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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, Nivelle, Nord:

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

Summary:

According to ufological sources, the case appeared in the Press, in the newspaper of the region Nord-Matin and La Croix du Nord for October 6, 1954.

On October 3, 1954, around 1 a.m., Mr. Marcel Sénéchal, a 20-year-old steelworker, went home to Saint-Amand-les-Eaux on a bicycle along the towpath along the Scarpe canal. He was at the exit of Nivelle, at the height of the place called "the Vandeville pasture", when he heard a conversation in an unknown language.

Turning his head, he saw, below the path on his right, what he compared to a luminous haystack from which a luminous ray was emerging, and next to it two human shapes of about 1.20 meters, covered with a shiny garment.

According to Garreau and Lavier, he had told:

"I turned the head, and downwards of the way, in a pasture, at the pale light of the moon, I saw a ball of approximately 3 meters in diameter. Near it, were two small beings, whose size did not exceed 1 meter, they discussed. They had large heads. Their clothing was luminous."

Distraught, he fled on all pedals and went to tell his adventure at the police station of Saint-Amand-les-Eaux. The commissioner, Mr. Gravet, and two inspectors from the Air Police, went to the place, but found no trace.

In 1979, "skeptical" ufologists Gérard Barthel and Jacques Brucker claimed to have investigated the case with the authorities in Saint-Amand-les-EAux, and announced that all of this was an ivention of the witness.

Following them in 1979, the "skeptical" ufologist Dominique Caudron took note, adding that Marcel Sénéchal was a single man of 20 and that nothing came to deny the possibility that he invented what he told. He added with common sense that at that time, two "landings" had just been widely publicized in the presse of the region, one near Harponville, where the shape of the craft was described as that of a haystack, precisely, and that of Quarouble, in which the described beings are quite like those described by Marcel Sénéchal, not to mention the "ray"; in short, if he had wanted to invent a story that might seem "credible" in this context of the time, he would have told exactly what he told.

Reports:

[Ref. gal1:] CHARLES GARREAU AND OLIVIER LAVIER:

The two French ufologists Charles Garreau and Olivier Lavier write in their book that on October 3, 1954, at 0:15 A.M., in Nivelles [sic], Marcel Sénéchal of Saint-Amant-les-Eaux [sic], was returning at his home riding his bicycle while following the tow path of the channel which skirts river Scarpe. By reaching the exit of Nivelles, he heard voices talking in a language which was unknown to him.

He stated:

"I turned the head, and downwards of the way, in a pasture, at the pale light of the moon, I saw a ball of approximately 3 meters in diameter. Near it, were two small beings, whose size did not exceed 1 meter, they discussed. They had large heads. Their clothing was luminous."

He fled, very frightened, and made a statement at the gendarmerie the following day.

[Ref. agd1:] ALAIN GAMARD:

031 03/10/1954 00.15 Nivelles 59 Marcel Sénéchal

[Ref. dcn6:] DOMINIQUE CAUDRON:

The weekend of October 2-3 appears on all graphs as the maximum-maximorum of the 1954 wave. Although the work of counting the press of the time is not yet finished, the 118 various issues of newspapers and magazines I have been able to analyze for this period gives us an almost complete overview, in any case very broadly representative of the regional observations which were reported in the press for Sunday, October 3. I included the observations of the Somme which seemed to me inseparable from those of Nord - Pas-de-Calais and which also appear in the chapter entitled "Zigzag on the mining country" of the book by A. Michel: "Mystérieux Objets Célestes."

I count, as one case, each observation made by an independent group of witnesses. The astonishing quantity of observations reported below, shows once again the interest of thoroughly searching the newspaper archives.

OCTOBER 3, 1954:

1) 01 h. NIVELLES - 59. Mr. Marcel Sénéchal, 20 years old, was walking along the Scarpe canal when he reached the "Vandeville pasture" and heard a conversation in an unknown language. Turning his head to the right, he saw a luminous haystack from which came out a ray of light and two human shapes of 1.20 m. coated with a shiny garment. The witness fled with all pedals. Mr. Gravet, commissioner of St. Amand and two air police inspectors came to the scene but could not find any traces. (Nord-Matin, p.10, Croix du Nord, p.8)

[... other cases...]

