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The 1954 French flap:

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

October 1954, Beuvry-lès-Béthunes, Pas-de-Calais:

Reference number for this case: Oct-54-Beuvry-lès-Béthunes. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Summary:

From October 5, 1954, on the French press reported that a 60-year-old retired miner from Beuvry-les-Béthune, known in his commune as a prankster, took advantage of the mystery of the flying saucers to have fun at the expense of the inhabitants of neighboring towns, by manufacturing miniature hot air balloons, like the "Chinese lanterns" well known but still misinterpreted for "UFOs" in France and elsewhere especially between 2005 and 2015.

It is said that his craft, which was three meters in diameter, consisted of sheets of strong gray paper, carefully glued. At the base of this "saucer", he mounted a small receptacle in which rested a tuft of tow soaked in a flammable liquid. It then enough to ignite the tow to see the craft rise and disappear with the winds surrounded by yellowish and orange reflections.

It was after the discovery of one of his craft near a haystack to which he had almost put fire, that the gendarmes were led to suspect the pensioner, searched his home and found there many models of his "flying saucers" prototypes that he was preparing to launch in the sky of the Nord region.

The Press claimed that the hoaxer had already built and launched more than a thousand of these machines (which is very doubtful given the amount of paper required); some newspapers would say that the flying saucers in the region were therefore his hot air balloons (but I have spotted so far only two cases in the Nord region that would likely be explained like this).

It is said that he will probably be sentenced to pay a fine for "dangerous amusement."

After being widely reported in the French Press, the case was also very widely published in foreign newspapers.

On October 17, 1954, Radar magazine published an interview with the prankster, Victor Oliviera (probably Oliveira), which allows to know the character better:

"I am not likely to be impressed by the the saucers. Fugure out that I started making them in 1922. I was only 28 years old but I had just read in a history of aeronautics the fascinating adventure of the Montgolfier brothers. These papermakers of the Dauphiné of the XVIIth century, as you know, invented the aerostats. From their experiences I especially remembered this: their oiled paper spheres bore a charcoal stove at the bottom. No doubt, to get the ascensional force, it is necessary to warm up the air contained in the paper envelope. My tests were very satisfying. The ruccus around the saucers made me want to start my little games again. I'm 60 years old, but I'm gay like a pawn. Look at my flying kite. What elegance, isn't it? And it is enough for me to place a flower pot in its lower part and to fill it with inflamed rags, [?] in asbestos, to obtain a speed which is not supersonic, but produces its small effect. But the joke is poorly understood. They want to sue me because, they say, my system is likely to cause fires?"

I found only one photo of one of the flying lanterns of the prnakster, published in the newspaper Tintin-Actualités for October 21, 1954:

Reports:

[Ref. ads1:] "L'ARDENNAIS" NEWSPAPER:

The dance of the flying saucers continues

Two pranksters will be prosecuted

Saucers, cigars, barrels, discs, pots, crescents and other objects continue their dance in the sky.

It even seems that for a few hours, this luminous carrousel intensified, unless the French, worried about the extent taken for some time in their newspaper by "the saucers chronicle" began to scrutinize feverishly the sky in order to finally see one of the mysterious machines one talks about so much.

Here is a new list of the latest public events of the "Uranids" and their extraordinary nacelles.

LE HAVRE. -- Mr. André Lefèbre, cab driver, who was stationed Monday evening, around 8 p.m., on the harbor, saw an incandescent disk which, west of Deauville, rose in the sky, leaving behind a phosphorescent trail and a slight smoke. This phenomenon, which was visible for ten minutes, was also witnessed by several sailors returning to their boat.

LYON. -- A Lyon journalist claimed to have observed with a binocular, above the St Foy hill, south of the Fourvière basilica, an orange red light disc.

This was followed by other shiny, smaller discs. The phenomenon lasted about 20 minutes.

NANCY. -- Thirty people claimed to have seen a luminous disc of green color descending on the village of Benestroff between Vergaville and Kerprich (Moselle) on Sunday evening.

(Read more on page 5)

The dance of the flying saucers

(Continued from page 1)

Several witnesses drove by motorcycle to the alleged landing site of the craft, but when they arrived, the craft had resumed altitude and disappeared.

