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The 1954 French flap:

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End September, 1954, Vichy, Allier:

Reference number for this case: End-Sep-54-Vichy. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Summary:

The regional newspapers Le Méridional and Var-Matin - République for September 26, 1954, Le Parisien Libéré for September 27, 1954, Le Midi Libre for September 28, 1954, wrote that "Rugby players in training at the Vichy stadium saw a 'flying cigar'." The date of this observation was not given.

In his 1958 book, ufologist Aimé Michel indicated that it was an observation with a large number of witnesses, who were rugby players who trained on the field of former pigeon shooting range, in the suburbs of the South of Vichy, and the public watching them. They saw an elliptical-shaped object that they compared to a cigar and it crossed the sky at high speed and in silence.

Aimé Michel gave the date of September 24, 1954, others then used this date and added that it was the afternoon.

The case acquired a dubious celebrity, being widely cited, following Aimé Michel's elaboration of the theory of orthoteny: observations of the same day would be so aligned that hazard could not explain it. For September 24, 1954, there were several observations lined up on a line called BAVIC, for BAyonne - VIChy, Vichy being this case.

But it turns out that the said aligned cases are almost all explicable as misinterpretations, that non-aligned cases had been omitted, and that some of the so-called aligned cases were simply wrongly dated. In the case of Vichy, it appears that no hitherto known source gave a precise date for the sighting: it can nly be said with certainty that it took place before September 26, 1954.

In the 1990s,t ufologist Michel Jeantheau noted that the newspapers, including Le Parisien Libéré and Centre Matin, gave no date, while the formulation in Le Parisien Libéré seems to mean it was before September 25, 1954. Considering the date to be indeterminate, he noted that sports clubs usually trained on off school days and his favorite date would thus be Thursday, September 23, 1954.

As for the observation itself, there is so little information that I cannot exclude that it could have been a meteor, for example.

Reports:

[Ref. lme1:] NEWSPAPER "LE MERIDIONAL:"

"CIGARS" AND "SAUCERS" SEEN IN THE AUVERGNE

CLERMONT-FERRAND. -- Six inhabitants of Langeac (Haute-Loire) saw a white gleam moving in the sky in direction of the South.

A resident of Gelles (Puy-de-Dome), Mrs. Vve Melles, claimed to have seen in the sky a luminous machine of elongated form "in the kind of a cigar". The machine moved without noise.

A resident of Clermont-Ferrand was picking mushrooms: he saw in the sky, at high altitude, a luminous trail "slightly colored in pink".

Rugby players training at the Vichy stadium saw a "flying cigar".

... and near La Rochelle

LA ROCHELLE. -- In A Charron (Charente-Maritime) three fishermen and a customs officer state to have seen, during one of these last nights, a formation of flying saucers evolving very low and flying over the shore before disappearing.

[Ref. vmr1:] "VAR-MATIN - REPUBLIQUE" NEWSPAPER:

New invasion of flying cigars in the sky of France
Witnesses claim: "They had the dimension of a rugby ball"

Bayonne, September 25. -- Residents of Bayonne claim to have seen, this afternoon, very high in the sky, in the north-eastern direction, three mysterious objects of light color, contrasting on the pure sky at this hour there.

A policeman, Mr. Carrions, who was in the district of the Halles, observed these three motionless machines, laid out in triangle, of slightly oval shape. They had, he said, the dimension of a rugby ball and appeared to be at a considerable height.

Passers by stated to have seen the same luminous objects in other places.

In the Meurthe et Moselle

Several tens of workmen of "Sidelor" living the area of Lantefontaine-les-Baroches (Meurthe et Moselle) claim to have seen in the sky, six flying cigars, between 04:30 and 05:30. "We initially saw, they stated, two "cigars" then four other apparatuses came to join the two first. All remained perfectly motionless one moment to finally disappear instantaneously." These statements are confirmed by several other people.

