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The 1954 French flap:

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September 23, 1954, Lantéfontaine-les-Baroches, Meurthe-et-Moselle:

Reference number for this case: 30-Sep-54-Lantéfontaine-les-Baroches. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Reports:

[Ref. af1:] AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE:

Several tens of workmen of Sidélor living the area of Lantéfontaine-les-Baroches (the Meurthe et Moselle), claim to have seen in the sky six flying cigars between 4:30 and 5:30.

[Ref. le1:] "L'EST REPUBLICAIN" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

Are these "Top acrobats"...

Six "flying cigars" reportedly flew over the Pays-Haut...

JOEUF. (From our newsroom). -- The area of the East will end up invaded by beings coming from one does not know where, if one believes all the witnesses who, for a few days, have claimed to have seen here and there, cigars and flying saucers, unless they are craft used during the air army manoeuvres which are currently going on.

Anyway, yesterday morning again, several tens of workmen of Sidelor, living in the area of Lantéfontaine-les-Baroches (the Meurthe-et-Moselle), claim to have seen six "flying cigars" in the sky.

"Between 4 hours 30 and 5 hours 30, one of them told us, we were about to take the bus to reach the factory of Homecourt, when we first saw in the sky two cigar-shaped craft. It was dark, and yet we clearly saw the gleams changing from the red to the orange, whose dimensions grew and decreased alternatively.

"A little later four other craft came to join the two first, and all remained perfectly motionless one moment, to finally disappear instantaneously.

These statements are confirmed by several people. We pour them into the file of the unexplained and extraordinary appearances, which must swell prodigiously in this moment.

Yesterday morning, also around 5 hours, witnesses worthy of faith saw in Homecourt, above the district of the Petite-fin, at high altitude, what they took for a "flying cigar".

Nevertheless, it could be, as some people think they can say it, a phenomenon of reverberation of a pocket casting on the mining dump of Sainte-Marie. The luminous reflections, projected on a cloud, could have produced the image of a "cigar".

... and a "saucer", Dole

DOLE (from our correspondent). -- Wednesday evening, two young people from Dole who were on the walk of the Philippe garden, were witnesses of a strange phenomenon.

We went to interview one of them. It is Mr. Jackie Chapoutot, aged 17, domiciled street of the Dame-d'Ounan, and working at the Delbost factory in Dole.

He gave us the following statement: "I walked in the Philippe garden Wednesday around 08:30 p.m., in company of a comrade, Mr. André Lacour, aged 15, pupil at the modern technical college of Dôle.

Suddenly, our attention was drawn by a strange noise, similar to a whistling sound, much less loud however than that of the jet planes. We then saw, in the sky, a sharp gleam of green color, which came from the North-East and moved to the South-west.

This appearance which would have the size of a soccer ball was followed of an incandescent trail. The object passed at sharp pace and disappeared in the direction of the Idéal-Standard factory.

We had hardly recovered from our surprise when the craft appeared again above Dôle. It remained motionless at the level of the grand-pont for approximately 4 seconds, during which we clearly distinguished its spherical form, then it set out again suddenly on the "side by which it had come".

Other people reportedly also witnessed this phenomenon which left these two young people very perplexed.

[Ref. vm1:] "VAR-MATIN - REPUBLIQUE" NEWSPAPER:

New invasion of flying cigars in the sky of France
Witnesses claim: "They had the dimension of a rugby ball"

Bayonne, September 25. -- Residents of Bayonne claim to have seen, this afternoon, very high in the sky, in the north-eastern direction, three mysterious objects of light color, contrasting on the pure sky at this hour there.

A policeman, Mr. Carrions, who was in the district of the Halles, observed these three motionless machines, laid out in triangle, of slightly oval shape. They had, he said, the dimension of a rugby ball and appeared to be at a considerable height.

Passers by stated to have seen the same luminous objects in other places.

In the Meurthe et Moselle

Several tens of workmen of "Sidelor" living the area of Lantefontaine-les-Baroches (Meurthe et Moselle) claim to have seen in the sky, six flying cigars, between 04:30 and 05:30. "We initially saw, they stated, two "cigars" then four other apparatuses came to join the two first. All remained perfectly motionless one moment to finally disappear instantaneously." These statements are confirmed by several other people.