A few hours later, a disc of the same color was observed over the same region. A circular craft had been seen the day before at the same hour.

Saucers, cigars, discs, balls and other "flying" objects were seen at Chancelade (Haute-Vienne), Willer (Haut-Rhin), Gouesnach, near Quimper, Beutignecourt, Ambazac (Haute-Vienne), Dijon, Marcoing near Cambrais, Pommier (Indre), Rouen, Ajaccio, la Rochelle, Quimper, Cholet and Vannes.

LE PUY. -- Mr. and Mrs. Teyssier, of Saint-Etienne, who camped at Aurec-sur-Loire (Haute-Loire), saw in the sky a luminous object giving the impression of a large headlight which moved at a rapid pace at about 2000 meters of altitude.

The craft emitted an orange-red light beam and followed a north-south trajectory. When it had disappeared, a second craft similar to the first and seeming to follow it appeared, followed the same direction and also disappeared.

At about the same time, several people saw similar apparatuses flying over the Aurec steeple which, after stopping for a moment, crossed the sky at a brisk pace towards the southwest.

ANGOULEME. -- Sunday evening, around 11:15 p.m., on the road to Montmoreau - Villebois - Lavalette (Charente), Mr. Jean Allary, 22, saw very clearly, in the light of his moped headlight, a kind of barrel about 1 m 80 high, studded with golden nails, which swayed on the edge of the road.

When Mr. Allary had passed the mysterious craft, he looked back, at a distance of about 10 meters, but saw nothing.

Witnesses saw Monday afternoon at the exact spot indicated by Mr. Allary, traces of about seven meters in length in the grass that borders the road.

LYON. -- Several people reported seeing a kind of large luminous ball in the Epinac-les-Mines (Saône-et-Loire) region moving in a weird way in the sky.

A similar phenomenon has been observed in the Ain and in the north of the Rhône department, at the Col des Echarmaux, as well as in the Isère, near Morestel.

Should the witnesses who reported all these things be held to be sincere? It is hard to say. But in general, let us welcome their statements with a lot of reservations. Many mystifications have already been discovered, mystifications that will also cause some trouble to their authors. One does not joke with the saucers with impunity.

He made saucers

LILLE. -- A retired miner from Beuvry-les-Bethune, known in his community as a joker, did not miss the opportunity offered to him by flying saucers, for to have fun at the expense of people in nearby communities.

Inspired by the hot-air balloon system, the happy retiree made craft that was three meters in diameter. The envelope was made up of sheets of gray paper that had been carefully glued. At the base of the "saucer" was a small receptacle in which rested a tuft if rags soaked in a flammable liquid. It was enough then to ignite the tow to see the craft rise and disappear with the winds, surrounded by yellowish and orange reflections.

It was the discovery near a straw stack to which one of these machines had almost set fire, that the gendarmes were brought to suspect the retiree. One also found many models of "flying saucers" prototypes that their inventor was preparing to launch in the northern sky.

The hoaxer claimed that he had already built and launched more than a thousand of these machines. The ex-miner will probably be sentenced to a fine for dangerous amusement.

The Uranids had left too human traces

Melun. -- Roadmenders who worked along the Coulommiers-Meaux road, said they had noticed, several days ago, around 5 p.m., in a field not far from the aerodrome of Voisins, Maisoncelles commune, a flying saucer resting on three crutches.

One of them, Mr. Goujon, even said that 150 meters from the machine, he had been paralyzed by an electric beam while the saucer rose slowly in the sky to disappear. The roadmender, who had provided the journalists with all the details, had also shown to various witnesses the traces left by the crutches of the saucer.

The Coulommiers gendarmerie decided to question the witnesses. Many retreated immediately stating that they had bad eyesight, that they were not very sure of what they had seen, or even that they had not seen anything at all. But the principal concerned, Mr. Goujon, remained very firm in his statements.

So the gendarmes took him there, in the presence of several Parisian scientific personalities. The holes left by the saucer were photographed; they had been dug out by the hand of the roadmender, whose fingerprints the earth had kept.

