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The 1954 French flap:

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

September 8, 1954, Estrées-Deniécourt, Somme:

Reference number for this case: 8-Sep-54-Estrées-Deniecourt. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Reports:

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

Alert in the Somme

The "flying saucer" was only a duck and the pranksters who put the village in agitation will be prosecuted

Amiens, September 17. -- On last September 8, the village of Estrées-Deniecourt (Somme) was in agitation. While returning from work, several workmen electricians employed in Amiens, had declared that they had just seen a flying saucer land at the edge of the wood, with a few sixty meters of the main road.

And they gave many technical details about the apparatus, and specified that many motorists had stopped to admire it.

"Come with us, they said to the villagers, you'll see if it ain't true."

But the majority of their compatriots, seized with panic, preferred to hide on their premises. There were only few brave men who risked themselves on the spot. There, there was no more saucer than there are icebergs in Senegal. Then the "witnesses" said that the metallic bird had flown away.

The gendarmes were alerted, and noted more than one inconsistency in the lies of the electricians. Subjected to a tight interrogation, the latter had to admit that they had entirely invented the story.

They did not think that the affair could take such an importance and regretted having launched such a tall story.

They regret it more especially as today, the gendarmes have just established a verbal lawsuit, which was transmitted to the court of Amiens and which is drawn up against Serge Grimbert, 20 years old, of Amiens who is the instigator of the tall story, and his comrades, Christian Coulevara, 24 years old, of Amiens, Roland Gourguechon, 22 years old, of Doublens and Rene Cleret, 20 years old, of Albert.

[Ref. er1:] "L'EST REPUBLICAIN" NEWSPAPER:

A wave of strange "objects" is sweeping France

Dark-lovers Martians lovers play pass walls

But all those who have seen "saucers" are not dreamers

A plague of "flying saucers" and other mysterious craft is sweeping Europe, and the number of recorded testimony shows that France appears to be particularly targeted. There is no day, since weeks, where many of these events are reported from the Vendée, the Moselle and the Quiévrain to the Bidassoa.

In the Limousin, in particular, where a farmer was embraced on September 10, by a stranger; although he was peaceful, terror took hold, especially in the area of Roches (Creuse), where children no longer dare to go to school alone and where shepherdesses no longer want to keep their flocks since a dark shadow was reported hiding in the brushes. There is concern that the friendly Martian re-embarked leaving on the earth one of his companions.

In Diges (Yonne), two women saw each in her turn, a cigar land in a meadow and its pilot was leaning, perhaps on its engine. The "being" was of normal size, dressed in khaki and wearing a cap, but they were so scared that by the same reflex, they fled and locked themselves in.

Malenkov and Eisenhower shaking hands around a "saucer"

A pseudo-writer, on the contrary, delighted that these fantastic creatures come to join his philosophical ramblings, assimilates the "anti-saucerists" to troublemakers and warmongers. He writes without smiling: "These cigars and saucers could well make all of us agree. Perhaps this is why some people do not want to hear about it. Think about it! Eisenhower and Malenkov shaking hands around a saucer! What an idea!"

What to think of this new fever? Should we follow in their disdainful disapproval those who believe without verification, it is all hallucinations - sometimes collective - or should we believe with the others these are real craft originating from the human genius or more romantically coming from another world?

No doubt it is better to examine things more closely. The case now takes a too serious turn for trafficking in nonsense or admit all the news. It is time to grasp the problem and reason healthily on the sum of elements accumulated since more than seven years.

The first victim...

For it is on June 24, 1947, that the first "saucers" were reported in the manner described thousands of times since.

It was an American businessman, Kenneth Arnold, who saw that day "nine luminous discs flying in formation at high altitude" when he had taken off from Chehalis (Washington) on a personal plane. He could see that these "craft" were "flat like frying pans or saucers" before their disappearance and, if the case made little noise, the term "flying saucers" (soucoupe volante) was already launched.

It took six months before a new apparition was reported again in America, but this one was to end in tragedy, beginning to worry the public opinion. On January 7, 1948, the police in Fort Knox (Kentucky) warns the military at the Godman Airfield that "a huge fiery object, surrounded by a reddish glow" was flying in their direction. Three reservists fighter pilots were in flight, precisely at that time, on "Mustangs" propeller planes, and the tower alerted the control. Captain Mantell, leader of the squadron, immediately saw the "object" and putting gas on dove after it although his two comrades and himself had left for a flight at low altitude and were deprived of oxygen masks. The two crew members did not exceed 4,000 meters. Only Mantell went up to almost 7,000 meters before telling on the radio, breathless:

- It's frightening...

These words were the last and no one ever knew what they meant. The plane broke up in flight and the body of the unfortunate pilot was found horribly disjointed. The first reaction of Mantell's friends was naturally to think that he had been "downed" by the mysterious craft. His exclamation seemed to indicate that what he saw was awful and that monsters had fired at him.

This is the first victim - the first "martyr" - who tragically marked the true arrival of the "saucers" on earth.

