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The 1954 French flap:

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

August 30, 1954, Paris, Paris:

Reference number for this case: 30-Aug-54-Paris. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Reports:

[Ref. ci1:] CIA:

INFORMATION FROM
FOREIGN DOCUMENTS OR RADIO BROACASTS

COUNTRY: Non-Orbit   DATE OF INFORMATION: 1954
SUBJET: Military - Unidentified flying objects  
HOW PUBLISHED: Dail[y] newspaper   DATE DIST.: 29 oct 1954
WHERE PUBLISHED: As indicated   NO. OF PAGES: 5
DATE PUBLISHED: 31 Jul - 20 Sep 1954  
LANGUAGES: Various   SUPPLEMENT TO REPORT NO.:
[Blackened out] [Blackened out]   THIS IS UNEVALUATED INFORMATION
SOURCE: As indicated  

SIGHTINGS OF UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS,
31 JULY - 20 SEPTEMBER 1954

WESTERN EUROPE

[... (Reports from other countries) ...]

France

MANY PERSONS SEE UNUSUAL OBJECT OVER PARIS
-- Paris, Le Parisien Libéré, 3 Sep 54

Mr. Jolivet, a resident of Paris, reported that on August 30, he had seen a luminous, circular object flying over the city. After the report appeared in the press, many other persons (source gives names and addresses) reported that they had witnessed the phenomenon on the same day. Some of the reports indicate that the object was headed south-southwest, while other reports indicate a northeast direction; but, according to Claire Cordier and André Greffier, two natives of Angers, the object disappeared towards the north. (Claire Cordier reported a "disk" flying over her home town as well; see below.)

[... (Next reports)]

[Ref. am1:] AIME MICHEL:

Aimé Michel published very interesting pages on this case: it was a meteor, and he takes advantage of this example of a meteor event to point out similarities and differences between meteor reports and UFO reports.

He notes that the meteor was reported by hundreds of witnesses from more than 20 departments. It was finally seen exploding by a witness at Porte des Lilas in Paris.

[Ref. lg1:] LOREN GROSS:

"False saucer" excites France.

Things didn't really begin to boil over in France until the very end of the month (the 31st) when a spark shedding meteor exploded in the sky at extreme altitude above Paris (8:20 p.m.). People in 20 departments of France witnessed the show resulting in hundreds of reports being made to the newspapers.

UFOlogist Aime Michel was satisfied with the meteor hypothesis since there was no evidence to indicate otherwise, however the following afternoon (12:50 p.m.) a group of six persons, watching military aircraft perform in the sky over Asnieres-les-Dijon, which is about five miles north of Dijon, spotted a mysterious glowing body crossing the heavens east to west at an altitude that exceeded that of the French airplanes. During its quick passage, the strange object changed color from red, to orange, and then finally to silver.

Michel's collaborator, Charles Garreau, a Dijon resident, checked into the incident and was puzzled over the speed. The thing seemed to be too slow to be a meteor and too fast to be an airplane. 216.

Michel began to suspect something unusual was looming when he learned that about six hours after the sighting near Dijon, witnesses in the Paris region observed two orange-colored oval-shaped objects crossing the sky in a side by side formation. He became aware of the sighting from two independent sources.

Just by chance a Mrs. A. Fouquiau of Orly, noticed the speeding pair of UFOs as they came out of the western sky, cannonballing eastward. Startled and instantly convinced a rare event was in the making, Mrs. Fouquiau summoned her husband and young daughter to "come and see" the "chunky cigars." Highly curious, the trio of witnesses kept watch after the UFOs passed out out of sight and were rewarded when another object, a carbon copy of the others, came into view on the same course.

This third object was evidently also witnessed by some people at the town of Chennevieres-les-Louvres a dozen miles away to the northeast, when at 7:30 p.m. a "very long bright egg" zoomed overhead. If the objects in question were "meteors," wondered Michel, how come Mrs. Fouquiau had time to call her family to come and look at the objects? 217.

  • 216. Michel, Aime. Flying Saucers and the Straight-Line Mystery, p.31.
  • 217. Ibid, pp.31-32.

[Ref. jb1:] JEROME BEAU:

Jerome Beau indicates that on August 30, 1954, Jolivet, a resident of Paris, saw a luminous circular object flying above the city. After his report was published in the press, many other people, whose the source gives names and addresses, reported to have seen the phenomenon the same day. Some of the reports indicate that the object was directed South-South-West, while others speak about the North-West; but according to Claire Cordier and Andre Gréfier, two natives of Angers, the object disappeared towards the North. Claire Cordier announced a "disc" flying above her city also.

