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The 1954 French flap:

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

September 24, 1954, Diges, Yonne:

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

Reports:

[Ref. yr1:] "L'YONNE REPUBLICAINE" NEWSPAPER:

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A FLYING SAUCER LANDED IN THE YONNE

In Diges, two people have glanced for a moment, ona mysterious craft and its pilot
in a clearing
Only evidence: two traces in the morning dew

Our colleague, Jean-Claude CHARLET, has reconstituted for you the image seen by Mrs widow GEOFFROY and Miss FIN. (Photograph L'Yonne Républicaine).

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(From our special investigators)

Our icaunian sky already had the privilege of being streaked by various diurnal or nocturnal appearances. None of these craft had landed on the ground of our department.

It does seem that this took place now, since two people of Diges saw a craft of dark and dull color, hidden in the angle of a clearing on Friday morning, at 9 hours approximately. Without noise, the apparatus disappeared with speed and discretion.

HALLUCINATION OR TRUTH?

Although we had received this information with much circumspection, we were obliged to face the obvious fact. An unknown machine, different from modern flying technique of our planet was landed, Friday morning, in Diges.

Let us take again the collected statements. You will more easily follow the logic of our investigation.

Mrs widow Geoffroy
AUX JOLIVETS

"I was going in the direction of the Cognats, to the laundry place located below the road which goes from Diges to the Michauts."

"Before turning on the right and taking the path to the laundry point, my attention was drawn to the left by an odd machine. Near this mass having the shape of a reversed saucer, a man of average size looked at me."

" - How was he dressed?"

"- He was dressed of dark color and wore a kind of kaki cap on the head - probably. He exceeded by one head the height of the saucer."

"- Which colour?"

"- Dark dull gray, almost brown."

"- Shiny?"

"- No, dull."

"- Which length?"

"- You know, 5 to 6 meters. I was at a hundred meters. I did not look for long. I was seized by fear and I went away again without "beating around the bushes." When I went back there two hours afterwards, I did not see anything. No traces."

"Go see for yourself. You will notice the meadow. At the bottom on the right one dead (birch) lays down. It is easy to found the place."

A pastoral stage set

To land, the pilot chose his place, without any doubt. The meadow, (80 meters out of 40), slightly in slope, is framed on three sides by a heavy vegetation, where various types of trees of species common in our area gathered. There are also chestnut trees whose leaves are already turning yellow.

The fourth side of the meadow is bordered by a road, but from above it, this access way must be hidden by the trees. On this fourth face on the other side of the road, close to the laundry place, a splendid curtain of birches with their white trunks add a pleasant aesthetic note to this pastoral decoration.

So this is the modest landing strip, quite clear and hidden in the middle of the wood. It is perfectly appropriate for the one who can and wants to land without being seen.

Having noted some wheel tracks in the field, we thought (the extreme limit of our cautious imagination), that some English or American camper had managed to picnic in the quietness with his car and that the car was covered with a dark gray cover... But our assumptions were going to be nullified in face of the answers of the second person who has seen the saucer.

Miss Gisèle FIN

IN MONTCHENOT

Employed at Mrs. Guillot's, Miss Fin, orphan in state care, walked her goats which grazed on a forest road very close to the clearing located "in Bécard".

"- My dogs, one white and the other black, started to bark a little in the meadow. I approached at about thirty meters and, from this place, I saw a machine, lower than a car, of sunken gray color, maroon. A mixture difficult to describe.

"- Was the colour dull or shiny?"

"- Dull and one tone."

"- Which height?"

"One meter approximately. The machine of five meters at least was more pointed at one end and was more rounded at the other end."

"- Could it have been round?"

Yes, but I maintain that it was more pointed on one end side. It rested on bars. I saw them."

"What was there on it. Was there no door?"

"- Yes there was a door, like that of a trap door, it was opened, right in the air". (what Mrs. Geoffroy mistook from a bulge from a more important distance)."

"- Nothing was shining on this door?"

"The pilot dressed almost in black wore a helmet (1). He had shoes and, close to his apparatus, he was working, almost squatted. The collar of his outfit was raised. I did not see the color of his skin."

With her goats, Miss Gisele Fin follows a path and approaches the road where she would feel in better safety. She thus quits looking at the machine and goes into the depths of the wood. When, by the road, she turned back to look at in the clearing, the machine disappeared without any noise.

HALLUCINATION, MYSTERY or TRUTH?

The mystery remains whole, obviously.

PROOF

One evidence only, according to a women of Mrs. Guillot's farm who went on the premises a little while later. She claimed to us, like Miss Fin, to have seen in the two tracks 50 centimeters apart and broad as the finger (the grass was dry in this place).

There, must the tracks have landed whose heat like a tepid domestic iron, dried the dew.

It is all that remained there from the visit of this unknown machine. There are no traces left any more now.

AN INTERESTING REGION?

Our investigation is practically finished. You know as many details than we do.

We will still add to clarify the doubtful points that one resident of the hamlet of Varennes, commune of Diges also, Mrs. Lucas, saw one evening, one month ago, a strange machine which moved as if hovering above her house.

The moonlight allowed a perfect vision. Then, in only one blow, at a right angle, the machine left vertically, prodigiously quickly... Mrs. Lucas did not say anything for fear that she would be ridiculed.

What can be attractive to the saucers in the area of Diges?

Only one assumption. The ochre heaps, of Sauilly, must be surprising, so that they draw the attention of the air observers.

Let us hope that, without any damage, we will soon know the bottomline.

Mrs. widow Geoffroy and Miss Fin are then the first Icaunians who looked from relatively close at... At whom, by the way?

The inhabitants of another planet or advanced people of our good old Earth: the first to master cosmic energy?

Jacques DELINDRY.

(1) Cap or helmet? It may have been that two passengers, one with a cap, one with a helmet, came out of the apparatus one alternatively.

[Ref. qh1:] "LE QUOTIDIEN DE LA HAUTE-LOIRE" NEWSPAPER:

MARTIANS WERE HOAXERS

The travelers of another world, whose newspaper of Lisbon had announced their visit in Portugal, were not born from an imagination exacerbated by the innumerable visions of flying saucers. They were only the creation of mystifiers, that the same newspaper denounces today.

FLYING SAUCERS IN THE YONNE

Widow Mrs. Jouffroy [Geoffroy] and Miss Fin, resident of Diges (Yonne) claim to have seen a flying saucer on Friday morning (24 09/1954) at 09:00 hours. They added that it was landed on a field. The saucer set out again, they also claim, a few minutes later, leaving two visible marks on the softened ground of the field.

[Ref. pr1:] UNKNOWN NEWSPAPER:

Did a flying saucer land in the Yonne?

The witnesses - two women - are formal and traces have been identified

Auxerre (of our C.P.). - Friday morning Mrs. widow Geoffroy, living in the hamlet of Les Jolivets, commune of Dizes [sic] (Yonne), went to join the washhouse where she usually works, at the place "En Bécard", when her attention was attracted by a bizarre machine resting on the left of a clearing.

It was a device like a "flying saucer", as the Press had described it for a few weeks.

The cigar (seen in profile) was elongated, six or six feet in diameter, and was brown in color with a bulge in its upper central part. Beside, a man of average height was looking at Mme Geoffroy, who became frightened and did not return until two hours later.

Fortunately, another person, Miss Gisèle Fin, who kept her goats on the other side of the wood, was warned of this unusual presence by the barking of her dogs. She saw, about thirty yards away, a crouching man, apparently of normal height, who was busy working around a machine.