An investigation commission was appointed, but its work was long and hard at a time when the high-speed compressibility phenomena were still unclear. When it put out its report on the accident, it finally explained that the pilot had climbed too high, probably in the pursuit of an atmospheric phenomenon. Deprived of oxygen, he had probably exclaimed that he was losing consciousness. The aircraft, abandoned to itself, had probably dislocated by diving at nearly the speed of the "wall of sound".

But psychosis was already on his way. What can the fairly conservative assumptions of technicians do against the taste of wonderful and the supernatural?

...and the first "hoax"

It is in any case strange to see that the appearances of "flying saucers" multiplied at once in America where 1,192 cases were reported, in waves, from 1947 to 1952. And it is no less surprising to see that, little by little parallel waves manifested themselves in France three to five weeks behind those recorded in the U.S.A.

Of course, the "pro-saucerists" interpret this pattern to their advantage: - We are part of the same humanity that the Americans and the "saucers" have no reason to despise us when visiting Earth. Their pilots wherever they come from can be as much interested in France and in the United States and if we see less it is because our territory is seventeen times smaller than that of the U.S.A.

It is certainly flattering to our national pride. But more Cartesian than sentimental "anti-saucerists", are concerned with this regular shift:

Just long enough to newspapers to inform you of the virus, they reply. After the Mantell crash anyway America was so gripped by the fear of the saucers deadly saucers that it accepted all the fables.

The most sensational story was published by one Franck Scully of Denver, who told in a weekkly magazine, then in a book, how a circular machine, that came from another planet, crashed in the United States, described the autopsy by a famous practitioner of sixteen little creatures found on board and stated that metal debris from the machine, heated to 10,000 degrees, had not melted. The finally palpable "saucer" and these little men in blue linen clothes made such a noise that an investigation commission - again - joined in. Frank Scully, interrogated, had to admit the "hoax". His piece of metal melted at 637 degrees and the case ended with two convictions for fraud.

But once again, the explanation came too late. The book beautifully sold and the author won a lot of dollars.

1953 has not been a hot year for "saucers".

In France, the first known "saucer" was reported in Antibes, in August 1949, but the following came in waves, parallel, we repeat, to those in the US. There is a fever in 1950, two in 1951 and one particularly important in 1952. That year, there were eleven appearances in May, six in June, six in July, two in August and two in September, eight finally in October.

This is precisely the time when America also see many "flying objects" and made us know its anxiety. We will see how calm then returned across the Atlantic. Here, 1953 was also quiet. The saucers disappeared from our skies until last August where a new wave started discreetly in Norway with the meeting of a helicopter by two young people who were picking blueberries.

This time Europe had exclusivity. The wave grows slowly, recalling the Loch Ness [Monster] who in the past returned in the heart of summer to fill the gaps in the news. But the Scottish snake was a prisoner of the lake while the "saucers" do not recognize borders nor countries nor the dreams and the real facts are now mingled with the disorder.

Awake hallucinations

We must reject from the first five recent stories - the most sensational alas! - just too unreliable.

In Vernon, the young witness has a strong imagination well known in the region.

In Quarouble, near Valenciennes, the gatekeeper who saw "little people" was a victim, one year ago, of a head injury and is subject, since then, to nervous disorders. Prints appear on the wood of the railway track, but may give rise to infinite interpretations.

Near Amiens, four pranksters had to admit they had wanted to make fun of their friends. In Bugeat (Corrèze), Mr. Mazaud has probably been embraced by someone but the air police firstly believes in a light aircraft that came in this deserted place at dusk, for a rendez-vous with a smuggler.

In Craintilleux finally, near St-Etienne, the giant, Hitler lookalike, double-faced (one grimacing at the front and the other, jovial, at the back) climbed in his saucer without opening the door, in the manner of wall-crossing ghosts, really seems too childishly wonderful. Witnesses, actors and writers have probably the romantic spirit that suits this kind of occurrence. And the Martian they thought they saw will at least have the advantage of providing them something for a play or a novel.

Medicine knows about these awaken hallucinations which can be experienced by completely normal people. Who did not see in the dark shadows move where there was nothing? It should be noted in this connection that virtually all reported landings of "saucers" took place at night and no one has yet seen Martians having a shape significantly different from ours in daylight.

Should we conclude that all recorded reports are the work of unbridled imaginations?

Certainly not.

Kenneth Arnold and Mantell were not dreamers. Most French witnesses aren' either.

[Ref. am1:] AIME MICHEL:

Aimé Michel reports that little time after the landing of September 7, 1954, between Harponville and Contay, four young people of the Amiénois had claimed to have witnessed an observation which they completely invented, in Estrées-Deniécourt. The police authorities made their investigation on this matter, and they uncovered the truth because they had directly taken as a starting point the the account of the Contay landing: the coincidences were too perfect, contradictions were numerous. After they confessed, the pranksters were handed over into justice and condemned for contempt of authorities.

Aimé Michel gives this example to show that the police authorities took the investigations seriously and that hoaxers faced severe risks.

Explanations:

Hoax.

Keywords:

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

Estrées-Deniecourt, Somme, hoax

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross December 3, 2005 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross June 11, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version.
1.1 Patrick Gross November 23, 2016 Addition [er1].

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