In Le Puy

Mrs Chaumard, living in the La Girette district in Le Puy, saw in the sky, a machine having the shape of a cigar, reddish at an end. Silent and appearing motionless, she managed to observe the machine during nearly a quarter of an hour, then the "cigar" suddenly disappeared by taking altitude.

In the sky of the Auvergne

Clermont Ferrand. -– Six residents of Langeac (the Haute Loire) saw a white gleam moving in the sky in direction of the ground.

A resident of Gelles (the Puy de Dôme), Mrs widow Melles claims to have seen in the sky, a luminous machine of lengthened form "of the cigar kind". The craft moved silently. A resident of Clermont Ferrand gathered mushrooms: he saw in the sky at high altitude, a luminous trail "slightly pink colored".

Rugby players, training in the Vichy stadium, saw a flying cigar.

Near La Rochelle

La Rochelle. -– At La Charron – (the Charente Maritime), three fishermen and a a customs observer state to have seen, during one of these last nights, a formation of flying saucers moving very low and flying over the shore, before disappearing.

[Ref. ml1:] "LE MIDI LIBRE" NEWSPAPER:

Flying saucers

of a rugby ball and appeared to be at a considerable height."

In the Meurthe-and-Moselle, several tens of workmen of "Sidelor", living the area of Lantefontaine-les-Baroches (M.-and-M.). claim to have seen six flying cigars between 04:30 and 05:00 in the sky.

"We initially saw, they said, two "cigars", then afterwards, four other craft came to join the two first. All remained motionless one moment for finally disappearing instantaneously."

In Le Puy, Mrs. Chaumard, resident of the district of La Girète, saw in the sky a machine having the shape of a cigar reddish glowing at an end, silent and appearing motionless. She managed to observe the machine during nearly a quarter of hour, then the "cigar" suddenly disappeared by taking altitude.

The same observations were made by six inhabitants of Langeac (Haute-Loire) and several inhabitants of Gelles (Puy-de-Dome) or Clermont-Ferrand.

In this area, rugby players training at the Vichy stadium saw a "flying cigar".

In the Aveyron

From Villefranche-of-Rouergue in Aveyron, it is reported that an owner of Vabre-Tézac, Mr. Marre, saw a yellowish mass of color which moved away towards the south, without leaving behind any trace of smoke.

The attention of Mr. Marre had been drawn by the noise of an engine.

Other inhabitants of the locality also heard, from the inside of their house, the same noise, but not having come out, they did not see the weird "mass."

[Ref. er2:] "L'EST REPUBLICAIN" NEWSPAPER:

Saucers - cigars and fireballs

After the flight of saucers over the White House the investigation revealed that radar sets were mistaken.

Thousands of people have actually seen the "bright objects" wander in the sky in a puzzling manner. Certainly, on September 28, the "saucer" seen above Mt. Revard by Dr Martinet and fifteen other people was a flock of starlings. The good doctor admitted his mistake the next day when an aviator, Michel Guyard, came to reveal that he also was intrigued by this glittering whirl, but that as he approached it with his plane he merely frightened peaceful birds - as a result, the perfect disc they formed was disrupted.

It is impossible, however, to explain other reports of observed phenomena as collective hallucination... although it is fair to note at first that these "saucers" appeared with extremely diverse aspects.

In the few hundred and fifty cases we have been cataloged in France, they looked round or oblong balls of fire, matt or bright, big or small, blue, green, red, yellow or white, naked or surrounded of a ring, noisy or silent, producing sparks (or smoke) or leaving no wake, when they did not have the form of discs, cigars or half cigars.

They were seen day and night, although their occupants preferred the troubled hours of dusk. They were especially seen evolving in every manners: slowly or quickly, horizontally or vertically, in a straight line or in a broken line.

How to sort all this?

The jet fighters hunted in vain

Could there be so many different saucers with so many different origins? If they come to us from outer space, are there so many other inhabited worlds... and who are interested in us?

In truth, nothing precise could be learned of the reported sightings and often witness of the same phenomenon does not agree among themselves as to the size, shape and color of the object. So we are at the same step as the Americans in 1952, when the new radar set installed just a few days ago in Washington detected flying "saucers", finally placing the matter in the field of science. This device could not be wrong and played the role of arbitrator in an unexpected but worrying manner.

