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The 1954 French flap:

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

Beg. February, 1954, Homécourt, Meurthe-et-Moselle:

Reference number for this case: Beg-Feb-54-Homécourt. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Reports:

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

Case file here.

"I saw a craft hovering down dead leaf..."

A resident of Homécourt claims to have seen (and photographed) a flying saucer

[Photo in the newspaper; not available.]

Joeuf. -- Mr. Jean Hofmockel is married in Homécourt, where he lives with his in-laws. This boy, soon father, has just, according to some, had an extraordinary opportunity, while for others, he is the author of a good joke. He claims, in fact, to have photographed a flying saucer. The whole affair took place last week, Mr. Hofmockel, sick, took advantage, at 01:15 p.m. from the pale winter sun to walk on the edge of the heap of Sainte-Marie-Aux-Chenes, behind the coke ovens of Homécourt. "Suddenly I saw coming down to me, hovering with a falling dead leaf motion a craft of some twenty-five meters in diameter, very close to the ground. I had my camera and was able to take three shots. But when I was about to take a fourth, the "saucer" suddenly went up vertically and disappeared quickly."

Our witness confessed that he was very scared, but not enough for him to be prevented from photographing his vision, but enough to succeed only poorly his shots. Most of the few people to whom he told the case remained skeptical, Mrs Hofmockel the first, yet he seems convinced in his turn. Some even claim that the saucers photographer had used a simple lid thrown into the air to take his shots.

[Ref. ol1] "PHENOMENES OVNI/PAN EN REGION LORRAINE" BLOG:

Beginning of February 1954, Sainte Marie-aux-Chênes (57): Photo of UFO

Aerial view of Sainte Marie-aux-Chênes in the years 1950-65. (Source: Geoportal)

As many know, the year 1954 had its unparalleled lot of sightings across France and neighboring countries with a peak between the months of October and November. We also know that it was partly impacted by the adverse effects of the print media leading the population to a certain psychosis on the one hand and the recrudescence of hoaxes abundantly described in the UFO literature. But here, in the middle of all this, real cases can be hidden. This applies to all major waves of French observations (1954, 1990, 1993, 1998, 2010?). The "Drones ufos" episode (fall season 2014, spring 2015) above sensitive sites (nuclear plants), seems to be discarded for other reasons.

Here I come back to a case published on the website Fotocat by Vincente-Juan Ballester Olmos. He will not blame me for having stolen this passage, it is after all a small part of our national heritage in terms of ufology oddity.

Well... This is an acceptable cliché that we owe to Mr Hofmockel resident in Homécourt (54). The other two shots ended in failure. Despite its very average quality, it is still interesting, because it shows that at the time, the reported facts were not essentially nocturnal.

The other detail that could be important is the proximity of an industrial site, in this case a slag heap. The latter seems to be located north of the town (see aerial photography).

The geological map shows the passage of the fault located south of Homécourt (54) distant just a few kilometers from the site of the observation. It would have been more interesting for the rest, if this hypothetical object had been directly above the fault, except it was not the case.

Early February 1954, Sainte-Marie-Aux-Chênes, France. © Jean Hofmockel.

If it turns out that this shot is really authentic, as it seems to be the case, yet nothing proves the true nature of the object. The author could very well have mounted a hoax with a hubcap, a vinyl record or a lid of trash, all complemented by a story drawn from the UFO literature to tie his case. This may be the case, but since there was never had an investigation properly speaking, doubt will remain...

But if he had wanted to go further in the process and talk about it in the media, or even reap a certain amount of money for the shots (this was negotiating at the time), we would not be there with an isolated case, and little known to ufologists.

The size of this "flying disk" is not really compatible with what is commonly described at the time, this object seems larger than usual (the witness estimates it to 25 meters in diameter). In general the witnesses relatively close to these objects rather describe a size between 8 and fifteen meters at the most, but why not after all...

Descent description in dead leaf is very common at the time and characteristic of objects having a disc shape, plate or saucer.

What seems obvious at first glance in this picture is the black disc, is this the object in question? It looks very small for a machine of 25 meters in diameter. Good, misleading perspective effect we will say, I am not specialist in decryption of images.

On the other hand, perhaps I would bring more importance to the whitish vertical plots that we see on the right. We meet them quite often on the pictures described as real. They are obtained when these "flying disks" take off quickly from the ground and according to the setting of the cameras. But it may just as well be a defect of the film or something else disturbing the shooting.

This is to say that a photo can never be a proof in itself, especially in the absence of a consistent story behind as is often the case on social networks and video platforms. With advantages of data, it is possible to go further, but the possible witnesses are not aware of it and bring very often only the strict minimum, thus preventing us from advancing in an investigation procedure.

Below, the text accompanying the cliché published in L'Est Républican on Saturday, February 13, 1954, page 7 (Source extracted from the website of Mr Patrick Gross) [With link to my present page].

"I saw a plane hovering in a dead leaf..."

A Homécourt resident ensures to have seen (and photographed) a flying saucer.

Joeuf. -- Mr. Jean Hofmockel, is married in Homécourt, where he lives with his parents-in-law. This boy, soon a father, has just had, according to some, an extraordinary chance, while for others, he passes for the author of a good joke. He claims, indeed, to have photographed a flying saucer. The whole affair took place last week. Mr. Hofmockel, who was ill, took advantage, at about 1:15 p.m., of the pale winter sun to walk around the shatter-hole of Sainte-Marie-Aux-Chênes, behind Homécourt's coke ovens.

"Suddenly, I saw descending towards me, hovering in a dead leaf manner, a machine some twenty-five meters in diameter, very close to the ground, I had my camera and I was able to take three shots. I was getting ready to take the fourth one, when the "saucer" climbed sharply vertically and disappeared very quickly."

Our witness confesses that he was very frightened, not enough, however, to prevent him from photographing his vision, but enough to succeed only poorly with his shots. Most of the few people to whom he told the affair remained skeptical, Mrs Hofmockel the first, although she appears convinced in her turn.

Some even go so far as to claim that the saucer photographer used a simple lid toss up for his photos.

So indeed, for who wants to take the trouble and has time in front of him, it would be possible to find the witness or rather these descendants to try to know more about it and to obtain - why not - the original pictures yellowed by the time. But I imagine that the people of the "Vosges Circle Lumières Dans La Nuit", the future CNEGU, had already tried to go back to track...

Explanations:

Not looked for yet. Possible photographic hoax.

Note: The [er1] source was typed from the newspaper article by ufologist of "Cercles Vosgien Lumières Dans La Nuit", a group affiliated to the CNEGU ufology groups group. They include Francine Cordier, Gilles Munsch, Raoul Robé et al. They did not provide a copy of the article, hence the alleged saucer photograph in the newspaper cannot be shown here for now.

Keywords:

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

Homécourt, Sainte-Marie-aux-Chênes, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Jean Hofmockel, photograph, photo, saucer, falling leaf, manoeuver, day, fast, frightened

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
1.0 Patrick Gross November 2, 2016 First published.
1.1 Patrick Gross April 20, 2018 Addition [ol1].

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This page was last updated on April 20, 2018.