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The 1954 French flap:

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

November 3, 1954, Tain-l'Hermitage, Drôme:

Reference number for this case: 3-Nov-54-Tain-l'Hermitage. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Summary:

On November 3, 1954, in Tain-l'Hermitage, a winemaker who saw a silhouette in the dark that seemed "extraordinary" to him thought it was a "Martian". He took a stick and hit the "Martian" with repeated blows.

But he finally realized that the "Martian" was in fact his neighbor, one Mr. Neyret, farmer in Tain-l'Hermitage, who had a detached ear and had to see a doctor.

The "funny" anecdote was told in many French and foreign newspapers, and later in the ufology literature, usually in accurate manner.

There was ufology nonsense all the same. For example, in the 2000s, a website cataloging UFO sighting reports managed to describe the case like this: "Nocturnal lights have been reported."

Reports:

[Ref. cpd1:] "LE COURRIER PICARD" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

A FALSE MARTIAN IS HIT WITH STICK

IN THE DROME

TAIN-L'HERMITAGE, November 4. - The flying saucers made a victim last night, Mr. Neyret, farmer in Tain-L'Hermitage, whom one of his neighbors had mistaken for a Martian. A winegrower had seen a silhouette which seemed "extraordinary" to him. He armed himself with a stick and struck twice. The "Martian" has a damaged ear.

[Ref. nll1:] "NORD LITTORAL" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

IN THE DROME THE FAKE MARTIAN
RECEIVES A CANING

The Flying Saucers made a victim, Mr. Neyret, farmer in Tain-L'Hermitage, that one of his neighbors, had mistaken for a Martian.

In the dark, his neighbor, a winegrower, had seen a silhouette which seemed "extraordinary" to him. "He is a Martian", he said to himself, he armed himself with a stick and struck redoubled blows on poor Mr. Neyret who has a torn off ear and found himself obliged to consult a doctor.

[Ref. cdn1:] "LA CROIX DU NORD" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

A false Martian receives a caning in the Drôme

The flying saucers made a victim, Mr. Neyret, farmer in Tain-L'Hermitage, whom one of his neighbors had mistaken for a Martian.

In the darkness, his neighbor, a winegrower, had seen a silhouette which seemed "extraordinary" to him. "He's a Martian," he said to himself. He armed himself with a stick and struck redoubled hits on poor Mr. Neyret, who has an torn away ear and had to consult a doctor.

[Ref. nmn1:] "NORD-MATIN" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

IN THE DROME,
A FALSE MARTIAN RECEIVES
A CANING

Tain-l'Hermitage. -- The flying saucers made a victim last night, Mr. Neyret, farmer in Tain-L'Hermitage, whom one of his neighbors had mistaken for a Martian.

In the darkness, his neighbor, a winegrower, had seen a silhouette which seemed "extraordinary" to him.

"He's a Martian," he said to himself. He armed himself with a stick and struck redoubled hits on poor Mr. Neyret, who has an torn away ear and had to consult a doctor.

[Ref. ner1:] "NORD-ECLAIR" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

His neighbor mistakes him fro a Martian... and tears off his ear!

Tain-l'Hermitage. -- The flying saucers made a victim in the night of Thursday, Mr. Neyret, farmer in Tain-L'Hermitage, that one of his neighbors had mistaken for a Martian.

In the dark, his neighbor, a winegrower, had seen a silhouette which seemed "extraordinary" to him. "He's a Martian," he said to himself; he armed himself with a stick and struck redoubled blows on poor Mr. Neyret who has a torn off ear and has found himself obliged to consult a doctor.

[Ref. jps1:] "JOURNAL DU PAS-DE-CALAIS ET DE LA SOMME" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

A brave peasant
mistaken for a Martian
gets a caning
in the Drôme

Tain - l'Hermitage, 4. -- The flying saucers made a victim this night, Mr. Neyret, farmer in Tain-L'Hermitage, whom one of his neighbors had mistaken for a "Martian."

