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The 1954 French flap:

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

June 1954, Saint-Pierre-le-Moutier, Nièvre:

Reference number for this case: June-54-Saint-Pierre-le-Moutier. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.


The regional newspaper La Bourgogne Républicaine, from Dijon, reported on page 4 for June 24, 1954, another case of mysterious glass explosion, what was then called "parebrisite", "windshield cancer."

A motorist from Loir-et-Cher had left his car parked in the small square, in front of the Beau-Laboureur hotel, in Saint-Pierre-le-Moutiers, when a loud bang shook all the shop windows around.

He and some hotel guests rushed over and found that the windshield had fallen to very thin pieces, making the sound of rain on the rooftops.

It eas soon learned that at a beer, lemonade and mineral water storage, twelve empty bottles in a rack had also exploded, although they were not exposed to the sun.

These twelve bottles had been literally pulverized and the owner of the storage place was only able to pick up a few fragments no bigger than a pinhead.

The incident would not have had its place in ufology, if the pioneer of ufology in France Jimmy Guieu had not come to the idea that the "epidemic", very publicized, of the explosions of windshields and other glasses in this period in France had something to do with extraterrestrial activities...




After the windshields
and glass
the bottles!

Nevers (from our special corresp.), -- Glass disease is more and more talked about in the Nivernais, and two other cases have occurred in Saint-Pierre-le-Moutiers.

While a motorist from Loir-et-Cher had left his car parked in the small square, opposite the Beau-Laboureur hotel, a loud bang made all the windows in the area vibrate; hotel guests rushed over and noticed with the owner of the car that the windshield had fallen to very fine pieces, producing the sound of rain on the roofs.

In Saint-Pierre-le-Moutiers one was very surprised by this case of a windshield and one was to learn a few moments later that at a storehouse of beer, lemonade and natural water, twelve empty bottles were found in a locker had also exploded, although they were not exposed to the sun. These twelve bottles were literally pulverized and the owner of the establishment could only pick up a few fragments no larger than a pinhead.

Glass disease is expanding to such an extent that we do not know where it will end.


The windshields "explosions" in 1954, called "window cancer" or "parebrisite" in French, has become an often cited example of "collective illusion" or "mass hysteria". Sociologists and psychologists refer to these incidents in France and in the United States to ensure that "crowds" can easily fall into unfounded collective myths.

And of course, some "skeptical" ufologists explain that the "window cancer" that preceded the wave of "flying saucers" of 1954 proves that the saucers too were only illusions.

None put forward the following point: "collective hysteria" here would in any case concern only the interpretation of the facts, not the facts themselves. And the interpretations were not really "hysterical", they were attempts at rationalization quite understandable and sensible in the context of the time.

All sorts of explanations were advanced at the time for the "window cancer", such as an effect of atomic experiments, Martian activity, or "vandals". In the United States, the police found that the epidemic affected mainly old cars, and it was thought that the windows would explode as a result of their wear.

In the windshield explosions reported in France in 1954, I find "constants": the mention of a light or a flash, blue when the color is mentioned, the lack of sens of the explanations by vandals, Martians, atomic tests, the insistence of the witness(es) that no pebble struck the windshield, the hearing of an explosion sound, the opacity of the window after the explosion.

Some of these characteristics have really no strangeness: an explosion noise is perfectly normal when a windshield breaks. The window becomes opaque because the anti-burst protection layer produced this. The lack of notice of a shock by a pebble or something else can also be explained: the windshield may have been hit and weakened by a hit long before, and then explodes only later when nothing hits it.

I have less idea about the flash or the light. Is it an illusion caused by the sudden opacity of the glass?

Jimmy Guieu linked this mystery to the extraterrestrials, but few ufologists followed him on this path. The Press did it sometimes, but without claiming this "explanation" was serious.

Anyways, for this case, although I find it a bit strange, there is no reason at all to claim that extraterrestrials have something to do with it.



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

Saint-Pierre-le-Moutier, Nièvre,


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

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1.0 Patrick Gross February 21, 2021 First published.

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