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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, Neuvelle-lès-Champlitte, Haute-Saône:

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

Summary:

The newspaper La République for January 12, 1954, indicated among other observations in the region on January 9, 1954, that several residents of Neuvelle-lès-Champlitte, all serious people, had "noticed in the sky a kind of fantastic machine of the kind of the one seen in the northern region these past few days."

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 - 07:20 a.m. for this sighting - 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 phenomenon, but it was not so.

Garreau spoke, without indicating his source, of a red glow which "cast a reflection of blood on the countryside snow." Very high, a rather long object, followed by an incandescent trail, "follows a huge arc of circle, and rushes towards the North" whereas by coincidence, at the same hour, the area was deprived of electric power.

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".

Reports:

[Ref. lre1:] NEWSPAPER "LA REPUBLIQUE":

[...]

Neuvelle-les-Champlitte. -- Several residents of the locality, all serious people, noticed in the sky a kind of fantastic machine like that seen in the area of north these last days.

[...]

[Ref. cgu1:] CHARLES GARREAU:

The journalist, author and pioneer ufologist indicated that on Saturday January 9, 1954, at dawn, there was a "flash invasion" on the east of France; which according to him "seems to be a highlight in the voluminous 'flying saucers' file."

Garreau indicated that from "all places" in the region, information flocked to his desk, about an object that "flew for almost two hours above the East."

He said that the first reports left the door open to all hypotheses, meteor, balloon, jet plane, "or saucer!", but that the reports which reached him later would eliminate all these hypotheses except that of the flying saucer.

He recalled that meteors always have a perfectly rectilinear trajectory, a relatively high constant speed of 30.000 to 40.000 km/h, and that balloons have an apparent speed which cannot exceed that of the strongest stratospheric currents, from 300 to 400 km/h.

Among the cases he mentioned, there was that of 7:20 a.m. in Neuville-les-Champlitte [sic] in the Haute-Saône, a red glow which "cast a reflection of blood on the countryside snow." Very high, a rather long object, followed by an incandescent trail, "follows a huge arc of circle, and rushes towards the North" whereas by coincidence, at the same hour, the area was deprived of electric power.

He assured that between the place of the previous observation of Lunéville to this one, there are 130 kilometers as the crow flies, that the "Mysterious Celestial Object" traveled in an hour.

He explained that no meteor or balloon could have engaged in the "zigzag" shown according to him by the observations of this morning, and that no plane of the time could have been able "to stop then accelerate at more than 3,000 per hour", performances which he deduced from some of the observations and distances between observation spots relative to the reported observations hours.

Garreau added that "to leave no doubt", he had questioned the various regional weather stations, and that he had been told that no balloon had been launched.

At the American base in Semoutiers, near Chaumont, he was told "It was neither a balloon, nor a plane, from here."

He added that the Besançon observatory had seen nothing, and that the Contrexéville and Dijon radar sets as well as the Perrogney goniometer in Haute-Saône had seen nothing, since their specialists only took their duty at 8 a.m..

He added that the "Scientific bureau" had hesitated to take a position, saying that the only possible "natural" explanation would be that of a meteor, but "the journey described by the object is such that it could not have been a single meteor. It would therefore have to be admitted that it was a swarm of meteorites which crossed "(under the clouds !!!)" the sky of eastern France following different trajectories."

[Ref. cgu2:] CHARLES GARREAU:

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 a sighting of some sort occurred on January 9, 1954, at 07:20 A.M., from the city of Neuvelle-les-Champlitte or near to this city.

[Ref. bbr1:] GERARD BARTHEL AND JACQUES BRUCKER:

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. via2:] "VIMANA 21" UFOLOGY BULLETIN:

THE METEORS

[...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. lgs1:] LOREN GROSS:

[... Other cases...]

"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...]

[Ref. goe1:] GODELIEVE VAN OVERMEIRE:

Godelieve van Overmeire indicates that in 1954, on January 9, in France, à Neuville les Champlitte, "At 07:30: a red gleam throws a reflection of blood on the snow-covered countryside. Very high a rather long object, followed of a glowing trail, flew in a huge arc of circle, it slipped away towards the north. Coincidence: at the same time the area is deprived of electrical power. (Charles GARREAU: 'Alerte dans le ciel: le dossier des enlèvements' Alain Lefeuvre pub. 1981, p. 101)"

[Note 1: this summary is not about the observation in Neuvelle-lès-Champlittes, it describes the sighting in Besançon!]

[Note 2: this Belgian "skeptical" ufologist has the wrong reference: this is not the 1981 book "Alerte dans le ciel: le dossier des enlèvements" by Garreau, but his 1956 book "Alerte dans le ciel".]

[Ref. lcn1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the Haute Saône in Neuvelle les Champlitte on January 9, 1954, at 07:20 "Observation of a discoidal object of a dazzling red luminosity, throwing reflections of blood on snow-covered countryside and leaving a long red trail. Coming from the North East it leaves towards the North. While the object flies over this area, a general power breakdown occurred. The power restored itself at its disappearance."

The sources are indicated as "Les soucoupes volantes viennent d'un autre monde by Guieu Jimmy ** Fleuve Noir 1954" and Alerte dans le ciel by Garreau Charles ** Alain Lefeuvre 1981".

Explanations:

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

Charles Garreau assured that between the place of the previous observation of Lunéville to this one, there are 130 kilometers in straight light, and calculated that the "object" had crossed it in an hour.

But the hours of the Lunéville observation was given as "around 06:00 a.m." by Nice-Matin, as "a little" before "07:55 a.m." by L'Est Républicain, and "06:15 a.m." by Garreau. How can anyone believe that there was a reliable hour there?

As for the "power outage" invoked, Guieu and Garreau do not explain why, if it were caused by a "flying saucer", it would have occurred only for this observation, and for none of the 35 others that I was able to document for that morning at these hours and in that region.

Keywords:

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

Neuvelle-lès-Champlitte, Haute-Saône, sky, gleam, red, reflection, high, object, craft, long, trail, incandescent, arc of circle, power failure

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross September 25, 2005 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross January 10, 2010 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Additions [goe1], [lcn1].
1.1 Patrick Gross November 2, 2016 Addition [lgs1].
1.2 Patrick Gross January 26, 2019 Additions [via2], Summary.
1.3 Patrick Gross February 2, 2020 Additions [cgu1]. In the Summary, addition of the paragraph "Garreau spoke..." Explanations changed, were "The January 9, 1954, 07:48 a.m. meteor."

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