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The 1954 French flap:

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

October 8, 1954, Saint-Claud, Charente:

Reference number for this case: 8-Oct-54-Saint-Claud. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Summary:

The regional newspaper La Charente Libre of Angouleme, reported on page 2 on October 11, 1954, that a luminous apparatus had been seen at Saint-Claud, by Mr. Puygelier, 24, driver at Mr Prévotel, in Saint-Claud.

Returning from his work driving his truck, Mr. Puygelier had seen in the night of October 8 to 9, 1954, around 11 p.m., at a place called Bel-Air, 500 meters from the village, a luminous craft of alongated shaped, looking like a gigantic egg. He saw the "craft" go down, then swing a few moments at low height, to finally land behind a hedge, a few meters from the road.

Very frightened, he continued his way to Saint-Claud. Then, recovered from his emotions, he returned with a witness. The craft had disappeared, but in the same place, they distinguished on the slope an immobile human figure, of a size that they could not specify, "because of the darkness!"

The next morning, many residents of Saint-Claud went to the site, and could see a trail about 3 meters long where the grass was completely burned. Around, the grass was heavily trampled.

In 1979, the "skeptical" ufologists Gérard Barthel and Jacques Brucker claimed to have carried out a "little research with the witnesses", and to have learned that a "balloon, inflated with hydrogen, ignites and falls behind a hedge... the first witness observes a flying cigar! He goes to look for a second person, in the meantime the firemen are on the spot to extinguish the beginning of the fire... On their return they observe a disquieting silhouette!"

Reports:

[Ref. cle1:] "LA CHARENTE LIBRE" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

Better and better

In Tourriers, about thirty witnesses saw during nearly twenty minutes a " flying cigar "

The twelve strikes of midnight had just resounded. In the room of the restaurant-bar of the "Le Relais des as du volant", located at the edge of Main road 19, at the exit of Tourriers, late consumers chattered with the barman Friday evening. Six young people of Angoulême, among them the son of Mr. Alexandre, played pool. The conversation related, of course, to the flying saucers. Half an hour before, a lorry driver, driver for the Guillot company, of Poitiers, indeed had said to have seen while passing close to the careers of Chauvauds, five luminous points on the ground.

Mr. Pruneau, the owner of le Relais, had listened to his account while smiling, then, raising the shoulders: "Me, these stories of flying saucers, he said, I hardly believe in it! As long as I don't see one myself... " And he went up to bed.

At this time a truck driver rushed into the room: "Come on, guys, come to see what's above the road!" He explained that while going down the slope that goes to Tourriers, when you come from Poitiers, he had seen in the gleam of his headlights a big mass that raised from the left edge of the road and then had stopped at a certain hight where it still stood.

If a coffee room were ever quickly evacuated, it was indeed that of le Relais that night. Soon all the inhabitants of the house actually, were on the road, some barefoot or in light clothes. There was, apart from the truck drivers and of consumers of the bar, Mr. and Mrs. Pruneau, awaked by their clerk, Henri Brigandet and Tony Blanc, drivers of the factories Dassault of Paris, the drivers of the Duboué house of Bordeaux, those of the Lachin house, of Oléron Sainte-Marie, those of the Docks of the Alcohols of Paris and others still arrived in these circumstances and who had stopped, intrigued by all these people nose in the air.

Thus approximately 30 people distinctly saw - the night being relatively clear - a kind of large rugby ball (these are the own words used by Mr. Pruneau) motionless at approximately forty meters of the ground. The machine on which one of distinguished no light carried at its point like two small wings. It may have measured approximately 4 m. 50 in length and 1 m. 50 to 2 m. in diameter.

It remained there without the least movement, without emitting the least noise during nearly twenty minutes.

At a certain time, the awestruck witnesses of this strange display had the impression that the machine went down again towards the road. They rushed all running, but at this time precise the "cigar" went up, but this time much higher than before.

Soon besides, it had, always silent, put itself in motion, then took speed and disappeared at the pace of a commercial aircraft, in the direction of Angoulême.

It is useless to say that, since Saturday, the principal object of all the conversations in Tourriers and that Mr. Pruneau - still without believing, of course, to the "flying saucers" and the stories of Martians - wonders all the same with perplexity what could the mysterious machine have been that he was not the only one to have seen.