In Le Puy

Mrs Chaumard, living in the La Girette district in Le Puy, saw in the sky, a machine having the shape of a cigar, reddish at an end. Silent and appearing motionless, she managed to observe the machine during nearly a quarter of an hour, then the "cigar" suddenly disappeared by taking altitude.

In the sky of the Auvergne

Clermont Ferrand. - Six residents of Langeac (the Haute Loire) saw a white gleam moving in the sky in direction of the ground.

A resident of Gelles (the Puy de Dôme), Mrs widow Melles claims to have seen in the sky, a luminous machine of lengthened form "of the cigar kind". The craft moved silently. A resident of Clermont Ferrand gathered mushrooms: he saw in the sky at high altitude, a luminous trail "slightly pink colored".

Rugby players, training in the Vichy stadium, saw a flying cigar.

Near La Rochelle

La Rochelle. -– At La Charron – (the Charente Maritime), three fishermen and a customs observer state to have seen, during one of these last nights, a formation of flying saucers moving very low and flying over the shore, before disappearing.

[Ref. 1475:] NEWSPAPER "LE PARISIEN LIBERE":

[...]

Rugby players practicing on the stadium of Vichy have seen a "flying cigar"."

[...]

[Ref. mle1] "LE MIDI LIBRE" NEWSPAPER:

Flying saucers

of a rugby ball and appeared to be at a considerable height."

In the Meurthe-and-Moselle, several tens of workmen of "Sidelor", living the area of Lantefontaine-les-Baroches (M.-and-M.). claim to have seen six flying cigars between 04:30 and 05:00 in the sky .

"We initially saw, they said, two "cigars", then afterwards, four other craft came to join the two first. All remained motionless one moment for finally disappearing instantaneously."

In Le Puy, Mrs. Chaumard, resident of the district of La Girète, saw in the sky a machine having the shape of a cigar reddish glowing at an end, silent and appearing motionless. She managed to observe the machine during nearly a quarter of hour, then the "cigar" suddenly disappeared by taking altitude.

The same observations were made by six inhabitants of Langeac (Haute-Loire) and several inhabitants of Gelles (Puy-de-Dome) or Clermont-Ferrand.

In this area, rugby players training at the Vichy stadium saw a "flying cigar".

In the Aveyron

From Villefranche-of-Rouergue in Aveyron, it is reported that an owner of Vabre-Tézac, Mr. Marre, saw a yellowish mass of color which moved away towards the south, without leaving behind any trace of smoke.

The attention of Mr. Marre had been drawn by the noise of an engine.

Other inhabitants of the locality also heard, from the inside of their house, the same noise, but not having come out, they did not see the weird "mass."

[Ref. aml1:] AIME MICHEL:

Aimé Michel indicates that there was a sighting with many witnesses in the southern suburb of Vichy, 2 km from the center of Vichy, in the department of Allier on September 24, 1954.

He indicates that the witnesses are Rugby players who practice on the ground of the old pigeon shooting, in the south of the city, and the public which looks at them. They see an object of elliptic form which they compare with a cigar cross the sky at a sharp pace and in silence.

Aimé Michel indicates that the case is briefly reported in the newspaper "France-Soir" for September 26, 1954.

[Ref. pht1:] "BUFORA JOURNAL" UFOLOGY BULLETIN:

Let us now apply these relations to the famous BAVIC alignment of 24th September, 1954. on this day, from midnight to midnight, there were a number of 10 sightings, of which 6 lie on a line stretching from Bayonne to Vichy [...]

Appliquons maintenant ces relations au fameux tracé de BAVIC du 24 septembre 1954. Ce jour-là, de minuit à minuit, 10 observations ont été observées, dont six sur une ligne allant de Bayonne à Vichy [...]

[Ref. jve6:] JACQUES VALLEE:

Jacques Vallée indicates that for the day of September 24, 1954, the French Press mentioned a number of sightings, including one in Vichy in the Allier in the afternoon, of a "single phenomenon".