[Ref. dcn7:] DOMINIQUE CAUDRON:

Scan

Case nr 1) 01 o'clock NIVELLES -59-

Two Parisian ufologists have already carried out a re-investigation with the authorities of St Amand. Their conclusion is that this is a hoax.

On this matter it should be noted:

- that nothing we know can support the view that the witness is incapable of making a joke: the witness is a single man aged 20.

- that the description of the phenomenon corresponds exactly to what the public knew at the time about the flying saucer landings in the Nord region and which is made of only to two cases widely publicized in the press: the quasi-landing of [illegible] of September 7, and the landing of QUAROUBLE on September 10. In the first case, the characteristic detail is the shape of the machine: like a haystack. In the second case, the shape was badly perceived, but one saw two small beings on which the beam of a lamp was reflected as on glass and a light ray which left the craft. And what does the witness of NIVELLES describe to us? A haystack-shaped object, two small beings of 1.20 m dressed in shiny clothes and a light ray which started from the object. In other words, if the witness had made a hoax, he would not have said anything else. But of course, one can always say that the flying saucer was there, but that it was invisible, and that by induction in the witness's brain, it suggested that he made a hoax!

[Ref. bbr1:] JACQUES BARTHEL AND GERARD BRUCKER:

The authors indicate that in the area of Nivelle Mr Sénéchal heard snatches of conversation from entities with large luminous heads whereas he rode by bicycle.

[Ref. fru1:] MICHEL FIGUET ET JEAN-LOUIS RUCHON:

The authors indicates that on October 3, 1954 at 0:15 in Nivelle, Marcel Sénéchal, 20-year-old metal worker, goes back to Saint-Amand-les-Eaux by bicycle, following the tow path which skirts the Scarpe.

At the level of the "Vandeville" pasture at the exit of Nivelles, he hears speak in an unknown language, and downwards of the way, on his right, he sees a luminous grinding stone 3 meters in diameters from where a luminous ray comes out, and two 1.20 meter-tall human forms, with large heads, dressed in shining outfits.

He is terrified, flees, and he will tell this to the police station of Saint-Amand. Mr. Gravet, the police chief, and two inspectors, go on the spot but cannot find any traces.

The authors indicate that the sources are "Face aux Extraterrestres" by C. Garreau and R. Lavier at page 128; Nord Matin and La Croix du Nord; the GNEOVNI bulletin #5 "Chronologie d'un Dimanche fantastique" by Mr. Dominique Caudron.

[Ref. mft1:] MICHEL FIGUET:

Nr of the J. C. Fumoux list N° of the Francat list Localization Date Class Credibility Sources Number of W
022 118a Nivelles 10/03 CE3 NI [= Not indentified] 2-p. 111 1 W

[Ref. mft2:] MICHEL FIGUET:

CASE Nr CLASSIFICATION DATE HOUR PLACE ZIP CODE CREDIBILITY SOURCE
119a CE3 10 03 1954 00.15 Nivelles 59230 D5 OVNI: p. 111

[Ref. jsr1:] JEAN SIDER:

Ufologist and author Jean Sider indicates that on October 3, 1954, at 0:15, Mr. Marcel Senechal was going to St-Amand-les-Eaux by bicycle by a towpath along the river Scarpe.

At the end of Nivelle, at the height of the locality Pâture Vandeville, he perceived words in an unknown language.

Down below, on his right, he noticed a light haystack-shaped apparatus which dispensed a ray of light. Two silhouettes of about 1m20 came out, dressed in shiny suits.

Seized with fear, the witness fled and went to tell his misadventure to Mr. Gravet, the police commissioner in St-Amand.

Jean Sider indicates that the source is "Figuet, p.110-111."