A LUMINOUS CRAFT IN SAINT-CLAUD

Mr. Puygelier, 24 years old, driver at Mr. Prévotel, in Saint-Claud, returning from his work at the wheel of his truck, saw, in the night from October 8th to 9th, at approcimately 11 p.m., at the place called Bel-Air, within 500 meters of the borough, a luminous machine of lengthened form, resembling a gigantic egg. Mr. Puygelier saw the machine going down, then oscillate a few moments at a low height, to finally land behind a hedge, at a few meters of the road.

Seized of a big fright, he continued his travel until St-Claud. Then, recovered of his emotions, he returned accompanied by a witness. The machine had disappeared, but at the same place they distinguished a motionless human silhouette, on the slope and of a size that they could not specify, considering the darkness!

The next day morning, many residents of St-Claud went on the spot where they could see a long trail of approximately three meters and where the grass was completely burned. Around, the grass was strongly trampled.

One loses oneself in conjectures and all the assumptions are put forth...

[Ref. tbr1:] TED BLOECHER:

(Jean-Luc Rivera is the source of these items submitted by Ted Bloecher: Translations by Lex Mebane. Summarized by Mildred Biesele.)

La Charente Libre (edition of Angouleme) October 11, 1954: About eleven o'clock on the night of October 8-9, 1954, M. Puygelier saw overhead near the town of Bel-Air a luminous elongated object, resembling a gigantic egg, which descended close to the ground, oscillated a few seconds, then landed behind a hedge near the road. He drove on to St. Claud in fright, but then returned with another witness. Where the craft had been seen, they could make out in the darkness a human silhouette standing motionless on the roadside. At this place the next morning a strip of burned vegetation 3 meters long was found, surrounded by an area where the grass was trampled.

[Ref. jra1:] JEAN-LUC RIVERA:

La Charente Libre (edition of Angouleme) October 11, 1954: About eleven o'clock on the night of October 8-9, 1954, M. Puygelier saw overhead near the town of Bel-Air a luminous elongated object, resembling a gigantic egg, which descended close to the ground, oscillated a few seconds, then landed behind a hedge near the, road. He drove on to St. Claud in fright, but then returned with another witness. Where the craft had been seen, they could make out in the darkness a human silhouette standing motionless on the roadside. At this place the next morning a strip of burned vegetation 3 meters long was found, surrounded by an area where the grass was trampled.

[Ref. bbr2:] GERARD BARTHEL AND JACQUES BRUCKER:

In the file of the group "Lunières Dans La Nuit" (4), dated October 11, we note: "Saint Claud sur le Son, Charente, a driver, Mr. Puygelier, 24, saw in the night a flying cigar that had just landed behind a hedge. Frightened, Mr. Puygelier went to get a witness. The two men, back on the places no longer found the cigar, on the other hand they distinguished a human silhouette. They ran away."

The credibility of this observation seems good since done by two people. A small witness research, to obtain some additional details, allows us to understand the whole story: a balloon, inflated with hydrogen, ignites and falls behind a hedge... the first witness watches a flying cigar! He goes off to look for a second person; in the meantime the firefighters are on the spot to extinguish the beginning of the fire... On their return they observe a disturbing silhouette!

4. Edited by Madame Gueudelot, archivist of that group.

[Ref. mft1:] MICHEL FIGUET:

CASE Nr CLASSIFICATION DATE HOUR PLACE ZIP CODE CREDIBILITY SOURCE
151 CE3 10 08 1954 11.00 p.m. Saint-Claud 16450 B5 R9 "La Charente libre" (FG) 10/11/1954

[Ref. lgs1:] LOREN GROSS:

October 9th. Bel-Air, France. (11:00 p.m.)

According to a French newspaper:

"About eleven o'clock on the night of October 8-9, 1954, M. Puygelier saw overhead near the town of Bel-Air a luminous elongated object resembling a gigantic egg, which descended close to the ground, oscillated a few seconds, then landed behind a hedge near the road. He drove on to St. Cloud in fright, but then returned with another witness. Where the craft had been seen, they could make out in the dark ness a human silhouette standing motionless on the roadside. At this place the next morning a strip of burned vegetation 3 meters long was found, surrounded by an area where the grass was trampled." 97.

  • 97. La Charente Libre. 9 October 54.

[Ref. jsr1:] JEAN SIDER:

The author indicates that on October 8, 1954, at 11:00 p.m. in Saint-Claud, in the Charente, Mr. Puyguelier, aged 24, driver at Mr. Prévotel's in St. Claud, returned from his work driving a truck when he suddenly saw a luminous apparatus of lengthened form like a gigantic egg to go down, to swing a few moments at low altitude and land behind a hedge a few meters from the road.