Jacques Vallée indicates that the observation was of type "IV"; which he defines as an observation where a "abnormal object" was seen in translation movement in the atmosphere, whatever accelerations, luminous variations or rotations this movement would be associated to.

He notes that the observations of the type IV "could be considered insufficient", that half of testimonies of that day "would be rejected within the framework of an official investigation operating on the usual criteria".

[Ref. jve5:] JACQUES VALLEE:

140 -003.43300 46.11900 24 09 1954 15 00 201 VICHY F 1517 C** 117

[Ref. buj1:] "BUFORA JOURNAL" UFOLOGY BULLETIN:

The same considerations apply to any attempt to establish the permanent and extended character of some of the lines, as envisaged in a subsequent article by Michel (1). In this he suggests that the Bayonne-Vichy line, established for September 24, 1954, is such a line and supports his statement by pointing out that the line passes through a number of regions in which large numbers of sightings later occurred. This is admittedly indicative of the extended character of the line, but not conclusive. A far more valid demonstration would be to find, within one or more of the regions concerned, during a limited time-period, a 3-pt., 4-pt., or 5-pt., ... line which was manifestly identical with the Bayonne-Vichy line. So far as I know, this has not been done.

[Ref. fsy1:] FRANK B. SALISBURY:

1. Vichy, afternoon: Football players practicing in a stadium and spectators saw an elliptical, cigar-shaped object cross the sky swiftly and silently.

[Ref. mubk1:] "MERSEYSIDE UFO BULLETIN:

BAVIC Line joining Bayonne and Vichy, in France (BAyonne - VIChy). Aime Michel discovered that 6 out of 10 sightings recorded in France on Septemberc 24th, 1954, lay on this line. It has been suggested that this line may be a permanent feature, of global significance so far as UFOs are concerned. This is because, when continued around the world the line runs through areas which have experienced intensive waves of UFO sightings. (See also "0rthoteny.")

[Ref. fsc1:] "PHENOMENES INCONNUS" UFOLOGY MAGAZINE:

Six observations of Space Craft of Undetermined Origin were found, on September 24, 1954, on a single line of 485 kilometers, connecting Bayonne [actually on the 23rd] and Vichy [actually without precise date] by passing at Lencouacq [actually on the 23rd], Tulle [actually on the 22nd], Ussel [actually on the 20th] and Gelles [actually on the 17th]; the readers who have followed the research of past years in the orthotenic branch have recognized the famous "BAVIC" line that resists all the examinations of the skeptics.

[Ref. aml4:] AIME MICHEL:

This is how on September 24, 1954, there are in France (and there is only) nine observations: at Lantefontaine [Actually on the 23rd], Vichy [Actually without exact date], Gelles [Actually on the 17th], Ussel [Actually on the 20th], Tulle [Actually on the 22nd], Lencouaq [Actually on the 23rd], Bayonne [Actually on the 23rd], Langeac [Actually on the 22nd], Le Puy [Actually on the 23rd]. To check this, one just needs to read "France-Soir" for the 26th, "Paris-Presse" fot the 28th, "La Croix" for the 28th, "Le Parisien Libéré" for the 27th, where these observations are recorded.

Checking four Parisian newspapers, it this so tiresome? This being done, let's search this places on a map. One finds that Vichy, Gelles, Ussel, Tulle, Lencouaq and Bayonne are on a single line that is absolutely straight, and that Le Puy and Langeac are on a line with Tulle. Only Lantefontaine is not on a line. So: a) is this true?; b) is this explainable? It is Vallée who went the deepest in the explanation. However he did let this alinement and numerous others unexplained; c) did I invent the four newspapers?; d) is it likely that local correspondents who did not know each other invented all this so that, three years later, it is discovered that they are in line on a large circle?

