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The 1954 French flap:

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

January 9, 1954, Besançon, Doubs:

Reference number for this case: 9-Jan-54-Besançon. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.


The regional newspaper L'Est Républicain of January 11, 1954, had reported numerous observations in the region that took place on the morning of January 9, 1954.

For that of Besançon, the newspaper indicated that an "elongated red cigar" or a "saucer-rocket" was seen there at 07:50 a.m. by Mr. Nicod, construction foreman in the city being at the municipal workshops in Canot, a place next to the Rue des Vieilles-Perrieres. As he was chatting with Mr. Marcel and Mr. Brocard, an employee at the Bouchu house, he suddenly told them: "Look quickly... it looks like a flying saucer!"

The two alerted men looked at the sky and saw in the morning clouds "like a red cigar lying backwards, 2m50 in length (visually) and racing horizontally at a vertiginous speed, from north-east to south-east..."

The newspaper reported that "This meteor (?)" whose surface appeared "spotted with black", disappeared "behind the clouds." The sighting lasted a few seconds and was possible by a small hole in the clouds in the sky.

The "testimony of the three seers" had not failed to elicit very diverse comments among the municipal employees of Besançon. Children from the rue des Vieilles-Perrières also saw "this celestial bolide at the same time."

The "saucer" had been seen in the direction of Beaume-Les-Dames.

In another newspaper, La République, for January 12, 1954, the same observation by Mr. Nicot and his fellow citizens was told but this time, the size was given as 1 meter and 40 cm in diameter and the duration as little more than 2 seconds.

But in this journal we also learn that Mr. Maurice Berille, Mr. Rene Angelo, and Mr. Gormotte, roadmender, had seen for a few seconds, very high and shooting at a very high speed, some indeterminate "thing", "followed by a trail of fire." The attention of the roadmender had been drawn to it by a red glow that was reflected on the snow-white ground. From the object, which seemed rather long, came from behind "sparks of star-shaped sparks"; it seemed to dive and "disappeared". This newspaper reported that at the same time, the region was suddenly deprived of electric power.

Charles Garreau, then journalist of La Bourgogne Républicaine and already a flying saucers enthusiast, had plotted the observations of this day on a map to show that since the thing had zigzagged, it was not a meteor. He had naively taken for exact hours the mentioned hours, whereas for the most part they were, of course, only approximate hours. It is because of this that some then claimed there was a "sudden change of heading" of the Langres phenomenon, but it was not so.

This obvious meteor was explained as such by the "skeptical" ufologists Gérard Barthel and Jacques Brucker in their 1979 book, but some continued to cite the observation as if it were "unexplained".



Seen at dawn this last Saturday the "moon" is without a doubt a flying saucer just like the Franche-Comté cigar

It was obvious that there was growing concern throughout the eastern region. Anxious and a little annoyed too, it must be confessed. We have always had at our heart to place ourselves at the forefront of progress and, for nothing in the world, we would not want to be laggards. Keep cool, we are now up to date, like most regions of France, Navarre and elsewhere.

We, too, have our flying saucers.


Good things come to those who wait for.

Like the moon

A saucer was seen Saturday morning, at 7:55 a.m., in the sky of Nancy

Young girls who went to their college are formal. The yellow disk spun into a low sky, gorged with snow, dragging behind it a luminous beam. It had the exact appearance of the moon, but had a circumference reduced to about a quarter of that of the pale star, in which we shall spend our holidays one of the next few days.

An official from Nancy, too, saw the mysterious craft at the same moment, and gave a description in all respects conformable to that furnished by the girls.

In Lunéville, a few moments earlier, the students of the college clearly saw the machine and its reddish trail, and several people of the city, absolutely trustworthy, also witnessed, amazed at this unusual spectacle. At the same hour the phenomenon was observed above the station of Metz, by a surveyor of Courcelles-Sur-Nied.

The flying saucer scoured the weekend's conversations. But Lorraine was not the only region to enjoy the privilege. Franche-Comte also had its saucer.

All colors of the rainbow

It was also on Saturday, at 7:50 a.m., that a gentleman, whose words can not be doubted, residing in Montrond-le-Château, in the Doubs, which left the parish church, with two ladies and a child, and saw the saucer. It came from the northwest and was heading south-east.

"It was," said the witness, "a luminous craft that has the elongated form of a rocket and run very fast, shining brightly and having a comet-like star-tail on which were all the colors of the rainbow. This is by no means a hallucination. We were four and we saw the machine for several seconds..."

An elongated red cigar...

At the same hour, the saucer-rocket was seen in Besançon. It was, in fact, 7:50 a.m. when Mr. Nicod, a city supervisor, who was conversing with Mr. Marcel and Mr. Brocard, an employee at the Bouchu house, suddenly said to them: "Look quickly... It looks like a flying saucer!" The two men watched the sky and, in the morning clouds, saw "like a red cigar lying backwards, 2m50 in length (visual) and spinning horizontally at a dizzying speed, from the northeast to the southeast..."