He was very frightened and drove on until St Claud, recovered from his emotion and came back with a friend, to find that the machine had gone, but that a motionless human silhouette was on the slope.

They could not tell its height because of the relative darkness.

Residents of St Claud went on the location the next day and found a trace of burned grass of approximately three meters length, the grass around being strongly trampled.

He notes that the observed silhouette may have no realtionship with the landing.

Jean Sider indicates that his source is the newspaper La Charente Libre, of Angoulême, for October 11, 1954, page 2.

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

4022: 1954/10/08 23:00 1 0:28:00 E 45:54:00 N 3333 WEU FRN CHN 8:6

St.CLAUDE,FR:1/CAR:HUGE LUMn OVOID ^/HEDGE:^^:MANLIKE SHADOW REMAINS:/LDLN#319

Ref#217 Jean SIDER: Le DOSSIER 1954 (2 vol.) Page No. 189 : ROAD+RAILS

[Ref. ars1:] ALBERT ROSALES:

137.

Location. St Claud Charente France

Date: October 8 1954

Time: 2300

M Puygelier, 24, a chauffeur, was driving to St Claud when, 1/3 mile from the town, he saw a luminous egg-shaped UFO descend, oscillate for a few seconds, and finally land behind a hedge a few yards from the road. He drove on to St Claud, but returned with another witness. The UFO was no longer present, but at the site they saw a human silhouette standing motionless on the roadside gravel. The next morning, a strip of burnt grass 10 ft long was found at the spot, and around it the grass was much trodden down.

Humcat 1954-26

Source: Humcat quoting newspaper source

Type: D

[Ref. tps1:] TED PHILLIPS:

10/08/54 2300 France, St. Cloud: Mr. Puygelier, 24, was driving when he saw an egg-shaped object landing behind a hedge a few yards from the road. He and another witness saw a being standing in the field. A strip of burnt grass 10 ft long was found at the landing area, and around the burnt strip the grass was pushed down.

[Ref. lcn1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the Charente in St Claud, on October 8, 1954, at 23:00 hours, the witness "drove at the steering wheel of a truck when he observes a luminous object resembling a gigantic egg. The object goes down while swinging a few moments at low height and lands behind a hedge at a few meters of the road. Thrown into a panic the witness continues his travel. Some time later recovered from his emotions he returns with a friend, but the object had disappeared. It seemed to them that they saw a motionless human silhouette on the slope, but it was already dark and a mistake in interpretation is extremely probable. On the other hand the next day several residents went on the spot and observed a trace approximately three meters long where the grass was burned. The grass seemed strongly trampled around."

Luc Chastan indicates that the source is Lumières dans la Nuit.

[Ref. uda1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

A case file on this website indicates that on 8 October 1954 at 23:00 in St Claud Charente, France, M Puygelier, 24, a chauffeur, was driving to St Claud when, 1/3 mile from the town, he saw a luminous egg-shaped UFO descend, oscillate for a few seconds, and finally land behind a hedge a few yards from the road. He drove on to St Claud, but returned with another witness. The UFO was no longer present, but at the site they saw a human silhouette standing motionless on the roadside gravel. The next morning, a strip of burnt grass 10 ft long was found at the spot, and around it the grass was much trodden down.

The source is a link to a nonexistant web page.

[Ref. uda2:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

A case file on this website indicates that on 8 October 1954 at 23:00, in St Claud, France, a human silhouette stood motionless where a luminous ovoid UFO landed. Strip of burnt, crushed grass were found at spot, trodden down. An object was observed. Ground traces were found. One luminous ovoid object, about 20 feet across, was observed by two male witnesses, typical age 24, on a road for over one minute (Puygelier). One silhouetted being was seen.

The sources are indicated as Webb, David, HUMCAT: Catalogue of Humanoid Reports; Vallee, Jacques, Computerized Catalog (N = 3073); Newspaper Clippings; Hatch, Larry, *U* computer database, Author, Redwood City, 2002.

[Ref. prn1:] PETER ROGERSON:

October 8 1954, 2300hrs.

BEL-AIR (CHARENTE : FRANCE)

Chauffer Mr Puygelier (24) saw overhead, near Bel-Air, a luminous elongated object, resembling a gigantic egg, which descended close to the ground, oscillated a few seconds, then landed behind a hedge near the road. He drove on to St Claude in fright, but then returned with a colleague. Where the object had been they could make out, in the darkness, a human silhouette standing motionless on the roadside. At this place next morning a strip of burned vegetation 3m long was found, surrounded by an area of trampled grass.