Continued on page 6, under the title
SAUCER

This device is described in the same way as Mrs. Geoffroy did.

Miss Fin led her dogs cautiously by the path in the direction of the road to better look while being safe. So she looked away from the craft for three or four minutes. When she wanted to look again, she saw nothing. Without noise, the craft had disappeared.

On the dew, in the place where it had been seen, there were traces of dried grass, at a distance of 80 centimeters, attesting that the saucer, mounted on skates - "I clearly saw them," said Miss Fin - did really land there.

Other people passing a few moments later were able to check it out.

The declarations of the Leaunais correspond to those given by a Bugeat peasant, who traded an identical craft and person on the plateau of Millevaches, in Limousin.

A month ago, a resident of Dizes, a hamlet of Varennes, Mrs. Lucas, had seen a hovering craft; which suddenly skyrocketed vertically. It was a superb moonlight. Madame Lucas dared not say anything, lest she whould be mocked.

Does the region of Dizes, because of the presence of ocher piles extracted from the wells of Sully, attract, by its clear spots, the attention of the observers in the interplanetary vessels?

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

In the Yonne, two women state to have seen a flying saucer

Auxerre, AFP. -. Mrs widow Jouffroy and Miss Fin, residents of Diges (the Yonne) claim to have seen Friday morning at 9 o'clock a "flying saucer". They add that it was posed in a field.

Its "pilot" was inspecting the "apparatus" whose upper door was open.

The saucer went away again, they further claim, a few minutes later, leaving two marks visible on the soaking ground of the field.

[Ref. lp1:] "LE PROVENCAL" NEWSPAPER:

The first flying cigar landed... on skates at 15 km of Auxerre

AND ITS PILOT WAS A NEGROE

Auxerre.
The landing of several flying saucers has already been announced many times: some go even as far as to say with a point of irony that it has become ordinary. But no flying cigar had so far been seen on the ground; since a few hours this regrettable gap has been filled: the object was seen in the Yonne, in Diges, about fifteen kilometers from Auxerre. The two witnesses are formal. Widowed Mrs. Geoffroy, 69 years, declared to the gendarmes of the locality: "Yes, sirs, I saw it with my eyes (sic). It was 9 hours of the morning, I went to the laundry point, when my attention was drawn by an apparatus having the shape of a cigar pointed at the two ends and larger in the center. Near the machine, a man of average size looked at me passing by. He wore a kaki cap. Its face was very brown, almost black. But suddenly, I was afraid and I left running. Two hours afterwards, when I returned, the cigar had disappeared."

Continued on page 11 under the headline "FLYING CIGARS"

SAUCERS AND FLYING CIGARS

Continued from the first page

Landing on skates

At 09:15, the cigar was also seen at the same place by Miss Gisele Fin, aged 16, orphan in state care, who walked her goats. The attention of the girl was drawn by the barkings of the two dogs which accompanied her. The declarations of Miss Fin coincide with those of Mrs. Geoffroy. The latter however specified that the mysterious machines seemed to rest on very thin skates. Frightened in her turn, the girl escaped. The owner of the young goatkeeper, alerted, was to find at the place where the cigar rested two traces which seemed to be left by skates. But the gendarmes who came in number... the next day morning, did not see anything.

FLYING SAUCER ON BONN

Bonn (A.F.P.).
Bonn, the capital of the federal Republic [of Germany], is said to have been in its turn overflown by flying saucers, according to the correspondent of the newspaper "General Anzeiger".

This newspaper published Thursday the photography of an employee of administration and a housewife who are said to have seen the "unidentified flying objects" in the sky of Bonn. Several neighbors of these witnesses are said to have confirmed their statements. The newspaper does not specify the dates of these appearances of which one would have been noted in full midday and the other in the night.

[Ref. er1:] "L'EST REPUBLICAIN" NEWSPAPER:

A wave of strange "objects" is sweeping France

Dark-lovers Martians lovers play pass walls

But all those who have seen "saucers" are not dreamers

A plague of "flying saucers" and other mysterious craft is sweeping Europe, and the number of recorded testimony shows that France appears to be particularly targeted. There is no day, since weeks, where many of these events are reported from the Vendée, the Moselle and the Quiévrain to the Bidassoa.

In the Limousin, in particular, where a farmer was embraced on September 10, by a stranger; although he was peaceful, terror took hold, especially in the area of Roches (Creuse), where children no longer dare to go to school alone and where shepherdesses no longer want to keep their flocks since a dark shadow was reported hiding in the brushes. There is concern that the friendly Martian re-embarked leaving on the earth one of his companions.

In Diges (Yonne), two women saw each in her turn, a cigar land in a meadow and its pilot was leaning, perhaps on its engine. The "being" was of normal size, dressed in khaki and wearing a cap, but they were so scared that by the same reflex, they fled and locked themselves in.

Malenkov and Eisenhower shaking hands around a "saucer"

A pseudo-writer, on the contrary, delighted that these fantastic creatures come to join his philosophical ramblings, assimilates the "anti-saucerists" to troublemakers and warmongers. He writes without smiling: "These cigars and saucers could well make all of us agree. Perhaps this is why some people do not want to hear about it. Think about it! Eisenhower and Malenkov shaking hands around a saucer! What an idea!"

What to think of this new fever? Should we follow in their disdainful disapproval those who believe without verification, it is all hallucinations - sometimes collective - or should we believe with the others these are real craft originating from the human genius or more romantically coming from another world?

No doubt it is better to examine things more closely. The case now takes a too serious turn for trafficking in nonsense or admit all the news. It is time to grasp the problem and reason healthily on the sum of elements accumulated since more than seven years.

The first victim...

For it is on June 24, 1947, that the first "saucers" were reported in the manner described thousands of times since.

It was an American businessman, Kenneth Arnold, who saw that day "nine luminous discs flying in formation at high altitude" when he had taken off from Chehalis (Washington) on a personal plane. He could see that these "craft" were "flat like frying pans or saucers" before their disappearance and, if the case made little noise, the term "flying saucers" (soucoupe volante) was already launched.

It took six months before a new apparition was reported again in America, but this one was to end in tragedy, beginning to worry the public opinion. On January 7, 1948, the police in Fort Knox (Kentucky) warns the military at the Godman Airfield that "a huge fiery object, surrounded by a reddish glow" was flying in their direction. Three reservists fighter pilots were in flight, precisely at that time, on "Mustangs" propeller planes, and the tower alerted the control. Captain Mantell, leader of the squadron, immediately saw the "object" and putting gas on dove after it although his two comrades and himself had left for a flight at low altitude and were deprived of oxygen masks. The two crew members did not exceed 4,000 meters. Only Mantell went up to almost 7,000 meters before telling on the radio, breathless:

- It's frightening...

These words were the last and no one ever knew what they meant. The plane broke up in flight and the body of the unfortunate pilot was found horribly disjointed. The first reaction of Mantell's friends was naturally to think that he had been "downed" by the mysterious craft. His exclamation seemed to indicate that what he saw was awful and that monsters had fired at him.

This is the first victim - the first "martyr" - who tragically marked the true arrival of the "saucers" on earth.

An investigation commission was appointed, but its work was long and hard at a time when the high-speed compressibility phenomena were still unclear. When it put out its report on the accident, it finally explained that the pilot had climbed too high, probably in the pursuit of an atmospheric phenomenon. Deprived of oxygen, he had probably exclaimed that he was losing consciousness. The aircraft, abandoned to itself, had probably dislocated by diving at nearly the speed of the "wall of sound".

