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The 1954 French flap:

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

October 4, 1954, Chamonix, Haute-Savoie:

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

Reports:

[Ref. vm1:] NEWSPAPER "VAR-MATIN REPUBLIQUE:"

A strange apparatus flies over the Mount Blanc

Chamonix, October 4. -- Very numerous people, among whom were the officers of the school of high mountain, the gendarmes of Chamonix and the pilot Guiron, specialist in the flights in high mountain, who flew over the regiment at this time, stated to have seen during more than one hour, a shining apparatus evolving between the Mount Blanc and the Mount Lachat.

Pilot Guiron indicated that flying at approximately 2000 meters above Favergas, he saw a machine which, he said, did not have any resemblance to a normal plane. Moreover, the direction followed at high speed by this apparatus excluded the assumption of a weather balloon.

[Ref. la1:] "L'ALSACE" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

"The flying saucers exist"

reaffirms professor Oberth, president of the "German astronautics society"

Hamburg, Oct. 4. -- "The flying saucers exist and represent at least ten percent of the craft observed in the sky", affirmed yesterday evening professor Hermann Oberth, German specialist in the rockets and honorary president of the "German astronautics society", during a conference pronounced in Hamburg.

Professor Oberth added that it was possible, in his opinion, that these machines contain crews of creatures similar to humans, and proposed, to name these unknown beings, the term of "Uranides". The "Uranides", continued the German scientist, probably are several thousands of years ahead on our time.

To explain why no "flying saucer" still crashed on the ground, professor Oberth suggests that perhaps the pilots have a perfect control of their machines, and that, for a reason which a human intelligence cannot imagine, they might not wish any contact with the terrestrial creatures.

Considering another possibility, professor Oberth pointed out that the saucers observed could be regarded as an improvement of the V-7, German rockets of the end of the war, from which several prototypes would have fallen, according to the scientist, into the hands of the Russians in 1945.

A mountain pilot sees a machine above the Mont-Blanc

Chamonix, Oct. 4. -- From all the areas of France the news on the appearances of flying saucers continue to arrive and certain testimonies totally exclude the current assumptions of error or mystification.

Thus very numerous people, among whom were the officers of the School of high mountain, the gendarmes of Chamonix, and pilot Guiron, known specialist of flight in high mountain, who flew over the area at that time, stated to have seen during more than one hour a shining machine move between Mount Lachat and the Mont-Blanc.

Pilot Guiron indicated that, flying at approximately 2.000 meters above Faverges, he saw a machine which, he said, did not have any resemblance to a normal plane. Moreover, the direction followed at high speed by this apparatus excluded the assumption of a weather balloon.

*

Saint-Brieuc, Oct. 4. -- Several people claimed to have seen, at 300 or 400 meters of them, towards 08:45 p.m., a "flying cigar", at an altitude of 50 meters approximately. The machine, they stated, could be 15 meters in length and lit by intermittencies of pink gleams. It moved without noise.

*

Lille, Oct. 4. -- Mr. Anicet Corneille, farm labourer, states to have seen yesterday evening In Comines, a machine having the shape of a cigar, from 8 to 10 meters in length which moved at a forty meters height and released a sharp violet gleam.

These statements were confirmed by a motorist from Tourcoing passing in Comines.

*

Nevers, Oct. 4. -- An employee of the slaughter house, Mr. Angelo Girardeau, 55 years old, resident of Breuil-Chaussée (Deux-Sèvres) stated to have seen Sunday morning while going to his work, a circular machine close to which was a being that appeared to him as covered a kind of diving-suit. That being moved towards Mr. Girardeau who, frightened, fled. A little later the circular machine set out again at high speed.

[Ref. le1:] NEWSPAPER "L'EST REPUBLICAIN:"

Scan

DURING THE LAST WEEK-END

The flying saucers disturbed the Sunday rest of a certain number of Frenchmen

Chamonix. -- The chronicle of the flying saucers and other "cigars" continues to be abundantly provided. During the last weekend, the witnesses who have, indeed, seen mysterious machines are countless.

It is apparently Chamonix which should be given the priority, since, at the same moment, officers of the high mountain school, gendarmes, and pilot Guiron who flew over the area saw during more than one hour a white shining craft move between the mount Lachat and Mount Blanc.

Pilot Guiron said that, flying at approximately 2.000 meters above Faverges, he saw a craft which, he said, did not have any resemblance to a normal plane. Moreover, the direction followed at high speed by this apparatus excluded a sounding-balloon.

