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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, La Chapelle-Hugon, Cher:

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


The ufologist Aimé Michel reported in 1958 in his book on the wave of 1954 in France, that on October 3, 1954, at about 9 p.m., the cyclist champion Robert Verdenal was driving a car in which were several other people, on the national road 720, between La Chapelle-Hugon and Grossouvre.

Michel said that at the place where the car was at the time of the observation, the road follows the Berry canal and the small Aubois river and is oriented practically North-South.

Robert Verdenal and his passengers suddenly saw a red circular body coming from the South, facing them. The object approached fairly quickly, then came to a sudden stop for a few seconds, after which it started moving again at a brisk pace in the east, making a right angle with its first trajectory.

In 1979, the "skeptical" ufologists Gérard Barthel and Jacques Brucker first give the same version, saying that it comes from the archives of the Lumières Dana La Nuit magazine managed by Mrs. Gueudelot.

Then they say that a "Lumières Dans La Nuit" investigator, Mr. Desbois, had investigated this case and explained that "Roger Verdanal" [sic] was not in a car with friends, but alone on a bicycle without lighting, returning from a bicycle race, and that it was impossible that he drove a car since his driving license was dated 1956. The observation had lasted only 4 or 5 seconds, the thing was high in the sky, there was no stop and no change of direction.

"Roger Verdanal" had also spoken to Mr. Desbois about the journalist of Le Berry Republican: "I remember the guy who wrote the article, he was quite a fantasist."


[Ref. am1:] AIME MICHEL:

French ufologist Aimé Michel reports that on October 3, 1954, at about 9 in the evening, the cyclist sportsman Robert Verdenal drove a car in which several other people were passengers. It was on the national road RN 720, between the La Chapelle-Hugon and Grossouvre.

Michel specifies that at the site where the car was at the time of the observation, the road follows the channel of Berry and the small river of Aubois and is directed practically North-South; if it were prolonged in straight line on a chart, it would go through Clermont-Ferrand.

Robert Verdenal and his passengers saw a circular body of red color, coming from the South, in front of them. The object approached them rather quickly, then suddenly stopped, during a few seconds, after that it set out again at a high pace in the direction of the East, at a right angle relative its first trajectory.


214 -00294606 46.89000 03 10 1954 21 00 101 LA CHAPELLE HUGON F 301 C** 214


The two authors indicate that they found in the file of Mrs. Gueudelot, of the ufology magazine "Lumières dans la Nuit", a case which they entitle "La Chappelle-Hugon, p p.m." and which account is:

"A car, driven by the cyclist racer Robert Verdenal, and in which were several people, runs on N. 7 between La Chapelle-Hugon and Grossouvre. Suddenly Robert Verdenal and his companions see coming opposite them, i.e. from the south, a luminous body of circular shape and red color. The object approaches rather quickly, then becomes suddenly stationary. This immobility lasts a few seconds, after that the object starts again at a sharp pace in the direction of the east, forming with its first trajectory a right angle."

Mr. Desbois, a UFO investigator of the magazine "Lumières Dans La Nuit" has investigated and explained that Roger Verdanal [sic] was not in a car with friends but alone on a bicycle without lighting, and was returning from a bicycle race. It was impossible that he drove a car as his licence is dated 1956. The sighting lasted only 4 or 5 seconds, it was high in the sky, there was no top and no change of direction. Roger Verdanal also told about the journalist: "I remember the chap who wrote tha article well. He was quite a funny guy."


The two authors note that on October 3, 1954 at 09:00 p.m., there was an observation of an object at La Chapelle-Hugon in the department of the Cher.

[Ref. lg1:] LOREN GROSS:

3 October. La Chapelle-Hugon, France. (9:00p.m.)

Bicycle champion sees saucer.

Michel wrote:

"Some minutes closer to 9 p.m., a car carrying several passengers and driven by the bicycle champion Robert Verdenal, was traveling along Route N-720 between La Chapelle-Hugon and Grossouvre, in Cher.

"At this spot N-720 follows the Berry Canal and the little Aubois River, and runs almost exactly north-south. Prolonged southward, it would touch Clermont-Ferrand.

"Without warning, Robert Verdenal and his companions saw coming from straight ahead of them (that is, from the south) a luminous, circular, red object. It approached fairly rapidly, then suddenly stopped. This immobility lasted several seconds, after which the object took off again speedily toward the east, making a right angle with its first trajectory." (xx.)

(xx.) Michel. Aime. Flying Saucers and the Straight-Line Mystery. pp. 125-126.


3942: 1954/10/03 21:00 1 2:57:00 E 46:54:20 N 3333 WEU FRN CHR 6:9



[Ref. lc1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the Cher in La Chapelle Hugon on October 3, 1954 at 21:00 hours, a car in which is 4 people drives on the N720 between La Chapelle Hugon and Grossouvre when the witnesses observe opposite them towards the south a luminous object of circular form, of red color. The object approaches rather fast then is motionless during a few seconds then starts again at fast pace after a right angle in direction of the east.

Luc Chastan indicates that the source is "M.O.C. par Michel Aimé ** Arthaud 1958".