But psychosis was already on his way. What can the fairly conservative assumptions of technicians do against the taste of wonderful and the supernatural?

...and the first "hoax"

It is in any case strange to see that the appearances of "flying saucers" multiplied at once in America where 1,192 cases were reported, in waves, from 1947 to 1952. And it is no less surprising to see that, little by little parallel waves manifested themselves in France three to five weeks behind those recorded in the U.S.A.

Of course, the "pro-saucerists" interpret this pattern to their advantage: - We are part of the same humanity that the Americans and the "saucers" have no reason to despise us when visiting Earth. Their pilots wherever they come from can be as much interested in France and in the United States and if we see less it is because our territory is seventeen times smaller than that of the U.S.A.

It is certainly flattering to our national pride. But more Cartesian than sentimental "anti-saucerists", are concerned with this regular shift:

Just long enough to newspapers to inform you of the virus, they reply. After the Mantell crash anyway America was so gripped by the fear of the saucers deadly saucers that it accepted all the fables.

The most sensational story was published by one Franck Scully of Denver, who told in a weekkly magazine, then in a book, how a circular machine, that came from another planet, crashed in the United States, described the autopsy by a famous practitioner of sixteen little creatures found on board and stated that metal debris from the machine, heated to 10,000 degrees, had not melted. The finally palpable "saucer" and these little men in blue linen clothes made such a noise that an investigation commission - again - joined in. Frank Scully, interrogated, had to admit the "hoax". His piece of metal melted at 637 degrees and the case ended with two convictions for fraud.

But once again, the explanation came too late. The book beautifully sold and the author won a lot of dollars.

1953 has not been a hot year for "saucers".

In France, the first known "saucer" was reported in Antibes, in August 1949, but the following came in waves, parallel, we repeat, to those in the US. There is a fever in 1950, two in 1951 and one particularly important in 1952. That year, there were eleven appearances in May, six in June, six in July, two in August and two in September, eight finally in October.

This is precisely the time when America also see many "flying objects" and made us know its anxiety. We will see how calm then returned across the Atlantic. Here, 1953 was also quiet. The saucers disappeared from our skies until last August where a new wave started discreetly in Norway with the meeting of a helicopter by two young people who were picking blueberries.

This time Europe had exclusivity. The wave grows slowly, recalling the Loch Ness [Monster] who in the past returned in the heart of summer to fill the gaps in the news. But the Scottish snake was a prisoner of the lake while the "saucers" do not recognize borders nor countries nor the dreams and the real facts are now mingled with the disorder.

Awake hallucinations

We must reject from the first five recent stories - the most sensational alas! - just too unreliable.

In Vernon, the young witness has a strong imagination well known in the region.

In Quarouble, near Valenciennes, the gatekeeper who saw "little people" was a victim, one year ago, of a head injury and is subject, since then, to nervous disorders. Prints appear on the wood of the railway track, but may give rise to infinite interpretations.

Near Amiens, four pranksters had to admit they had wanted to make fun of their friends. In Bugeat (Corrèze), Mr. Mazaud has probably been embraced by someone but the air police firstly believes in a light aircraft that came in this deserted place at dusk, for a rendez-vous with a smuggler.

In Craintilleux finally, near St-Etienne, the giant, Hitler lookalike, double-faced (one grimacing at the front and the other, jovial, at the back) climbed in his saucer without opening the door, in the manner of wall-crossing ghosts, really seems too childishly wonderful. Witnesses, actors and writers have probably the romantic spirit that suits this kind of occurrence. And the Martian they thought they saw will at least have the advantage of providing them something for a play or a novel.

Medicine knows about these awaken hallucinations which can be experienced by completely normal people. Who did not see in the dark shadows move where there was nothing? It should be noted in this connection that virtually all reported landings of "saucers" took place at night and no one has yet seen Martians having a shape significantly different from ours in daylight.

Should we conclude that all recorded reports are the work of unbridled imaginations?

Certainly not.

Kenneth Arnold and Mantell were not dreamers. Most French witnesses aren' either.

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

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In the Yonne, two women saw a flying saucer in a field, and the pilot inspecting the craft

Auxerre, September 27th. - Mrs widow Jouffroy and Miss Fin, residing in Diges (the Yonne), stated that they had seen a "flying saucer" on Friday morning at 9 a.m. They add that it landed on a field.

The "pilot" inspected the "craft" whose upper door was open.

The saucer went away, they say, a few minutes later, leaving two visible marks on the soggy soil of the field.

[Ref. sm1:] "SYDNEY MORNING HERALD" NEWSPAPER:

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France In Grip Of Flying Saucer Fever

From June GODDARD In Paris

FRANCE, the land of logic, is in the full grip of the fever of flying saucers and of little men in space helmets, who make friendly, if unintelligible, advances to startled peasants, or nail them to the spot with a hypnotic "green ray."

For the past 10 days there have been unnumerable flying saucer reports from peasants, doctors, milkmen, butchers, farmers, housewives, gendarmes, teachers, from the Channel coast to the Mediterranean, from the Pyrenees to the Ardennes, from Britany to Alsace.

According to all these witnesses, the sky over France is alight with sparkling yellow "saucers," bluish globes, "flying cigars," (Once as dramatically reported from Mulhouse in Alsace, surrounded by "12 little cheroots"), plain aluminum "saucers," luminous "cigars," 10 "saucers" which seemed to perform a sort of ballet in the sky, and sometimes just plain "mysterious machines."

Unlike earlier flying saucers, those reported hovering over France fly low, sometimes at about 600 ft, and do not flash across the sky, but remain in view for as long as 15 minutes, or remain apparently immobile.

They variously spit flames, form luminous curtains of light, change color, land and take off vertically without a sound.

MANY French scientists, hitherto skeptical on the flying saucer question, are reported to be somewhat shaken by the multiplicity of reports, and by the fact that some are group observations, or individual reports which tally with others received from adjacent regions.

On the subject of little men or Martians, they reiterate that astronomers have never made any observations which could indicate a high form of life on Mars.

They point out that Mars is a thousand million years older than the earth, and that, if life did once exist there, it probably disappeared in the pink icy deserts which appear now to abound on the planet.

The protagonists of the flying saucers and the little men from Mars have been greatly encouraged by an article in the serious journal, "Forces Aériennes Françaises" (French Air Forces) written by a young aeronautical engineer, Lieut. J. Plantier, and approved by an engineer-in-chief of the Air Ministry.

Lieut. Plantier does not take sides, but merely demonstrates theoretically and by mathematical study that all the phenomenal behavior attributed to flying saucers is perfectly explicable if such machines were using cosmic ray energy,

Lieut. Plantier shows that the reports that flying saucers remain motionless in the sky, accelerate from immobility to 10,000 m.p.h. in a few seconds without any noise, and that living beings can fly in them without being harmed by the acceleration, are completely logical if it is admitted that energy of cosmic rays has been harnessed and that machines can fly at the speed of light.

IRRESPECTIVE of the views of scientists, however, French men and women continue to report daily appearances of saucers and cigars and their encounters with the space men.

First reaction of the honest French citizen in the face of any unusual happening or danger - including, it seems, phenomena from outer space - is to inform the gendarmes.

Accordingly, in villages and towns, bold gendarmes have been "alerted" as the French Press has it, and have been kept busy checking reports and examining alleged flying saucer landing areas for "traces."