Specialists on duty assured the survey in their new premises, when one fine morning the watchman was startled: a luminous echo appeared on the screen although no aircraft was reported. They first thought - it had happened - that a commercial aircraft had violated regulations of air navigation and was flying over the forbidden zone of the White House. They alerted "Shooting Star" squadrons, which took off immediately. But the "object" fainted before the arrival of the jet fighters. Thus the thing had fled at such an unimaginable speed, showing by that the existence of these objects zigzaging at thousands of kilometers an hour before dissolving in the sky. The emotion climbed and it was officially decided to strengthen monitoring devices. The order was not useless, because a few days later, a new alert was given.

Jet fighters take off and rush at the full power of their reactors to the spot of the sky indicated by their radio, but arrived there, they announced again: - The sky is empty.

"For God's sake, do not shoot on the saucers!"

This time radar men jump on their feet. The bright spot is on their screen, indisputable and provocative. The small spots of the "Shooting Star[s]" come close to covering it. Saucers, cigars and fireballs.

- Attention, you are in contact, scream the radar experts. But the fighters rush at 800 km/h in a still desert sky, with perhaps at this place a slightly milky transparency.

Are the famous "objects" merely ectoplasm?

Once again public opinion is moved. Letters reach the U.S. Air Force to ask "not to irritate the visitors." "For God's sake, do not shoot at the saucers" implores a correspondent. Technicians, of course, do not believe in ghosts. A new commission is appointed. For six months, aerodynamic engineers, astronomers, meteorologists and scientists of all disciplines having some possible connection with the "saucers" study dozens of cases. And their conclusion sudden bursts, amazing but indisputable, freeing America of a part of its fear, by revealing the radar, too, was wrong. Each time a ghost image scored the fighters, meteorologists found in altitude, the presence of a layer of cold air between two layers of warm air. The density (and index of refraction) of air varying with the temperature, this "sandwich" had acted like a mirror to the radioelectrical airwaves and airplanes were guided, after a descent as fast as the rise, towards sheds or metal structures on the ground. The phenomenon can also reflect the sun in the day and the moon and the lights of a city at night. Often, the picture is double or triple, each separation surface playing a distinct role; "Saucers in pairs."

Certainly temperature inversions do not explain everything. But US experts feel that they were responsible for nearly 80% of the reported luminous apparitions beyond the Atlantic, and many mysterious machines seen in France can probably be allotted to them.

It may be noted, in chronological order, two parallel gleams in Antibes, in August 1949, two silver balls in Poitiers, May 10, 1952, two white discs at Roche-sur-Yon, twelve days later, "numerous red saucers" flying in zigzag, two by two, on October 17, 1952 in Oloron-Sainte-Marie (the radar of Mont-de-Marsan perceives its echo like its American brothers). Many other cases could be cited to the most recent: last September 24 three oval objects were reported in Bayonne, three in Charente-Maritime and six "cigar" evolving two by two in Lantefontaine, Lorraine.

Cases of isolated phenomena are even more numerous. - What! cry the disappointed "pro-saucerists", so, it was only this? Honestly see that we find in this category of events most characteristics reported by the "witnesses": blurry lights, sometimes surrounded by a halo, appearance and disappearance (with the complicity of clouds or because of the fading of lighting conditions) and above developments as capricious as fast. The surface of separation of two air layers are not still, of course; it empties and oscillates under the influence of currents in the atmosphere and the image is rejected from one corner of the sky to another.

Very thin cosmic dust

It is regrettable that comments are usually too vague to allow the technician to decide with authority; but only immaterial manifestations may be gifted the dizzying, instantaneous speeds, lent to "saucers" in which most cases. Whatever their origin, terrestrial or extraterrestrial visitors, they would be subject to the laws of the universal gravitation (and consequently the acceleration), that all the planets in all galaxies undergo. Whatever the power of their machinery and engineering, "Saucers" could not overcome their own weight. And all the magnetic currents or other cosmic rays they are deemed to use may make immaterial beings. But the meteorologists still have in their arsenal the noctilucent clouds that Vestine and Störmer think to be composed of very fine cosmis dust from outer space. These meteors are at 75 or 80 kilometers high, becoming brighter as the night goes on and present their maximum brightness at about midnight. The very serious "International Atlas of clouds "indicates that they may be driven by the powerful air currents prevailing in these altitudes, at speeds of 50 to 250 meters per second, or 180 to 900 kms. Let's recall in our turn that it only takes a small cumulus, although classic, but hidden in the night, so that the "saucer" vanishes and reappears.