In Corbigny (the Nièvre), several inhabitants saw a luminous disc of orange color which moved in the sky and disappeared vertically after having changed altitude several times.

In Breuil-Chaussée, in the Deux-Sèvres, Mr. Girardeau, 55 years old, went to his work when, in a turn of the road, he noticed a circular machine "close to which was a being which seemed to him dressed in a kind of diving-suit". The "being" moved towards him and Mr. Girardeau fled, frightened. A little later the circular machine went away at high speed!

"You would have said a haystack"

It is also a curious machine around whose two odd individuals wandered that two young people people of Vron (Somme) stated to have seen. "We approached, they entrusted to the gendarmes. A haystack you would have said. Suddenly, the machine took off".

In the Indre, as well in Levroux as in Vatan, about fifteen people lengthily followed the moves of a luminous ball of yellowish color which went up and down in the sky and could have been three meters in diameter.

[Ref. qh1:] NEWSPAPER "LE QUOTIDIEN DE LA HAUTE-LOIRE:"

A strange craft said to have flown above Mont-Blanc

A large number of people, among whom were the officers of the school of high mountain, the gendarmes of Chamonix and the pilot Guiron, specialist in flying above high mountains, which flew over the area at this time there, stated to have seen a shiny machine evolving between mount Lachat and Mount Blanc.

The pilot Guiron indicated that flying at approximately 2000 meters above Faverges, he saw a machine which did not have any resemblance to a normal plane. Moreover, the direction followed at high speed by this apparatus excluded the assumption of a weather balloon.

[Ref. pv1:] "LE PETIT VAROIS" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

AN AUTHORIZED OPINION

"FLYING SAUCERS?
NOT SERIOUS!"

says Professor SCHATZMAN
Researcher at the Astro-Physics Institute

Paris. -- The "flying saucers", which poison the Western skies whenever important international events occur, extend their field of action over the African continent.

An official report to the Government of the Ivory Coast by the administrator of the Danane subdivision, 500 kilometers north-west of Abidjan, reported a "phenomenon" observed on 19 September, 8:30 p.m. to 09:05 p.m., by the said head of subdivision, Mr. Vernhet, his wife and Reverend Yvard, gathered in the courtyard of the Residence.

It was a luminous spot surrounded by a halo which at first grew rapidly, moving towards or away from the horizon. The witnesses saw the machine lighting a powerful headlight, sometimes directed upwards, sometimes downwards. The ovoid-shaped craft was surmounted by a cupola, and light rays seemed to be detached from each side.

When it disappeared after half an hour, the witnesses saw clearly - according to the report - two halos of light, oval in shape, forming at the presumed location of the craft which moved without any noise.

The same day, at Soubre, 250 kilometers north-west of Abidjan, similar phenomena were observed by the head of subdivision.

In France, flowering flourishes, passing through all forms of flying crockery: in Corbigny (Nièvre), it is a luminous orange disc moving vertically; in Breuil-Caussée [sic] (Deux-Sèvres) it is a diver mounted on a plate that scared an employee of the center of slaughter; in Vron (Somme), it is a millstone around which strange individuals prowl and flies away; in Levroux (Indre), it is a luminous machine 1 meter in diameter that is spotted "at the height of the buildings" by two widows of the area, and in Vatan (also in the Indre), it is a ball that 15 people see dancing like a dancer. In Milly-la-Forêt (S.-et-O.) it is a half-moon surmounted by a ring that appears to a restaurant owner.

Finally, on Monday in Chamonix for more than an hour, the officers of the high mountain school, many gendarmes of Chamonix and a pilot specializing in high-altitude flight flying over the region at that time followed the moves of a brilliant machine of bizarre form between Mount Lachat and Mount Blanc.

The opinion of a scientist

If one addresses the most qualified scientific circles, there are two attitudes: that of refusing to answer on the pretext that the problem does not exist and that of critically examining the published testimonies and to provide public opinion, confused and excited by the Press, the positive element allowing to recognize the natural phenomena.

This latter attitude is that of Professor Evry Schatzman, a research fellow at the Institute of Astrophysics and a lecturer at the Sorbonne, to whom we have asked to enlighten our readers.

"Is it true that scientists are beginning to take the flying saucers seriously?"

