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The 1954 French flap:

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

October 31, 1954, Nîmes, Gard:

Reference number for this case: 31-Oct-54-Nimes. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.



A "butane bottle
luminous and sparkling
in the sky of Pertuis

Pertuis (C.P.).
Around 06:15 p.m., the day before yesterday in the evening, a luminous machine crossed the sky of Perthuis in the direction South-West-North. Of the reported testimonys, let's retain that of Mr. Tassy, sergeant chief of the services of the police force, who claimed to us that the machine had the shape and the size of a butane gas bottle and that it evolved, according to his estimates, at less than a thousand of meters of altitude. Luminous almost white, letting escape a trail of multicoloured sparks, like spouting of a grindstone, the machine moved at a very high speed. The witnesses saw it during the space from 5 to 8 seconds to the maximum. The testimony of Mr. Tassy is confirmed in all points by that of Mr. Basset, his collaborator.

On the road of Villelaure, people going to Perthuis, at the same hour, noted the same phenomenon.


"I saw a disk fly at more than
3.000 kilometers per hour"


Nimes. (O.P.).
Several hunters of Nimes saw, Sunday evening, a flying machine.

We went to see Mr. Nouguier, who is employed at the gas works and explained us under which conditions he had seen this phenomenon:

"I was, he told us, in company of Misters Nouvel, shoe manufacturer and Mr. Mathieu Joseph, at the edge of the wood of Mittau, when we saw in the sky, whereas the night fell (it was approximately 06:30 p.m.), something resembling a bottle flattened at the two poles. This machine was of a pale yellow very shining and moved towards the hills behind which it disappeared at the end of approximately a quarter of a minute. Whereas it gained distance, its colour became darker, and when it disappeared, it was of a dark orange red".

Mr. Astier, also working with Gas of France, and which was at approximately 500 meters of Mr. Nouguier, told us the same thing. He saw at the same time the same phenomenon.

To make a demonstration fir us, Mr. Nouguier seized a small hemispherical tank on a table of the factory and reconstituded the trajectory of the object for us. He then made us a diagrammatic sketch of the places. According to him, the machine flew at a speed higher than 3.000 kilometers/hour, taking into account the space crossed in a few seconds. "It appeared very large to me, Mr. Nouguier told us in the end, approximately 25 meters in diameter."

This is not an atmospheric phenomenon, nor an illusion, the machine having been observed by several people at the same time, among whose Mr. Astier who as we mentioned above, was not with Mr. Nouguier at the time of the observation.


Here are the locations for the October 31, 1954 reports:

The places may suggest that the whole of the observations are that of the same meteor. The hours and descriptions suggest it for some of the reports, but not for all.

Arry, Somme.Aucune description, aucune information.
Yssingueaux, Haute-Loire.Description n'un météore, sauf durée trop longue. Heure donnée comme vers 21:00.
Colmar, Haut-Rhin.Description peu claires, témoins enfants. Vu vers l'Est. 18:45.
Meyreuil, Bouches-du-Rhône.Description de type météore, vu allant du Sud vers le Nord. 18:30.
Nimes, Gard.Description de type météore, vu allant du Sud-Ouest vers nord. 18:15.
Mulhouse, Haut-Rhin.Heure totalement différente. 04:00.
Lézoux, Puy-de-Dôme.Lune rousse possible. direction inverse, durée 30 minutes, heure non connue.
Corrompu, Somme.Direction inverse, observation de 30 minutes trop longue. 21:00.

It appears that for this day, the observations in Meyreuil and Nimes are probably that of a meteor of going roughly from the South towards the North at approximately 18:15 - 18:30. Perhaps the observation in Arry has the same explanation, no information confirms or denies this.

The observation in Yssingeaux could be that of this meteor only if the newspaper had badly understood the hour as well as the duration; in Corrompu, the duration and the direction would both be false.

For Lézoux, nothing matches with the 18:15 meteor. For Colmar, the initial direction would be false, if it is reliable - it is given by a child. The direction according to the adult would correspond.


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

Nimes, Gard, multiple, hunters, bottle, yellow, shining, object, dark, red, orange, duration, Mathieu Joseph, Nouguier, Nouvel, Mittau, Astier


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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross February 26, 2006 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross April 14, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version.
1.1 Patrick Gross October 31, 2011 A search on the web and in my documentation did not reveal other sources. "Explanations" was "Obvious description of a meteor", changed to the paragraphs about the cases of that day.

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This page was last updated on October 31, 2011.