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The 1954 French flap:

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

Beg. October, 1954, Lyon, Rhône:

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

Reports:

[Ref. la1] "L'ALSACE" NEWSPAPER:

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Flying saucers in Ivory Coast

The chief administrator of Danane submits an official report to the governor of the territory

Abidjan, 5 October

Flying saucers were seen in Ivory Coast. The news was known by an official report addressed to the governor of Ivory Coast by Mr. Vernhet, chief administrator of the subdivision of Danane, city located at 500 kilometers in the North-East of Abidjan.

The facts go back to September 19, but they were made official only yesterday following precise information and an investigation.

In addition to the population, the chief of the gendarmerie station, the chief consultant of the medical centre, Reverend Father Vyard, of the missions of Lyon, Mr. Vernhet, chief of the subdivision and his wife, joined together in the court of the residence, saw on 19 September from 08:30 p.m. to 09:05 p.m. a machine corresponding exactly to those observed in France, but which did not land.

It was a luminous point, surrounded by a halation which initially grew quickly, moving while approaching or deviating from the horizon. The witnesses saw the machine light a powerful headlight, sometimes directed up, sometimes down. The machine, of ovoid shape, was surmounted by a cupola and luminous beams seemed to move on each side.

When it disappeared, after having moved half an hour, the witnesses clearly saw two luminous halations, of oval shape, formed on the supposed place of the machine. The latter moved without any noise.

Administrator Vernhet joined to his report a detailed sketch of the various observed phases as well as of the shape of the apparatus.

The same day, in Soubre, 250 km in the North-West of Abidjan, and in the same direction, similar phenomena were observed. The chief

(Continued on page 3)

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Flying saucers

(continued from page 1)

The subdivision of Soubre confirmed the existence of the phenomenon which he witnessed.

The epidemic goes on...

In the Territory of Belfort, Mr. Lucien Bourgeois, 58 years old, reamer at the DMC factories was Monday towards 06:45 p.m. in front of his dwelling in Grandvillars. Suddenly his attention was drawn by a sharp gleam in the sky, produced by a luminous machine of lengthened form which moved slowly towards the west. Mr. Bourgeois alerted at once several of his neighbors who managed, during half an hour, to observe this weird phenomenon.

In the Moselle a 19 year old young man, Mr. Pierre Laplace, electrician at the Kuhlmann Co in Dieuze (the Moselle), saw Sunday evening at 08:07 p.m. a large luminous disc, of green color, at the level of the wood of the Brides, between Vergaville and Kerprich (the Moselle).

The machine which emitted sharp gleams lands near Benestroff. About thirty passers by which had stopped on the road to follow the evolutions, formally confirm Mr. Laplace's statements. Several witnesses tried to go by motorbike towards the supposed landing spot of the craft, but then, the apparatus took height again and definitively disappeared at 9 p.m.

In the Nord, a hundred people saw moving in the sky between Annoeuillin and Provins, Sunday evening, three "flying crescents", during 25 minutes.

In Lyon, a journalist claims to have observed using a binocular, above the Sainte-Foy hill, an orange red luminous disc, followed by other brilliant, smaller discs. The phenomenon lasted approximately 20 minutes.

A little everywhere saucers, cigars, discs, balls and other "flying" objects were seen, in particular in Chancelade (Haute-Vienne), Willer (Haut-Rhin), Gouesnach, close to Quimper, Bautignecourt, Ambazac (Haute-Vienne), Dijon, Marcoing, near Cambrai, Pommier (the Indre), Rouen, Ajaccio, La Rochelle, Quimper, Cholet and Vannes.

A "saucers manufacturer" is discovered

Lille, October 5. -- A retired miner, of Beuvry-les-Béthune, known as a prankster, did not miss the opportunity the flying saucers offered to him, to have fun at the expense of the residents of the nearby localities.

Inspired by the Montgolfier principle, the merry pensioner manufactured machines three meters in diameter. The envelope was made of strong gray paper sheets, carefully glued. At the base of the "saucer", there was a small receptacle in which a tuft of packing soaked with a flammable liquid rested. It was then enough to ignite the packing to see the machine rise and disappear with the liking to the winds, surrounded by yellowish and oranges reflections.

It is after the discovery, close to a haystack in which one of these machines had almost set fire, that the gendarmes were brought to suspect the pensioner. In addition, many models of "flying saucers" were found at his home, prototypes which the inventor was getting ready to launch in the sky of the Nord.

The mystifier claims that he already built and launched more than one thousand of these machines, but as he is a prankster he perhaps brags. As for his "saucers", they of course follow the direction and the speed of the wind and they thus cannot comparare with the usual machines which move at high speed in all the directions, stop short, etc...

Anyway, the prankster will be sentenced for dangerous fun.

[Ref. er2:] "L'EST REPUBLICAIN" NEWSPAPER:

Saucers - cigars and fireballs

After the flight of saucers over the White House the investigation revealed that radar sets were mistaken.

