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The 1954 French flap:

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September 24, 1954, Bayonne, Pyrénées-Atlantiques:

Reference number for this case: 24-Sep-54-Bayonne. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Reports:

[Ref. pl1:] "LE PARISIEN LIBERE" NEWSPAPER:

In the sky of Bayonne the "cigars" fly in formation

Bayonne, September 24. -- Residents of Bayonne claim to have seen, this afternoon very high in the sky, three mysterious objects, of light color. A policeman, Mr. Corrions, who was in the district of Les Halles, observed three motionless machines laid out in a triangle. "They had", he said, "the shape and the dimension of a rugby ball and appeared to be at a considerable height."

Passers by stated to have seen the same luminous objects from other locations.

[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 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:

The sky of France is furrowed by "cigars" and "flying saucers"

Paris. September 25. -- From several localities of France, the appearance of "cigars" or "flying saucers" in the sky is reported.

Thus in Charron (the Charente-Maritime), three fishermen and a customs officer state to have seen during one of these last nights, a formation of flying saucers evolving very low and flying over the shore before disappearing.

In Bayonne, inhabitants claim to have seen, very high in the sky, three mysterious objects of clear color, contrasting with the sky. A police officer, Mr. Corrions, observed these three motionless machines, laid out in triangle, of slightly oval form. "They had, he said, the dimension

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-de-Rouergue in the 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 notes that on September 24, 1954, there was a sighting in Bayonne.

Aimé Michel indicates that the observation is briefly reported by the newspaper France-Soir for September 26, 1954.

Michel indicates that the case is one of the "Bayonne-Vichy alignment", dubbed BAVIC, of which he thinks that it marks the alignment of a series of six and three observations of September 24, 1954 which are aligned on an imaginary line passing by these two cities. He evaluated that it could not have been a coincidence. He indicates that it is not by strangeness that these observations are remarkable, but by their alignment.

He indicates that this case happened in the afternoon, when a large number of people saw three elliptic objects very high in the sky, which were motionless, of metallic aspect and shining in the sun. Their immobility lasted a long moment, "after that they disappear quickly."

He reasons that at first sight the weather balloon seems to be an explanation but that the ellipse is horizontal and not vertical, and that there is a fast departure.

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 Bayonne in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques in the afternoon.

Jacques Vallée indicates that the observation of type "III"; which he defines as "a case where an alleged 'abnormal object' of spherical, discoid or elliptic form is reported motionless in the atmosphere." He indicates it was "a triple image or object".

[Ref. jv5:] JACQUES VALLEE:

139 001.47356 43.49100 24 09 1954 15 00 205 BAYONNE F 3037 C** 117

[Ref. am2:] AIME MICHEL:

THE BAYONNE-VICHY LINE

[...]

Let us take another day, the 24th of September. Nine observations that day. On the nine, six are on the same line going from Bayonne to Vichy.

[...]

[Ref. fs1:] FRANK B. SALISBURY:

6. Bayonne, afternoon: Many people watched three elliptical objects, metallic in appearance, hover in the sky, and then move away very rapidly.

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

The two authors note that the observation in Bayonne of September 24, 1954 was used as a basis for Aimé Michel for his description of an alignment "Bayonne-Vichy" (BAVIC).

Around 4 p.m., many people, among them several policemen the ensuring circulation downtown observed during nearly a quarter of an hour three elliptic objects, very high in the sky, motionless, of metallic appearance, shining with the sun.

A police officer, Mr. Corrions, who was in the district of the Halles, specified: "They had the dimension of a rugby ball. They were in triangular formation." Like all the other witnesses, Mr. Carrions saw the three objects suddenly passing from a quasi complete immobility, to a very high speed and disappearing quickly in a north-western direction.

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

The two authors report that in Bayonne in the Pyrenees Atlantique, on September 24, 1954 at 04:30 p.m., three objects laid out in triangle were observed.

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

The two authors indicate that depending to the newspaper that one chooses, this case is dated sometimes of September 23, 1954, sometimes of September 26, 1954. They add that the sighting is poor in details and could be explained by anything.

[Ref. mj1:] MICHEL JEANTHEAU:

Ufologist Michel Jeantheau closely checked the date of this observation allegedly being the starting point of an alignment of sightings pled by ufologist Aimé Michel and called "the BAVIC line" for "BAyonne-VIChy."

He indicates to have found in 1976 in the National Library in the daily newspaper of Bayonne "Côte Basque Soir" for September 24, 1954, that this observation is indicated as of "yesterday afternoon around 17 hours," which indicates that the correct date is September 23 and not on September 24 as Aimé Michel thought it was.