Two gendarmes at Chateauroux in Central France themselves saw three luminous green flying objects.

Their police training immediately asserted itself, and they stopped a motor car driver and a cyclist so that they too could look and bear witness. Then the gendarmes made out a full report.

The only tangible evidence to date of a landing is that produced by Mr. Marius Dewilde, a 28-year-old metal worker in the North near Valenciennes.

M. Dewilde, a young man with a hairline moustache, a long - and it must be admitted, humorous - face, said he first saw the "Martians" from his garden near the railway line.

"Two little beings, not more than three feet high," he reported, "each wearing a sort of diving suit with metal helmet, were standing near a 'flying cigar,' which had landed on the railway sleepers."

M. Dewilde had no chance to shake hands or welcome the visitors in the name of the Fourth Republic for, as soon as they saw him, they hypnotized him with a "green ray" while they leapt into their machine which, of course, took off vertically in a thick cloud of smoke without making a sound.

Next day the gendarmes "alerted" at once by M. Dewilde and two inspectors of the Air Force police, found a series of strange regular marks on the railway sleepers, which could have been caused by the "saucer" in landing.

MOST intimate contact with the space men was reported by M. Antoine Mazaud, a farmer, aged 58, with a bushy grey moustache, who lives near Limoges in the Massif central plateau of France.

M. Mazaud alleges that a "Martian" about three feet high emerged from a "flying cigar" and began to talk in an unintelligible tongue. When he realized that M. Mazaud could not understand him, he kissed the farmer on the cheek.

M. Mazaud's argumentative fellow-countrymen, questioning this strange story, immediately wanted to know why a creature from another world should adopt the habit - not even universal on earth, they pointed - of kissing.

"It is surprising that he did not pin a medal on your chest and kiss you on both cheeks," they scoffed.

In view of this unsympathetic response to M. Mazaud's story, it is not surprising, therefore, that M. Yves David, a farmer of Chatellerault, concealed for some days the fact that he had been touched on the arm by a "space man" before being momentarily hypnotized by the "green ray" like M. Dewilde.

M. David was afraid of being laughed at, he said, but eventually asked a friend if anyone else had seen the space man. The friend spread the news and, of course, told the gendarmes.

Two women in the Yonne department gave independent reports of having seen a strange machine in a clearing with a pilot standing next to it. Neither stayed to investigate, however.

DAILY the stories continue. No Parisians have yet reported an encounter with a "Martian," altough, as the wits point out, you would expect them to land on the "Champs de Mars" ("Field of Mars"), the esplanade in the front of the military school.

Cartoonists are fully exploiting the "Martian" and flying saucer season. One, in true Gallic vein, has drawn the classic wronged husband who returns home unexpectedly. He has thrown open the cupboard door to reveal a strange little figure in a spaceman's suit and helmet, and is saying to his guilty wife, cowering in bed: "And that, I suppose, you'll tell me, is a Martian."

Most celebrated flying saucer "spotter" to date in Paris is film star Michele Morgan, who reported seeing one near the Eiffel tower at about 10 p.m.

When Mademoiselle Morgan later complained of the flood of telephone calls from fans and friends who wanted to hear further details, her mother made the dry and essentially French comment:

"You lost a good opportunity that night to hold your tongue."

[Ref. ss1:] "SAMEDI-SOIR" NEWSPAPER:

(Excerpt.)

[...]

And the cigar posed in a clearing, in Diges in Yonne, near which Mrs. widows Gaffroy [sic, Geoffroy] saw a man, from the back, in combination and capped of a khaki bonnet...

[...]

[Ref. fd1:] "FRANCE-DIMANCHE" NEWSPAPER:

This weekley newspaper published a series of third hand drawings of some of the different shapes of flying saucers allegedly reported in France in 1954:

Yonne

Machine in the shape of a shell surmounted by a cupola and provided with a slide. Comprised a pilot who was seen squatting in a clearing. Made the dogs bark and Miss Fin, goatkeeper, look up.

And:

Lavoir-du-Bécard (Yonne)

This saucer came apparently from the same workshop as the machine observed by Miss Fin. Shell type with external cockpit, but without slide. Seen in a clearing with 9 a.m. by Mrs. Geoffrey.

[Ref. hw1:] HAROLD T. WILKINS:

The author indicates that in France in 1954, Mrs Simone Geoffroy of Diges said:

"I saw a curious engine like a cigar pointed at both ends on the ground in a field. Standing near it was a being like a tall, dark-skinned man in a khaki hat. He looked at me but said nothing. I was terribly scared and ran away. People who went there two hours later saw nothing."

The author indicates further in his book that in 1954, at Diges, France, a tall, dark entity in a "khaki space suit," standing by a cigar-saucer, pointed at both ends, looked hard at Mrs Simone Geoffrey, "who took to her lightsome heels."

[Ref. gb1] GRAY BARKER:

A spaceman wearing a khaki hat was seen by Mme Simone Geoffroy, of Diges, and this one was flying "a curious engine" that looked like a cigar "pointed at both ends. Standing beside it was a tall, dark-skinned man in a khaki hat. He looked at me but said nothing, I was terribly frightened and ran away. When I came back two hours later there was nothing there."

[Ref. cg1:] CHARLES GARREAU:

Ufologist Charles Garreau investigated into this case at the time when it occurred and concluded that the two witnesses saw a Bell 47 NATO military helicopter.

Garreau indicates that the two witnesses, Mrs. Geoffroy, a widow, aged 59, and Miss Gisele Fin, aged 16, were independent witnesses separated by 150 to 200 meters in the location Michaut near Diges and that their testimony diverges on certain points, which are primarily that of the size of the machine.

However, testimonies clearly showed that the two witnesses saw a man, upright at a time and squatted at another time, or two men at the same time in different positions seen from the different angle of sights, and that this man or these two men wore pilot looking clothes and cap or helmet.

[Ref. mc1:] MICHEL CARROUGES:

Michel Carrouges mentions this encounter in a section of his book devoted to testimonys of 1954 including observation of the presence of "pilots of human size."

He notes that it was broad daylight since it was 9 o'clock in the morning, that the two women made the observations at a few moments one after the other.

He indicates that the man was of an average size, wore a cap and appeared to be busy making some repair on the machine.

He notes an element as being decisive, that neither one nor the other of the two women saw the machine neither taking off nor landing.

In general, Carrouges evokes through similar cases that it is sometimes undeniable that the pilots are people like us, that certain saucers can be misinterpreted helicopters, and he seems to think that as for this case, this interpretation is quite possible without however being as firmly established as in other resembling cases.

[Ref. jv8] JACQUES VALLEE - "FLYING SAUCER REVIEW":

Date Place Country Witnessed by Description of "Pilots" Total
22 Sept. 1954 Diges-Jolive France Mlle Fin Man of average height. 1

[Ref. jv5:] JACQUES VALLEE:

135 -003.39750 47.73600 24 09 1954 - DIGES P.AUXERRES F 0011 1

[Ref. jv2:] JACQUES VALLEE:

The author indicates that on September 24, 1954, two women submitted independent reports on a dark gray disc seen in a clearing close to Bécar. A man of normal size was standing close to the object, which flew away without noise.

[Ref. jv1:] JACQUES VALLEE:

153

Sep. 24, 1954 09:00 P.M., Becar, near Diges and "Les Michauts" or "Les Jolivets" (France).