The roadmender admitted to having made up this strange story from scratch. He was brought before the judge of Coulommiers.

[Ref. dmi1:] "LA DEPECHE DU MIDI" NEWSPAPER:

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Dangerous hobby

An old mine worker of the Nord was amusing himself in building "flying saucers"

Lille. -- A retired miner from Beuvry-les-Bethune, known in his commune as a jester, did not miss the opportunity offered to him by the mystery of the flying saucers to amuse himself at the expense of the inhabitants of the neighboring localities.

Inspired by the system of the hot-air balloon, the happy retired man made machines that reached three meters in diameter. The envelope was made of sheets of strong gray paper, carefully glued. At the base of the "saucer" was a small receptacle in which was placed a tuft of tow impregnated with a flammable liquid. It was then enough to ignite the tow to see the machine rise and disappear at the whim of the winds surrounded by yellowish and orange reflections.

It was as a result of the discovery near a hay stack to which one of these machines had almost set fire that the gendarmes were led to suspect the retired man.

In fact, many models of "flying saucers" prototype were found at the latter's home, that their inventor was preparing to launch into the sky of the Nord.

The mystifier claimed that he had already built and launched more than a thousand of these devices.

The miner will no doubt be sentenced to fines for dangerous amusement.

[Ref. prs1:] UNKNOWN NEWSPAPER FOR OCTOBER 6, 1954:

To mystify his compatriots

A prankster built flying saucers

Lille, 5 October. - A retired mine worker of Beuvry-les-Bethune, known in his commune as a prankster, did not miss the opportunity offered to him by the mystery of the flying saucers to amuse himself at the expense of the inhabitants of the neighboring localities.

Inspired by the hot air balloon system, the happy retired man built machines that were three meters in diameter. The envelope consisted of sheets of gray paper, strongly glued together. At the base of the "saucer" was a small receptacle in which lay a tuft of tow impregnated with a flammable liquid. It was then enough to ignite the tow to see the machine rise and disappear at the winds, surrounded by yellowish and orange reflections.

It was after the discovery of one of these devices near a stack of straw, to which it had almost set fire, that the gendarmes were led to suspect the retired man. In fact, there were many models of "flying saucers" at his place, prototypes that their inventor was preparing to launch in the sky of the Nord.

The mystifier claimed that he had already built and launched more than a thousand of these devices. The ex-mine worker will no doubt be sentenced to fines for dangerous amusement.

Those who have seen...

Le Havre. -- Mr. André Lefèvre, a taxi driver, who was parked yesterday evening at 8 p.m. on the harbor, saw an incandescent disk which rose to the west of Deauville, leaving behind a phosphorescent trail and a slight smoke. This phenomenon, which was visible for ten minutes, was also witnessed by several sailors returning to their boat.

The Puy. -- Mr. and Mrs. Teyssier, of Saint-Etienne, who camped at Aurec-sur-Loire (Haute-Loire), saw in the sky a luminous object giving the impression of a large headlight moving at a rapid pace at about 2000 meters altitude. The craft emitted an orange-reddish light beam and followed a north-south trajectory. When it had disappeared, a second apparatus, similar to the first, appeared to follow it, in the same direction, and disappeared in its turn.

At about the same time, several persons saw above the bell-tower of Aurec similar machines which, after being immobilized for a moment, crossed the sky at a rapid pace towards the south-west.

Lens. -- Sunday evening, around 9:30 p.m., in Ablain-Saint-Nazaire, a machine that had the shape of a pot and which rotated on itself was seen in the sky by two people. It emitted a reddish glow and moved quickly.

At the same time, a craft which, this time, had the shape of a crescent, was seen in the sky of Liévin. After hovering for a few minutes, the crescent split in two. The upper part then remained motionless, while the other landed in a field between two haystacks, from which it took off shortly afterwards to join the part that was in the air.

Angoulême. -- Sunday evening, around 9:15 p.m., on the road from Montmoreau to Villebois-Lavallette (the Charente), Mr. Jean Allary, 22, saw very clearly, in the light of his moped's headlight, a sort of barrel high of about 1.50 meters, studded with gilded nails, which swayed on the side of the road. When Mr. Allary had passed the mysterious machine, he looked back, at a distance of about ten yards, but he saw nothing.

