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The 1954 French flap:

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

October 5, 1954, Le Havre, Seine-Maritime:

Reference number for this case: 5-Oct-54-Le Havre. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Reports:

[Ref. lm1:] "LE MERIDIONAL" NEWSPAPER:

THE MYSTERIOUS CRAFT
are multiplying in the sky

LYON. -- Several people stated to have seen in the area of Epinac-les-Mines (the Saone-and-Loire), a kind of large luminous ball evolving slowly in an odd way in the sky. Puzzled motorists stopped on the road and could observe this ball during several minutes before seeing it disappearing suddenly for Le Creusot.

A similar phenomenon was observed in Ain and the north of the department of the Rhone, towards the collar of Echarmeaux, as well ad in the Isère, close to Morestel.

Near Le Havre

LE HAVRE. -- Mr. André Lefebvre, taxi driver, who was parked around 8 p.m., on the harbour, saw an incandescent disc which, at the West of Deauville, went up in the sky, leaving behind itself a phosphorescent trail and a light smoke. This phenomenon, which was visible during ten minutes, had also as witnesses several sailors regaining their boat.

In the Haute-Loire

LE PUY. -- Mr. and Mrs. Teyssier, of St-Etienne, who camped in Aurec-on-Loire (the Haute-Loire) saw in the sky a luminous object giving the impression of a large headlight which moved at a fast pace at approximately 2.000 meters of altitude. The machine emitted a ray of light of orange red color, and followed a North-South trajectory. When it had disappeared, a second machine similar to the first and appearing to follow it appeared, followed the same direction and disappeared too.

Approximately at the same moment several people saw, above the bell-tower of Aurec, similar craft, which after having become motionless one moment crossed the sky at a fast pace in direction of the South-west.

A crescent splits in two

LENS. -- Sunday evening, around 09:30 p.m., in Ablain-St-Nazaire, a craft which had the shape of a pot and which rotated was seen in the sky by two people. It released a reddish gleam and quickly moved.

At the same hour, a craft which, this time, had the shape of a crescent was seen in the sky in Liévain. After having hovered during a few minutes, the crescent split in two. The higher part then remained motionless, while the other landed in a field, between two haystacks, from where it flew away little afterwards to go to reattach to the part that had remained in the air.

In the Charente

ANGOULEME. -- Sunday evening, at approximately 11:15 p.m. on the Montecreau-Ville-Bois-Lavalette road (Charente), Mr. Jean Allary, aged 22, saw very clearly, in the gleam of the headlight of his motorcycle, a kind of barrel high of approximately 1 m. 80, spread of gilded nails, which was oscillating on the edge of the road. When Mr. Allary had passed the mysterious machine, he turned back at a distance of approximately ten meters, but he did not see anything anymore.

Witnesses saw, at the very spot indicated by Mr. Allary, traces of approximately seven meters length in the grass which borders the road.

In addition, the same night, Mrs. Bellanger, resident of Cognac, saw at an altitude of approximately 300 meters, a machine in the shape of cigar, of orange color, moving slowly above the city.

On Clermont-Ferrand

CLERMONT-FERRAND. -- Residents of Clermont saw, around 7 p.m., in the sky, a luminous point of the dimension of a large star, which frequently changed color, passing from the white to the green while tainting itself of orange. The luminous point appeared animated of a rotary movement. While disappearing it left behind itself an orange plume.

[Ref. pr1:] UNKNOWN NEWSPAPER FOR OCTOBER 6, 1954:

To mystify his compatriots

A prankster built flying saucers

Lille, 5 October. - A retired mine worker of Beuvry-les-Bethune, known in his commune as a prankster, did not miss the opportunity offered to him by the mystery of the flying saucers to amuse himself at the expense of the inhabitants of the neighboring localities.

Inspired by the hot air balloon system, the happy retired man built machines that were three meters in diameter. The envelope consisted of sheets of gray paper, strongly glued together. At the base of the "saucer" was a small receptacle in which lay a tuft of tow impregnated with a flammable liquid. It was then enough to ignite the tow to see the machine rise and disappear at the winds, surrounded by yellowish and orange reflections.

It was after the discovery of one of these devices near a stack of straw, to which it had almost set fire, that the gendarmes were led to suspect the retired man. In fact, there were many models of "flying saucers" at his place, prototypes that their inventor was preparing to launch in the sky of the Nord.

The mystifier claimed that he had already built and launched more than a thousand of these devices. The ex-mine worker will no doubt be sentenced to fines for dangerous amusement.

