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The 1954 French flap:

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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.

Summary:

The newspaper Var-Matin - République, of Toulon, for September 18, 1954, reported that on September 8, 1954, the village of Estrées-Deniecourt in the Somme had been in turmoil: several electricity workers employed in Amiens, said that when they returned from work, they had seen a flying saucer land at the edge of the wood, some 60 meters from the national road.

They had given "many technical details on the apparatus", and claimed that "a lot of motorists had stopped to admire it"; they invited people to come with them to see that it was true. "But most of their compatriots, panicked, preferred to hide in their homes. There was only a few brave men who ventured on the scene, there was no more saucer than iceberg in Senegal. Then the 'witnesses' said that the metallic bird had flown away."

The gendarmes were alerted, and found more than one contradction in the claims of the electricians. Subjected to close interrogation, they admitted that they had invented the story from scratch. They did not think the case could become so important and regretted launching the rumor.

The gendarmes nevertheless wrote a report; which was transmitted to the public prosecutor of Amiens, drawn up against Serge Grimbert, 20, of Amiens, instigator of the hoax, and his comrades, Christian Coulevara, 24, of Amiens, Roland Gourguechon, 22, of Doublens and René Cleret, 20, of Albert.

Aimé Michel would use the case later as an example of how gendarmes were not easily fooled, and in the 2000s, a "skeptical" British ufologist in Britain would use my file, presenting the explanation of the time as if it wer his personal "evaluation".

The case had resulted in "duplicates", including in this catalog, because Jimmy Guieu, in 1954, placed it in "Faucancourt" (Foucaucourt-en-Santerre).

The gendarme mentioned that this was an invention, in their declassified period report in 2010, about the landing of September 7, 1954, between Harponville and Contay.

Then the "skeptical" ufologist Dominique Caudron gave in 2018 a copy of two articles on the case published in Le Courier Picard, and one in La Voix du Nord at the time, explaining the hoax.

Reports:

[Ref. vmr1:] "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. ler1:] "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. jgu2:] JIMMY GUIEU:

The author indicates that on September 7, 1954 in the morning a flying saucer landed in a field near Amiens, between Harponville and Contay.

He adds that numerous residents of the district of Peronne reported that they had seen at the same hour as that indicated by the two witnesses a craft of exactly identical description above the wood of "Foucancourt-en-Santerre".

[Ref. aml1:] 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 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.

[Ref. aml3:] AIME MICHEL:

Aimé Michel reports in the context of the sighting in Contay this same day, of which he says that only a gathering of ten peoplewere informed, numerous residents of several villages in a radius of 15 kilometers around the district of Péronne have seen, flying over the wood of Foucaucourt-in-Santerre, an object whose description was exactly correspondent with that of the witnesses of Contay: same time, same details, same dimensions, same color and so on.

He indicates that the source is the 1956 book "Black-Out Sur Les Soucoupes Volantes" by Jimmy Guieu, Fleuve Noir publisher.

[Ref. lgs1:] LOREN GROSS:

A rather interesting event is described by Aime Michel, although briefly, concerning an object reported flying over a wooded area in the Peronne district called Foucaucourt-en-Santerre. People living in an area covering some 30 kilometers got a glimpse of the UFO, various witnesses reporting the same details as to time and size. Michel was struck by the fact the UFO, a cigar-like body, resembled the thing reported at Marignane, France, back on October 26, 1952. 70.

  • 70. Michel, Aime. "Flying Saucers in Europe, Saucers -- or Delusions?" Fate. January 1958. Vol.11, No.I. #94. pp.33-34.

[Ref. lcn1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates in his database that in the Somme in Foucaucourt en Santerre on September 7 at 07:15 heures "Many witnesses divided in several villages observe an object flying over the wood of Foucaucourt in Sancerre. It has a shape of a gray reversed plate."

The sources are indicated: "M.O.C. par Michel Aimé ** Arthaud 1958".

[Ref. uda1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that on 7 September 1954 around 0700 in "Foucaucourt.Santerre", France "Flew very low." And: "An object was sighted that had an appearance and performance beyond the capability of known earthly aircraft. One object was observed by several witnesses."

The sources are indicated as Guieu, Jimmy, Flying Saucers Come from Another World, Citadel, New York, 1956; Hall, Richard H., UFO Reports from the Files of the CIA, Fund for UFO Research, Washington.

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

Case Nr. New case Nr. Investigator Date of observation Zip Place of observation Country of observation Hour of observation Classification Comments Identification
19540907 07.09.1954 Foucaucourt France 07.00

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

September 8 1954. Evening.