- I have never met any astronomer who believes the flying saucer stories [ast]. I have personally read many books on this subject, seeking to grasp the exact meanings of the testimonies reported. By admitting descriptions made in good faith - which is always to be doubted - it always results in a perplexity as to the elements that can be drawn from it. In the majority of cases they are incomprehensible: the precise hour, the duration, the exact direction of the "phenomenon" is not known, nor even if it occurred by day or night. Or they are made unreliable by details that cannot be distinguished. And they are reported with the intention of making believe in the mystery. When one has a precise and complete description, one can do what is at stake and which can make illusion for the heated imagination of a public knowingly deceived for commercial and political purposes.

- Can you describe such phenomena?

- The list is long and not yet exhausted, because it is necessary to take into account still unknown atmospheric and meteorological phenomena. Among the phenomena which may give rise to misunderstandings, these are the most characteristic, not to mention the "visions" prompted by the causes of popular anxiety, such as these parachutists spotted by artillerymen in May 1940, who every night shoot at... Venus!

1. The rising and setting of the planets (Especially Venus and Jupiter).

2. The "shooting stars" and the "fireballs": one tonne a day arrives on the earth. The light is produced by the heating of the aura on the meteoric trajectory. The smallest shooting stars visible to the naked eye are grains of matter of 1 milligram which vanish completely between 120 and 90 kilometers. Only the fast fall on the ground limits the complete destruction of the bolides, that a longer course in the atmosphere would also annihilate.

3. The phenomena of "parhelia", which give rise to false suns, together with halos, and which are explained by the presence in the upper atmosphere of hexagonal prismatic ice needles. The concentration of light rays (sun and moon) in calm air on these crystals produces luminous spots on the right and left of the sun or moon at an equal distance from the halo radius of 22 degrees 5. A halo occurs more with other suns or other moons, with a double angular diameter.

Thus the inhabitants of Péronne "believed to see" an unexpected sun eclipse on June 20 and 21. A normal halo of exceptional intensity occurred, about which Daniel Roguet, astronomical correspondent, described the effects in these terms:

"At certain times, depending on the cirrhus [sic] variation, the inside of the halo was very dark gray-black and the iridescent colors of the halo as bright as those of a beautiful rainbow, beyond it, a milky sky, slightly ocher, forming a magnificent contrast with the central part".

4. The high-voltage power line balls that serve as landmarks for aviators were recently mistaken for mysterious craft by cyclists who at night saw these balls swept by the lighthouse of an airfield.

5. Weather balloons from meteorologists.

6. Ball lightning: these are configurations that occur at certain thunderstorms, with a precarious charge balance.

7. The phenomenon of mirage in the atmosphere. You know how it happens on the ground: the light rays do not propagate in a straight line in hot air, but they just reflect on the film of overheated air, for example by the road tar during the summer. You think you see puddles of water in front of you [mir1]. The inversion of temperature at altitude also causes a change in the index of refraction: hence the effect for an aviator to see a spot of light go straight ahead, while this point has its real source on the ground. [mir2]

The object, which always seems to be at the speed of the airman, is, moreover, characteristic of the object situated at very great distances.

- But is it not possible to scientifically design terrestrial craft comparable to the "saucers" seen here and there?

No, for the great velocities of which the "witnesses" claim these "machines" are animated could only be reached in regions of rarefied air, at the limit of the atmosphere. The mechanical action of the air on their surface would soon have dispersed the molecules of the substance which they would be made of.

In short, to summarize the scholar's thought, there are three elements to be distinguished in these flying saucers stories:

1. A scientific element: discussion of observations, explanation of natural phenomena, sociological explanation of the phenomena of collective hallucination [hal].

2. A logical element: inconsistency of opinions and testimonies.

3. A political element: excitement of public opinion, substitution of imaginary problems for real problems, etc. [pol]

Mr. Evry Schatzman has enumerated the phenomena of vision, false perception, and hallucinations which may explain the most precise and complete testimonies-which are a minor infirmity and always subject to caution.

There is no scientist to take seriously the assumptions made by scientific writers, science-fiction specialists and members of the Pentagon [pol], who have also renounced the theory of extraterrestrial craft, as revealed in the last book by Mr. Keyhoe.

The saucers museum is always empty of exhibits. And it is difficult to admit, if the "saucers" are terrestrial craft, that we never collected a single fragment [fra], never heard the supersonic detonation [sup], nor ever observed a perturbation in the air.