[Ref. ud1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that on 3 October 1954 at 21:00 in La Chapelle-Hugon N720, France, a hovering object was observed. "One object was observed by several witnesses on a farm for over one minute (Verdenal)."

The sources are indicated as "Michel, Aime, Flying Saucers and the Straight-Line Mystery, S. G. Phillips, New York, 1958; Keyhoe, Donald E., Flying Saucer Conspiracy, Holt, New York, 1955; 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); Newspaper Clippings; Hatch, Larry, *U* computer database, Author, Redwood City, 2002".

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

This database recorded this case twice:

Case Nr. New case Nr. Investigator Date of observation Zip Place of observation Country of observation Hour of observation Classification Comments Identification
19541003 03.10.1954 Grossouvre France 21.00 NL
19541003 03.10.1954 Grossouvre France 21.00 NL


Dominique Caudron indicates that the catalogue of 800 cases published in 1970 by Maurice Santos, is a good example of what one should not do; he indicates to extract from it the list of the cases of October 3, 1954; which he knows well as he had investigated into these cases of his area of Nord. For each case, below the text of the Santos catalogue, he states what should have been written, and the explanation after analysis, when there is one.

Santos wrote that for this case #545 of October 3, 1954, of "Various Forms" there had been in Grossouvre a luminous Unknown Flying Object maneuvering at 90 degrees.

Dominique Caudron indicates: "9 p.m.?, between the La Chapelle-Hugon and Grossouvre, 18, an object high in the sky seen 4 or 5 seconds (in fact: possible fireball) "

He notes that the numbering of the cases by Santos seemed a good idea, but that it prevents the evolution of the catalogue, whose numbering becomes incoherent at the first update: "For example, this catalogue contains only 10 cases for the area of the Nord, whereas we know 48 of them. How to place the 38 others?"


Not looked for yet. In 2009 Sportsman Robert Verdenal is still alive and organizing amateur bicycle races in la Guerche.

About the straight line indicated by Aimé Michel:

Aimé Michel estimated that the cases of La Chapelle Hugon, Château-Chinon, Montbéliard and Grandvillars were on the same straight line.

It is true these four cities are on a straight line. But these are only 4 sightings on a straight line, whereas I counted no less than 94 sighting reports for October 3, 1954, not counting the 40 sighting reports dated "beginning of October" for lack of a more precise date, and of course not counting those that I do not know of yet.

Taking only those of October 3, 1954, at about 9 p.m., there are still 36 left.

Moreover, the date of the case in Grandvillars is not bulletproof.

This makes this straight line quite statististically insignificant, explainable by chance alone. The straight line would also be explainable if these sightings were sightings of a meteor, an idea rejected by Michel by explaining that the witnesses in Montbéliard had enough time to fetch binoculars and pass them from one to another during their observation.

About Robert Verdenal:

Robert Verdenal (Below) was born November 14, 1933, in Grossouvre, he died in 2017. He was thus 20 at the time of the sighting. In 2009, he was still passionate about cycling and he sometimes organized some local competition at La Guerche.

About the place:

Aimé Michel told that Robert Verdenal was on the national road 720, between La Chapelle-Hugon and Grossouvre, this road following the Berry canal and the small river of l'Aubois oriented almost north-south.

But between La Chapelle-Hugon and Grossouvre, while the RN 720, now RD 920, is indeed oriented north-south (179° then slight right turn to 196°), it does not run neither along the small river l'Aubois nor the Berry Canal.

About the observation:

So there would have been, first facing the witness or witnesses, towards the South, an "object", then this object would have "left" towards the East.

It so happens that the slight turn of the road, which is otherwise straight, may give this illusion if there was something fixed in front of them in the first part of the road.

It turns out that in front of them, there was the Moon, at the azimuth 225° and the low elevation favorable to misinterpretation of 4°.

There was also Mars, quite visible, at the azimuth 202°, elevation 14°. Mars appears round, orange, and was clearly visible, since it was quite close to the Earth in the fall of 1954, and it is of course or orange color. The Moon normally appeared as a crescent then, and was therefore in principle easily identified as such - except clouds partially masking its shape, and / or a "red" moon.

So the version by Aimé Michel can easily be explained by Mars, or maybe by the Moon.

What about the Desbois version presented by Barthel and Brucker? It cannot be explained that simply: something round and orange, fixed high in the sky, for 4 or 5 seconds only... And what should we think of the fact that Mr. Desbois, or Barthel and Brucker, call the witness "Roger Verdanal" instead of Robert Verdenal?


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

La Chappelle-Hugon, Cher, Robert Verdenal, multiple, car, road, object, red, fast, manoeuvre, bicyle, night


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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross December 12, 2005 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross January 9, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Additions [lc1], [ud1].
1.1 Patrick Gross June 21, 2010 Addition [jv5].
1.2 Patrick Gross October 3, 2014 Addition [lg1].
1.3 Patrick Gross October 14, 2016 Addition [dc1].
1.4 Patrick Gross June 8, 2019 Additions [lh1], [ub1].

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This page was last updated on June 8, 2019.