Witnesses saw, yesterday afternoon, at the very place indicated by Mr. Allary, traces about seven meters long in the grass that borders the road.

Autun. -- Several people said they saw in the region of Epinac-les-Mines (the Saône-et-Loire), a kind of large luminous ball moving slowly in a bizarre manner in the sky.

A similar phenomenon has been observed in the Ain and in the north of the Rhone department, towards the Col des Echarmaux, as well as in the Isère, near Morestel.

Nevers. -- In Chateau-Chinon, five persons whose sincerity could not be doubted, saw a phenomenon which occurred several times before their more astonished than frightened eyes.

At 9 o'clock a luminous spot of oval shape, seemingly motionless at a very high altitude, appeared in the sky. At one point the spot began to rotate at full speed, changing color several times. Then all went out, but after a few minutes the luminous spot reappeared, split again, and began to rotate.

[Ref. lae1:] "L'ALSACE" NEWSPAPER:

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 compare 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. tbs1:] "THE BALTIMORE SUN" NEWSPAPER:

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Frenchman Tells How To Build A 'Saucer'

Lille, France, Oct. 5 (Reuter). Now to make a "flying saucer," you take some strong gray paper and fashion it on the fire-balloon principle.

Then you light some kerosene-soaked rags, and the warm air lifts the burning "saucers" off into the winds. That's how you get the orange and yellow lights.

That, at least, is the way a retired miner of Beuvry-les-Bethune village did it, police said tonight. And that may account for at least some of the hundreds of "flying saucers" reported in the sky here recently.

They said the miner, whose name was not disclosed, claimed he made over 1,000 of these "saucers" as a joke. Police found him out after one of his gadgets landed near a haystack and nearly set it on fire.

But the "saucer sightings" go on in France - and not only around Lille.

Several Parisians reported seeing a "flying saucer" over the capital today.

A traveling salesman, Pierre Allouis, who saw it from a taxi, said it was a big silverish disk which made a loud whistling noise.

Painter Gibert Bacon said he saw the same "saucer" but described it as triangular shaped, like a flying wing.

[Ref. ppe1:] "PARIS-PRESSE" NEWSPAPER:

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Descended from his "saucer" in Loctudy (Finistère)

A MARTIAN, SMALL, HAIRY AND UGLY, TAPPED ON THE SHOULDER
OF A COURAGEOUS BAKERY APPRENTICE

... While in Paris, a cardboard salesman sees a "flying disc" above the Porte Dorée

AGAIN a Martian. Each department will soon have its own. It was in the Finistère that the last specimen of the species appeared. This time, he showed himself without a helmet, with his face uncovered. He was not pretty.

A baker from Loctudy, Mr. Pierre Lucas, saw him disembark yesterday at 4 a.m. in a saucer flying three meters in diameter, in the courtyard of the bakery.

- He was no more than 1 m. 20 tall, he says. He approached me and tapped me on the shoulder with unintelligible words.

"I managed to keep my cool," continues the courageous bakery apprentice. The visitor followed me into the bakery. In the light, I could stare at him. His face was covered with hair and eyes the size of a crow's egg. I called my boss, but the Martian, when he arrived, was already gone. And the saucer was gone."

That same night, a Concarneau beer merchant saw two luminous round tables in the sky, extended by a sort of tail.

In the Nord, one did not see a Martian, but the gendarmes of Beuvry-les-Béthune wrote up a report against a manufacturer of flying saucers. He is a pensioner, named d'Oliveira. He is not Martian, but Portuguese. A whole stock of saucers was found in his attic. In fact, they were paper balloons 1 m. 50 to 5 meters in diameter, and of all colors.

I launched thousands of them, he said. It was so beautiful. In the evening, it looked like fireballs...

The saucer factory is now closed. The industrialist will be prosecuted for "having set off flaming devices within 100 meters of the homes".

Bad day yesterday for the saucers in the Nord: an investigation, carried out at Bray-Dunes, near Dunkirk, allowed to establish that the craft seen in this region were jet planes from the Belgian base of Coxide.

