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The 1954 French flap:

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

October 7, 1954, Corbigny, Nièvre:

Reference number for this case: 7-Oct-54-Corbigny. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Reports:

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

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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. pv1:] "LE PETIT VAROIS" NEWSPAPER:

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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. fs1] "FRANCE-SOIR" NEWSPAPER:

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Petrifying rays, flying eggs throughout France

  • A PETRIFYING RAY of green color nailed to the ground, near Le Mans, on the National Road Le Mans - Paris, workers of the Régie Renault next to whom a saucer had landed.
  • STARS AS LARGE AS THE MOON were seen by two people. This happened in Ballon (the Sarthe).
  • A FLYING EGG was seen in Lavenay (the Sarthe) by Mr. Maurice Burge and several witnesses.
  • A WEATHER TECHNICIAN from the station of Arnage (the Sarthe) saw in the sky two dark red glows moving without smoke. He is going to write a report.
  • A RED DISC was seen at Les Aubiers (the Deux-Sèvres) by Mrs Bremand, Couturie and Girard and by Mr. Camille Blain, city councilman of Bressuire.
  • AT CHALETTE (THE LOIRET), an employee of the Barnaud company saw a luminous apparatus of oval shape moving in the sky.
  • A BIZARRE OBJECT rose in the sky at very fast pace in Dordives (the Loiret).
  • A BRIGHT RED SAUCER was seen on Monday evening around 9:00 p.m, above Vanves (the Seine), by Mr. Baldochi, professor of mathematics. The object moved slowly in the east-west direction and suddenly rose vertically and disappeared.
  • A BRIGHT CIGAR with two discs at its lower part was seen at Corbigny (the Nièvre).
  • LUMINOUS GLOBES were seen by two traders of Saint-Bihy (the Côtes-du-Nord). Consumers of a drinking establishment observed the same phenomenon.
  • A small pile of ash was discovered in Puymoyen (the Charente), where the young Claude Bourneix, 17, had seen an orange disk fall into a field.

[Ref. am1:] AIME MICHEL:

French ufologist Aimé Michel reports that on October 7, 1954, in Corbigny, in the Nievre, witnesses twice see an object corresponding to the description of a large vertical cigar, a sort of luminous cylinder of weak luminosity, orange when it is motionless and in vertical position, and white with a strong luminosity when it goes in horizontal position.

At a certain time, two small discs came out of its lower part.

[Ref. jv5:] JACQUES VALLEE:

254 -003.68343 47.25900 07 10 1954 CORBIGNY-NIEVRE F 122 C** 242

[Ref. jp1] JACQUES POTTIER:

The author indicates that on October 7, 1954, luminous discs, landing or not landing, were reported among other places in Corbigny.

The author says that the 28 places of observations [The author indicates 9 of them] formed all spots that were aligned "along a line with a precision of one millimetre." He further adds that these observations spread on "straight lines, which while crossing, drew curious geometrical star figures", and that "alignments seemed to begin around one hour in the morning, covering our areas of a tight network of investigations of unknown origin."

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

The two authors indicate that in Corbigny in the department of the Nièvre on October 7, 1954, by day, a luminous machine in the shape of a cigar carrying at its lower part two red discs as well as a luminous disc of large dimension and of orange yellow color, going at a vertiginous speed, leaving behind him a dazzling light, was observed.

The machine was of cylindrical shape and emitted red and orange gleams.

The source is indicated as La Montagne for October 8, 1954.

[Ref. go1:] GODELIEVE VAN OVERMEIRE:

The Belgian ufologist indicates that on October 7, 1954, in Corbigny (Nievre), "Daylight observation. A luminous machine in the shape of a cigar carrying at its lower part two red discs. A luminous disc of great dimension and orange yellow color going at a vertiginous speed, leaving behind it a dazzling light. Cylindrical craft emitting red and orange gleams."

She indicates that the source is "M. FIGUET/ J.L. RUCHON: 'Ovni, Premier dossier complet...' Alain Lefeuvre pub. 1979, p. 133".

[Ref. ht1:] HERBERT S. TAYLOR:

October 7, time unspecified, Corbigny (Nièvre Department). The witnesses twice saw an object that corresponded to a cloud cigar. It was a kind of luminous "cylinder," with a faintly orange light when vertical and motionless, a strong white light when moving forward horizontally. At one point, two small disks were seen to leave the lower part of the object.

[Ref. lc1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the "Nièvres" in Corbigny on October 7, 1954, at an unknown hour, "In full day a luminous machine is observed, in the shape of a cigar carrying at its lower part two red discs as well as a luminous disc of great dimension and orange yellow color going at a vertiginous speed, leaving behind it a dazzling light. Craft of cylindrical shape emitting red and orange gleams."

Luc Chastan indicates that the source is "Ovni, Premier dossier complet... by Figuet M./ Ruchon J.L. ** Alain Lefeuvre pub. 1979".

[Ref. ud1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that on 6 October 1954 at night in Corbigny, France, "Nocturnal lights were reported."

The source is indicated as "Newspaper Clippings".

[Ref. ud2:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that on 7 October 1954 at 19:00 in Corbigny, France, "Cigar-shaped objects were observed. Three cigar-shaped objects were observed by six witnesses on a farm. Explanation: Coincidenc."

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.

[Ref. mr1:] MICHEL RIBARDIERE:

September 20, 2010

1954 Return on the wave of demonstrations of unknown machines on the national territory

1954 is an important year in the history of French ufology.

[General information]

Here some one of the encounters:

[... Other cases... ]

The day of October 7, 1954, observations, are announced in Herbourg [sic, Cherbourg], la Ferté-Macé (61), close to Saint-Jean D'Assé on main road 138, in Ballon, Lavenay, Montlevic and Cassis. These appearances are along a line with a millimetre-length precision. The same thing for Corbigny, Montlevic, Puymoyen and Marcillac i.e. on the whole 28 localities which were the theatre of demonstrations, which showed same docility to be lined up on straight lines. This at the very least strange fact was repeated curiously during the first fortnight of October. After that the wave calms down.

[... Other cases... ]

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

This database recorded this case 8 times instead of once:

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 Corbigny France
19541001 01.10.1954 Corbigny France 19.00
19541001 01.10.1954 Corbigny France 19.00
19541006 06.10.1954 Corbigny France Night NL
19541007 07.10.1954 Corbigny France 19.00
19541007 07.10.1954 Corbigny France Tagsüber DD
19541007 07.10.1954 Corbigny France
19541011 11.10.1954 Corbigny France CE III

Explanations:

Not looked for yet.

Keywords:

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

Corbigny, Nièvre, cigar, cylinder, vertical, horizontal, mothership, disc, cloudy, orange, luminous, white

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross September 12, 2005 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross May 1, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Additions [go1], [lc1], [ud1], [ud2].
1.1 Patrick Gross February 28, 2010 Addition [jp1].
1.2 Patrick Gross June 22, 2010 Addition [jv5].
1.3 Patrick Gross July 29, 2010 Addition [le1].
1.4 Patrick Gross December 20, 2016 Additions [mr1], [ub1].
1.5 Patrick Gross January 3, 2017 Addition [fs1].
1.6 Patrick Gross February 17, 2017 Addition [pv1].

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