Those who have seen...

Le Havre. -- Mr. André Lefèvre, a taxi driver, who was parked yesterday evening at 8 p.m. on the harbor, saw an incandescent disk which rose to the west of Deauville, leaving behind a phosphorescent trail and a slight smoke. This phenomenon, which was visible for ten minutes, was also witnessed by several sailors returning to their boat.

The Puy. -- Mr. and Mrs. Teyssier, of Saint-Etienne, who camped at Aurec-sur-Loire (Haute-Loire), saw in the sky a luminous object giving the impression of a large headlight moving at a rapid pace at about 2000 meters altitude. The craft emitted an orange-reddish light beam and followed a north-south trajectory. When it had disappeared, a second apparatus, similar to the first, appeared to follow it, in the same direction, and disappeared in its turn.

At about the same time, several persons saw above the bell-tower of Aurec similar machines which, after being immobilized for a moment, crossed the sky at a rapid pace towards the south-west.

Lens. -- Sunday evening, around 9:30 p.m., in Ablain-Saint-Nazaire, a machine that had the shape of a pot and which rotated on itself was seen in the sky by two people. It emitted a reddish glow and moved quickly.

At the same time, a craft which, this time, had the shape of a crescent, was seen in the sky of Liévin. After hovering for a few minutes, the crescent split in two. The upper part then remained motionless, while the other landed in a field between two haystacks, from which it took off shortly afterwards to join the part that was in the air.

Angoulême. -- Sunday evening, around 9:15 p.m., on the road from Montmoreau to Villebois-Lavallette (the Charente), Mr. Jean Allary, 22, saw very clearly, in the light of his moped's headlight, a sort of barrel high of about 1.50 meters, studded with gilded nails, which swayed on the side of the road. When Mr. Allary had passed the mysterious machine, he looked back, at a distance of about ten yards, but he saw nothing.

Witnesses saw, yesterday afternoon, at the very place indicated by Mr. Allary, traces about seven meters long in the grass that borders the road.

Autun. -- Several people said they saw in the region of Epinac-les-Mines (the Saône-et-Loire), a kind of large luminous ball moving slowly in a bizarre manner in the sky.

A similar phenomenon has been observed in the Ain and in the north of the Rhone department, towards the Col des Echarmaux, as well as in the Isère, near Morestel.

Nevers. -- In Chateau-Chinon, five persons whose sincerity could not be doubted, saw a phenomenon which occurred several times before their more astonished than frightened eyes.

At 9 o'clock a luminous spot of oval shape, seemingly motionless at a very high altitude, appeared in the sky. At one point the spot began to rotate at full speed, changing color several times. Then all went out, but after a few minutes the luminous spot reappeared, split again, and began to rotate.

[Ref. er2:] "L'EST REPUBLICAIN" NEWSPAPER:

Saucers - cigars and fireballs

After the flight of saucers over the White House the investigation revealed that radar sets were mistaken.

Thousands of people have actually seen the "bright objects" wander in the sky in a puzzling manner. Certainly, on September 28, the "saucer" seen above Mt. Revard by Dr Martinet and fifteen other people was a flock of starlings. The good doctor admitted his mistake the next day when an aviator, Michel Guyard, came to reveal that he also was intrigued by this glittering whirl, but that as he approached it with his plane he merely frightened peaceful birds - as a result, the perfect disc they formed was disrupted.

It is impossible, however, to explain other reports of observed phenomena as collective hallucination... although it is fair to note at first that these "saucers" appeared with extremely diverse aspects.

In the few hundred and fifty cases we have been cataloged in France, they looked round or oblong balls of fire, matt or bright, big or small, blue, green, red, yellow or white, naked or surrounded of a ring, noisy or silent, producing sparks (or smoke) or leaving no wake, when they did not have the form of discs, cigars or half cigars.

They were seen day and night, although their occupants preferred the troubled hours of dusk. They were especially seen evolving in every manners: slowly or quickly, horizontally or vertically, in a straight line or in a broken line.

How to sort all this?

The jet fighters hunted in vain

Could there be so many different saucers with so many different origins? If they come to us from outer space, are there so many other inhabited worlds... and who are interested in us?

In truth, nothing precise could be learned of the reported sightings and often witness of the same phenomenon does not agree among themselves as to the size, shape and color of the object. So we are at the same step as the Americans in 1952, when the new radar set installed just a few days ago in Washington detected flying "saucers", finally placing the matter in the field of science. This device could not be wrong and played the role of arbitrator in an unexpected but worrying manner.