He also found the case mentioned on page 3 of the regional newspaper La 4ème République des Pyrénées for September 27, 1954, with the indication "Thursday afternoon around 17 hours"; which also places the case at September 23, 1954.

He thus notes that Aimé Michel was mistaken when he indicated that his source was the newspaper Le Parisien Libéré for September 27, 1954, since the article in question is really in this newspaper at the date of September 25, 1954.

He adds that the authors Barthel and Brucker in their book "La grande peur martienne" wrote that certain newspapers date the case as of the 26th, others as of the 23rd, and that "a doubt remains" on the date, despite that he has informed them of the correct date before, which is not dated 26th or 23rd in any newspapers.

[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 in Bayonne.

[Ref. go1:] GODELIEVE VAN OVERMEIRE:

The Belgian ufologist indicates that in 1954, on September 24 in France, in Bayonne "At 4:30 observations of three objects laid out in triangle."

The source is indicated as "M. FIGUET/J.L. RUCHON: "Ovni, le premier dossier complet.." - éd. Alain Lefeuvre 1979, p. 85."

[Ref. dj1:] DONALD JOHNSON:

Encounters with Aliens On this Day

September 24

[...]

1954 - At sometime before 3:00 p.m. in Bayonne, Pyrenees-Atlantique, France three metallic ovoid objects hovered in a triangular formation for over one minute, then flew away fast. At 3:00 p.m. a fast silent cigar-shaped object crossed the sky slowly over the Vichy stadium, Allier, France and was seen by many. These are two of the defining sightings of the Bayonne to Vichy (BAVIC) orthotenic line discovered by Aime Michel and confirmed by Dr. David R. Saunders.(Sources: Aime Michel, Flying Saucers and the Straight Line Mystery, p. 76; David R. Saunders, Is BAVIC Remarkable?, FSR, Vol. 17, No. 4, July-August 1971).

[...]

[Ref. lc1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the Pyrenees Atlantique in Bayonne on September 24, 1954 at 16:30 hours "Many people including several policemen observed during a quarter of hour, three elliptic objects very high in the sky, motionless, of metallic appearance, which are shining with the sun. They had the dimension of a rugby ball and were in triangular formation. Suddenly they passed from a quasi total immobility to a very high speed and disappeared quickly in direction of the Northwest."

The sources are noted as "Ovni, Premier dossier complet... by Figuet M./ Ruchon J.L. ** Alain Lefeuvre pub. 1979" and "Face aux Extra terrestres by Garreau and Lavier ** DELARGE 1975,".

[Ref. jb1:] JEROME BEAU:

September 1954

Fri 24

6 observations of that day geographically lined from Bayonne to Vichy (including that of Ussel) 4.

4. Will be spotted by Aimé Michel, who will develop the othoteny [sic] theory, among others in his book Mystérieux Objets Célestes (MOC). Jacques Vallée will call the line BaVic, but will finally concluded to simple hazard.

[Ref. ud1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that on 24 September 1954 at 15:00 in Bayonne, France, "Three metallic ovoid objects hover in triangular formation for over one minute. Fly away fast."

And: "Hovering objects were observed. Three metallic ovoid objects were observed by a male witness on the shore for over one minute."

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; Vallee, Jacques, Preliminary Catalog (N = 500), (in JVallee01); Hatch, Larry, *U* computer database, Author, Redwood City, 2002.

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

This database recorded this case four 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 Bayonne France 15.00 DD
19540924 24.09.1954 Bayonne France 15.00 DD
19540924 24.09.1954 Bayonne France Afternoon DD
19540924 24.09.1954 Bayonne France 15.00 DD

Notes:

Aimé Michel had the date wrong for this observation. The event thus cannot be taken into consideration as justifying a BAVIC line.

Explanations:

Not looked for yet.

Keywords:

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

Bayonne, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Corrions, cigars, day, Halles, three, triangle, formation, Rugby, oval, high, clear, police officer, multiple, motionless, fast, shining

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross April 20, 2006 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross January 28, 2010 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Addition [vm1].
1.1 Patrick Gross February 10, 2010 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Additions [jc1], [go1], [jb1], [dj1], [ud1].
1.2 Patrick Gross June 17, 2010 Addition [jv5].
1.3 Patrick Gross July 2, 2010 Addition [jv6].
1.4 Patrick Gross January 12, 2017 Addition [ub1].
1.5 Patrick Gross February 10, 2017 Addition [er2].

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