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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, Gémeaux, Côte-d'Or:

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


A dispatch of the Agence France Presse, found in tee Swiss newspaper National Zeitung for January 11, 1954, itself cited in a CIA memorandum, indicated that for a few seconds, the residents of Gemeaux, in the Côte-d'Or department, had "recently" observed in the sky a red ball surmounted by a triangle. The phenomenon moved without leaving a trail.

It seems, according to a 1987 ufology catalog, that on January 13, 1954, the newspaper La Bourgogne Républicaine evoked among other things an observation of January 9, 1954, in Gemeaux, wondering if it was a balloon, a plane, a meteor or a flying saucer.

On his side, author Jimmy Guieu, in his late 1954 book on the flying saucers, indicated that on January 9, 1954, "a red object with greenish reflections was seen at Gemeaux between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m.", according to investigator Charles Garreau.

Charles Garreau made the mistake of plotting the observation places of that day on a map, connecting the observation sites by a line according to the reported hours. Not realizing that these hours were essentially approximate, he denied that it was a meteor on the grounds that the trajectory would have been zigzagging.

This was explained by "skeptical" ufologists Jacques Barthel and Gérard Brucker in their 1979 book; but it did not prevent some from continuing to present this observation as "unidentified."


[Ref. ci1:] CIA:


CLASSIFICATION [Blackened out]


  REPORT NO. 00-W-30339
  CO NO.: ..
SUBJET: Military - Unidentified aircraft  
HOW PUBLISHED: Daily newspaper   DATE DIST.: 26 May 1954
DATE PUBLISHED: 10 Dec 1953 - 2 Mar 1954  
[Blackened out] [Blackened out]   THIS IS UNEVALUATED INFORMATION
SOURCE: As indicated  

10 DECEMBER 1953-2 MARCH 1954

[... (Reports from other countries and France) ...]

CELESTAL PHENOMENON AT GEMEAUX -- Basel, National-Zeitung, 11 Jan 54

(AFP) -- For a few seconds, inhabitants of Gemeaux, Cote d'Or Department, recently (date and time not given) observed in the sky a red ball surmounted by a triangle. The phenomenon moved on without leaving a trail. The same observation was reported by several witnesses from Nouvelles-les-Champlitte [sic] and Langras [sic].

[... (Next reports)]


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, in Gemeaux. Paradoxically, Garreau does not indicate the hour.

[Ref. jg1:] JIMMY GUIEU:

The author indicates that on January 9, 1954 a red object of a fading red with greenish reflections was seen in Gemeaux between 6 hours and 8 hours of the morning, according to the investigator Charles Garreau.


The authors indicate that the Dépêche du Berry for January 11, 1954 said of the case of Gémeaux at 7:21:

"Several people saw in the sky, during a few seconds, a red ball, surmounted of a triangle. The object, which came from the area of the Is-sur-Tille, passed without leaving of trace and was immobilized on the village before starting out again like a flash in direction of Til Chatel, to disappear at the horizon. About the same hour, the same phenomenon was observed in Neuvelle-les-Champlites and Langres."

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.

[Ref. lg1] LOREN GROSS:

[... Other cases...]

France too.

Similarly, a UFO was reported wandering about over the countryside of France. The thing put on quite a show for two hours 6-8 a.m. on January 9th.

According to an investigator of the French civilian UFO group Ouranos, Charles Garreau, the sky object in question appeared first over the community of Luneville where it was seen glowing a brilliant scarlet. The same object was then over Nancy glowing yellow, and then above Montigny-le-Roy and two other towns, Langres and Gemeaux, where the object appeared red with green stripes. Finally, the thing was visible moving over Poligny showing a yellow-red color and leaving a blue trail behind it. Garreau makes no mention of the color of the UFO when it passed over two more towns but did say something about the object's maneuvers. As the thing sped over Chaumont it changed course while under observation, making a sharp turn and when arriving at Lons-le-Saulnier the thing hovered for a bit before speeding away leaving behind a huge red plume of smoke. Generally, the UFO's speed varied as did the altitude as indicated by witnesses statements, and the apparent size ranged from an orange to the full moon. 43.

[... Other cases...]

  • 43. Guieu, Jimmy. Flying Saucers Come From Another World, p.148.

"Celestial Phenomenon."

We have no date and time concerning the case, but there was a curious story in a Swiss paper dated January 10, 1954. The CIA collected the following clipping and translated it into English. It read:

"For a few seconds, inhabitants of Gemeaux, Cote d'Or Department, recently observed in the sky a red ball surmounted by a triangle [*]. The phenomenon moved on without leaving a trail. The same observation was reported by several witnesses from Nouvelles-les-Champlitte [sic] and Langras. [sic]" 46.

[... Other cases...]

  • 46. Basel, Switzerland. National Zeitung. 11 January 54.

[*] The trail is the triangle.



[...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 -"


54 01 09 / GEMEAUX / 7:45 / NL / P /

Same observation. An article in the press describes the path of the celestial phenomenon such that it could not correspond to that of a meteor.

(Source: Bourgogne républicaine 13.1.54)


Godelieve van Overmeire indicates that in 1954, on January 9, in France, in France, in Chaumont, Montigny le Roy, Langres, Gemeaux, "7:45: In a few tens of seconds, at an altitude which seems relatively low to the witnesses, a fulgurating apparatus, with a capricious trajectory, vaguely adopting the form of a cigar, streaks through the beginning day with its intense light, red at the front, lighter-colored at the back, with greenish reflections forming a triangular beam. Mr. Thibault: 'But the more surprising is that I recognized a disc, that I distinguished by its lighter colour, at the bottom of the luminous spot, that is to say not at the head, but in the tail.' (Charles GARREAU: 'Alerte dans le ciel: le dossier des enlèvements' Alain Lefeuvre pub. 1981, p. 101,102)"

[Ref. lc1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that on January 9, 1954 in Gemeaux in "Côte d'or (21)" at 07:45, there was an "Observation of a discoidal object of a blinding fading red and greenish hue forming a triangular beam. Coming from the north east and leaving towards the south east."

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

[Ref. ud1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that on January 11, 1954 in Gemeaux, France, there was a "Ball and triangle."

The source is indicated as Hall, Richard H., UFO Reports from the Files of the CIA, Fund for UFO Research, Washington.


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

When the AFP told of a "red ball surmounted by a triangle" that "moved without leaving a trail", it must be realized that the trail was the "triangle" that surmounted the ball, trail visible from this angle on the meteor going down while going away.

This correlates well with the content in [go1], "at an altitude that seems relatively low to the witnesses" so potentially already distant, but not it does not match the disc being "not in front, but at the tail" mentioned by Mr. Thibaut. However, nothing tells us he was a witness in Gemeaux...


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

Gemeaux, Côte-d'Or, multiple, ball, triangle, red, sky, duration


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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross April 5, 2006 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross December 17, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Additions [jg1], [lc1], [ud1].
1.1 Patrick Gross January 10, 2010 Addition [go1].
1.2 Patrick Gross November 2, 2016 Addition [lg1].
1.2 Patrick Gross January 25, 2019 Additions [vi2], [vi1], Summary. In the Explanations, addition of the paragraphs "When the AFP told..." and "This correlates well..."

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This page was last updated on January 25, 2019.