ESTREES-DENIECOURT (SOMME : FRANCE)

A group of electricians returning home from work saw an unidentified object land on the edge of the woods a hundred or so metres from the highway. A number of motorists stopped to observe it.

Patrick Gross citing Var Matin Republique 18 September 1954.

Evaluation - The alleged witnesses confessed that the story was a hoax, and were prosecuted.

Note: no link to my web page was given, my web page was not just a quote from Var MAtin République, and the "evaluation" is not credited: it is not an evaluation by Peter Rogerson but the explanation given at the time.

[Ref. dcn2:] DOMINIQUE CAUDRON:

In the context of the landing between Harponville and Contay, Dominique Caudron indicates that the event gave ideas to a handful of jokers, and as soon as the evening of September 8, 1954, the rumor of another observation ran in the newspaper Le Courrier Picard for September 9, 1954, page 2:

NEW MYSTERY
in the sky of Picardie?

The inhabitants of the Péronne area have seen on the ground, in the evening of yesterday, a flying saucer between Estrées-Deniécourt and Foucancourt-en-Santerre. Like a smoke of gunpowder, the noise ran last night in several neighboring communes, the district of Peronne, a flying saucer would have been seen in the evening, by residents near the wood Foucancourt-en-Santerre.

How much credit is to be given to these new claims?

He indicates that the next day, in Le Courrier Picard for September 10, 1954, page 2, this saucer lost its credit:

"Flying saucers in the sky of Picardie?
The investigation opened in Estrées-Deniécourt
hits the "wall of silence"

As we told yesterday, the charming town of Estrées-Deniècourt, following "statements worthy of faith", as the saying goes, was in turmoil, the evening of Wednesday because, it seems, a crowd of people had noticed, in a wood, on the way of Soyécourt, between the localities of Estrées-Deniècourt and Foucancourt-in-Santerre, the presence of a flying saucer.

Under the cloak first, then publicly, the assertions of the ones and the others had spread rapidly, even in the town of Assevillers, where a resident of the place, farm worker at the brickyard of Villers-Carbonnel had "pushed the audacity" to touch the curious craft.

The official inquiry provoked by the public rumor first and our article afterwards seems to have momentarily paralyzed the language of the "privileged" who approached "the strange luminous body".

Indeed, including a team of electrical workers of Amiens, working near the "landing area", all the eyewitnesses to the strange phenomenon have kept of the Martian machine only a very fugitive vision and are unable to give, in default of dimensions, even approximate, a very vague idea of ??this "ghost" craft.

He indicates that new information on the saucer of the wood of Foucancourt-en-Santerre sink it for good, in "LA VOIX DU NORD", Artois-Somme issue for September 17, 1954, page 5:

THE FYLING SAUCER
OF ESTREES-DENIECOURT

On September 8, the village of Estrèes-Deniècourt was in turmoil: several electricians from company of Amiens assured that a saucer had landed near a wood, 600 meters from the road Paris - Saint-Quentin.

Most of the inhabitants wisely stayed at home. The boldest and most curious went to the place indicated; the gendarmerie itself was alerted, and did not notice any trace of the famous saucer, but noticed inconsistencies in the assertions of the electricians.

Finally, one of them admitted:

- All this is not true: there was no flying saucer at Estrèes-Deniècourt. We invented this story to fool the population, but we did not think that the case would be so important.

It was then established that it was Serge Grimbert, 20, 43, rue Rembault, Amiens, who had launched the "hoax": he recognized it willingly. With him passed confessions his comrades Christian Coulevern, 24 years old, living 29, rue de Job, in Amiens, Roland Gourguechon, 22 years old, 31, rue Bazin, in Doullens and René Cléret, 20 years old, 40, rue de l'Abreuvoir, in Albert.

In such circumstances, the gendarmes thought it necessary to write up a report which was sent to the prosecutor of the Republic office of Amiens. Will the magistrates decide to prosecute the young people who "fooled everyone"? We will know it soon. But one fact is certain: no flying saucer landed in Estrèes-Deniècourt, but even an imaginary saucer can cost a lot.

Explanations:

Hoax.

(This is a "negative case", a case for which it did not take any ufologist's intervention to solve the case. But on the other end, ufologists "resurceted" it as a bona fide saucer...)

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 [ler1].
1.2 Patrick Gross September 3, 2019 Addition [prn2], [dcn2]. In the Summary, addition of "The case had resulted in duplicates" and what follows.

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