Jean Luc Rivera in MUFON UFO Journal 130, p.16 + Alain Gamard both citing La Charente Libre 11 October 1954.

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

Location: St Claud Charente France

Date: October 8 1954

Time: 2300

M Puygelier, 24, a chauffeur, was driving to St Claud when, 1/3 mile from the town, he saw a luminous egg-shaped UFO descend, oscillate for a few seconds, and finally land behind a hedge a few yards from the road. He drove on to St Claud, but returned with another witness. The UFO was no longer present, but at the site they saw a human silhouette standing motionless on the roadside gravel. The next morning, a strip of burnt grass 10 ft long was found at the spot, and around it the grass was much trodden down.

Source: Humcat quoting newspaper source

[Ref. ubk1:] "UFO-DATENBANK":

This database recorded this case 3 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
19541220 20.12.1954 St. Claude France
19541008 08.10.1954 St Claud France 23.00 CE III
19541008 08.10.1954 St. Claud France 23.00 CE III

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

October 8 1954. 2300hrs.

BEL-AIR (CHARENTE : FRANCE)

Chauffer Mr Puygelier (24) saw overhead, near Bel-Air, a luminous elongated object, resembling a gigantic egg, which descended close to the ground, oscillated a few seconds, then landed behind a hedge near the road. He drove on to St Claude in fright, but then returned with a colleague. Where the object had been they could make out, in the darkness, a human silhouette standing motionless on the roadside. At this place next morning a strip of burned vegetation 3m long was found, surrounded by an area of trampled grass.

Jean Luc Rivera in MUFON UFO Journal 130 p16 + Alain Gamard both citing La Charente Libre 11 October 1954.

Explanations:

As often, the explanation by Barthel and Brucker is both something that needs to be taken into account, but something that gives rise to questions or even doubts. These ufologists have often given explanations without really going into the details, here for example, we do not know at all what witnesses they spoke to (Mr. Puygelier, or villagers, or the firemen?), or when they heard their say. But that does not rule out the explanation either.

The mystery, for me, with their explanation, is to understand how and why a "hydrogen balloon" would take fire. The only hydrogen balloons used at that time were weather balloons. But these balloons do not land like that. Arriving at too high an altitude, their envelope bursts and they fall back as scattered fragments. They do not catch fire.

Even assuming that a weather balloon, badly inflated or having a small leak, came down intact - this is possible - there is at first no reason for it to catch fire. There is no reason for not finding the attached radiosnde. There is no reason for the locals or the newspaper to be unaware of a firefighting operation, no reason not to find fragments, even burned. Did the firefighters come to extinguish a fire, then collected everything and left, before the villagers arrived? This is plausible.

The incident does not really seem "extraterrestrial"; thus, the badly seen silhouette is not of "high strangeness".

Something else: whereas Saint-Claud and just a small village, there is there, in 2019 at least, a "Fire and Rescue Center"... Better still, the place called "Bel-Air" where the "craft" would have landed is 700 meters from this center. The terrain is flat, lightly wooded (in 2019), and firefighters could have just seen the fire without even having to be alerted about it by someone...

It is therefore possible that the explanation of Barthel and Brucker is correct, and that, as in the case of Bélesta, it is their clumsy writing, poorly documented, not very explicit, that makes it "look dubious".

Finally, it should be noted that not a single one of many "skeptical" and "proponent" ufologists who evoked the incident became aware of their explanation, probably because it was not published in their famous book "La Grande Peur Martienne" but in a... Belgian ufology magazine.

Keywords:

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

Saint-Claud, Charente, chauffeur, car, riad, egg, oval, object, luminous, landing, oscillations, trace, grass, flattened

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross October 18, 2007 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross January 26, 2009 First formal version. Additions [tbr1], [lcn1], [uda1], [uda2].
1.1 Patrick Gross February 14, 2010 Addition [tps1].
1.2 Patrick Gross August 14, 2013 Addition [prn1].
1.3 Patrick Gross October 7, 2014 Addition [tai1].
1.4 Patrick Gross October 25, 2016 Addition [ubk1].
1.5 Patrick Gross Decemebr 20, 2016 Addition [lgs1].
1.6 Patrick Gross August 15, 2019 Additions [jra1], [bbr2], [mft1], [lhh1], [prn2], Summary. Explanations changed, was "Not looked for yet."

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This page was last updated on August 15, 2019.