It should also be noted that "saucers" and "other cigarillos" seem to be systematically missig in the Soviet skies, Chinese skies and people's democratic countries... [pol] [est]

This is not the place to comment on the "true" - there are - and the "false" in the remarks attributed to Evry Schatzman; I wanted to make a few brief comments anyway:

[ast] This is literally true: Evry Schatzman certainly never met an astronomer "giving cfrredence to the saucer stories". What would be false is to claim that none existed (Hynek, La Paz, Tombaugh...)

[pol] Like many other French scientists of that time, Evry Schatzman was a Marxist, with an devotion to the ideology of the USSR. It had been claimed in these circles that the "saucers" were "political", that is, the "Pentagon" used them to make people anxious, whereas Communist countries would not do such a thing.

[est] It is totally false that there were no "saucers" in the Communist countries. Read Boris Shurinov, Felix Zigel, for example.

[mir1] It must be understood that the mirages on the ground do not make appear "saucers" nor "spacecraft".

[mir2] Evry Schatzman believed correct the ideas of the "skeptic" American astronomer Donald Menzel. They are without foundation on this matter; there has never been anything like a "luminous mirage in the sky". What can happen is a refraction of radar waves, detecting objects on the ground (truck, boats) and then showing them on the radar screens - but with the speed of movement and the trajectory of the truck or boat... The radarists of the time had to recognize them as such; later, these "false echoes", these radar returns of slow objects on the ground were filtered electronically so thatthe radar men did not have to bother about them anymore.

[sup] It is the French scientist Jean-Pierre Petit who later showed how even with our already known technologies (MHD), it would be possible to suppress the sonic boom. The argument could stand in 1954, it should no longer be used.

[fra] There is no shortage of cases with "fragments"; certainly often debatable if not debunked. The museum of the saucers remains to be built, no one having ever been concerned to preserve correctly the most intriguing fragments.

[hal] Mistakes are obviously not "collective hallucinations", the journalist does not seem to understand. Misinterpretations and collective misinterpretations exist, "collective hallucinations" simply do not exist. The problem is very rarely a "false perception", it is often a "false interpretation".

[Ref. tl1:] "LE TARN LIBRE" NEWSPAPER:

[...]

Many people, among whom an airplane pilot, observed the flight, above the solid mass of the Mount Blanc, of a strange apparatus that they state not to have any resemblance to a plane.

[...]

[Ref. ra1:] "RADAR" MAGAZINE:

CHAMONIX

(Continuation of page 1)

[captioned photograph:] Grouped close to the gendarmerie, the children of the school of Chamonix saw, too, the mysterious object. For the kids, it is "the balloon in the sky." Quite simply. The gendarmes, skeptics, declare: "Since then they see some everyday."

A hot Sunday sun sets ablaze the valley of Chamonix.

Walking quietly in the streets or chattering on their doorsteps, the residents already make projects for the 1955 season.

Suddenly, rising above the murmur of the conversations, overcoming the children's shouts, a half-worried voice rises:

- Look at, above the Dome of Goûter...

Instantaneously, hundreds of heads rise towards the sky in this direction.

A round, luminous, silent object moves slowly in direction of mount Lachat.

- It is a flying saucer, some state, not very reassured in the moment.

- It is a weather-balloon, answer others, skeptics.

But the most scientific are formal. They affirm:

- It is astral.

Immediately, the population divides into two.

Already, one directs binoculars on the snow-covered summits. Already, glasses, optical devices and telescopes scan the sky relentlessly.

Charmed at this unexpected spectacle, a compact crowd soon floods the streets.

The gendarmerie tries to calm the minds down while stating that it is simply a weather-balloon. But the gendarmes cannot know that the alleged weather-balloon moves against the wind!

An inhabitant, excited by an urge for patriotism, utters:

- See, there is blue, white and red.

Somebody sees the machine as large as one's thumb. Another describes it like as a small coin.

All in top of the city, at the entrance of the cable car of Brévent, the guardian of the telescope, Mrs. Pédrotti, studded at her tool, the eye stuck to the lens, is agitated and whispers:

- It's one of them... It is a saucer indeed!

Nobody will be able to calm down Mrs. Pedrotti!

In the bottom of Chamonix, sitting on a chair, his telescope perched on a table, Mr. Carrier, hotel owner, scoffs.

- It is merely a child's balloon, he says laughing.

Mr. Carrier does not believe in Mars nor in Martians for a second. Even if his hotel would be packed of these unknown visitors, he would refuse to believe...