This meteor (?) whose surface appeared "speckled of black", disappeared behind the clouds. The vision had lasted a few seconds and was apparently allowed by a thinning in the sky. The testimony of the three seers did not fail to elicit very diverse comments among the municipal employees of Besançon. Children from the Rue des Vieilles-Perrières reportedly also saw the celestial bolide at the same time.

It should be noted that Mr. Nicod was at the municipal workshops at Canot, a place close to the Rue des Vieilles-Perrières. The "saucer" in the shape of a cigar, was also seen in the direction of Beaume-Les-Dames.

An identical phenomenon was observed on Saturday morning at 7 a.m. in Vesoul, where a certain number of inhabitants of the town suddenly saw appearing above the hill of La Motte, going from west to east, a luminous object, of oval shape, in the yellow, orange colors, which, before disappearing, left behind a multicolored and flamboyant trail. The Observatory of Besançon, warned, was unable to give any information likely to explain these genuine visions...

The mystery remains whole: saucer, saucer-rocket, saucer-cigarette will continue to fuel conversations. The witnesses, formal, will give all the details possible to their interlocutors, most of whom will remain unfortunately skeptical. For those who have not seen feel an indefinable feeling in the depths of themselves, a sentiment not very noble, to say the least, of regret and vexation. Of envy perhaps.

"If you do not believe us, do not believe us," said the witnesses. And yet, we know well that we have seen.



Besancon -. Mr Nicot, foreman with the road departments, accompanied by Mr Jeannin, storekeeper, was in company of Mr Brocard. Suddenly, they saw, coming from the north, and moving towards the south-east at a vertiginous speed, a luminous machine in the shape of a cigar, of a length of 1 meter and 40 cm in diameter approximately. The vision hardly lasted more than 2 seconds.

Messrs Berille Maurice, Angelot René, Gormotte, roadmender, saw during a few seconds, very high and slipping by at a very high speed, an unspecified "thing" followed by a trail of fire. The attention of the roadmender had been drawn by a red gleam which was reflected on the white ground of snow. From the back of this phenomenal object which appeared rather long, showers of sparks in the shape of stars. It appeared to plunge and disappeared. It should be noted that at the same time, the area was suddenly deprived of electrical power.


French journalist and pioneer of French ufology Charles Garreau drew the map underneath to plot sightings which all occurred on January 9, 1954, between 06:15 A.M. and 7:50 A.M. in the East of France.

Though no narrative is joined, it is visible on the map that according to Garreau, a sighting of some sort occurred on January 9, 1954, at 07:50 a.m., from Besançon.


The authors give two sketches, the one on the left is the trip of the flying saucer according to Charles Garreau, the one on the right is the trajectory of the meteor according to them:

The authors fustigate [rightly] the ufologists who like Charles Garreau took the hours of observations given in the newspapers literally [as if people were then provided with stop watches! These hours are generally only approximations made a posteriori] and then believed in a complicated flying saucer travel where a meteor had actually passed.

Barthel and Brucker specify that the North-West to South-East trajectory of the meteor of 7:50 is confirmed by testimonies coming from other countries.



[...Other cases...]

JANUARY 9, 1954

The aerial object that flew over the Côte d'Or left the door open to various assumptions: meteor, balloon, jet plane or saucer, according to the newspapers! The witnesses describe it as an object at the speed of a (Burgundian) snail, then as a fireball describing an extraordinary journey: Nancy, Neuvelle les Champlittes, Chaumont, Langres, Gemeaux, Besançon. It was reportedly also seen in Dijon, Oisilly and Auxonne. It was also described as a reddish trail or yellow disk, depending on its speed and angle of observation (ref. 21)

[...Other cases...]

The source "ref. 21" is indicated further on, as "21 - Bourgogne Républicaine for 1/13/54, Mystérieux objets célestes by Aimée [sic] Michel, page 96 to 99 -"

[Ref. lc1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the Doubs in Besançon on January 9, 1954, at 07:50 a.m. there was an "Observation of a discoidal object of a dazzling red luminosity with trail. Coming from north east and going towards the south west."

The source is indicated as "Les soucoupes volantes viennent d'un autre monde by Guieu Jimmy ** Fleuve Noir 1954".


The January 9, 1954, 07:48 a.m. meteor.


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

Besançon, Doubs, multiple, Nicot, Jeannin, Brocard, Maurice Berille, René Angleot, Gormotte, roadmenders, duration, fast, luminous, machine, cigar, trail, sparks, trail, fire, power failure, saucer, spots, black, elongated, duration, bolide, meteor, fireball


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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross August 9, 2004 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross January 10, 2010 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Addition [lc1].
1.1 Patrick Gross January 25, 2017 Addition [er1].
1.3 Patrick Gross January 26, 2019 Additions [vi2], Summary.

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This page was last updated on January 26, 2019.