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The 1954 French flap:

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

January 4, 1954, Marignane, Bouches-du-Rhône:

Reference number for this case: 4-jan-54-Marignane. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Reports:

[Ref. lp1:] "LE PROVENCAL" NEWSPAPER:

Did a luminous flying saucer land in Marignane?

A strange apparatus was seen on the track where metallic remains were found

(From our special correspondent Constant VAUTRAVERS)

Swept by an icy mistral [cold wind of the area] under a sky amazingly clear, the runway of the airport of Marignane is really the last place where one could be the subject of an hallucination. It is sufficiently cold there so that one remains awaken, even during the nights of guard.

And yet...

However, a certain number of members of the personnel of the airport wonder whether they did not dream. Did a flying saucer land one moment on the track? Nobody, of course, can give an unquestionable answer to this question which we asked many times during our investigation.

Furthermore, each one keeps a careful reserve. And we even had to play hide-and-seek to manage to supplement our information.

What happened?

Read the rest in Las Minutes under the headline FLYING SAUCERS

Flying saucers

The fireman on duty

Monday evening around 9 p.m., consequently in middle of the night, a moonless night since the new moon began the next day, fireman Chesneau was of guard at the large Boussiron hangar.

In the sort of quadrilateral that the airport and its tracks are forming, and the edge of the pond of Berre, the Boussiron hangar occupies the most distant angle towards the West; its giant doors look "transversely" at the main track.

The fireman was standing at the entry, all the more attentive since Boussiron houses a new transportation craft, the Hurel-Dubois prototype with wings of very great lengthening. From where he was, leaned on the concrete walls, the fireman, well sheltered from the mistral which blew looked at multicolored clearness of the track.

A round and luminous craft

Suddenly, he saw, coming from the South, "a round and luminous craft" which went down at moderate speed in what he judged to be the direction of the track. The machine soon touched the ground, rebounded slightly a few times.

However one does not await a plane at that hour, in Marignane. Perhaps this was a mislaid airplane, some private plane deprived of on-board radio? This happened once with an English plane.

By professional consciousness, the fireman alerted the tower telephonically. But while he phoned from the inside, the craft had to disappear. The calls of the tower of control remaining without answer the duty officer was alerted. Left by car, all headlights lit, he crossed the section of track and its surroundings in all directions without finding anything.

Assumptions

The night proceeded while assumptions were made. Was this a weather balloon? The apparent shape and the whiteness that could have been mistaken for a vague luminosity could incline towards this answer. But the characteristic of a balloon is to follow the wind. However the wind (mistral) blew from the North-West, and the object came from the south...

Was this a meteor? In this case its fall would have been at the same time more vertical, faster, and the shock on the ground would have been felt, as a so little distance.

It wasn't an airplane. So?

The gendarmerie, guardian of the airport, had been alerted. And during their night rounds, the patrol had carried out searches too. Without success.

The following day morning, on board a jeep, an investigator returned on the spot. No upheaval of the ground, no meteor crater. No trace of balloon either.

A score of metallic debris

On the other hand one was to collect, scattered on the track, a score of metallic debris among which several small long stems of about fifteen centimeters bent at an end and finishing at the other end by a ball, a little larger than a marble. Yellow metal traces, contrasting with the blackish gray color of the ball, let think that this one was like brazed on the stem.

We could not learn which to whom these remains whose nature and source remain to be explained were entrusted. According to some of our interlocutors they could be ends of plans of antenna, a kind of mass to ensure the tension of an cable-antenna of plane. Others do not recognize this origin.

The "mystery" remains

"So... Is it a saucer?"

Nobody answered our question. Maybe it is, maybe it ain't! "Let's imitate of Conrart the careful silence."

... But let us recall all the same that two years ago, in this sky of Marignane where in this moment, after a twin-engine of transport, a flotilla of "Mystères" [jet fighters] with sweptback wings, evolves while whistling, a customs officer ensured to have seen a flying saucer land, at night, and fly away a few moments later.

Constant VAUTRAVERS

[Ref. ci1:] CIA:

CLASSIFICATION [Blackened out]

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
INFORMATION FROM
FOREIGN DOCUMENTS OR RADIO BROACASTS

  REPORT NO. 00-W-29903
  CO NO.: ..
COUNTRY: Denmark, Dahomey (French West Africa), France, Sweden, West Germany, Pakistan, Union of South Africa   DATE OF INFORMATION: 1953-1954
SUBJET: Military; Scientific - Unidentified flying objects  
HOW PUBLISHED: Daily newspaper   DATE DIST.: 20 Apr 1954
WHERE PUBLISHED: As indicated   NO. OF PAGES: 4
DATE PUBLISHED: 2 Nov 1953 - 27 Jan 1954  
LANGUAGES: French, German, Afrikaans, Swedish   SUPPLEMENT TO REPORT NO.:
[Blackened out] [Blackened out]   THIS IS UNEVALUATED INFORMATION
SOURCE: As indicated  

SIGHTINGS OF UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS

[... (Reports from other countries and France) ...]