In the darkness, his neighbor, a winegrower, had seen a silhouette which seemed "extraordinary" to him. "He's a Martian," he said to himself, he armed himself with a stick and struck redoubled hits on poor Mr. Neyret, who has an torn away ear and had to consult a doctor.

[Ref. bes1:] "BALTIMORE EVENING SUN" NEWSPAPER:

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Frenchman Hurt In 'Space War'

Tain-l'Hermitage, France, Nov 5 (Reuter) -- The first casualty in a war between French peasants and "Martians" was reported here today.

A grape picker mistook a fellow worker for a visitor from outer space in the dark last night and attacked him so savagely with a club that one ear was torn off nefore the attacker realized his mistake.

It was the latest in the series of incidents rampant throughout France. Several French peasants have reported seeing flying saucers and spacemen land and a number of pitchfork-wielding peasants have ambushed fellow countrymen.

Until last night either their aim had been bad or the intended victim was able to shout out in passable French in time.

[Ref. res1:] "REUTERS" NEWS AGENCY:

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French Peasant Bags 'Martian', Ear is Trophy

Reuters

TAIN-L'HERMITAGE, France, Nov. 5. -- The first casualty in a war between French peasants and "Martians" was reported here today.

A grape picker mistook a fellow worker for a visitor from outer space in the dark last night and attacked him so savagely with his club that one ear was thorn off before the attacker realized his mistake.

It was the latest in the series of "Martian" incidents rampant throughout France. Several French peasants have reported seeing flying saucers and spacemen land and a number of pitchfork-wielding peasants have ambushed fellow countrymen.

Until last night either their aim had been bad or the intended victim was able to shout out in passable French in time.

[Ref. ipc1:] "L'INDEPENDANT DU PAS-DE-CALAIS" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

A BRAVE PEASANT
MISTAKEN FOR A MARTIAN
RECEIVES A CANING
IN THE DROME

The flying saucers made a victim last night, Mr. Neyret, farmer at Tain-L'Hermitage, whom one of his neighbors had mistaken for a "Martian."

In the dark, his neighbor, a winegrower, had seen a silhouette which seemed "extraordinary" to him. "He is a Martian", he said to himself, he armed himself with a stick and struck redoubled blows on poor Mr. Neyret who has a torn off ear and has found himself obliged to consult a doctor.

[Ref. tst1:] "THE STAR TRIBUNE" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

CASUALTY -- The first casualty in a war between French peasants and "Martians" was reported at Tain-l'Hermitage, France. After dozens of flying saucer reports, a grape picker mistook a fellow worker for a visitor from outer space and attacked him with a club so savagely that one ear was torn off.

[Ref. bes2:] "BALTIMORE EVENING SUN" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

Careful There

It looks as if the French authorities had better begin instructing their farmers to be cautious in their approach to flying saucers. These delusions have been bedeviling the countryside for some time and not a few rustics have reported seeing not only the saucers but their crews and passengers. Recently a farmer set upon one of these visitors, nearly beat the life out of him and then discovered the invader from space was just a fellow grape picker from across the field.

Any way you look at it restraint seems to be needed. If there aren't any flying saucers (and all along we have suspected there aren't) then any undersized native strolling after dark is in danger of being jabbed with pitchforks, belabored with clubs or maybe shot down with the Gallic counterpart of a squirrel rifle. On the other hand, if there really are saucers over France and tourists from afar taking in the sights of the wine-growing districts, prudence is in order. Nobody knows what happens when an earth-cruising Martian or Venusian is roughed up. The result might be so disastrous that Waterloo and Sedan wouldn't compare.

[Ref. lau1:] "L'AUTHIE" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

The "flying saucers" made a victim the other night in the person of Mr. Neyret, farmer in Tain-l'Hermitage (Drôme), whom his neighbor had mistaken for a "Martian". The latter, having seen in the darkness a silhouette which appeared "extraordinary" to him, armed himself with a stick and struck redoubled the poor M. Neyret who had a torn off ear and found himself obliged to consult a doctor. This unfortunate farmer certainly did not see a "flying saucer" but rather "thirty-six candles."