"Flying tram"

A resident of Haubourdin however observed a "flying tram", and a child saw a saucer land at Cheny, near Lille; which left traces "like that, he said, of a frog man". The gendarmes examined these traces; they looked very similar to those of horse hooves.

Paris, which the saucers have neglected until now, was favored by an appearance yesterday afternoon. A flying disc, followed by a plume of smoke, flew at 4:30 p.m. over the Porte Dorée under the eyes of Mr. Allouis, cardboard salesman. Several other people confirmed his testimony. But a spoilsport suggests that the flying disc, which he also observed, was, it seemed, a flying wing.

One saw yesterday a good twenty saucers, cigars, fireballs, light globes, at Limoges, at Brive, at Azat-le-Ris and at Magnac-Laval (Haute-Vienne), at Forgès and Le Mazin (Corrèze), at Payzac (Dordogne), at Chàteau-Chinon, at Nassier, in the Poitou marshes, at Vix (Vendée), at La Rochelle, at Albi.

Near Clermont-Ferrand, two saucers which, in passing, gave off a smell of nitro-benzine; near La Rochelle, another one that left oil stains when it landed in a meadow.

Finally, a technician from the weather station at Mans-Arnage observed yesterday morning at 6:08 a.m. two strong dark red lights.

- They were, he said, neither planes, nor sounding balloons, nor meteors. But I will not go so far as to claim that these are flying saucers...

[Ref. lqh1] "LE QUOTIDIEN DE HAUTE-LOIRE" NEWSPAPER:

DAILY SAUCERS
In the Nord, a mystifier built machines with yellowish and orange reflections!

A retired miner, of Beuvry-les-Béthune, known in his commune as a prankster, did not miss the occasion offered to him by the mystery of the flying saucers, to have fun on the residents of the nearby localities...

Inspired by the system of the Montgolfier, the retired chap manufactured machines which reached three meters in diameter. The envelope was made of strong gray paper sheets, carefully stuck. At the "saucer's" base 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 make the machine to rise and disappear at the liking of the winds, surrounded by yellowish and orange reflections. It is after the discovery, close to a haystack in which one of these machines had nearly set fire, that the gendarmes were brought to suspect the pensioner. One was to discover besides at his place many "flying saucers" models, prototypes which their inventor was preparing to launch in the sky of the Nord. The mystifier claimed that he already had built and launched more than one thousand of these machines. The ex-miner will undoubtedly be condemned to infringements for dangerous recreations.

[Ref. fio1] "LE FIGARO" NEWSPAPER:

To have fun at the expense of his fellow-citizens, a retired minor of Beuvry-les-Béthunes manufactured ... flying saucers, in series. Taking as a starting point the principle of the montgolfier, this pensioner built, using extremely carefully glued strong paper, machines which reached a diameter of two meters.

At the base of the "saucer," a small receptacle containing was a piece of packing soaked with gasoline, the liquid being ignited, the apparatus rose in the airs and disappeared surrounded of yellow and orange reflections.

But one of these saucers landed close to a haystack which it had almost set fire to. An investigation was opened and the facetious manufacturer discovered. The former minor claims that he had already built and launched more than a thousand "saucers". He will see himself inflicted infringement for... dangerous recreation.

[Ref. age1:] "THE AGE" NEWSPAPER:

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WORLD NEWS IN BRIEF

Miner Built "Flying Saucers" for a Joke

PARIS, October 6 (A.A.P.). -- A retired miner built many of the hundreds of "flying saucers" reported in the sky near Lille (northern France) recently just for a joke.

Police said yesterday that the miner of Beuvry-les-Bethune village, made his "saucers" out of strong grey paper on the fire balloon principle.

After paraffin soaked rags had been lit warm air lifted the "saucers," some about 10 feet in diameter, and off they went into the winds, displaying an orange and yellow light.

[Ref. cds1:] "THE CORSICANA DAILY SUN" NEWSPAPER:

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TRACE FLYING SAUCER

LILLE, France, Oct. 8. (INS) -- The "Flying Saucers" which have been appearing over the Lille area for some time turned out today to be paper hot-air balloons launched by a retired miner. Police said the miner made 10-foot balloons out of strong paper and attached kerosene-soaked rags to them. He was caught when one of his "saucers" nearly set a haystack on fire.