Two women (Widow Geoffroy and Miss Gisele Fin) made independent reports of a dark gray disk, 6 m in diameter, 1 m high, seen in a clearing. A man of normal height was standing close to it. He wore dark clothes and a kind of cap. Miss Fin came within 30 m of the craft and stated the man was repairing it. Traces were found on the grass. (L'Yonne Républicaine, le Parisien, Sept. 28, 1954; Paris-Presse, Sept. 29, 1954.) (14; Carrouges 98)

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

The two ufologists publishing within "Les Editions Rationnalistes" claim to have found the explanation of this case as having been a simple blurry light and an indistinct shade from which the two witnesses "exaggerated" to please a sensationalist press.

Further on in their book, they claim to have spoken to the witnesses. "Le plus jeune témoin", they say, (i.e. the youngest male witness(, had told them that in the company of the old lady she had seen a gleam in broad daylight in the clearing and that they believed to have seen a very vague shadow.

They claim to have sought Mrs. Geoffroy, to have found her, and that she told them that there were two small occupants covered of hairs, of yellows color, and wearing pantyhose.

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

The two authors indicate that in the location Au Bécard, close to Diges, in the department of Yonne, on September 24, 1954 at 09:00 a.m., Mrs. Geoffroy moved towards a laundry place at the river located below the road of Diges, in Aux Michaults, when her attention was caught by an apparatus posed on the ground in a clearing bordered of woods.

Close to the machine in the shape of cigar, a man seemed to carry out a repair, "it looked at to me passing without saying anything," she said. "He was of average size and wore a sort of kaki cap on the head . I became afraid and I slipped by. Two hours later when I went again by there, the machine had disappeared."

The authors also provide this statement by Miss Gisele Fin:

"The machine rested on very thin bars, the pilot carried a helmet similar to those of motorcylists, he was dressed in a combination of gray color."

The witnesses did not see the machine land, nor take off. The authors indicate that "the pilot of average size and carrying a kaki cap and dressed of a suit of dark color can make you think of an helicopter pilot."

The woman who was the boss of Gisele Fin, after being informed, came back to the place a little later. She noted that there were two parallel traces distant of 50 centimeters, appearing to correspond to traces of bars in the grass.

[Ref. bm1:] BERTRAND MEHEUST:

French sociologist Bertrand Méheust has written that the case is explained by a confusion: it was a helicopter and its two pilots.

[Ref. td1:] MARK CASHMAN:

Becar, near Diges and "Les Michauts" or "Les Jolivets"

9/24/1954 9:00

Two women (Widow Geoffroy and Miss Gazelle Fin) made independent reports of a dark gray disk, 6 m in diameter, 1 m high, seen in a clearing. A man of normal height was standing close to it. He wore dark clothes and a kind of cap. Miss Fin came within 30 m of the craft and stated the man was repairing it. Traces.

[Ref. ar1:] ALBERT ROSALES:

73.
Location. Becard France
Date: September 24 1954
Time: 0900A

Miss Simone Geoffroy saw a flying saucer in a clearing; it was 35 ft in diameter, elongated, with a dome on top. Behind it stood a dark complexioned man wearing a uniform and a khaki skullcap, looking at her. She hastened away. Miss Gisele Fin, a shepherd, was led to the clearing by the barking of her 2 dogs; she had to restrain them from attacking the pilot, who had his back to her and was leaning on his craft. At the site afterwards was found a small green pill.

Humcat 1954-53
Source: Humcat quoting Newspaper source
Type: C

[Ref. sd1:] STEVEN DUNN:

DATE DESCRIPTION MICAP_CLAS REF
09/26/1954

Valence, FR

26 Sep 54

While gathering mushrooms in the woods, a woman saw a small humanoid wearing a diving suit with a clear helmet. She ran. A moment later she heard a loud whistling and saw a disc-shaped object lift from the woods. Evidence of a landing was found.

CE-3-013 Randle/Estes, FOV pg 165

[Ref. dj1:] DONALD JOHNSON:

Encounters with Aliens On this Day

September 24

[...]

1954 - At 9 o'clock in the morning two women, Mrs. Geoffroy and Miss Gazelle Fin, independently witnessed a dark gray disc, six meters in diameter, in a clearing in Becar, near Diges, France. A man of normal height was standing close to it. He wore dark clothes and some kind of cap. Miss Fin came within 30 meters of the craft and said that it looked like the man was repairing it. Traces were found on the grass. (Sources: Le Parisien, September 28, 1954; Jacques Vallee, Passport to Magonia, p. 211).

[...]

[Ref. tp1:] TED PHILLIPS:

Ted Phillips listed the case as a "top" case in his "preliminary list of top cases":

Report 9/24/54 Becar, France: multiple witness, humanoids, traces.

[Ref. jt1:] UFO ROUNDUP:

from the UFO Files...

1954: FRANCE'S LONGEST DAY

Forty-three years ago, on October 2, 1954, a wave of UFOs invaded France. Here's the summary...

[...]

"Mme. Simone Geoffroy of Diges, a hundred miles south of Paris, said, 'I saw a curious engine like a cigar pointed at both ends in a field.'"

[...]

[Ref. go1:] GODELIEVE VAN OVERMEIRE:

The Belgian ufologist indicates that in 1954, on September 24 in France, in Becar "Close to Diges and 'Les michauts' or 'Les Jolivets', two women (the Geoffroy Widow and Miss Giséle Fin) made independent reports of a dark gray disc, 6 meters in diameters and 1 meter in height, seen in a clearing. A man of normal size was standing close to the craft. He wore dark clothing and a kind of cap. Miss Fin approached within 30 meters the apparatus and stated that the man was busy repairing it. Traces were found in the grass."

The sources are indicated as "l'Yonne Républicaine, le Parisien, Sept. 28, 1954; Paris-Presse, Sept. 29. 1954" with thanks to Wim van Utrecht.

The ufologist then indicates "here word by word the copy of this text in:...)i " and "09:00. Two women, Mrs. Wdw Geoffroy and Miss Gisele Fin made independent reports of a dark gray disc, 6 m in diameter and 1 m in height, seen in a clearing. A man of normal size was standing close to the machine. He wore dark clothing and a kind of cap. Miss Fin approached within 30 m of the apparatus and stated that the man was busy repairing it. Traces were found in the grass."

The source is indicated as "Jacques Vallée: 'Chronique des apparitions ET' - DENOEL 1972 - COLL. J'AI LU - p. 260".

She then says that another version is: "Mrs. Geoffroy and Miss Gisele Fin said they observed a dark brown machine, resting on skates. Close to the object a man dressed in dark with a kaki cap (or a helmet). Undecided attitude, like surprised by the two witnesses. Arrival and departure of the craft not observed. Two depressions apart 50 cm one from the other in grass, dry at the places where helicopter skates could have been posed."

And: "The presence of an helicopter of the Bell 47 type is retained (Jacques Delindry in l' 'Yonne Républicaine' for 10/4/54. Also mentioned in a confidentiel document of the 10/5/54. (...) (Bulletin du GESAG #106, March 2001, page 5)".

[Ref. jb1:] JEROME BEAU:

September 24

09:00 : In Diges (Yonne), widow Geoffroy and Gisèle Fin have a CEIII. 2 traces distant of 50 cm and wide as a fingre are noted in the dew by Mrs Fin. The grass is dry at this place. Traces too small for a Bell 47 helicopter.

[Ref. tp2:] TED PHILLIPS:

09/24/54 France, Becar: Two women made independent reports of a dark gray disc, 21 feet in diameter, 4 feet high, seen resting on the ground in a clearing. A man of normal height was standing near it. He wore dark clothes. One witness within 100 feet of the object stated that the man was repairing it. Traces were found in the grass.