[Ref. ara11:] ANTONIO RIBERA:

The author indicates that there was a sighting in Vichy, France, on September 25, 1954, which occurred according to the Press on the rugby field before the eyes of dozens of people.

[Ref. pdl1:] "PHENOMENES INCONNUS" UFOLOGY MAGAZINE:

- Map rep. A

(I): BAVIC (Bayonne - Vichy)

  1. Bayonne [actually on the 23rd]
  2. Lencouacq [actually on the 23rd]
  3. Tulle [actually on the 22nd]
  4. Ussel [actually on the 20th]
  5. Gelles [actually on the 17th]
  6. Vichy [actually without precise date]

"BAVIC" is an orthotenic alinement (day of 9/24/1954, map Nr 1 of "MOC" by Aimé Michel.)

[Ref. ous1] "OURANOS" MAGAZINE:

24/09/1954 Vichy (après-midi).

Des rugbymens [sic, "rugbymen"] à l'entraînement et les spectateurs virent passer dons le ciel un appareil elliptique en forme de cigare qui silencieusement traversa l'espace à vive allure. Cette observation permit la première mise en évidence de la ligne orthoténique BAVIC. (Centre matin for 29/09/1954).

[Ref. ioi2:] "INFO-OVNI" UFOLOGY MAGAZINE:

WHAT ABOUT BAVIC IN ALL THIS!

And yes, BAVIC remains! because orthoteny, more or less consciously, has finally identified with this line. For this memorable day of 09/24/1954, it remains undeniable at the challenge of all the "certainties of chance", six places of observation (Vichy, Gelles, Ussel, Tulle, Lencouacq and Bayonne) are yet perfectly alined.

Unable to refute the alignment, many researchers tried to deny any meaning to it.

[Ref. ioi1:] "INFO-OVNI" UFOLOGY MAGAZINE:

026 09/24/54 AM [?Afternoon] Vichy
Silent and fast cigar (BAVIC)

[Ref. dvl1:] DANIEL VIDAL:

Now here is a series of articles that Daniel Vidal of Nîmes sent us. This young boy, well known to the VERONICA group had to carry out a long and painstaking research work in the archive of the newspaper "Midi-Libre" in order to be able to communicate to us these articles and we congratulate him.

- The sky of France is furrowed with "cigars" and "flying saucers"

Paris, September 25 - In several localities in France, there is the appearance of "cigars" or "flying saucers" in the sky.

Thus in Charron (Charente-Maritime), three fishermen and a customs officer declare having seen during one of these last nights, a formation of flying saucers moving very low and flying over the shore before disappearing.

In Bayonne, locals say they saw high up in the sky three mysterious objects of clear hue, sharply visible on the sky. A peace officer, Mr. Carrions, observed these three immobile craft set in triangle, of slightly oval shape.

"They had, he said, the size of a rugby ball and seemed to be at a considerable height."

In the Meurthe-et-Moselle, dozens of workers from "Sidelor" living in the region of Lantéfontaine-les-Baroches (M-and-M) claim to have seen six "flying cigars" in the sky between 4:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m.

"We first saw, they said, two "cigars", then after four other craft joined the first two, all remained motionless to finally disappear instantly."

In Le Puy, Mrs. Chaumard, living in the Trinité district, saw in the sky a craft in the shape of a cigar glowing red at one end, silent and motionless. She was able to observe the craft hovering nearly fifteen minutes, then the "cigar" suddenly disappeared while gaining altitude.

The same observations were made by six residents of Langeac (Haute-Loire) and several others from Les Gelles (Puy-de-Dôme) or Clermont-Ferrand. In this region, rugby players at the Vichy stadium, saw a "flying cigar".

In the Aveyron

From Villefranche de Rouergue in the Aveyron, an owner of Vabre-Tizac, Mr. Marre, is reported to have seen a yellow-colored mass moving southwards, without leaving behind any traces of smoke.