[Ref. jdh1:] "JOURNAL DE HAM" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

A fake Martian receives the
caning in the Drôme

The flying saucers made another victim, Mr. Neyret, farmer in Tain-l'Hermitage, whom one of his neighbors had mistaken for a Martian.

In the dark, his neighbor, a winegrower, had seen a silhouette which seemed extraordinary to him.

"It is a Martian," he said to himself, he armed himself with a stick and struck redoubtedly the poor Mr. Neyret who has a ripped ear and found himself in the obligation to consult a doctor.

[Ref. tij1:] "GREENWOOD INDEX-JOURNAL" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

Editorial Comment

CAREFUL THERE

From The Baltimore Evening Sun

It looks as if the French authorities had better begin instructing their farmers to be cautious in their approach to flying saucers. These delusions have been bedeviling the countryside for some time and not a few rustics have reported seeing not only the saucers but their crews and passengers. Recently a farmer set upon one of these visitors, nearly beat the life out of him and then discovered the invader from space was just a fellow grape picker from across the field.

Any way you look at it restraint seems to be needed. If there aren't any flying saucers (and all along we have suspected there aren't) then any undersized native strolling after dark is in danger of being jabbed with pitchforks, belabored with clubs or maybe shot down with the Gallic counterpart of a squirrel rifle. On the other hand, if there really are saucers over France and tourists from afar taking in the sights of the wine-growing districts, prudence is in order. Nobody knows what happens when an earth-cruising Martian or Venusian is roughed up. The result might be so disastrous that Waterloo and Sedan wouldn't compare.

[Ref. tbg1:] "THE BOSTON GLOBE" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

France Abuzz Over Saucers

Craze Matches Witch-Hunting

PARIS (Reuters) -- Frenchmen have taken to the flying saucer craze with all the enthusiasm that their medieval forebears devoted to witch-hunting.

Not a day passes without reports from all over France of "flying saucers," "flying cigars," "flying mushrooms," and "flying bells" piloted by 20th century sorcerers.

Villagers seize shot guns and pitchforks and sally forth valiantly to meet any saucer reported landing nearby. Police spend hours following up reports.

Flying saucer stories and speculation about their origin fill the national press. They have even driven sex from the front pages of some popular weekly newspapers. One has offered a reward of 1.000,000 francs (about $2800) to the reader who sends in the first authentic photograph of a flying saucer.

The Mayor of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, a wine village of 1600 people has decreed that any flying saucer which lands in his village will be impounded.

Flying saucer stories come from all levels and ages of the population.

A select few claim that they have actually seen the creatures who pilot the saucers over France. They generally agree that the creatures, usually referred to as Martians, are shorter than human beings in size and appear to be very hairy. Most of these creatures, if they speak, utter unintelligible sounds, but some have made themselves understood in French and even Russian.

Thirteen year-old Gilbert Lafay [sic], of Chateaubriant, said that he saw in a field a flying saucer piloted by a man who spoke to him in French.

Baker's assistant Pierre Lucas of Loctudy claimed that he met a four-foot flying saucer pilot with a hairy oval face and eyes as big as crow's eggs.

A workman, Louis Ujvari, met a flying saucer pilot near Epinal who spoke Russian and asked how far it was from the German frontier.


Saucers with sirens

The saucers seem generally to be piloted by males. One exception was reported by a schoolmaster, Mr. Martin, who said he met two beautiful Martian girls on the island of Oloron [sic] off the French Atlantic Coast. They were about four feet, four inches, and wore leather helmets, gloves and boots.

The strange visitors from outer space are said to be equipped with "ray guns" which stop witnesses in their track with an electric shock effect and temporarily immobilize automobile engines, but no really unfriendly act by them has so far been reported.

Frenchmen are less well disposed towards their uninvited guests and some accidents have occurred in the hunt for Martians. At Sinceny, Jean Faisan fired two shots at his farmer neighbor, Maurice Ruan, who was repairing his car one night, narrowly missing his head but damaging the radiator.