[Ref. lc1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the Yonne in Diges on September 24, 1954 at 09:00 hours "This Friday morning in Bécar. a woman moves towards a laundrette located below the road of Diges, at the Michaults when her attention is drawn by an apparatus posed on the ground in a clearing bordered of wood. Close to the machine in the shape of a cigar, a man appears to carry out a repair, "it looked at me passing by without sayinf anything, she said. He was of average size and carried on the heed a kind of kaki cap. I was afraid and I slipped by. Two hours later when I passed there again, the craft had dissapeared'."

"Statement of a second witness: " the machine rested on very thin feet, the pilot carried a helmet similar to those of motorcylcists, he was dressed of an outfit of gray color. The witnesses did not see the craft land, nor set out again. The pilot of average size and wearing a kaki cap and was dressed of an outfit of dark color which can make think of an helicopter pilot."

"The [female] boss of the second pilot, briefed, reconsidered the spot a little later: she noted in the grass two parallel and distant traces of 50 cm, appearing to correspond to traces of skates."

The source is noted as "Ovni, Premier dossier complet... par Figuet M./ Ruchon J.L. ** éd. Alain Lefeuvre 1979".

[Ref. jb4:] JEROME BEAU - "TOP SECRET":

September 24. 09 hour: in Diges (Yonne), Yves Geoffroy and Gisele Fin make a CE3. Two traces distant of 50 cm and wide as a finger in the dew are noticed by Miss Fin. The grass is dried at this point. The traces are considered too small to be those of a Bell 47 helicopter.

[Ref. ph1:] PHOTOGRAPH:

On March 21, 2006, a reader from Auxerre sent me via email the electronic photography that follows and explained:

This picture was taken at the very place and with the same orientation that the reconstitution by the draughtsman for the newspaper "L'YONNE REPUBLICAINE".

[Ref. ud1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that on 24 September 1954 at 09:00 between Diges and Becard, Diges, France, "35' diameter domed disc lands in clearing. Behind it stood dark-complexioned man, wore khaki uniform with skull-cap. two separate female witnesses. Explanation: Meteor."

And: "A flying disc was observed. Traces found. Multiple independent witnesses."

And: "One green domed disc, about 40 feet across, was observed in cloudy weather by two female witnesses, one of them an experienced observor, in a field for 30 minutes (Cornelison; Fin; Gamundi; Geoffroy; Rabot). One olive-skinned being, wearing a khaki suit and cap, was seen."

The sources are indicated as Webb, David. HUMCAT: Catalogue of Humanoid Reports; Michel, Aime, Flying Saucers and the Straight-Line Mystery, S. G. Phillips, New York, 1958; Bowen, Charles, The Humanoids: FSR Special Edition No. 1, FSR, London, 1966; Pereira, Jader U., Les Extra-Terrestres, Phenomenes Spatiaux, Paris, 1974; 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); Vallee, Jacques, A Century of Landings (N = 923), (in JVallee04), Chicago, 1969; Schoenherr, Luis, Computerized Catalog (N = 3173); Carrouges, Michel, Les Apparitions de Martiens, Fayard, Paris, 1963; Rogerson, Peter, World-Wide Catalog of Type 1 Reports; Hall, Richard H., The UFO Evidence, NICAP, Washington, 1964; Olsen, Thomas M., The Reference for Outstanding UFO Sighting Reports, UFOIRC, Riderwood, 1966; Phillips, Ted R., Ted Phillips investigation files; Phillips, Ted R., Physical Traces Associated with UFO Sightings, CUFOS, Chicago, 1975; Delaire, J. Bernard, UFO Register Volume 7 (1976), Data Research, Oxford, 1976; Newspaper Clippings; Hatch, Larry, *U* computer database, Author, Redwood City, 2002.

[Ref. ud2:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that on 24 September 1954 at 09:00 in Becar, France, "A dark gray disk, six meters in diameter; a man of normal height was standing next to it."

And: "At 9 o'clock in the morning two women, Mrs. Geoffroy and Miss Gazelle Fin, independently witnessed a dark gray disc, six meters in diameter, in a clearing in Becar, near Diges, France .. A man of normal height was standing close to it. He wore dark clothes and some kind of cap. Miss Fin came within 30 meters of the craft and said that it looked like the man was repairing it. Traces were found on the grass."

And: "Two women (Widow Geoffroy and Miss Gisele Fin) made independent reports of a dark gray disk, six meters in diameter, one meter high, seen in a clearing. A man of normal height was standing close to it. He wore dark clothes and a kind of cap. Miss Fin came within 30 meters of the craft and stated the man was repairing it. Traces were found on the grass."

And: "One saucer was observed."

The source is indicated as Vallee Magonia Database.

[Ref. jb2:] JEROME BEAU:

September 1954

Fri 24

09:00 Close to Diges (Yonne), Vve Geoffroy and Gisele Fin see independently a dark gray disc 6 m in diameter and 1 m in height, seen in a clearing of Becar. A man of normal size, wearing dark clothing and a kind of cap, is standing close to the object. Miss Fin approaches to within 30 m of the apparatus and sees that the man is repairing. The object flies away without noise. 2 traces 50 cm apart and broad like the finger are noticed in the dew by Miss Fin. The grass is dry in this place. Traces too small for a Bell 47 helicopter.

The sources are noted as "L'Yonne Républicaine"; "Le Parisien, September 28, 1954"; "Paris-Presse, September 29, 1954"; "Vallée, J., case #16, 'Rapport sur l'analyse de 200 observations documentées faites en 1954'".

[Ref. bm2:] BERTRAND MEHEUST:

"I was seven years old during the wave of 1954, and a saucer landed close to to my home, in the Yonne, close to Diges. All the area talked only about that, the case even did the frontpage of L'Yonne Républicane. That undoubtedly marked me, but it remained a long time hidden in my memory."

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

*Sep. 24, 1954 - At 9 o'clock in the morning two women, Mrs. Geoffroy and Miss Gazelle Fin, independently witnessed a dark gray disc, six meters in diameter, in a clearing in Becar, near Diges, France.. A man of normal height was standing close to it. He wore dark clothes and some kind of cap. Miss Fin came within 30 meters of the craft and said that it looked like the man was repairing it. Traces were found on the grass. (Sources: Le Parisien, September 28, 1954; Jacques Vallee, Passport to Magonia, p. 211).

[Ref. ta1:] "THINK ABOUT IT" WEBSITE:

Date: September 24 1954

Location: Becard France

Time: 0900A

Miss Simone Geoffroy saw a flying saucer in a clearing; it was 35 ft in diameter, elongated, with a dome on top. Behind it stood a dark complexioned man wearing a uniform and a khaki skullcap, looking at her. She hastened away. Miss Gisele Fin, a shepherd, was led to the clearing by the barking of her 2 dogs; she had to restrain them from attacking the pilot, who had his back to her and was leaning on his craft. At the site afterwards was found a small green pill.