[Ref. tcp1:] "THE COURIER-POST" NEWSPAPER:

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Miner Uses Hot Air To Launch 'Saucers'

Lille, France, Oct. 8 (INS) -- The "flying saucers" which have been appearing over the Lille area for some time turned out today to be paper hot-air balloons launched by a retired miner.

Police said the miner made 10-foot balloons out of strong paper and attached kerosene-soaked rags to them. He was caught when one of his "saucers" nearly set a haystack on fire.

[Ref. lej1:] "THE LUBBOCK EVENING JOURNAL" NEWSPAPER:

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"Flying Saucers" Are Just Balloons

LILLE, France, Oct. 8 INS -- The "flying Saucers" which have been appearing over the Lille area for some time turned out today to be paper hot-air balloons launched by a retired miner. Police said the miner made 10-foot balloons out of strong paper and attached kerosene-soaked rags to them. He was caught when one of his "saucers" nearly set a haystack on fire.

[Ref. tnn1:] "THE NEW CASTLE NEWS" NEWSPAPER:

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'Flying Saucers' Mystery Explained

LILLE, France, (INS) -- The "flying Saucers" which have been appearing over the Lille area for some time turned out today to be paper hot-air balloons launched by a retired miner.

Police said the miner made 10-foot balloons out of strong paper and attached kerosene-soaked rags to them. He was caught when one of his "saucers" nearly set a haystack on fire.

[Ref. ppe2:] "PARIS-PRESSE" NEWSPAPER:

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[Photo caption:] "What a pity," he said, "my saucers were so beautiful!" By his own admission, Mr. D'Oliveira, "Martian" of Portuguese origin, launched more than a thousand into the northern sky. They were paper hot air balloons with a flaming tow inside. The illusion was perfect. But one of the landing saucers almost set fire to a haystack. Which means that the manufacturer will be sued.

[Ref. ent1:] "L'ECHO NOGENTAIS" NEWSPAPER:

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- Disillusionment... When a large number of French people began to believe that the flying saucers and other mysterious craft were really of Martian or Venusian origin, we learn that a retired miner from Beuvry-les-Béthune was manufacturing to distract himself hot air paper balloons 3 meters in diameter with a container containing a tow soaked in alcohol at their base. The liquid in flames, the hot air made the "saucer" rise in the sky, with yellowish and orange reflections.

[Ref. tbt1:] "THE TAMPA BAY TIMES" NEWSPAPER:

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No 'Saucers'

Lille, France, Oct. 8 (INS) -- The "flying saucers" which have been appearing over the Lille area for some time turned out today to be paper hot-air balloons launched by a retired miner. Police said the miner made 10-foot balloons out of strong paper and attached kerosene-soaked rags to them. He was caught when one of his "saucers" nearly set a haystack on fire.

[Ref. tdt1:] "THE DAILY TIMES" NEWSPAPER:

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Flying Saucers Are Hot-Air Balloons

LILLE, France, Oct. 8 (INS) -- The "flying saucers" which have been appearing over the Lille area for some time turned out today to be paper hot-air balloons launched by a retired miner.

Police said the miner made 10-foot balloons out of strong paper and attached kerosene-soaked rags to them. He was caught when one of his "saucers" nearly set a haystack on fire.

[Ref. rdr1] MAGAZINE "RADAR":

OLIVIERA MANUFACTURES SOME SINCE 32 YEARS

BEUVRY-LES-BETHUNE. -- I, said without laughing Victor Oliviera, am not likely to be impressed by the the saucers. Fugure out that I started making them in 1922. I was only 28 years old but I had just read in a history of aeronautics the fascinating adventure of the Montgolfier brothers. These papermakers of the Dauphiné of the XVIIth century, as you know, invented the aerostats. From their experiences I especially remembered this: their oiled paper spheres bore a charcoal stove at the bottom. No doubt, to get the ascensional force, it is necessary to warm up the air contained in the paper envelope. My tests were very satisfying. The ruccus around the saucers made me want to start my little games again. I'm 60 years old, but I'm gay like a pawn. Look at my flying kite. What elegance, isn't it? And it is enough for me to place a flower pot in its lower part and to fill it with inflamed rags, [?] in asbestos, to obtain a speed which is not supersonic, but produces its small effect. But the joke is poorly understood. They want to sue me because, they say, my system is likely to cause fires?