UNIDENTIFIED AIRCRAFT AT MARIGNANE AIRFIELD -- Nice, Nice-Matin, 9 Jan 54

Shortly after 2100 hours on 4 January, a round, luminous machine, coming from the south, landed at the Marignane airfield in Bouches-du-Rhône Department. There was only one witness present at the field. The machine disappeared while he was telephoning the control tower. Careful scrutiny of the runway in the morning turned up a few pieces of metallic debris. The witness' story was confirmed by that of a Marseilles resident who, driving from Arles to Marseilles saw a large, round, reddish, fiery ball in the sky, but placed the time at 2245 hours.

[... (Next reports)]

[Ref. am1:] AIME MICHEL:

Aimé Michel notes that this case is "quite uncertain."

[Ref. gf1:] GEORGE FAWCETT:

The author says that on January 4, 1954, at Marigname Airport in France, fragments were left by a reported cigar-shaped UFO with windows, which landed on the airport runway.

[Ref. jv1:] JACQUES VALLEE:

123.

Jan. 04, 1954 2100 [09:00 P.M.]. Marignane Airport (France).

Mr. Chesneau, fireman, saw a round luminous object slowly coming down and called the control tower to report it. When he came out again, the object had disappeared (Guieu).

[Ref. jv2:] JACQUES VALLEE:

The author indicates that on January 4, 1954, a fireman of the airport of Marignane saw a luminous round object which went down slowly. The fireman called the control tower to submit his report, and when he came out of the tower, the object had flown away. Bowen notes that the same airport had already been the scene of a landing on October 27, 1952.

[Ref. cp1:] CLAUDE POHER, UFO RESEARCH GROUP "GEPA":

In 1968-1969, before the official GEPAN ufology effort started, its future head Dr Claude Poher was a member of the unofficial GEPA ufology group, and gathered a computer coded listing of more than 700 UFO reports on which multiple factors statistical computation could be run. In the file were a number of 1954 French UFO reports, among those this one.

For readability, a decoded interpretation of the data is provided here under the original 80 character encoded string. Decoding was done according to the original indications, the code number and its generic meaning is given. Please not that the generic meaning of each code is a predefined category, not the real specific details of the case. For example, if the main witness' age was 33, the coding would result in a number "3" which corresponds to a category "Adult from 21 to 59 years."

Original code:2641590401195421001IA1104001031012ZZZZ001000710031100000000000000000000000000000
Location:Aerodrome de Marignane - France
Case number:2641
Source code:59
Nature of the source:J. Guieu: Les soucoupes volantes viennent d'un autre monde
Day:04
Month:01
Year:54
Hours:21
Minutes:00
Type of Time:1 = local time
Number of witnesses:1 = 1
Main witness named:1 = name(s) indicated
Main witness age:0 = no indication
Main witness occupation:4 = army, police, fireman, constable
Official investigation:0 = no indication
Weather:1 = beautiful weather, clear sky, no clouds
Duration:0 = no indication
Minimal distance witness - phenomenon:3 = from 21 to 150 m
Method of observation:1 = naked eye
Number of "objects" observed simultaneously:01 = 1
Shape of the "object" (terminology of witness(es)):2 = round, circular, bowl
Dimensions of the phenomenon:ZZZZ = no indication
Color of the observed phenomenon:00 = no indication
Luminosity of the phenomenon:1 = glow, low luminosity
Lights or projectors on the phenomenon:0 = no indication
Moving speed of the phenomenon:0 = no indication
Acceleration of the phenomenon:0 = no indication
Trajectory of the phenomenon:7 = landing followed by long period on the ground then takeoff
Sounds perceived during observation:1 = no noise, total silence, object noiseless
Maximum angular height of observation (horizon = 0°):0 = no indication
Nature of the landing place:3 = close to isolated houses, on a road, on an airstrip
Number of contact points with ground:1 = 1
Traces of landing:1 = traces observed
Observation of "occupants":0 = no indication
Height of the occupants observed:00 = no indication
Garment of the occupants:00 = no indication
Garment:0 = no indication
General behavior of "occupants":0 = no indication
Interaction of "occupants" with witness:0 = no indication
Head, hair:0 = no indication
Voice, breathing, chin:0 = no indication
Skin:0 = no indication
Eyes:0 = no indication
Mouth:0 = no indication
Various details:0 = no indication
Thermal effects:0 = no indication
Luminous effects:0 = no indication
Magnetic effect (or electromagnetic):0 = no indication
Odor perceived by witness:0 = no indication
Physiological effects on the witness(es):0 = no indication
Psychological effect on the witness(es):0 = no indication
Effects on animals:0 = no indication
Other effects reported:0 = no indication
Nebulosity:0 = no indication
Oscillations, emission of matter:0 = no indication
Spin, formation flight:0 = no indication
Immediate disappearance:0 = no indication
Halo surrounding the phenomenon:0 = no indication
Interaction witness / phenomenon (complement to the other rubrics):0 = no indication
Drawing or photo:0 = no indication
Structural details observed:0 = no indication