Source: Humcat quoting Newspaper source

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

This database recorded the case 14 times instead of one:

Case Nr. New case Nr. Investigator Date of observation Zip Place of observation Country of observation Hour of observation Classification Comments Identification
19540922 22.09.1954 Diges Jolivets France CE II
19540924 24.09.1954 Diges France 09.00 CE III
19540924 24.09.1954 Becar France 09.00 CE III
19540924 24.09.1954 Diges Jolivets France 09.00 CE III
19540924 24.09.1954 Diges France 09.00 CE III
19540924 24.09.1954 Diges France
19540924 24.09.1954 Becar France 09.00 CE III
19540924 24.09.1954 Becar France 09.00 CE III
19540924 24.09.1954 Becar France 09.00 CE III
19541101 01.11.1954 Diges France CE III
19540924 24.09.1954 Becar France 09.00 CE III
19540924 24.09.1954 Becar France 09.00 CE III
19540924 24.09.1954 Becar France 09.00 CE III
19540924 24.09.1954 Becar France 09.00 CE III

Explanations:

It is obvious that since a field ufologist Charles Garreau investigated the case and interviewed the two women and concluded that they saw a military helicopter, and since the newspapers of the time evoke this possibility, it is perfectly illegitimate to propose without any serious bases assertions on the an alleged low quality of the investigations of the time, and it is not legitimate to attack of ufologists in general.

It is just as notable that it is once again Jacques Vallée who includes the case in a catalogue supposed to list "humanoids" landings, changing the description of an olive drab outfit and of a helmet into that more confused of "dark clothing and a sort of cap." It is on such bases that speculations were later elaborated about "UFOS imitating the technology of the moment", UFOs which are then considered as "a mysterious intelligence misleading the witnesses" where there really was only an helicopter.

It is also notable that the two post-investigators Barthel and Brucker took their readers for granted, implying that they found the "rational" explanation, and blaming the descriptions of the two women on the account of exaggeration. There is no exaggeration; there is mere ignorance of helicopters, which were very new in the France of 1954, at least for 59 years old widow and a 16 year old girl which are legitimately not supposed to know the latest aviation trend as it may be the case for a pilot or aeronautical engineer. There is also the outdistances and brevity factors: Mrs. Geoffroy was at a distance she estimated to be of a hundred meters away of the aircraft and looked at it only a few seconds before fleeing from fear. Miss Fin looked at it longer, probably, and her description is thus more detailed.

It seemed to me that the helicopter remained to be better identified.

Those which quite accurately understood that the women saw an helicopter naturally thought of the Bell 47. The Bell 47 is the overall spacegoat helicopter for many more or less sensible explanation for saucer reports in the 1954 France, but actually, it is not always suitable and it is absolutely not the only helicopter flying in the French skies at that time.

Actually, criticisms carried against the explanation by a helicopter for this case note with some right certain difficulties: the size of the described craft seems to be too small to match a Bell 47. The absence of rotor or tail rotor seems less telling to me, inasmuch a thin rotor can go unnoticed when the landed helicopter is seen briefly and from a distance against a background of trees (see the drawing in the press).

Bell 47 helicopter.

Numerous versions of the Bell 47 were produced, with varying aspects.

Three entities equipped with helicopters exist within the Army in metropolitan France in 1954: ALOA, the Light Aviation of Artillery Observation, which is made up of 10 GAOA, which stands for Air Groups of Artillery Observation, the GH1, Helicopter Group number 1, based in Satory under the command of the Major Razy, and the CHLES, Compagnie of Light Helicopters for Medical Evacuation, controlled by the Captain De Puy Montbrun.

GH1 receives its first Djinn in 1954, besides its few Hiller H-23. The Air Force, which obviously also has its helicopters, grouped them on July 1, 1954 within the 65th Escadre of Helicopters.

It is precisely in September 1954 that the first field tests of helicopters begin in France.

It is on November 22, whereas the 1954 saucer flap was finishing, at least with regard to the published accounts, that GH1 and ALOA are gathered under the same command, under General Lejay, and that ALAT, the Light Aviation of the Army, is so founded.

It is rather useless to seek the traditional "proximity of an air base" or its absence to debate this sighting: many pilots of helicopters were then trained in the local airclubs everywhere in France. We are in 1954, well before strict regulations are taken seriously, and we are talking the type of helicopters one would call an Ultralight if it were an airplane.

It is not possible to say that no Bell 47 flew in France in 1954, but they were very few indeed, 1 military exemplary only, probably, and some civilian agricultural dispersant spreaders. The first military Bell 47 is ordered at the end of 1953, is manufactured under license by Fenwick, and is in Issy-les-Moulinaux near Paris at the beginning of 1954. It seems well that it is only in 1955 that a second military Bell 47 is acquired. Weaponed Bell 47s arrived only in 1956, and did not really give satisfaction.

There still remains the problem of the interval between the landing traces on the ground for which Miss Fin and possibly also an unnamed lady are supposed to have said that they were only 50 cm apart. This is an interval that, although having been perhaps underestimated, seems well too narrow for an helicopter, well at least for a Bell 47 helicopter.

Yes, definitely, something does not fit right into place with the Bell 47. Does it mean it could not have been an helicopter? Certainly not; maybe it just needs the replacement of the Bell 47 with a model more matching to the witnesses description.

I submit "Djinn", aka SO 1221, an extra-light utility helicopter built in France from 1953 on by Sud-Oust Aviation, future SNIAS.


One of the "Djinns" evaluated by the US Air Force.

The Djinn was the first functional helicopter using gas exhausted from a turboprop gas turbine engine, sent inside the rotor two blades to be expelled in exhausts at their tips in order to put the rotor in rotation. This concept avoided a tail rotor, replaced by another gas exhaust, it de-iced the rotor automatically, it used remainders of gases ejected at the back for propulsion. The system had initially been tested on the SO 1120 Ariel II (1948) and III (1951) prototypes, but it is on the Djinn that it was actually first used, based on a Turbomeca Palouste IV turbo propeller engine. The system was extremely manoeuverable but not very fast, not exceeding 130 km/h.

Its tracks were closer thans those of heavier helicopters: the machine was concepted so that it may take off form the rear platform of a pickup truck. Djinn was tiny, manoeuverable, more reliable than it looked and it required only little maintenance. Its length was 5 meters 30.

The first two prototypes were SO 1220 single-seater with uncovered structure registered F-WGVO and F-WGZX. F-WGVO accomplished its first flight on January 2, 1953. It will be later used as aerial application helicopter for agriculture.

The first two-seater version, with closed cockpit, SO 1221, made its first flight on December 16, 1953, and it beat the preceding altitude record in the lighter than 500 kg helicopters category when it reached 4789 meters a few days later. Twenty-two pre-production SO 1221 were then built for evaluation by the French army, and the flights begun within ALAT (Light Aviation of the Army)... on September 23, 1954, as by chance.


Djinn of the ALAT.

The US Air Force took delivery of three exemplaries of the SO 1221 for evaluation in 1954 (see photo). The US Air Force found the machine really well designed but they did not adopt it, for reasons known as budgetary, but probably also political. In 1961, the French Army used 150 exemplaries, for reconaissance, training, air ambulance, and even anti-tank attack using the North-Aviation SS 10 missile.


Anti-tank Djinn of the ALAT with SS10 missiles.

In 1967, half were still in service in our army. Some models were exported towards Germany and Switzerland, and the career of the Djinn continued on in the civilian world, as aerial spreading machine for agriculture. 178 exemplaries were produced overall. The famous Alouette II and II helicopters gradually put an end to the Djinn's career.


Djinn version sans habitacle, au musée.

Djinn au musée de l'ALAT, détails.

A Djinn and a Bell 47 are on display at the ALAT museum in Dax, France. (02:00 to 06:00 P.M. except Sundays and free days. Guided tours on Tuesdays and Fridays.)