[Ref. tin1] "TINTIN ACTUALITES":

"FLYING SAUCERS"... MADE OF PAPER

It is the great joke of the day. Of all the azimuths fresh news are coming about the "Martians" and their "flying saucers"; which would be mounted, hold on tight, by "plants gifted of reason", the Uranides! This is at least what Dr. Oberth, the V-1 engineer, claims.

When by chance a truly mysterious and worrying machine will land on our earth, and wanders in our atmosphere, nobody will believe in it anymore! An example among so many others:

A mine-worker of Bouvry-les-Béthunes (Nord), Mr. Victor d'Oliveira, 60, manufactured flying saucers himself... And the machines which he launched (secretly) in the sky of the Nord intrigued the inhabitants of the close localities extremely. They were small strong paper montgolfiers, inside whose an ignited piece of stuff heated the air and thus allowed them to fly away. The machine rose then and sailed with the liking of the winds, surrounded by yellowish and orange reflections of the most mysterious effect. Alas! one of these "saucers" while landing, almost set fire to a stack of straw... The gendarmes had quickly discovered the culprit and Mr. d'Oliveira had to stop his manufacture. One sees on the right one of these saucers-montgolfiers in the inflating process.

[Ref. tdo1:] "THE DAILY OKLAHOMAN" NEWSPAPER:

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Flying Saucers In France, Too

Paris, Oct. 10 -- "Flying saucers" are soaring in France.

Saucer-shaped, cigar-shaped and wing-shaped objects have been reported sighted over different parts of France.

Three people in Paris claimed to have seen an apparition. They agreed on the time and on the fact that "it" made a high-pitched noise and was followed by a streak of flame. Two of them thought it looked like a disembodied wing.

A member of the assembly has called on the air ministry to explain what it is all about.

Meanwhile a number of simple explanations are coming to light in their own way.

In Lille, a retired miner had been producing paper "flying saucers" with kerosene-soaked tapers. Aloft in the night, they fulfilled all the fantasies of flying saucers, moving through the air with a yellowish light.

The miner, who claims to be fascinated by fireworks and balloons, is now charged by police with what is termed "dangerous amusement." One of his saucers, it seems, nearly set fire to a haystack.

[Ref. lbt1:] "LE LIBERTAIRE" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

THE FLYING SAUCERS: A COMPLEX

You have ... or you don't have the saucer complex!

Much more than a question of belief, it's a matter of logic.

But we have to believe that common sense is no longer the fundamental quality of the average Frenchman, since several tens of thousands of apparently healthy individuals buy "France-Poire" [=joke about the France-Soir newspaper] only to document themselves on flying saucers!

This is a good sign of ... let's say ... gullibility!

Because, apart from the fact that "France-Poire" is certainly not the paper to choose to get valid information on anything, it takes a commendable application in stupidity to think for a single moment that the inhabitants of any planet could consider Earth as a possible vacation spot. We have what it takes - as moral monsters - to deter the rest of the Universe...

As implausible as it sounds, there are people out there who believe it! As in the Bible. As in the Christ of Montfavet! The flying saucers have a merit however...: thanks to them, to the legend with which they are haloed, the nuts go out of their shells! The saucers allow us to unmask, to identify all that our sweet France has of crazy, hallucinated, repressed and mentally challenged people. They are given the opportunity to manifest themselves, they use it, profit from it, abuse it. They believe it, they see it, their poor disturbed heads are filled with saucers of all formats, bearded and unbearded Martians, green or red rays of light. It's Jules Verne for weak brains. All these people are ready for the asylum, for a drug shot... and the subscription to "France-Poire"! One even cites cases of collective dementia.