Jérôme Beau indicates as source the article "De nombreuses personnes voient un objet inhabituel au-dessus de Paris", Le Parisien Libéré, Paris, September 3, 1954.

[Ref. lc1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan record in his database indicates that on August 30, 1954, many people saw a luminous circular object flying above the city. Some of the reports indicate that the object was directed South-South-West, while others speak about the North-West and even the North.

The source is indicated as "RR0 by ** http://www.rr0.org".

[Ref. ud1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that on 30 August 1954 at 20:20 in "Porte.Lilas", France, "Luminous body, trail of sparks exploded at Porte des Lilas, definitely meteor. Explanation: Meteor."

And: "A mysterious explosion was reported. One object was observed by 200 witnesses very briefly."

The sources are indicated as Michel, Aime, Flying Saucers and the Straight-Line Mystery, S. G. Phillips, New York, 1958; National Investigations Committee Aerial Phenomena, NICAP investigation files.

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

Case Nr. New case Nr. Investigator Date of observation Zip Place of observation Country of observation Hour of observation Classification Comments Identification
19540830 30.08.1954 Paris France
19540830 30.08.1954 Porte Lilas France 20.20 NL

Explanations:

The 30 August 08:20 p.m. meteor.

Note on the meteor for that day:

As soon as 1958, Aimé Michel published [am1] very interesting pages on the observations for August 30, 1954: it was a meteor, and he uses this example of a meteor event to show the similarities and differences between UFO reports and meteor reports. He notes that this meteor was reported by hundreds of witnesses in more than 20 departments. It was seen finally exploding by a witness at La Porte des Lilas in Paris.

It however appears that except Aimé Michel, almost none of the authors of the other later sources publishing these sightings took care to give the explanation. Yet these other authors are generally aware of Aimé Michel's book, which they sometimes quote for other cases, as if they had a quite selective reading method... or as if they chose to use the poorest sources instead...

Neither did they understand the descriptions of the sightings. They call "UFO" what was obviously a meteor, and let their readers believe in an unexplained observation.

The sighting places for the matching cases are:

Vanves48.824-2.289
Buxerolles46.616-0.4833
Le Coudray-sur-Thelle49.305-2.124
Angers47.466-0.550
Paris48.856-2.351
Creil49.258-2.479

The plotted sighting places:

The case files and their sources for this meteor event:

Vanves, Hauts-de-Seine.21:00
Buxerolles, Vienne.20:30
Coudray-sur-Thelle, Oise.~20:30
Angers, Maine-et-Loire.20:20
Paris.~20:20
Creil, Oise.20:00

Note on the sighting times: it would be silly to mistake the given hours for stop watch measurements, like some ufologists did in some cases (For example Charles Garreau...). People did not inevitably walk around with a wristwatch then, did not inevitably look at a clock, did not think inevitably of asking or checking the hour. The press was then satisfied enough to write things like "at about 08:30 p.m.". The most probable hour is "approximately 08:20 p.m."; it is the less "rounded at half an hour".

What the witnesses said, when it is known:

Vanves, Hauts-de-Seine.?
Buxerolles, Vienne.Luminous
Coudray-sur-Thelle, Oise.glowing ball seeming to fall.
Angers, Maine-et-Loire.Fast brown disc surrounded of green gleams. Shining disc-shaped light followed of a rather short tail, very fast, sems to fall.
Paris.Luminous circular flying object.
Creil, Oise.?

These descriptions are concise, they are the ordinary words of ordinary people, noted by newspapermen subjected to brevity rules, they are not scientific descriptions. What is clear is that there is no strangeness at all in the reports, no "impossible manoeuvers", no "humanoid occupants", no beams, no landings etc.

Keywords:

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

Paris, object, circular, luminous, multiple

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross September 10, 2007 First published, [ci1], [am1], [jb1], [lc1], [ud1].
1.0 Patrick Gross March 2, 2010 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version.
1.1 Patrick Gross March 20, 2010 Addition [ud1].
1.2 Patrick Gross October 30, 2011 A search on the web and in my documentation did not reveal other sourcesExplanation changed from "The meteor of that day" to "The 30 August 08:20 p.m. meteor". Addition of the "Note on the meteor for that day".
1.3 Patrick Gross November 25, 2016 Additions [lg1], [ub1].

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