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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, Montbéliard, Doubs:

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


The regional newspaper L'Est Républicain for October 5, 1954, reported that more than twenty inhabitants of Montbéliard had observed in the sky a strange phenomenon:

Around 8 p.m., rue Foillet, "Sunday evening" so on October 3, 1954, twenty people from five families in the same building saw a white ball in the starry sky, at the vertical of Fort Lachaux.

Quickly, the oscillating object changed colors, blue, green, red.

For 30 minutes, adults and toddlers were able to follow the phenomenon with the help of binoculars, in which it "grew as big as a melon", "whereas these lenses do not enlarge stars ..."

At the same hour, two other people, each located at different places, made the same observation, one of them referring to it in similar terms: "A slightly mobile ball, which changed color, blue, green, and red."

In 1958, ufologist Aimé Michel indicated that the object remained visible for several minutes, sometimes immobile, sometimes turning in circles, or moving in zig-zag in all directions at random. It ended up being deported further east from where it was initially seen, then it suddenly accelerated, taking the direction of the Territoire de Belfort to the northeast, where it was lost of sight. Michel gave the wong hour of 9 p.m.

Michel explained that it was not a meteor, since a witness had the time to get binoculars that people passed on from hand to hand.




Was this a flying saucer?

"So, when do we have our saucer?.." told us yesterday a resident of Montbéliard, undoubtedly impatient to discover a "butt" of a flying cigar.

He hardly suspected that the day before, more than twenty residents of Montbéliard had observed a weird phenomenon in the sky, an appearance difficult to explain, and that we deliver just as it is to our readers.

Disconcerting fact, at the same hour, another person located at a point far away from the first, made the same observation reported in similar terms: "a slightly mobile ball, which changed color, blue, green and red."

Around 8 p.m., street Foillet, Sunday evening, about twenty people, pertaining to five families of the same building, saw a white ball in the starry sky, at the vertical of Fort Lachaux... quickly, this oscillating object changed colors (red green blue).

During thirty minutes, adults and children were able to follow, using binoculars, this odd phenomenon. Is this one of these famous saucers? Anyway, the object became large like a melon through the binoculars, whereas these lenses do not enlarge the stars... During the same lapse of time, another resident of Montbéliard, looking up at the sky, and by chance, saw the same phenomenon from another place.

[Ref. am1:] AIME MICHEL:

The French ufologist Aimé Michel reports that on October 3, 1954, a few minutes after 9 p.m., an object similar to the one observed in Château-Chinon this same day shortly before was seen also in Montbéliard.

Several people saw the object, luminous, circular and of red color.

The object initially was motionless, then started to whirl while changing color from red to the green alternatively. Among the witnesses, some thought about the moment of the color changes that the object had facets of different colors, some red, the other green.

One of the witnesses sought binoculars and people used them.

The object remained visible during several minutes, sometimes motionless, sometimes turning in round, or moving in zigzag in all manner of random directions. It endded up being off-set more to the East than initially seen, then it suddenly accelerated and took the direction of the Territory of Belfort, towards the North-East, where it was lost from the sight.

[Ref. am2:] AIME MICHEL:

In an article in 1963, Aimé Michel adds:

b) a low-size object that witnesses saying their were close describe as like circular, hemispherical on the top, changing aspect in the bottom. In the night and in flight, the object is generally luminous, the reddish, orange or gilded top, the lower part likely to emit green, white, red, purple colors, either separately, or simultaneously; the closest witnesses state that, in this latter case (simultaneous emission of several colors), the sources of light are sort of small verticals rods under the object which were seen appearing, disappearing, exchanging between them their colors and thus giving an impression of whirling (for example, October 3, 1954, in Armentières, in Château-Chinon, in Montbeliard, and other dates a little everywhere in the world). Instead of the small rods, under the main object, sometimesappears a smaller object, very luminous, interdependent of the first but likely to go down vertically below him (for example, this same 3 October, in Marcoing, in Liévin, Ablain-St-Nazaire, Milly, Champigny).


217 -006.80490 47.51100 03 10 1954 21 05 105 MONTBELIARD F 301 C** 214


Charles Garreau mentions that there was an observation on October 3, 1954 1954 in Montbéliard in the Doubs.

[Ref. hd1:] HENRI DURRANT:

Henri Durrant indicates that in 1954, on October 3, in France in Montbéliard, a saucer was visible during several minutes, sometimes motionless, sometimes turning in circles, sometimes moving in zigzag in all directions, agitated of Brownian movements.

Henri Durrant indicates that the source is the book "Mystérieux Objets Célestes" by Aimé Michel.