Specialists on duty assured the survey in their new premises, when one fine morning the watchman was startled: a luminous echo appeared on the screen although no aircraft was reported. They first thought - it had happened - that a commercial aircraft had violated regulations of air navigation and was flying over the forbidden zone of the White House. They alerted "Shooting Star" squadrons, which took off immediately. But the "object" fainted before the arrival of the jet fighters. Thus the thing had fled at such an unimaginable speed, showing by that the existence of these objects zigzaging at thousands of kilometers an hour before dissolving in the sky. The emotion climbed and it was officially decided to strengthen monitoring devices. The order was not useless, because a few days later, a new alert was given.

Jet fighters take off and rush at the full power of their reactors to the spot of the sky indicated by their radio, but arrived there, they announced again: - The sky is empty.

"For God's sake, do not shoot on the saucers!"

This time radar men jump on their feet. The bright spot is on their screen, indisputable and provocative. The small spots of the "Shooting Star[s]" come close to covering it. Saucers, cigars and fireballs.

- Attention, you are in contact, scream the radar experts. But the fighters rush at 800 km/h in a still desert sky, with perhaps at this place a slightly milky transparency.

Are the famous "objects" merely ectoplasm?

Once again public opinion is moved. Letters reach the U.S. Air Force to ask "not to irritate the visitors." "For God's sake, do not shoot at the saucers" implores a correspondent. Technicians, of course, do not believe in ghosts. A new commission is appointed. For six months, aerodynamic engineers, astronomers, meteorologists and scientists of all disciplines having some possible connection with the "saucers" study dozens of cases. And their conclusion sudden bursts, amazing but indisputable, freeing America of a part of its fear, by revealing the radar, too, was wrong. Each time a ghost image scored the fighters, meteorologists found in altitude, the presence of a layer of cold air between two layers of warm air. The density (and index of refraction) of air varying with the temperature, this "sandwich" had acted like a mirror to the radioelectrical airwaves and airplanes were guided, after a descent as fast as the rise, towards sheds or metal structures on the ground. The phenomenon can also reflect the sun in the day and the moon and the lights of a city at night. Often, the picture is double or triple, each separation surface playing a distinct role; "Saucers in pairs."

Certainly temperature inversions do not explain everything. But US experts feel that they were responsible for nearly 80% of the reported luminous apparitions beyond the Atlantic, and many mysterious machines seen in France can probably be allotted to them.

It may be noted, in chronological order, two parallel gleams in Antibes, in August 1949, two silver balls in Poitiers, May 10, 1952, two white discs at Roche-sur-Yon, twelve days later, "numerous red saucers" flying in zigzag, two by two, on October 17, 1952 in Oloron-Sainte-Marie (the radar of Mont-de-Marsan perceives its echo like its American brothers). Many other cases could be cited to the most recent: last September 24 three oval objects were reported in Bayonne, three in Charente-Maritime and six "cigar" evolving two by two in Lantefontaine, Lorraine.

Cases of isolated phenomena are even more numerous. - What! cry the disappointed "pro-saucerists", so, it was only this? Honestly see that we find in this category of events most characteristics reported by the "witnesses": blurry lights, sometimes surrounded by a halo, appearance and disappearance (with the complicity of clouds or because of the fading of lighting conditions) and above developments as capricious as fast. The surface of separation of two air layers are not still, of course; it empties and oscillates under the influence of currents in the atmosphere and the image is rejected from one corner of the sky to another.

Very thin cosmic dust

It is regrettable that comments are usually too vague to allow the technician to decide with authority; but only immaterial manifestations may be gifted the dizzying, instantaneous speeds, lent to "saucers" in which most cases. Whatever their origin, terrestrial or extraterrestrial visitors, they would be subject to the laws of the universal gravitation (and consequently the acceleration), that all the planets in all galaxies undergo. Whatever the power of their machinery and engineering, "Saucers" could not overcome their own weight. And all the magnetic currents or other cosmic rays they are deemed to use may make immaterial beings. But the meteorologists still have in their arsenal the noctilucent clouds that Vestine and Störmer think to be composed of very fine cosmis dust from outer space. These meteors are at 75 or 80 kilometers high, becoming brighter as the night goes on and present their maximum brightness at about midnight. The very serious "International Atlas of clouds "indicates that they may be driven by the powerful air currents prevailing in these altitudes, at speeds of 50 to 250 meters per second, or 180 to 900 kms. Let's recall in our turn that it only takes a small cumulus, although classic, but hidden in the night, so that the "saucer" vanishes and reappears.