Thousands of people have actually seen the "bright objects" wander in the sky in a puzzling manner. Certainly, on September 28, the "saucer" seen above Mt. Revard by Dr Martinet and fifteen other people was a flock of starlings. The good doctor admitted his mistake the next day when an aviator, Michel Guyard, came to reveal that he also was intrigued by this glittering whirl, but that as he approached it with his plane he merely frightened peaceful birds - as a result, the perfect disc they formed was disrupted.

It is impossible, however, to explain other reports of observed phenomena as collective hallucination... although it is fair to note at first that these "saucers" appeared with extremely diverse aspects.

In the few hundred and fifty cases we have been cataloged in France, they looked round or oblong balls of fire, matt or bright, big or small, blue, green, red, yellow or white, naked or surrounded of a ring, noisy or silent, producing sparks (or smoke) or leaving no wake, when they did not have the form of discs, cigars or half cigars.

They were seen day and night, although their occupants preferred the troubled hours of dusk. They were especially seen evolving in every manners: slowly or quickly, horizontally or vertically, in a straight line or in a broken line.

How to sort all this?

The jet fighters hunted in vain

Could there be so many different saucers with so many different origins? If they come to us from outer space, are there so many other inhabited worlds... and who are interested in us?

In truth, nothing precise could be learned of the reported sightings and often witness of the same phenomenon does not agree among themselves as to the size, shape and color of the object. So we are at the same step as the Americans in 1952, when the new radar set installed just a few days ago in Washington detected flying "saucers", finally placing the matter in the field of science. This device could not be wrong and played the role of arbitrator in an unexpected but worrying manner.

Specialists on duty assured the survey in their new premises, when one fine morning the watchman was startled: a luminous echo appeared on the screen although no aircraft was reported. They first thought - it had happened - that a commercial aircraft had violated regulations of air navigation and was flying over the forbidden zone of the White House. They alerted "Shooting Star" squadrons, which took off immediately. But the "object" fainted before the arrival of the jet fighters. Thus the thing had fled at such an unimaginable speed, showing by that the existence of these objects zigzaging at thousands of kilometers an hour before dissolving in the sky. The emotion climbed and it was officially decided to strengthen monitoring devices. The order was not useless, because a few days later, a new alert was given.

Jet fighters take off and rush at the full power of their reactors to the spot of the sky indicated by their radio, but arrived there, they announced again: - The sky is empty.

"For God's sake, do not shoot on the saucers!"

This time radar men jump on their feet. The bright spot is on their screen, indisputable and provocative. The small spots of the "Shooting Star[s]" come close to covering it. Saucers, cigars and fireballs.

- Attention, you are in contact, scream the radar experts. But the fighters rush at 800 km/h in a still desert sky, with perhaps at this place a slightly milky transparency.

Are the famous "objects" merely ectoplasm?

Once again public opinion is moved. Letters reach the U.S. Air Force to ask "not to irritate the visitors." "For God's sake, do not shoot at the saucers" implores a correspondent. Technicians, of course, do not believe in ghosts. A new commission is appointed. For six months, aerodynamic engineers, astronomers, meteorologists and scientists of all disciplines having some possible connection with the "saucers" study dozens of cases. And their conclusion sudden bursts, amazing but indisputable, freeing America of a part of its fear, by revealing the radar, too, was wrong. Each time a ghost image scored the fighters, meteorologists found in altitude, the presence of a layer of cold air between two layers of warm air. The density (and index of refraction) of air varying with the temperature, this "sandwich" had acted like a mirror to the radioelectrical airwaves and airplanes were guided, after a descent as fast as the rise, towards sheds or metal structures on the ground. The phenomenon can also reflect the sun in the day and the moon and the lights of a city at night. Often, the picture is double or triple, each separation surface playing a distinct role; "Saucers in pairs."

Certainly temperature inversions do not explain everything. But US experts feel that they were responsible for nearly 80% of the reported luminous apparitions beyond the Atlantic, and many mysterious machines seen in France can probably be allotted to them.

It may be noted, in chronological order, two parallel gleams in Antibes, in August 1949, two silver balls in Poitiers, May 10, 1952, two white discs at Roche-sur-Yon, twelve days later, "numerous red saucers" flying in zigzag, two by two, on October 17, 1952 in Oloron-Sainte-Marie (the radar of Mont-de-Marsan perceives its echo like its American brothers). Many other cases could be cited to the most recent: last September 24 three oval objects were reported in Bayonne, three in Charente-Maritime and six "cigar" evolving two by two in Lantefontaine, Lorraine.

Cases of isolated phenomena are even more numerous. - What! cry the disappointed "pro-saucerists", so, it was only this? Honestly see that we find in this category of events most characteristics reported by the "witnesses": blurry lights, sometimes surrounded by a halo, appearance and disappearance (with the complicity of clouds or because of the fading of lighting conditions) and above developments as capricious as fast. The surface of separation of two air layers are not still, of course; it empties and oscillates under the influence of currents in the atmosphere and the image is rejected from one corner of the sky to another.