Mr. Marre's attention was drawn to the sound of a motor. Other inhabitants of the locality also heard the same noise from inside their house, but not having come out, they did not see the singular "mass". (Midi Libre 09/26/54.) (2-3)

[Ref. asa1:] ANANDA SIRISENA:

In 1972, "Flying Saucer Review" published an article by Aime Michel, called: "AN ENIGMATIC FIGURE OF THE XVI CENTURY", (1), an absorbing study of a Saint who was born in France in 1579 on the Bayonne-Vichy line. However, as J.C. Dufour said in a subsequent article, "THE BIRTHPLACES OF PROMINENT PEOPLE IN RELATION TO BAVIC" (2) this discovery proved very little; the connection with UFOs is obvious - the extraterrestrial is not - unless one accepts that UFOs are from outer space.

[Ref. pha1:] "PHENOMENA" UFOLOGY MAGAZINE:

Orthoteny

It is nice to remember that it is his friend, poet Jean Cocteau, who will suggest to Aimé Michel the idea of seeking an order in the observations of the "mysterious celestial objects" that appeared during the autumn of 1954.

To begin with, Aimé Michel painstakingly pointed out on a map the observations of October 14, 1954, made between 06:30 p.m. and 07:35 p.m.. His stupefaction will be great in discovering that five points seem to align perfectly. He then resumes all the observations, and reports them, for every 24 hours, on a map. Here again, everything seems to be ordered according to lines of which the most famous, that of September 24, 1954, will be known under the name of "BAVIC line", contraction of BAyonne and VIChy, which will align no less than six observations (Bayonne [in reality on the 23rd], Lencouacq [in reality on the 23rd], Tulle [in reality on the 22nd], Ussel [in reality on the 20th], Gelles [in reality on the 17th] and Vichy) [without precuse date].

[Ref. mju1:] MICHEL JEANTHEAU:

Ufologist Michel Jeantheau closely checked the date of this observation allegedly being one of the points of an alignment of sightings pled by ufologist Aimé Michel and called "the BAVIC line" for "BAyonne-VIChy."

Michel Jeantheau notes that the newspapers, such as Le Parisien Libéré and Centre Matin, do not give any date for this observation, except that according to the formulation in the Parisien Libéré it can be established that it must have been before September 25, 1954.

He thus considers the date as uncertain, but pointed out that the sporting clubs were generally active outside of schooldays and that Thursday September 23, 1954 is thus his favorite date.

[Ref. jca1:] JACQUES COSTAGLIOLA:

The author indicates that on September 24, 1954, there were 9 sightings, 6 being on the Bayonne - Vichy line, one of those sighting was at Vichy.

[Ref. lhh1:] LARRY HATCH - "*U* COMPUTER DATABASE":

3834: 1954/09/24 15:00 1 3:28:00 E 46:06:00 N 3332 WEU FRN ALR 6:9

VICHY,FR:STADIUM/OBS:FAST SLNT CGR CROSSES SKY S/L:=origin/BAVIC theory:/r3p71

Ref#194 LUMIERES dans la NUIT.(LDLN France) Issue No. 128 : TOWN &CITY

[Ref. djn1:] DONALD JOHNSON:

Encounters with Aliens On this Day

September 24

[...]

1954 - 1954 - At sometime before 3:00 p.m. in Bayonne, Pyrenees-Atlantique, France three metallic ovoid objects hovered in a triangular formation for over one minute, then flew away fast. At 3:00 p.m. a fast silent cigar-shaped object crossed the sky slowly over the Vichy stadium, Allier, France and was seen by many. These are two of the defining sightings of the Bayonne to Vichy (BAVIC) orthotenic line discovered by Aime Michel and confirmed by Dr. David R. Saunders.(Sources: Aime Michel, Flying Saucers and the Straight Line Mystery, p. 76; David R. Saunders, Is BAVIC Remarkable?, FSR, Vol. 17, No. 4, July-August 1971).

[...]