[Ref. lhh1:] LARRY HATCH - "*U* COMPUTER DATABASE":

3929: 1954/10/03 00:20 3 3:27:40 E 50:28:00 N 3333 WEU FRN NRD 8:6

NIVELLES,FR:LUM DISK/ROADSIDE:2 1M OIDS TALK!:NO TRACEs:/r30p111+/r138#9

Ref#217 Jean SIDER: Le DOSSIER 1954 (2 vol.) Page No. 181 : ROAD+RAILS

[Ref. goe1:] GODELIEVE VAN OVERMEIRE:

Godelieve van Overmeire indicates that in 1954, on October 3, in France, in Nivelles (Nord), at 0:15 Marcel Sénéchal goes back to St Amand les Eaux by bicycle. He follows the tow path of the channel which skirts the Scarpe. At the exit of Nivelle he heard speak in a language which is unknown to him. "I turned the head and downwards of the way, in a pasture, I saw in low light of moon, a ball approximately 3 m in diameter. Near it there were two small beings, whose size did not exceed 1 meter, they discussed. They had large heads. Their clothing was luminous." Terrified he flees. The next day he reports to the gendarmerie.

The source is indicated as "Face aux extra-terrestres" - Delarge 1975 - J'ai Lu, p. 132.

[Ref. lgs1:] LOREN GROSS:

3 October. Near Saint Amand-les-Eaux, France. (12:15 a.m.)

Large heads, luminous outfits.

Our source states:

"About 15 minutes after midnight, a metallurgy worker, Marcel Senechal, was riding his bicycle on a canal towpath when he heard voices; in a nearby meadow he saw a spherical object some three meters in diameter near which were two beings, one meter tall, who were talking to one another. Their heads were very large and their outfits luminous. The witness fled. Next morning he reported it to the gendarmes who were unable to find any traces when they returned to the site." (xx.)

(xx.) HumCat. #1889. Also: Mesnard and Bigorne, "Les Humanoides en France." (unpublished rns.), p.135, citing Face aux Extraterrestres, by Chas. Garreau and Raymond Lavier.

[Ref. ars1:] ALBERT ROSALES:

99.
Location. Near Saint Amand-les-Eaux Nord France
Date: October 3 1954
Time: 0015A

About 15 minutes after midnight, a metallurgy worker, Marcel Senechal, was riding his bicycle on a canal towpath when he heard voices; in a nearby meadow he saw a spherical object some 3 meters in diameter near which were two beings, one meter tall, who were talking to one another. Their heads were very large and their outfits luminous. The witness fled. Next morning he reported it to the gendarmes who were unable to find any traces when they returned to the site.

Humcat 1954-20
Source: Joel Mesnard and Jean Marie Bigorne
Type: C

[Ref. jdt1:] JEAN-PIERRE D'HONDT:

The ufologist indicates that on October 3, 1954 towards 1 a.m., Mr. Marcel Sénéchal, 20-year-old, metal-worker, reached the town of St Amand les Eaux by bicycle by the tow path skirting the river Scarpe. At the exit of Nivelles, at the level of the locality "la pature Vandeville", he heard a conversation in an unknown language. Looking on the side he saw way on his right what he compared to a luminous ["meule", haystack or grinding stone] from which a luminous beam came out and at the side two human shapes approximately 1 m 20 tall, covered of a shining clothing.

Thrown into a panic, he fled pedaling as fast as possible and went to tell his adventure to the police station of St Amand. The police chief, Mr. Gravet, and two inspectors, went on the spot, but did not find any trace.

The references given are the newspapers "Nord Matin" and "La Croix du Nord", and the Bulletin du GNEOVNI #5.

[Ref. jdt2:] JEAN-PIERRE D'HONDT - GERU:

DATE: October 3, 1954

PLACE: Nivelles nord

TYPE: CE3

REF: book « Rencontres rapprochées » of M. Figuet page 110

CURCUMSTANCES OF THE OBSERVATION:

Mr. Marcel Sénéchal, the witness: joined St-Amand-les-Eaux by bicycle, by a towpath along the Scarpe river. At the exit of Nivelles, near the place called Pâture Vandeville, he perceives words in an unknown language. Below, on his right, he notices a luminous craft in the shape of a haystack which dispenses a ray of light. Two silhouettes of about l 20 m emerge from it. They are coated with a brilliant diving suit. Seized by terror, the witness fled and told his story to Mr. Gravet, police commissioner in St. Amand.