Faisan explained that when he saw a figure illuminated by two lamps he thought he was in the presence of a "Martian repairing his flying saucer." He ran for his shotgun and fired.

In the village of Troussey, sugar beet gatherer Alexandre Ronneji, who had not had a haircut for several months, was manhandled by a crowd who mistook him for a hairy Martian.

At Tain-l'Hermitage, in central France, a wineyard worker decided that his neighbor, M. Neyret, looked "extraordinary" in the dusk and attacked him savagely, beating him so severely that one ear was torn off. Only then did he find that Neyret was not a Martian.

Press cartoonists and practical jokers are having a field day over the whole affair. Newspapers and popular weekly magazines fill their cartoon pages with saucer jokes.


Flying Saucer-ers

A worker at a Paris railway depot started his mates on a Martian hunt by capering about in a welder's helmet with a green light inside.

But the king of the saucer jesters was a retired miner of the village of Beuvry-Les-Bethunes, near Lille, who built some flying saucers in his backyard. He made his "saucers" out of gray paper on the fire-balloon principles and lit a paraffin-soaked rag at the base. The warm air lifted the "saucers", some of them over nine feet in diameter, and off they went with the wind showing orange and yellow lights from the flames.

Police found him out after one of his "saucers" had landed near a haystack and almost set it on fire.

Attempts to explain the saucer phenomena have varied from "mass hallucination" to a suggestion that they are new experimental aircraft built in cigar form which can take off vertically.

Another theory is that, under certain atmospheric conditions, exhaust fuel from jet aircraft solidifies and may form "saucer" shapes. It has been said to reach the ground in the form of a rubbery material which dissolved on being touched. Such a material has often be reported to have been found on saucer landing sites.

[Ref. ous1:] "OURANOS" UFOLOGY MAGAZINE:

In an article titled "Stay calm, please!" the C.I.E.O. Ouranos ufology group recalled "silly" incidents and gave some advice:

Stay calm please!

The most saddening and stupid incidents have been multiplying for several weeks. In Chauny (Aisne), a farmer shot at a quiet motorist whom he had mistaken for a "Martian".

At Train-l'Hermitage [sic] (Drôme) a peasant savagely hit one of his neighbors who had seemed "extraordinary" to him. Here an entire family barricades themselves at home, terrorized by the passage of a F.S. There a terrified witness must be driven urgently to a psychiatric hospital. Everywhere, strong and well-built men declare to have fled at the approach of a being descended from a F.S. ...

The C.I.E. OURANOS wishes to recall a number of positive facts that must put an end to these dangerous comedies and panics:

1° - It has been centuries since "objects" similar to F.S. have been observed in the Earth's atmosphere. While they are more numerous in recent years, however, there is no reason to suppose that they present a more dangerous character than in the past.

2° - F.S. never attacked an airplane or an individual. It is merely possible that accidents occurred due to the imprudence of some curious.

3° - If the observations of "Uranians" are accurate, it has been noted that the attitude of these beings is peaceful and that their reactions are only defensive.

In these conditions, the simple caution advises to remain in the expectation in case of encounter with "Uranians" and not to provoke them under any pretext. It is at the same time a duty of being civilized. Above all do not run away, nor toward of them. If they noticed you, try to get in touch, verbally or by discreet gestures. And observe them precisely.

Then send, as soon as possible, a detailed and objective report of your observation to the C.I.E.O., 27, rue Etienne Dolet, BONDY (Seine), which centralizes and studies worldwide information on these facts.

Lastly, protest energetically with those newspapers that would have distorted your testimony, and send a copy of your update to the C.I.E.O. (Join a stamped envelope for answer, please.).

One last piece of advice: refrain from hoaxing; it only amuses imbeciles; and it is dangerous.

And stop calling "Martians" beings whose origin we do not know! Simply baptize them, as we did, with the vague and general name of "Uranians", which means: coming from some part of the sky.

The C.I.E.O.

