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The 1954 French flap:

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

October 3, 1954, Ambérac, Charente:

Reference number for this case: 3-Oct-54-Ambérac. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Summary:

The newspaper La Charente Libre of October 6, 1954, reportedly told that on October 3, 1954, around 10:30 p.m., Mr. Marius Laidet was going home on a bicycle in the hamlet of le Marais, when he saw in the sky a round and brilliant disk that remained motionless for some time and then descended directly to the ground.

Arriving on the ground, it would have produced a large glow, projected horizontally on each side. Mr. Laidet called neighbors to make them see this, and a Mrs. Audiat and other people also saw this extraordinary thing.

Mr. Laidet, being on a bicycle, tried to get as close as possible to the place where it had seemed to him that the object had landed, but arrived at the approximate places, he saw neither light nor trace. The place where the object seemed to have landed would be located on the top of the hill in the town of Marcillac-Lanville, east side.

Local investigators, on January 26, 1980, heard from Mr. Laidet whom they found in Mornac, that this story in the press was accurate.

He gave them some details:

At the beginning, the ball which, according to the witness, was "bigger than the moon", was moving horizontally from west to east. It was of color comparable to that of the moon, with in the lower part, a red border.

The ball was at an altitude that the witness estimated to be about 60 to 70 meters or "the height of two poplars".

After moving slowly horizontally, the ball had descended between two walnut trees, very slowly, and had lit them.

Mr. Laidet had then left in the direction of "the object" that he estimated to be about 2 kilometers away, but after 200 to 300 meters, he could not distinguish anything anymore. He had continued to the place called "Bois Moutard" where he thought the object had landed.

Reports:

[Ref. ld1:] "LUMIERES DANS LA NUIT" UFOLOGY MAGAZINE:

AMBERAC (CHARENTE), on October 3, 1954, at 10:30 p.m.

Re-investigation done on January 26, 1980

Witnesses: Mr. LAIDET Marius born in 1908 currently residing in Mornac (Charente)

Mrs. AUDIAT, deceased

Mr. CLOCHARD, then correspondent of la Charente Libre

Place of observation: bridge of the Aume, at the location "Le Cambouil", commune of Amberac.

The fact:

We quote the story of la Charente Libre, dated Wednesday, October 6, 1954, page 3: "Sunday, October 3, at about 10:30 p.m., Mr. LAIDET Marius, who was coming to dine with neighbors and who was going to his house by bicycle at the hamlet of Marais, saw in the sky a round and shiny disc which remained motionless for some time and then descended directly on the ground. On arriving on the ground, there was a large glow, projected horizontally on each side Mr. LAIDET, who was nearby, called neighbors to see it, and Mrs. AUDIAT also witnessed this extraordinary thing, as well as others.

Mr. LAIDET, being on a bicycle, did not hesitate and proceeded to get as close as possible to the place where it seemed to him that the object had landed. But when he arrived at the approximate places, he saw neither light nor trace. The place where the object seems to have landed would be located on the top of the hill of the commune of MARCILLAC LANVILLE, east side."

Mr. LAIDET, whom we found at Mornac, confirmed to us his observation as it is described in tla Charente Libre. He gave us some details:

- At the beginning, the ball which, according to the witness, was "bigger than the moon", was moving horizontally from west to east.

- This ball was of color comparable to that of the moon, with in the lower part, a red border.

- At that moment, the ball was at an altitude that the witness estimates to be about 60 to 70 m. ("The height of two poplars").

- After moving slowly horizontally, the ball descended between two walnut trees, very slowly, and lit them.

- Mr. LAIDET then left in the direction of "the object" which he estimated to be about 2 kilometers away.

However, 2 to 300 meters away, he could not distinguish anything. He would go to the place called "Bois Moutard" where he thought the object had landed.

Details: A year or two ago, Mr. LAIDET received a telephone appointment from Paris, asking him to recount his adventure...

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

The two authors indicate that if the newspaper "La Charente Libre" for October 5 can be believed, "a witness saw in the sky of Marcillac, a disc, but careful: round! Thus, the disc is round!"

They then explain at length that a disc is not necessarily a sphere.