[Ref. hd1:] HENRI DURRANT:

"Henri Durrant" indicates that on January 4, 1954, at abour 9 p.m., a round and luminous machine lands on a track of the aerodrome of Marseilles-Marignane in the department of the Bouches-du-Rhône. Mr. Chesneau, fireman on duty at the Boussiron hangar, sees the machine. While he alerts the control tower by phone, the machine takes off and disappears. The alerted authorities investigate and discover a hundred metallic remains, among which several small long stems of about fifteen centimeters, bent at an end and finishing at the other end by a ball, a little larger than a marble.

The author indicates Jimmy Guieu's book as source.

[Ref. gl1:] CHARLES GARREAU AND RAYMOND LAVIER:

The two authors briefly mention the case of January 4, 1954, in Marignane, indicating that fireman Chesneau who was on guard duty and the Boussiron hangar at the western angle of the airfield, saw a rounded and luminous craft coming from the south and descending at moderate speed in the direction of the tarmac.

The fireman alerted the control tower by phone, but in the meantime the craft had disappeared.

[Ref. tp1:] TED PHILLIPS:

Case 662: January 4th, 1954. FRANCE

Marignane Airport. Time: 21.00 Witness saw a round object landing, trace found. (MUFOB)

[Ref. lp1:] "LE PROVENCAL" NEWSPAPER:

THE FILE

Thirty years ago
the flying saucers

[...]

January 4, 1954:

In Marignane, Mr. Chesneau, fireman of his state, guard in a hangar of the airport, see a a craft going down at moderate speed in direction of the strip. It landed then took off. When the day came, 15 cm length bent rods were discovered)... The affair was covered up!

[...]

Gérard LE MAOUT.

Note: full article and scan here.

[Ref. fr1:] MICHEL FIGUET AND JEAN-LOUIS RUCHON:

The two authors indicate that on January 4, 1954 at 09:00 p.m. on the airport of Marignane, Mr. Chesneau, fireman, "saw a UFO descending at moderate speed until reaching the ground."

The witness alerted the control tower immediately, and when the duty officer arrived, the object was not there.

The next day, at the place indicated by the witness, a score of metal debris, several of them being small stems of about fifteen centimeters length ending in a broad ball like a pinhead, were found.

The authors note that these debris could be aeronautics parts without relationship with the observation, that on October 27, 1952, the observation of customs officer Gachignard had taken place at the same airport, and that it is said that a counter-investigation has established without the slightest doubt than this testimony is a hoax, but that they received no information about this counter-investigation.

The authors indicate as source the newspaper "L'Echo Républicain" of Chartres for January 9, 1954, Vallée's catalogue and Jimmy Guieu's book.

[Ref. fg1:] LAWRENCE FAWCETT AND BARRY GREENWOD:

The authors say that the CIA collected many sightings through normal intelligence channels, something which they had supposedly fought to block with the Robertson Panel inquiry, and it included this one:

Unidentified Aircraft at Marignane Airfield France

Shortly after 2100 hours on January 4, 1954 a round luminous machine, coming from the South, landed at the Marignane airfield In Bouches du Rhone Department. There was only one witness present at the field. That machine disappeared while he was telephoning the control tower. Careful scrutiny of the runway in the morning turned up a few pieces of metallic debris. The witness story was confirmed by that of a Marseilles resident who driving from Aries to Marseilles saw a large, round, reddish fire ball in the sky, but placed the time at 2245 hours.