[Ref. gbr1] GRAY BARKER:

At Taint-l'Hermitage [sic], Central France, a vineyard worker decided that a neighbor, M. Neyret, looked "extraordinary" in the dusk and beat him severely. Only after he had torn off one of M. Neyret's ears did the worker discover the man was not a Martian.

[Ref. mcs1:] MICHEL CARROUGES:

Michel Carrouges indicates that an AFP news release for November 4, 1954, mentions a confusion in Train-l'Hermitage, in the Drôme: in the darkness, a vine grower had seen a silhouette which appeared "extraordinary" to him. He told himself "that's a Martian", and with a stick, he mercilessly struck the pseudo Martian who was Mr. N.. Mr. N. had to call upon a doctor for his ear was torn.

[Ref. via1] "VIMANA 21" UFOLOGY BULLETIN:

WHY 1954?

The French flap of 1954 is today more than controversial.

Thus, A.D.R.U.P. wanted to make a compilation of all the documents published in a Burgundy daily newspaper:

"Le Bien Public".

The interest of this catalogue is triple:

  • A- to get back in the mood of that too famous year -
  • B- recall all the testimonies that appeared in the local press, whether they are good or bad. -
  • C- to be used as references for potential researchers of sociological or UFO character.

[... Other cases...]

- November 5 A "Martian" struck by hits in the Drôme -

[... Other cases...]

FRIDAY NOVEMBER 5: A "MARTIAN" STRUCK BY HITS IN THE DROME

Tain l'Hermitage - The flying saucers made, last night, a victim, Mr. Neyret, farmer in Tain (Drôme), that one of his neighbors had mistaken for a Martian. In the dark, his neighbor, a winemaker, had seen a silhouette that seemed "extraordinary". "It's a Martian," he said to himself. He armed himself with a stick, and knocked down with redoubled blows the poor M. Neyret, who has a detached ear and was obliged to consult a doctor.

[Ref. dcn1:] DOMINIQUE CAUDRON:

In Tain-l'Hermitage (Drôme), a winemaker knocked on his ear, another "Martian" who was again just one of his neighbors.

[Ref. uda1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

6 Nov 1954 - Tain-l'Hermitage, Rhone-Alpes, France

6 November 1954 Night

Tain-l'Hermitage, Rhone-Alpes, France

Nocturnal lights were reported.

The source is indicated as "Schoenherr, Luis, Computerized Catalog (N = 3173)".

[Ref. ubk1:] "UFO-DATENBANK":

Case Nr. New case Nr. Investigator Date of observation Zip Place of observation Country of observation Hour of observation Classification Comments Identification
19541106 06.11.1954 Tain Hermitage France Night NL
19541104 04.11.1954 Train Ermitage [sic] France CE III

[This database was unable to give the explanation and recorded the ase twice instead of one time.]

[Ref. dcn2:] DOMINIQUE CAUDRON:

In Tain-l'Hermitage (Drôme), a vinegrower struck until he took of the ear another "Martian" who was also only one of his neighbors.

Explanations:

Confusion, known as such at the time.

Keywords:

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

Tain-l'Ermitage, Drôme, Martian, darkness, humanoid, confusion

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross November 18, 2007 First published, [mcs1], [dcn1].
1.0 Patrick Gross November 22, 2016 Additions [res1], [ubk1].
1.1 Patrick Gross December 8, 2016 Addition [gbr1].
1.2 Patrick Gross May 2, 2018 Additions [tst1], [bes1], [bes2], [tij1], [uda1].
1.3 Patrick Gross December 13, 2018 Addition [via1], Summary.
1.4 Patrick Gross January 22, 2019 Addition [ous1].
1.5 Patrick Gross December 18, 2019 Addition [tbg1].
1.6 Patrick Gross February 4, 2020 Addition [cpd1]. Case date change, was "October or November."
1.7 Patrick Gross March 15, 2020 Addition [nmn1].
1.8 Patrick Gross March 19, 2020 Additions [ner1], [tst1], [jdh1], [lau1].
1.9 Patrick Gross March 27, 2020 Additions [cdn1], [jps1].
2.0 Patrick Gross April 7, 2020 Addition [nll1].

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