[Ref. js1:] JEAN SIDER:

French ufologist and author Jean Sider summarize a case dated October 3, 1954, at 10:30 p.m., in Ambérac in the department of the Charente, as investigated by J.-A. Bouchet, J.-L. Demaille, B. Poeydaban and whose report appeared in the ufology magazine Lumières Dans La Nuit (LDLN), France, #237-238, on page 36:

Marius Laidet, born in 1908 and resident in Mornac in the department of the Charente, was returning by bicycle at his home in the hamlet of les Marais, when he suddenly saw in the sky a brilliant disc which after having remained motionless for some time, descended then directly on the ground.

When landed, the machine produced a large horizontally projected gleam at each side. Marius Laidet called neighbors to have them witness the phenomenon. Mrs. Audiat and other people could see it.

Mr. Laidet tried to approach more closely as possible of the thing, but when he arrived on the place, he saw neither light nor any trace.

The place of the observation is the bridge of Aume, at the locality "Cambouil," on the commune of Ambérac, and the site of the alleged landing is at the top of the hill of the commune of Marcillac-Lanville on the East side.

[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
19541001 01.10.1954 Amberac France

Explanations:

Some notes:

  1. The "phone call from Paris, to ask him to recount his adventure", "a year or two ago", and probably a phone call from Barthel and Brucker hoping to explain the case.
  2. Barthel and Brucker give no explanation.
  3. Jean Sider says that the case was investigated by J.-A. Bouchet, J.-L. Demaille, B. Poeydaban. But it is not established that all three conducted this survey; they are cited by LDLN n block as authors for an entire catalog of cases.
  4. Sider suggests that Mr. Laidet lived in Mornac; but the investigators indicate that he resides "currently" (1980) in Mornac.
  5. The Charente Libre speaks of other witnesses, without precisions. The LDLN inquiry seems to indicate that among these other witnesses was Mr. Clochard, correspondent of the Charente Libre; it is undoubtedly he who made the case public.
  6. The potential trivial explanation of this observation is obviously the moon, and yet no one seems to have thought or attempted to verify it, even as geographical and temporal landmarks permit.

So we are on October 3, 1954, at 10:30 p.m. in the Charente at or near Ambérac, 45° 51' North, 03° 54' East.

At 10:30 p.m., the moon is below the horizon. But only since 10:09 p.m.. It set down on the 232° azimuth.

The disc "moved horizontally from west to east." But the witness was moving; so this movement may be the classic illusion of an apparent displacement of the moon.

The altitude that the witness estimates to be about 60 to 70 m or "the height of two poplars" does not mean much: poplars how far? This suggests that the thing was not very high above the horizon.

The estimated distance of about 2 km is just as unreliable, but again, this suggests that the "disc" is not close but distance from the witness.

From the center of Ambérac to the center of Marcillac-Blanville, we have a heading of 257°; which is quite close to that of the moon. But the witness is in the hamlet le Marais - at his home at the place called "Le Cambouil" - since he alerts "neighbors", the direction is then 223° (South-East). Which is even closer to the position of the Moon.

One problem is that only 37.1% of the Moon's surface is lit up; it is a crescent moon, not at all a disc. But one can assume that clouds or obstacles partially masked it - it is clear that if the witness had seen the whole crescent, he would have recognized the moon.

The witness gives the ball as "of color comparable to that of the moon", precisely, "with in the lower part, a red border", which suggests a Red Moon effect by a layer of cloud or mist. He also said that the ball was "bigger than the moon," but here too, a well-known illusion makes think that the moon is bigger, when it is near the horizon.

Note the prominent presence of Mars at 215° azimuth and the low elevation of 10° at 10:30 p.m., with an illuminated surface of 84.93%. But Mars does not set yet.

"Le Bois Moutard" is 1.30 km from le Marais. There is a way between the Marais and this place (along the yellow line on the map below), and the direction taken by the witness is right towards the South-East, where the Moon was located.

So I think the moon is a possible if not a probable explanation.

Keywords:

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

Ambérac, Charente, Marius Laidet, Mornac, craft, landing, marsh, hill, Aume, le Cambouil, Marcillac, Lanville, gleam, multiple

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross December 7, 2005 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross January 9, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version.
1.1 Patrick Gross December 21, 2016 Addition [ub1].
1.2 Patrick Gross May 23, 2019 Additions [ld1], Summary. Explanations changed, was "Not looked for yet."

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