Very thin cosmic dust

It is regrettable that comments are usually too vague to allow the technician to decide with authority; but only immaterial manifestations may be gifted the dizzying, instantaneous speeds, lent to "saucers" in which most cases. Whatever their origin, terrestrial or extraterrestrial visitors, they would be subject to the laws of the universal gravitation (and consequently the acceleration), that all the planets in all galaxies undergo. Whatever the power of their machinery and engineering, "Saucers" could not overcome their own weight. And all the magnetic currents or other cosmic rays they are deemed to use may make immaterial beings. But the meteorologists still have in their arsenal the noctilucent clouds that Vestine and Störmer think to be composed of very fine cosmis dust from outer space. These meteors are at 75 or 80 kilometers high, becoming brighter as the night goes on and present their maximum brightness at about midnight. The very serious "International Atlas of clouds "indicates that they may be driven by the powerful air currents prevailing in these altitudes, at speeds of 50 to 250 meters per second, or 180 to 900 kms. Let's recall in our turn that it only takes a small cumulus, although classic, but hidden in the night, so that the "saucer" vanishes and reappears.

- But, protesting the "pro-saucerists" you still have demolished only simplistic and disappointing sightings with this argument. They can rest assured there are other answers, more varied and also safe, to the most amazing events.

Barrels, discs, pots, headlights and flying balls are on the verge of dethroning the saucers and other cigars.

The time is gone, by far, when an ordinary "saucer" crossed the blue sky at high pace and disappeared over the horizon leaving a bluish trail. Since then, there were "cigars" which, together with their shape, generally took shimmering colors allowing witnesses not be wrong.

All this is outdated, if we judge by the recent observations made in France by people whose good faith may not be in doubt. The mysterious craft that arouse so much controversies and are poised to discord in many families between those who believe and those who disbelieve it, now take extremely varied and pleasing forms. As to colors, they turn from red to yellow through orange to any possible colors and halftones. Thus we have seen over the last twenty-four hours in the sky of France, several discs, a large headlight, a big ball, a pot, a crescent, and a barrel, a big star, not to mention the "saucers" and other "cigars" whose enumeration would be too long.

From Normandy...

The disks attracted the attention both of a Le Havre taxi driver, over Deauville, and a Lyon journalist south of the Basilica of Fourvière. In both cases, they were red-orange colored and shiny. They disappeared after ten minutes. The big headlight was moving over Aurec-sur-Loire (Haute-Loire) at high speed by issuing a orange-red light beam also. "When it disappeared", witnesses, Mr. and Mrs. Teyssier, of Saint-Etienne, said, "a second craft, similar to the first and appearing to follow it disappeared in the same direction."

In Epinac-les-Mines (Saône-et-Loire), drivers, puzzled, stopped at the roadside to follow the slow and graceful maneuvers of a big ball of light whose color, unfortunately, is not specified.

... to the Auvergne

The pot and the crescent troubled the tranquility of many northerners. The first, in Ablain-Saint-Nazaire, turned on itself and freed a reddish glow. The second, in the sky of Lievin, hovered for a few minutes before splitting in two. That is when the upper part was standing still as the other landed in a field between two haystacks, then suddenly flew to join again the part remained in the air!...

It was night in Montecreau -Villebois-Lavalette (Charente) when Mr. Jean Allary, 22, saw by the light of the headlight of his motorcycle, a kind of 1.80-meters-high barrel and nails of golden nails! It swung on the roadside and fled when the witness approached. The next day, at the place indicated by Mr. Allary, witnesses spotted traces of about seven meters in length in the grass by the roadside.

It is the Clermont-Ferrand residents who, today, had the last word with the big star changing from the white to green and yellow to red, which, driven by a rotary movement, left behind an orange plume Monday night at 7 p.m. in the sky of Clermont-Ferrand.

Scientific controversies...

These celestial phenomena result, we have said it, in heated controversy. Thus a Professor of the University of Bonn, Joseph Meurès, said during a conference: "The book by American author Key Hoc [sic, Keyhoe] on flying saucers is not even worth the paper on which it is printed." Mr. Duneau Fletcher, vice president of the Astronomical Association of Kenya has another opinion: "The existence of saucers" is not to question, he believes, very experienced observers have seen them across the globe. And Mr. Fletcher gives his little idea on the question: "Visitors from another world observe the Earth and probably map it."

And merry pranks

These scholarly remarks do not prevent pranksters have fun with it at the expense of their fellow citizens. The police came and ended the hobby of a pensioner of Beuvry-les-Bethune who made gears three meters in diameter with sheets of paper very carefully glued and fitted at their base of a small receptacle containing a clump of tow soaked with a flammable liquid. Once he set fire to the tow, the "saucer" was in the sky and disappeared with the wind with yellow, orange and red lights. Alas! the truth was discovered when a gear began to set fire to a haystack...

Explanations:

Not looked for yet. Possibly astronomical or planes.

Keywords:

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

Lyon, Rhône, journalist, binocular, orange, red, luminous, disc, brilliant, small, discs, duration

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
1.0 Patrick Gross June 3, 2010 First published.
1.1 Patrick Gross February 10, 2017 Addition [er2].

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