[Ref. lcn1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the Allier in Vichy on September 24, 1954 at an unknown hour "During the afternoon the rugby players training on a ground in the south of the city as well as the public observe an object of elliptic form compared to a cigar crossing the sky at sharp pace without noise. 5date perhaps distorted could be the 23)".

Luc Chastan notes that the source is "M.O.C. by Michel Aimé ** Arthaud 1958".

[Ref. uda1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that on 24 September 1954 at 15:00 in Vichy, France "Fast silent cigar crosses sky slowly over stadium."

And: "A cigar-shaped object was observed. One cigar-shaped object was observed by a male witness in a stadium for over one minute. No sound was heard."

The sources are indicated as Michel, Aime, Flying Saucers and the Straight-Line Mystery, S. G. Phillips, New York, 1958; Vallee, Jacques, Computerized Catalog (N = 3073); Vallee, Jacques, Challenge to Science: The UFO Enigma, Henry Regnery, Chicago, 1966; Vallee, Jacques, Preliminary Catalog (N = 500), (in JVallee01); Lumieres dans la Nuit, Lumieres dans la Nuit; Hatch, Larry, *U* computer database, Author, Redwood City, 2002.

[Ref. uda2:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that on 18 September 1954 in Vichy, France, "An unidentified object was sighted, but with appearance and behavior that most likely would have a conventional explanation. One object was observed."

The sources are noted as Vallee, Jacques, Computerized Catalog (N = 3073); and Vallee, Jacques, Anatomy of a Phenomenon, Henry Regnery, Chicago, 1965.

[Ref. jbu1:] JEROME BEAU:

September 1954

Fri 24

6 observations of that day geographically lined from Bayonne to Vichy (including that of Ussel) 4.

4. Will be spotted by Aimé Michel, who will devellop the othoteny [sic] theory, among others in his book Mystérieux Objets Célestes (MOC). Jacques Vallée will call the line BaVic, but will finally concluded to simple hazard.

[Ref. tse1:] "TOUCHSTONE" BULLETIN:

Orthotenic lines of UFO activity were found on which numerous sightings occurred over a time span of many years. The most famous of these is BA VI C, originally a six-point line extending from Bayonne to Vichy, France. Although the six original sightings all occurred on September 24, 1954, subsequent study has revealed other cases of high strangeness occurring on other dates along the BA VIC line.

[Ref. ubk1:] "UFO-DATENBANK":

This database recorded the case four times:

Case Nr. New case Nr. Investigator Date of observation Zip Place of observation Country of observation Hour of observation Classification Comments Identification
19540924 24.09.1954 Vichy France 15.00
19540924 24.09.1954 Vichy Stadium France Afternoon
19540924 24.09.1954 Vichy France
19540924 24.09.1954 Vichy France 15.00

[Ref. rbt1:] RENAUD BENOIST:

The author indicates that on September 24 or 25, 1954, the Vichy stadium rugby team observed a "strange silent flying cigar crossing the sky."

Explanations:

Insufficient information, possible meteor.

Keywords:

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

Vichy, Allier, multiple, sportsmen, ellipse, cigar, elongated, fast, quiet

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross April 11, 2006 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross February 10, 2010 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Additions [vmr1], [jca1], [ara1], [jbu1], [djn1], [lcn1], [uda1].
1.1 Patrick Gross June 17, 2010 Addition [jve5], [uda2].
1.2 Patrick Gross July 2, 2010 Addition [jve6].
1.3 Patrick Gross January 26, 2017 Additions [ubk1], [rbt1].
1.4 Patrick Gross June 28, 2019 Additions [fsc1], [aml4], [pdl1], [ous1], [ioi1], [ioi2], [pha1], [lhh1], [tse1], [mubk1], [pht1], [asa1], [buj1], Summary. Explanations changed, were "Not looked for yet."
1.5 Patrick Gross September 10, 2019 Addition [dvl1].

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