But why not an extraterrestrial flying saucer?

Some of my colleagues in ufology, who are inclined to think or totally convinced that there wasn't ever any extraterrestrial flying saucer in France or elsewhere maybe, would certainly be happy to note that once again a flying saucer was an helicopter, and jump to their conclusion or reinforce their conclusion that other helicopter versus saucer debated cases are also helicopters for the reasons that if this case was an helicopter, then these other case are also helicopters, the situation being the same or similar, and the arguments being exportable.

I do not agree. Some of these other debated case are not explainable by an helicopter because the situation is in fact not at all the same.

Some of my colleagues in ufology, who are inclined that any trivial explanation for any saucer case must be the result of some bias or simply silly, would argue that I have no absolutely certain argument and absolutely no proof that this was indeed an helicopter and not an extraterrestrial saucer.

They are partly right. But they do not have nearly one better argument that it was an ET spaceship, not one nearly as conclusive as the arguments of mine to defend that it was an helicopter.

Let me expose the situation in detail and from the start again.

Firstly, I need to list the points for the ET saucer explanation, and concede that these points exist and forbid a totally certain helicopter explanation.

The first such points is that according to the journalist, after Miss Fin fled in the woods, she looked back and the apparatus was gone, yet there has been no noise. Helicopters are noisy. Unfortunately, this silence is not quoted from the witness but mentioned by the journalist. Unfortunately, we do not know how far Miss Fin run away, or if she made much noise running on layers of broken branches in the woods. The silence is a problem to the helicopter theory, but it may be that it is only a problem due to lack of precision in the newspaper article or some misunderstanding.

The other point is the one I already mentionned, the distance between the tracks. Even for the small Djinn helicopter, the bars are not only 50 cm distant. According to the article, two people saw them including the 50 cm gap; Miss Fin and another woman not involved in the sighting. But as explained above, this may also result of confusions of different tracks. It is a point against the helicopter explanation, but not a very good one.

Let's see if the points against the saucer explanation are better or outnumbering or both.

We have two witnesses, so we have a good reason that something was seen, that, at least, probably gets the agreement of all.

But are they qualified witnesses?

Widow Geoffroy is an old lady. She does her laundry in the nearby river. We are in 1954, at a time when practically no ordinary people ever saw an helicopter, and certainly only aviation enthusiasts, pilots and people interested in recent technologies may have seen the rather strange-looking Djinn in some aviation magazine. Would she recognize Djinn as an helicopter? That is quite unsure.

Miss Fin is a 16 year old girl who guards goats. Just as for Mrs Geoffroy, she probably never ever saw any helicopter, does probably not read aviation news magazines. She is 16 and guards goats; not that there is anything wrong with that, but this is hardly the profile of someone who would obviously recognize Djinn as an helicopter.

The two witnesses are not qualified witnesses.

But, one may argue, they saw a flying saucer and thus a saucer it is. Making an helicopter out of it is silly.

That would be a good argument if the women had described a flying saucer. But they did not. Read the newspaper report carefully. It is apparent that they describe a man in some pilot-type outfit, not at all some humanoid of alien appearance. It is apparent that they do not describe a saucer shaped object. The object is not saucer shaped, it has a normal door, it has normal dull colours. And there is more on this later.

The witness did not describe an extraterrestrial spacecraft and its occupant from another planet, they briefly saw and then described a machine not resembling a flying saucer and its human occupant.

But, one may argue, what about the journalists? They investigated, so if it were an helicopter, they would have found out.

Unfortunately, this does not hold. It is obvious that they did not even think of an helicopter. They thought of a car under cover, and eliminated it since cars don't fly away, but they have at least forgotten to tell us why it was not an helicopter. They did not need to tell us that it was not a meteor or Venus, but they should have mentioned helicopters.

But, that is the least of the journalist's investigation problems. In their interview of Miss Fin, notice how they want her to describe a saucer, and how it is apparent in their own wording of the interview that Miss Fin insisted that it was not round:

"W: - One meter approximately. The machine of five meters at least was more pointed at one end and was more rounded at the other end."

"- Could it have been round?"

"W: - Yes, but I maintain that it was more pointed on one end side. It rested on bars. I saw them."

This is called "influencing the witness."

Throughout the interview, it is apparent that the journalist knows what he is looking for: a saucer. He know a saucer is round and shiny. But the two witnesses are quite clear: it was not round and not shiny.

Today, no decent UFO field investigator would do a witness interview that way at the risk of being rightfully ridiculed. At least, I wouldn't. But here we have journalists, they suspect a saucer, because they know of other saucer cases, including one in the area a month earlier. They are not trained UFO investigators with a catalog of trivial explanations to check for "à la Blue Book", they are journalists with no UFO investigation experience and expecting to grab an interesting saucer story.

You may agree but yet call for help a "real" UFO investigator who would then reject the helicopter. For example, you may say that Jacques Vallée, a "real" UFO investigator, has the case in his listing of alien landings, so it was an alien landing.

But Jacques Vallée did not investigate 1954 french cases. He only summarized newspapers stories. He investigates cases, of course, but not this one, and of cource he never claimed he had. Actually, if anyone feels that because a case is listed by Vallée or Michel means that there was an investigation which demonstrated that it was extraterrestrial, that is an error.

Does this mean that the case was not investigated by any ufologist?

Allow me to smile at the Barthel and Brucker explanation which is as often, quite out of wack and with little relation to the nature of the narrative.

Of course, Bertrand Méheust counts more as a ufologist. He did not investigate the case in 1954, but he did some thinking. His conclusion? It was an helicopter. But did any ufologist investigate on the location at the time, listening to the witnesses?

Well, yes, there actually was a "real" UFO investigator on the case. Charles Garreau investigated it and interviewed the witnesses. His conclusion:

They saw an helicopter.

So, all in all, we have two unqualified witnesses interviewed by a journalist looking for a saucer story, the witness do not describe any alien nor saucer but a human in aviation clothes and a machine they do not identifiy but which is resembling more an helicopter than a saucer, which they saw briefly and fled, being afraid. And we have one noted field investigator who investigates and concludes it was an helicopter.

Is there absolute proof that it was an helicopter? No. But where is the proof or even some indications that it was an alien spaceship? You tell me.

My tentative conclusion: probable light helicopter.

Keywords:

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

Diges, Les Michauts, Les Jolivets, Yonne, Simone Geoffroy, Jouffroy, Gisèle Fin, flying saucers, landing, traces, occupant, occupants, repair, silent, helicopter, Bell 47, Djinn, ALAT

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross April 6, 2007 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross January 29, 2010 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Additions [go1], [lc1], [jb2], [ud1], [ud2].
1.1 Patrick Gross February 14, 2010 Addition [tp2].
1.2 Patrick Gross February 28, 2010 Addition [tp2].
1.3 Patrick Gross March 7, 2010 Addition [jt1].
1.4 Patrick Gross June 17, 2010 Addition [jv5].
1.5 Patrick Gross October 3, 2014 Additions [jv8], [jb4], [ni1].
1.6 Patrick Gross November 25, 2014 Addition [ta1].
1.7 Patrick Gross November 23, 2016 Additions [er1], [ub1].
1.8 Patrick Gross December 16, 2016 Additions [bb1].
1.9 Patrick Gross January 5, 2017 Additions [pr1].
2.0 Patrick Gross January 13, 2017 Addition [fs1].
2.1 Patrick Gross September 15, 2017 Addition [sm1].

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