- But, protesting the "pro-saucerists" you still have demolished only simplistic and disappointing sightings with this argument. They can rest assured there are other answers, more varied and also safe, to the most amazing events.

Barrels, discs, pots, headlights and flying balls are on the verge of dethroning the saucers and other cigars.

The time is gone, by far, when an ordinary "saucer" crossed the blue sky at high pace and disappeared over the horizon leaving a bluish trail. Since then, there were "cigars" which, together with their shape, generally took shimmering colors allowing witnesses not be wrong.

All this is outdated, if we judge by the recent observations made in France by people whose good faith may not be in doubt. The mysterious craft that arouse so much controversies and are poised to discord in many families between those who believe and those who disbelieve it, now take extremely varied and pleasing forms. As to colors, they turn from red to yellow through orange to any possible colors and halftones. Thus we have seen over the last twenty-four hours in the sky of France, several discs, a large headlight, a big ball, a pot, a crescent, and a barrel, a big star, not to mention the "saucers" and other "cigars" whose enumeration would be too long.

From Normandy...

The disks attracted the attention both of a Le Havre taxi driver, over Deauville/span>, and a Lyon journalist south of the Basilica of Fourvière. In both cases, they were red-orange colored and shiny. They disappeared after ten minutes. The big headlight was moving over Aurec-sur-Loire (Haute-Loire) at high speed by issuing a orange-red light beam also. "When it disappeared", witnesses, Mr. and Mrs. Teyssier, of Saint-Etienne, said, "a second craft, similar to the first and appearing to follow it disappeared in the same direction."

In Epinac-les-Mines (Saône-et-Loire), drivers, puzzled, stopped at the roadside to follow the slow and graceful maneuvers of a big ball of light whose color, unfortunately, is not specified.

... to the Auvergne

The pot and the crescent troubled the tranquility of many northerners. The first, in Ablain-Saint-Nazaire, turned on itself and freed a reddish glow. The second, in the sky of Lievin, hovered for a few minutes before splitting in two. That is when the upper part was standing still as the other landed in a field between two haystacks, then suddenly flew to join again the part remained in the air!...

It was night in Montecreau -Villebois-Lavalette (Charente) when Mr. Jean Allary, 22, saw by the light of the headlight of his motorcycle, a kind of 1.80-meters-high barrel and nails of golden nails! It swung on the roadside and fled when the witness approached. The next day, at the place indicated by Mr. Allary, witnesses spotted traces of about seven meters in length in the grass by the roadside.

It is the Clermont-Ferrand residents who, today, had the last word with the big star changing from the white to green and yellow to red, which, driven by a rotary movement, left behind an orange plume Monday night at 7 p.m. in the sky of Clermont-Ferrand.

Scientific controversies...

These celestial phenomena result, we have said it, in heated controversy. Thus a Professor of the University of Bonn, Joseph Meurès, said during a conference: "The book by American author Key Hoc [sic, Keyhoe] on flying saucers is not even worth the paper on which it is printed." Mr. Duneau Fletcher, vice president of the Astronomical Association of Kenya has another opinion: "The existence of saucers" is not to question, he believes, very experienced observers have seen them across the globe. And Mr. Fletcher gives his little idea on the question: "Visitors from another world observe the Earth and probably map it."

And merry pranks

These scholarly remarks do not prevent pranksters have fun with it at the expense of their fellow citizens. The police came and ended the hobby of a pensioner of Beuvry-les-Bethune who made gears three meters in diameter with sheets of paper very carefully glued and fitted at their base of a small receptacle containing a clump of tow soaked with a flammable liquid. Once he set fire to the tow, the "saucer" was in the sky and disappeared with the wind with yellow, orange and red lights. Alas! the truth was discovered when a gear began to set fire to a haystack...

[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
19541004 04.10.1954 Deauville France 20.00 NL
19541004 04.10.1954 Deauville France 20.00 NL

Explanations:

Not looked for yet.

Keywords:

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

Le Havre, Seine-Maritime

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross March 9, 2006 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross March 1, 2010 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version.
1.1 Patrick Gross December 30, 2016 Addition [pr1].
1.2 Patrick Gross February 10, 2017 Additions [er2], [ub1].

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