The officers of the alpine military from the high mountain school also observe, but with calm, the phenomenon. For them this is by no means a weather-balloon but, putting aside the notion of the "saucers" - as too whimsical - they elect an astral display.

During four hours, the "round, luminous and silent object" will continue to drift slowly in the sky to finally disappear behind the pass of the Bonhomme.

In the course of the same afternoon, at a few kilometers from Chamonix, a pilot flying at 2000 meters of altitude sees from his cabin a luminous, round and flat object, slipping by at a vertiginous speed.

- By the time I directed my apparatus, the "thing" had already disappeared.

The "thing", as the aviator calls it, had neither wings, neither tail, neither rudders, nor wheels: it was round and flat like... a saucer.

To these phenomena of the sky which, for a few weeks, have multiplied at an accelerated rate, the scientific world opposes a circumspect silence. According to the astronomers, the event of Chamonix was merely an appearance of the planet Venus, visible in daylight, in clear weather, in the high mountain.

The pilot on the other hand, had seen, according to them, only a mere meteor.

[Captioned photograph:] Mr. Chol: "Using binoculars, I distinguished the object well. It had the shape of a bean, colored in red, blue and white..."

[Captioned photograph:] DUBOIS. - School's headmaster. Saw the phenomenon. It was, he says, a planet, because well, you know, saucers... well well!...

[Captioned photograph:] A CAPTAIN. - Officer at the school of high mountain, he does not want to give an official tone to the event...

[Captioned photograph:] GUIRON. - Airplane pilot, he did not believe in the saucers. Now, well, you know, he starts to wonder about this.

Below: picture related to this case from the article's front page:

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

The two authors note that on October 5, 1954 at an unspecified time in Chamonix in the department of Haute Savoie, a pilot observed a cigar and saucers.

[Ref. um1:] DIDIER GOMEZ - "UFOMANIA":

This ufologist indicates that he found in the newspaper "Le Tarn Libre" for Friday, October 15, 1954, in the column "Events in France", this information:

"Many people, among whom an aiplane pilot, observed the flight, above the solid mass of the Mount Blanc, of a strange apparatus that they said had no resemblance to a plane."

[Ref. bg1:] JEAN PHILIPPE BUORD AND JEAN-JACQUES GABUT:

The authors indicate that on October 2, 1954, a mysterious shining machine was reported by hundreds of witnesses in Chamonix, floating in the sky during one hour.

[Ref. lc1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates in his database that in the Haute Savoie in Chamonix on October 2, 1954 at 17:12 hours "Very numerous people, among them the officers of the school of high mountain, and the gendarmes of Chamonix, stated to have seen a shining machine move between mount Lachat and Mount Blanc."

The source is indicated as "UFOs at Close Sight by Gross Patrick ** http://ufologie.net" and "Ovni, Premier dossier complet... by Figuet M./ Ruchon J.L. ** Alain Lefeuvre pub. 1979".

[Ref. ud1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that on 2 October 1954 at 20:00 in Chamonix, France, "An unidentified object was sighted, but with appearance and behavior that most likely would have a conventional explanation. One object was observed at a mountain."

The sources are indicated as: Vallee, Jacques, Computerized Catalog (N = 3073); Hatch, Larry, *U* computer database, Author, Redwood City, 2002.

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

This database recoded this case 4 times:

Case Nr. New case Nr. Investigator Date of observation Zip Place of observation Country of observation Hour of observation Classification Comments Identification
19540000 00.00.1954 Mt Lachat France
19541004 04.10.1954 Chamonix Mt. Lachat France NL
19541004 04.10.1954 Chamonix Mt. Lachat France NL
19541005 05.10.1954 Montblanc France

Explanations:

Not looked for yet.

Keywords:

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

Chamonix, Haute-Savoie, pilot, cigar, saucers, Mount Blanc, Gendarmes, Guiron, high, altitude, mountains, Mount Lachat, Faverges, fast, brillant, object, Pédrotti, Chol, Dubois

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross June 25, 2005 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross March 16, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Additions [ud1].
1.1 Patrick Gross February 27, 2010 Addition [lc1].
1.2 Patrick Gross June 4, 2010 Addition [la1].
1.3 Patrick Gross July 29, 2010 Addition [le1].
1.4 Patrick Gross October 19, 2011 Addition [bg1].
1.5 Patrick Gross October 13, 2016 Additions [um1], [ub1].
1.6 Patrick Gross February 17, 2017 Addition [pv1].

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