[Ref. go1:] GODELIEVE VAN OVERMEIRE:

The Belgian ufologist indicates that in 1954, on January 4, in France in Marseilles-Marignane around 21 hours, "A round and luminous machine lands on a track of the aerodrome of Marseilles-Marignane (and it was not the first time!) Mr. Chesneau, fireman on duty at the Boussiron hangar, sees the machine. While he alerts the control tower by phone, the machine takes off and disappears. But the alerted authorities make a research and discover a hundred metal remains among which several small long stems of about fifteen centimeters, bent at one end and finishing at the other end by a ball, a little larger than a marble. (Henry DURRANT: "Le livre noir des S.V." - Laffont 1970 - p.117-118)".

[Ref. dj1:] DONALD JOHNSON:

On this Day

January 4

[...]

1954 - Mr. Chesneau, a fireman at the Marignane Airport in France, saw a round luminous object slowly coming down and called the control tower to report it. When he came out again, the object had disappeared. (Source: Jimmy Guieu, Les SV Viennent d'un Autre Monde; Jacques Vallee, Passport to Magonia, p. 205).

[Ref. yr1:] "L'YONNE REPUBLICAINE" NEWSPAPER, RAOUL FOIN:

[...]

A large scale investigation by Raoul Foin. Retired teacher, Mr. Raoul Foin, from Villeneuve-sur-Yonne, who is besides a local correspondent for l'Yonne Républicaine, is, it may be said, a UFO expert. Introduced among scientific circles who study these matters, speaker at many conferences and author of a book "Les Mystères qui nous entourent" [the mysteries that surrounds us], published in 1968, M. Raoul Foin is impassioned with those UFOs. He has gathered an extraordinary documentation from which he compiled the series of articles we start publishing today. Whatever the reader's opinion on the subject is, one cannot not be interested in his account, in which abound many puzzling details.

[...]

4th case: It was on January 4, 1954, on the Marseille-Marignane airfield. At about 9 P.M., fireman Chesneau was on survey duty near the Boussiron hangar. He saw, coming from the south, a small ball, which landed on the track, without any noise. Since no airplane was expected, he wanted to phone to the control tower, but the phone call had no answer. Then, the craft must have departed, because he did not see anything anymore. It is only the day after that an investigator discovered numerous metallic debris on the track, among which long rods ending with a sphere, it is not known to whom these debris were handed, nor what their usage may have been. Because, as usual, the authorities covered this incident up, and the journalists' curiosity was carefully avoided by pretending that nothing is known from the case, which was nevertheless reported by the aforementioned Jimmy Guieu.

[...]

[Ref. cm1:] CLAUDE MAUGE:

Claude Maugé has reported in Crop Watcher #18 a number of corrections to a catalog of "UFO Physical traces" by Ted Philipps that was published in Crop Watcher #16.

Among those, he indicated that for "Case 662 - 04.01.54, Marignane airport, Marseille", although he gives no details, Michel Figuet believes that the case is a hoax according to "Michel Figuet and Jean-Louis Ruchon, OVNI: Le premier dossier complet des rencontres rapprochees en France, Nice, France: Alain Lefeuvre, 1979: 68". Maugé adds that in any case, the "trace" consists of many metal pieces, not in effects on the vegetation, thus is not a crop circle.

[Ref. jh1:] JIM HICKMAN:

On Jan. 4th, 1954, in Marignane Airport, France. Mr. Chesneau, fireman, saw a round luminous object slowly coming down and called the control tower to report it. When he came out again, the object had disappeared.

[Ref. bt1:] "BETA TAURI":

[... other cases ...]

Other deposits - which are equally mysterious - are also found at the scene of an alleged landing. The following cases are French. The first took place on January 4, 1954, in Marseille. The witness, Mr. Addison, was at the time a firefighter. He observed a bright object with a rounded shape, which was on one of the strips of the Marseille-Marignane airport. Following this observation, the authorities made an investigation in which was discovered a hundred of scrap metal, just where the strange craft had landed. Silence was kept on the nature of the metal.

[... other cases abd discussions ...]

[Ref. jb1:] JEROME BEAU:

January 1954

9 p.m. : At the Marignane airport (France), a fireman sees a round and luminous object going down slowly. He calls the control tower to submit his report. When he comes out of the tower, the object had flown away.

The sources are noted "Guieu" and "Vallée, J., case #1, 'Rapport sur l'analyse de 200 observations documentées faites en 1954'".

[Ref. lc1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the Bouches du Rhône in Marignane on January 4, 1954 at 21:00 hours by beautiful weather, clear sky, "Around 21 hours: 'a round and luminous machine' lands on a strip of the airfield of Marseilles-Marignane the witness, fireman on duty at the Boussiron hangar, sees the machine. While he alerts the control tower by phone, the machine takes off and disappears. But the alerted authorities make a research and discover a hundred metal remains among which several small long stems of about fifteen centimetres, bent at an end and finishing at the other end by a ball, a little larger than a marble. It would in fact be according to Guieu parts of Comet plane."

