack and almost set it on fire.

Attempts to explain the saucer phenomena have varied from "mass hallucination" to a suggestion that they are new experimental aircraft built in cigar form which can take off vertically.

Another theory is that, under certain atmospheric conditions, exhaust fuel from jet aircraft solidifies and may form "saucer" shapes. It has been said to reach the ground in the form of a rubbery material which dissolved on being touched. Such a material has often be reported to have been found on saucer landing sites.

[Ref. lgs1] LOREN GROSS - UNKNOWN US NEWSPAPER:

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November 2, 1954

French Have Epidemic Of Disks

By Priscilla Buckley

PARIS, (UP). -- A flying saucer epidemic has Frenchmen seeing men from Mars.

The other evening in the Lorraine village of Walscheid a terrified band of youngsters stampeded homeward to report that the men from Mars had landed in a villager's garden. Womenfolk dashed into the church, hoping for divine sanctuary.

The men grabbed scythes, clubs, and the few available guns and marched against the garden. There stood the invaders, half human size, heads glowing motionless.

Turned out they were big chrysanthemums the resident had covered with brilliant cloth against the frost.

When the big scale visitation from the outer reaches began, the flying saucer was the model. Since then, luminous cigars, frying pans, disks, melons and even bells have hurtled through the French skies in increasing numbers.

Within the week the villagers of Momy (Basses-Pyrenees) took to the fled with makeshift weapons to deal with a flying saucer freshly arrived. They found a hollow pumpkin with a candle burning inside.

Two nights earlier a farmer in the Bordeaux area stopped to repair his car on a lonely road, and narrowly missed death when a resident mistook him for a celestial invader and fired both barrels of his shotgun at him.

Ten days ago Gilbert Lelay told his parents at Chateaubriant that a little Martian stepped from a flying cigar and readily gave him permission to look at it, but warned him not to touch it.

Near Toulouse, a mechanic, Jean Marty, 43, informed police he saw an orange saucer land near his home. It soon zoomed away into the night, but Marty found two sheets of paper on the ground, covered with cryptic markings which none could deny could be Martian literature.

The weekly magazine express [L'Express] offered a reward of 10 million francs ($28.570) to the first person bringing a real live Martian to its offices.

The more scholarly newspaper Le monde, lamenting the rash of flying saucers, mourned in print for "the days of our well beloved sea serpent."

[Ref. lgs2] LOREN GROSS - UNKNOWN FOREIGN NEWSPAPER:

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Now it's Flying Pumpkin

MOMY, France, Oct. 21. -- Villagers armed with shotguns and pitchforks closed in on a "flying saucer" in a field and found a hollowed-out pumpkin with a burning candle inside.

[Ref. lat1:] "THE LOS ANGELES TIMES" NEWSPAPER:

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Armed Villagers Find 'Flying Saucer' Is Joke

MOMY, France, Nov. 17 (Reuters) -- Villagers armes with shotguns and pitchforks closed in on a "flying saucer" in a field and found a hollowed-out pumpkin with a burnng candle inside - the work of a practical joker.

Explanations:

Hoax, candle in a pumpkin.

Keywords:

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

Momy, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, misinterpretation, pumpkin, candle

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
1.0 Patrick Gross November 25, 2016 First published.
1.1 Patrick Gross September 18, 2017 Additions [ccc1], [tsp1].
1.2 Patrick Gross May 3, 2018 Addition [lat1].
1.3 Patrick Gross December 18, 2019 Addition [tbg1].
1.4 Patrick Gross January 2, 2020 Addition [ppe1]. Date changed from "End October" to "October 21"

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