[Ref. lcn1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the Nord in Nivelle on October 3, 1954 at 00:15 hours the witness goes back to St Amand les Eaux by bicycle. He follows the tow path of the channel which skirts the Scarpe. At the exit of Nivelle he hears speak in a language which is unknown to him. "I turned the head and downwards of the way, in a pasture, I saw in the weak glow of the moon, a ball approximately 3 m in diameter. Near it there were two small beings, whose size did not exceed 1 meter, they discussed. They had large heads. Their clothing was luminous." Terrified, he flees. The next day he makes his statement at the gendarmerie.

Luc Chastan indicates that the source is "Face aux Extra terrestres by Garreau and Lavier ** DELARGE 1975,"

[Ref. djn2:] DONALD JONHSON:

Donald Johnson says the first CE3 on October 3, 1954, occurred at 12:15 a.m. in Nivelles, Nord, France. A 20-year-old metallurgist, Marcel Senechal, witnessed a spherical object three meters in diameter land in a meadow near a canal. Two one meter tall beings were seen talking to each other. Their heads were very large, and they wore luminous suits.

The sources are noted: "Sider, Jean, Dossier 1954 et l'Imposture Rationaliste, p. 181; Michel Figuet & Jean-Louis Ruchon, OVNI: Le Premier Dossier Complet des Rencontres Rapprochees en France, pp. 110-111."

[Ref. jgz1:] JULIEN GONZALEZ:

The author says that a close encounter of the third kind took place in Nivelles, in the Nord, on October 3, 1954, the witness being Marcel Sénéchal, 20 years old, metal-worker.

He was going back to his home in Saint-Amand-les-Eaux by bicycle, following the tow path which skirts the Scapre, and on the level of the "Pâture Vandeville", at the exit of Nivelles, he heard speak in an unknown language.

Downwards the way, on his right, he saw a luminous haystack approximately three meters in diameter from which came out a luminous ray and two human forms of 1.20 meters dressed of brilliant clothing.

He became terrified, fled, and told his adventure at the police station of Saint-Amand.

He indicates that Mr. Gravet, police chief of Saint-Amand, and two inspectors, came on the spot but did not find any trace.

He adds that in the years 1970, the witness confirmed his initial story to investigator Jean-Marie Bigorne of the group Lumières Dans La Nuit.

Julien Gonzalez indicates that the sources are "Face aux Extraterrestres" by C. Garreau and R. Lavier on page 128; Nord-Matin et Croix du Nord; the bulletin N° 5 of the GNEOVNI, investigations by Dominique Caudron; Michel Figuet and Jean-Louis Ruchon in "OVNI: le Premier Dossier des REncontres Rapprochées en France" pages 110-111, and Jean Sider, "Le Dossier 1954 et l'Imposture Rationaliste" page 181.

[Ref. tai1:] "THINK ABOUT IT" WEBSITE:

Location: Near Saint Amand-les-Eaux Nord France

Date: October 3 1954

Time: 0015A

About 15 minutes after midnight, a metallurgy worker, Marcel Senechal, was riding his bicycle on a canal towpath when he heard voices; in a nearby meadow he saw a spherical object some 3 meters in diameter near which were two beings, one meter tall, who were talking to one another. Their heads were very large and their outfits luminous. The witness fled. Next morning he reported it to the gendarmes who were unable to find any traces when they returned to the site.

Source: Joel Mesnard & Jean Marie Bigorne

[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
19541003 03.10.1954 Nivelles France 00.15 CE III
19541003 03.10.1954 St. Armand Eaux France 00.15 CE III

[Ref. prn2:] PETER ROGERSON - "INTCAT":

October 3 1954. 0015hrs.