3947: 1954/10/03 21:10 1 6:49:00 E 47:30:00 N 3333 WEU FRN DBS 6:9




Godelieve van Overmeire indicates that in 1954, on October 3, in France in Montbelliard [sic], a saucer was visible during several minutes, sometimes motionless, sometimes turning in circles, sometimes moving in zigzag in all directions, agitated of Brownian movements.

Godelieve van Overmeire indicates that the source is Henry Durrant in "Premières enquêtes sur les Humanoïdes ET" - Laffont 1977 - p. 199.

[Ref. lc1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the Doubs in Montbeliard on October 3, 1954 at 21:05 hours, "several witnesses observe a circular luminous object of red color. The object is initially motionless then starts to whirl, changing from the red to the green. The object is observed with binoculars. Sometimes the object moves in zigzag in all the directions. Suddenly it accelerates brutally in direction of the territory of Belfort towards the North 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 21:05 in Montbeliard, France, an "unusual object was sighted, that had unconventional appearance and performance. One object was observed by several witnesses on a farm for five minutes. Explanation: Planet."

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


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 #541 of October 3, 1954, of "Various Forms" there had been a Flying Unknown Object in Montbeliard.

Dominique Caudron says that at 8 p.m., in Montbeliard, 25, a white ball changing color was seen "30 mn in the NNE by a score of people."

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?"

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

This database recorded this case 3 times:

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 Montbeliard France 21.00 NL
19541003 03.10.1954 Montbeliard France
19541003 03.10.1954 Montbeliard France NL


Not looked for yet. Probably astronomical.

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, and that of Montbéliard is at 8 p.m., not 9 p.m.

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.

The observation.

The observation is in the mean direction 19° 42; with a large margin since this street is nearly 800 meters long, and Fort Lachaux a visual width of 600 meters at 2400 meters i.e. an angle of 14° so 7° of error margin if we knew the exact address of the witnesses. As it is not the case, there is still to add about 10° of approximation because of the length of the street. In any case, it is the North-Northeast as indicated in the report.

For Lachaux is on a hill, but at 2400 meters from Foillet street, thus constituting a visual obstacle of a rather low elevation.

The "Territory of Belfort" as the direction taken by the phenomenon to "leave" has little meaning: it is close, and extends almost from the left to the right of the witnesses, with limits of 349° to 129° (that is, extending approximately from their North to their Southeast).

Everything in the report suggests an explanation by an astronomical misinterpretation of the star or planet type. Not Mars, since it is orange colored, unlikely to "change", and above all, it is then under the horizon.

But there is one remarkable thing: a conjunction of Jupiter and Uranus.

At 8 p.m., Jupiter is at the azimuth 4° 27' (almost North) and the low elevation of 5° 37'. At 8:30 p.m., it is at the azimuth 11° 30' and the elevation 5° 54' - It moved further east. At 9:00 p.m. it is at the azimuth 18° 32' and slightly higher, at 6° 24'.

Another remarkable fact: Jupiter was at its brightest since 99.15% of its surface was then illuminated by the sun (magnitude -2.1)

One more thing: Uranus, which is barely visible to the naked eye, is also at the height of its brilliance that night, with 99.93% of its surface illuminated. But this gives it a magnitude of 5.6, however, almost negligible.

The "sudden acceleration" mentioned by Michel is not mentioned at all in L'Est Républilcain.

And there is no change of direction to take into account, contrary to what Michel apparently suggest.

I am therefore fairly convinced that the witnesses observed Jupiter without realizing it. The changes of color and appearance of oscillations and zigzag are nothin puzzling at such a low elevation, due to the disturbances of the atmosphere and the diffraction of the light taking the atmosphere "by the side."


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

Montbéliard, Doubs, object, sky, nocturnal, night, object, luminous, round, circular, colors, red, green, manoeuvres, still, motionless, zig-zag, zigzag


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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross January 17, 2006 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross January 9, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Additions [go1], [lc1], [ud1].
1.1 Patrick Gross June 8, 2010 In "Explanations", addition of "Probably astronomical". Addition [le1].
1.2 Patrick Gross June 21, 2010 Addition [jv5].
1.3 Patrick Gross July 7, 2010 Addition [cg1].
1.4 Patrick Gross October 14, 2016 Addition [dc1].
1.5 Patrick Gross February 13, 2017 Addition [dc1].
1.6 Patrick Gross June 9, 2019 Additions [lh1], Summary. Explanations changed, were "Probably astronomical."

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This page was last updated on June 9, 2019.