Luc Chastan adds: "Physical effects : Presence of metallic objects,".

The sources are noted "Le livre noir des Soucoupes volantes by Durrant Henri ** Laffont 1970" and "Black-out sur les Soucoupes volantes by Guieu Jimmy ** Fleuve Noir 1956 omnium 1977".

[Ref. ud1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that on 4 January 1954 at 21:00 at the Marignane Airport, France, "Mr. Chesneau, fireman, saw a round luminous object slowly coming down and called the control tower to report it."

And: "Mr. Chesneau, a fireman at the Marignane Airport in France , saw a round luminous object slowly coming down and called the control tower to report it. When he came out again, the object had disappeared."

And: "Mr. Chesneau, fireman, saw a round luminous object slowly coming down and called the control tower to report it. When he came out again, the object had disappeared. One ball was observed."

The source is indicated as "Vallee Magonia Database".

[Ref. ud2:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that on 4 January 1954 at 21:00 at the airport near Marignane, France, "Fireman saw round, luminous object come down near airport. Called control tower. When came outside again it had disappeared."

An object was observed. Traces found. One luminous round object was observed by one experienced male witness at an airport briefly (Chesneau)."

The sources are indicated as Guieu, Jimmy, Flying Saucers Come from Another World, Citadel, New York, 1956; Constance, Arthur, The Inexplicable Sky, Citadel Press, New York, 1957; Poher, Claude, Etudes Statistiques Portant sur 1000 Temoignag, Author, undated; Bowen, Charles, The Humanoids: FSR Special Edition No. 1, FSR, London, 1966; 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); Vallee, Jacques, A Century of Landings (N = 923), (in JVallee04), Chicago, 1969; Schoenherr, Luis, Computerized Catalog (N = 3173); Carrouges, Michel, Les Apparitions de Martiens, Fayard, Paris, 1963; Rogerson, Peter, World-Wide Catalog of Type 1 Reports; Phillips, Ted R., Ted Phillips investigation files; Phillips, Ted R., Physical Traces Associated with UFO Sightings, CUFOS, Chicago, 1975; Hall, Richard H., UFO Reports from the Files of the CIA, Fund for UFO Research, Washington; Civilian Saucer Intelligence-New York.

[Ref. ni1:] "THE NICAP WEBSITE":

(008) Jan. 4, 1954 - Mr. Chesneau, a fireman at the Marignane Airport in France, saw a round luminous object slowly coming down and called the control tower to report it. When he came out again, the object had disappeared. (Source: Jimmy Guieu, Les SV Viennent d'un Autre Monde; Jacques Vallee, Passport to Magonia, p. 205).

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

This database recorded this same case 13 times instead of one:

Case Nr. New case Nr. Investigator Date of observation Zip Place of observation Country of observation Hour of observation Classification Comments Identification
19540104 04.01.1954 Marignane France 21.00 CE II
19540104 04.01.1954 Marignane France 21.00 CE II
19540104 04.01.1954 Marignane France 21.00 CE II
19540104 04.01.1954 Marignane France 21.00 CE II
19540104 04.01.1954 Marignane France 21.00 CE II
19540104 04.01.1954 Marignane France 21.00 CE II
19540104 04.01.1954 Marignane France 21.00 CE II
19540104 04.01.1954 Marignane France 21.00 CE II
19540104 04.01.1954 Marignane France 21.00 CE II
19540104 04.01.1954 Marignane France 21.00 CE II
19540104 04.01.1954 Marignane Airport France 21.00 CE II
19540104 04.01.1954 Marignanet France 21.00 CE II
19540104 04.01.1954 Marignane France 21.00 CE II

Photograph:

Above: Photograph of one of the famous stems ending with a ball found on the airport.
This object has nothing mysterious about it, these stems are suspended under airplane wings to evacuate static charges.

Explanations:

Not looked for yet.

Keywords:

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

Marignane, Bouches-du-Rhône, round, luminous, landing, airport, Chesneau, fragments, custom officer

Sources:

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross March 15, 2003 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross December 30, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Additions [fg1], [jb1], [lc1], [ud1], [ud2].
1.1 Patrick Gross June 17, 2010 Addition [jv5].
1.2 Patrick Gross July 1, 2010 Addition [gf1].
1.3 Patrick Gross July 8, 2013 Addition [bt1].
1.4 Patrick Gross October 10, 2014 Addition [ni1].
1.5 Patrick Gross November 22, 2016 Addition [ub1].

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This page was last updated on November 22, 2016.