- But, protesting the "pro-saucerists" you still have demolished only simplistic and disappointing sightings with this argument. They can rest assured there are other answers, more varied and also safe, to the most amazing events.

Barrels, discs, pots, headlights and flying balls are on the verge of dethroning the saucers and other cigars.

The time is gone, by far, when an ordinary "saucer" crossed the blue sky at high pace and disappeared over the horizon leaving a bluish trail. Since then, there were "cigars" which, together with their shape, generally took shimmering colors allowing witnesses not be wrong.

All this is outdated, if we judge by the recent observations made in France by people whose good faith may not be in doubt. The mysterious craft that arouse so much controversies and are poised to discord in many families between those who believe and those who disbelieve it, now take extremely varied and pleasing forms. As to colors, they turn from red to yellow through orange to any possible colors and halftones. Thus we have seen over the last twenty-four hours in the sky of France, several discs, a large headlight, a big ball, a pot, a crescent, and a barrel, a big star, not to mention the "saucers" and other "cigars" whose enumeration would be too long.

From Normandy...

The disks attracted the attention both of a Le Havre taxi driver, over Deauville, and a Lyon journalist south of the Basilica of Fourvière. In both cases, they were red-orange colored and shiny. They disappeared after ten minutes. The big headlight was moving over Aurec-sur-Loire (Haute-Loire) at high speed by issuing a orange-red light beam also. "When it disappeared", witnesses, Mr. and Mrs. Teyssier, of Saint-Etienne, said, "a second craft, similar to the first and appearing to follow it disappeared in the same direction."

In Epinac-les-Mines (Saône-et-Loire), drivers, puzzled, stopped at the roadside to follow the slow and graceful maneuvers of a big ball of light whose color, unfortunately, is not specified.

... to the Auvergne

The pot and the crescent troubled the tranquility of many northerners. The first, in Ablain-Saint-Nazaire, turned on itself and freed a reddish glow. The second, in the sky of Lievin, hovered for a few minutes before splitting in two. That is when the upper part was standing still as the other landed in a field between two haystacks, then suddenly flew to join again the part remained in the air!...

It was night in Montecreau -Villebois-Lavalette (Charente) when Mr. Jean Allary, 22, saw by the light of the headlight of his motorcycle, a kind of 1.80-meters-high barrel and nails of golden nails! It swung on the roadside and fled when the witness approached. The next day, at the place indicated by Mr. Allary, witnesses spotted traces of about seven meters in length in the grass by the roadside.

It is the Clermont-Ferrand residents who, today, had the last word with the big star changing from the white to green and yellow to red, which, driven by a rotary movement, left behind an orange plume Monday night at 7 p.m. in the sky of Clermont-Ferrand.

Scientific controversies...

These celestial phenomena result, we have said it, in heated controversy. Thus a Professor of the University of Bonn, Joseph Meurès, said during a conference: "The book by American author Key Hoc [sic, Keyhoe] on flying saucers is not even worth the paper on which it is printed." Mr. Duneau Fletcher, vice president of the Astronomical Association of Kenya has another opinion: "The existence of saucers" is not to question, he believes, very experienced observers have seen them across the globe. And Mr. Fletcher gives his little idea on the question: "Visitors from another world observe the Earth and probably map it."

And merry pranks

These scholarly remarks do not prevent pranksters have fun with it at the expense of their fellow citizens. The police came and ended the hobby of a pensioner of Beuvry-les-Bethune who made gears three meters in diameter with sheets of paper very carefully glued and fitted at their base of a small receptacle containing a clump of tow soaked with a flammable liquid. Once he set fire to the tow, the "saucer" was in the sky and disappeared with the wind with yellow, orange and red lights. Alas! the truth was discovered when a gear began to set fire to a haystack...

[Ref. am1:] AIME MICHEL:

Aimé Michel says this case in Lantéfontaine-les-Baroches en Meurthe-et-Moselle occurred on September 23, 1954.

Aimé Michel indicates that the case is briefly reported in the newspaper "France-Soir" for September 26, 1954.

[Ref. jv6:] JACQUES VALLEE:

Jacques Vallée indicates that for the day of September 24, 1954, the French Press mentioned a number of sightings, including one in Lantéfontaine in the Meurthe-et-Moselle, of a "single phenomenon".