NIVELLE (NORD : FRANCE)

Marcel Senechal, a metal worker, was cycling home to Saint Amand-les-Eaux along the tow path by the river Scarpe when he heard strange voices. He then saw, in a field called Vandeville, he saw something that looked like a luminous millstone 3m diameter. From it came a beam of light and by it were two human like beings, 1.2m tall and with large heads, dressed in luminous suits. Marcel fled to the police station in Saint Amand but when the police investigated there was no trace of the thing.

Evaluation - I give the form used the Wikipedia and other sources for the place name rather than Nivelles

[Ref. dcn1:] DOMINIQUE CAUDRON:

Dominique Caudron drew up an inventory of observations in the Nord on October 3, 1954, containing 51 reports, including this one:

The Fabulous day of October 3, 1954

[...]

Chronology of the observations of October 3.

We give here only a summary of what was published in the press of the time, for the nord region, regardless of what the ufologists could later say. We have numbered all these observations, the first of which have nothing to do with the setting of the moon, in order to be able to study them globally in a table. Some are already the subject of a special file.

[... other cases...]

01) About 01, NIVELLE (59)

Mr. Marcel Sénéchal, 20-year-old, was riding a bicycle on the towpath along the Scarpe Canal, when he arrived at the "Vandeville Pasture" and heard a conversation in an unknown language. Turning his head to the right, he saw a kind of luminous haystack from which came a luminous ray and two human forms of 1.20 m, covered with a shining garment. The witness flees on all pedals. Mr. Gravet, police commissioner of St. Amand and two inspectors of the air police came to the scene but could not find any trace.

(Nord-Matin, 10/6 page 10, La Croix du Nord, 10/6 page 8)

(this observation has nothing to do with those of the evening, but is about a quite terrestrial vehicle)

[... other cases...]

All this is only a compilation of the information given by all newspapers of the time, including local editions, and of which ufologists only used a part.

We will see that the analysis of this information makes it possible to eliminate the hypothesis of a flying saucer, in favor of those of multiple observations of the moon, whose image was reddened and deformed by clouds, which also gave it a illusory apparent movement.

Explanations:

Some sources spelled "Nivelles", but Nivelles is in Belgium. the correct name is Nivelle, in the Nord department. We also get "Saint-Amant" or "Saint-Amant-les-Eaux", this is Saint-Amand-les-Eaux, also in the department of Nord.

The witness returns to Saint-Amand-les-Eaux in the Nord from Nivelle which is 3 km in a straight line to the Northeast.

A misinterpretation caused by an earthly vehicle as suggested by Dominique Caudron is quite possible, but it does not seem that this is a proven fact.

January 23, 2020 update:

I just found the previous version "Requiem for a zigzag" by Dominique Caudron, with an explanation that seems far more plausible, that of pure and simple invention.

Keywords:

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

Nivelle, Saint-Amand-les-Eaux, Nord, Marcel Sénéchal, language, voice, ball, sphere, object, landing, occupants, humanoids, clothing

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross June 24, 2001 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross January 9, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Additions [fru1], [goe1], [lcn1].
1.1 Patrick Gross April 23, 2009 Addition [bbr1].
1.2 Patrick Gross February 28, 2010 Addition [djn2].
1.3 Patrick Gross March 15, 2010 Addition [jdt1].
1.4 Patrick Gross September 13, 2014 Addition [lgs1].
1.5 Patrick Gross October 4, 2014 Additions [jsr1], [tai1].
1.6 Patrick Gross October 14, 2016 Addition [jgz1], [ubk1].
1.7 Patrick Gross July 12, 2019 Additions [lhh1], [prn2], [dcn1].
1.8 Patrick Gross January 23, 2020 Additions [agd1], [dcn6], [dcn7], [jdt2], [mft1], [mft2]. In the Summary, addition of the "Barthel and Brucker" and "Dominique Caudron" paragraphs. In the Explanations, addition of the "January 23, 2020 update" part.

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This page was last updated on January 23, 2020.