Jacques Vallée indicates that the observation was of type "IV"; which he defines as an observation where a "abnormal object" was seen in translation movement in the atmosphere, whatever accelerations, luminous variations or rotations this movement would be associated to.

He notes that the observations of the type IV "could be considered insufficient", that half of testimonies of that day "would be rejected within the framework of an official investigation operating on the usual criteria".

[Ref. gl1:] CHARLES GARREAU AND RAYMOND LAVIER:

Indicating newspaper cuttings and personal files as their sources, the authors report of an observation on September 23, 1954 in Lantéfontaine-les-Baroches in the Meurthe-et-Moselle, of which they say that it is one of the rare observations in the world involving a formation of "cigars."

At four o'clock and a half, in the night, on the roads which converge towards the SIDELOR factories, tens of workmen went to their work on bicycles.

They see two luminous objects in the shape of cigars appear in the sky, which immobilize above the countryside.

The majority of the observers put feet at ground for better observing the machines which do not move. Soon, under the eyes of all these observers, four other cigars emerge, sink in the direction of the two first and stop dead short while arriving near them.

During a few minutes, the six "cigars" remain motionless, and certain workmen start to worry, one of them uttering "maybe they're goin' to land!" The others laughed, but again get on their bicycles, with one foot only at the ground, the other on the pedal

One of the witnesses indicates, "with one notable feeling of relief, we saw them start moving, rising, and disappearing in a few seconds." He and much of his comrades checked in with a few minutes of delay at the factory.

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

The authors say that for the case in Lantéfontaine-les-Baroches for September 24, 1954, no investigation is possible because the witnesses are not known.

[Ref. jc1:] JACQUES COSTAGLIOLA:

The author indicates that on September 24, 1954, there were 9 sightings, 6 being on the Bayonne - Vichy line, one of those sighting was at Lantefontaine.

[Ref. go1:] GODELIEVE VAN OVERMEIRE:

The Belgian ufologist indicates that in 1954, on September 23, in France, in Lantéfontaines les Baroches (the Meurthe and Moselle), "It is 4:30. On the roads which converge towards the SIDELOR factories tens of workmen return to work by bicycle. In the sky they see two luminous objects in the shape of cigars emerging, which are immobilized above the countryside. The majority put foot at ground for better observing. The two machines do not move. But soon, four other cigars emerge. They dive in the direction of the first two and stop short while arriving in the vicinity. During a few minutes the six cigars remain motionless. They finally moved, rose and disappeared in a few seconds."

The source is indicated as "GARREAU and LAVIER: 'Face aux extra-terrestres' - DELARGE 1975 - J'ai Lu, p. 258, 259".

[Ref. lc1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in Meurthe et Moselle in Lantéfontaine on September 24, 1954 at an unknown hour there was an "Observation of a luminous object."

Luc Chastan notes that the source is "M.O.C. by Michel Aimé ** Arthaud 1958".

[Ref. ud1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that on 24 September 1954 at 04:30 between Lantefontaine and Nancy, Lantefontaine, France, "Hovered." And: "Hovering objects were observed. Six objects were observed by seven witnesses for over 60 minutes."

The sources are indicated as Michel, Aime, Flying Saucers and the Straight-Line Mystery, S. G. Phillips, New York, 1958; Vallee, Jacques, Computerized Catalog (N = 3073); Vallee, Jacques, Challenge to Science: The UFO Enigma, Henry Regnery, Chicago, 1966.

[Ref. ub1:] "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
19540924 24.09.1954 Lantefontaine France NL
19540924 24.09.1954 Lantefontaine France
19540924 24.09.1954 Lantefontaine France

Explanations:

Not looked for yet. Possible military maneuvers.

Keywords:

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

Lantéfontaine-les-Baroches, Meurthe-et-Moselle, morning, object, objects, cigar, cigars, manoeuvre, multiple, hovering, fast, luminous, bicycles, road

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross April 11, 2006 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross January 28, 2010 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Additions [vm1], [go1], [lc1].
1.1 Patrick Gross February 10, 2010 Addition [jc1], [ud1].
1.2 Patrick Gross June 1, 2010 Addition [le1]. Addition of explanation "Possible military maneuvers."
1.3 Patrick Gross February 6, 2017 Addition [ub1].
1.4 Patrick Gross February 10, 2017 Addition [er2].

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