The rotten press is there, well there, creating the psychosis of fear, of the occult! Too bad if the degenerates get excited! What does it matter to defeat the primary scums of the poor buggers! You have to create the myth of the saucers, it rises the sales! Let us flatter the public's lower instincts, organize the ignoble publicity hype, on this enormous joke!

So they all buy it together, the poor sods from the provinces and elsewhere! Panic, cowardice, anxiety, all cowardly reflexes are unleashed. Without shame.

Very recently a character shot at his neighbor who was cleaning his car and who had been caught in the beam of headlights for a moment!

He mistook him for a Martian! In the suburbs of Paris (at Les Lilas) a group of idiots called "France-Poire" (naturally). They had just seen a large object land in the area! Quick check: it was only a police car which searched the wasteland with its headlights, to unmask tramps, prowlers...

By the way! What did the police want with them, with these tramps, these prowlers? Provide them with accommodation, work? Give them the means to become men again? We are not told...

Never mind, to equate our cops with Martians is to do them a lot of honor! And it is lack of courtesy for the "others"!

From every corner of the province, testimonies are pouring in. A peaceful army of bearded and hairy Martians occupies our smallest villages. The French hamlet which, at present, would not have had its saucer, would be dishonored!

There is no particular social category to classify saucer voyeurs in. It concerns the roadmender, the garage owner, the grocer and the local idiot... as well as the notary. Sometimes it is the mayor himself who poses as a visionary. And he is left in office... But the privileged, the lucky guys, they are still the cops! It's as we tell you: the Martians, not disgusted for two cents, easily sympathize with the gendarmes and the country guards!

There it is... the prestige of the uniform!

Bah.,. "THEY" will change their minds! Ultimately, there are only people whose job is to scan the sky (astronomers, observers) who, although equipped with powerful detection devices, have never seen a saucer! No chance! It doesn't do them any good in their profession! Soon, we will point the finger at "the man-who-has-never-seen-a-saucer". And he will be locked up in the mental house as long as he protests! So goes our planet...

Let us not forget the pranksters who have cheap fun; by inflating brightly painted balloons and sending them to wander in the atmosphere... and terrorizing all the crackpots of towns and villages.

The day we realize that the saucers - if there are any - are of purely terrestrial (and human) design they will no longer interest anyone. Or almost. It will only be science! What a disappointment for all the occult, for all the lunatics of the Mars complex!

In the meantime, the topic is gold for "France-Poire"! It will be pressed to the end. This stimulates sales and allows the ... "largest French newspaper" to put in the background - behind the saucers and the escort girls - the problem of world rearmament and social demands. For the government press, it is obvious that the favors of "Martine or Lolo" and the idyll of the Martian and the gendarme are much more important than unemployment and non-reconstruction!

We tell you, the saucers are useful for something...

René TERRIER.

[Ref. tbg1:] "THE BOSTON GLOBE" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

France Abuzz Over Saucers

Craze Matches Witch-Hunting

PARIS (Reuters) -- Frenchmen have taken to the flying saucer craze with all the enthusiasm that their medieval forebears devoted to witch-hunting.

Not a day passes without reports from all over France of "flying saucers," "flying cigars," "flying mushrooms," and "flying bells" piloted by 20th century sorcerers.

Villagers seize shot guns and pitchforks and sally forth valiantly to meet any saucer reported landing nearby. Police spend hours following up reports.

Flying saucer stories and speculation about their origin fill the national press. They have even driven sex from the front pages of some popular weekly newspapers. One has offered a reward of 1.000,000 francs (about $2800) to the reader who sends in the first authentic photograph of a flying saucer.

The Mayor of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, a wine village of 1600 people has decreed that any flying saucer which lands in his village will be impounded.

Flying saucer stories come from all levels and ages of the population.

A select few claim that they have actually seen the creatures who pilot the saucers over France. They generally agree that the creatures, usually referred to as Martians, are shorter than human beings in size and appear to be very hairy. Most of these creatures, if they speak, utter unintelligible sounds, but some have made themselves understood in French and even Russian.

Thirteen year-old Gilbert Lafay [sic], of Chateaubriant, said that he saw in a field a flying saucer piloted by a man who spoke to him in French.

Baker's assistant Pierre Lucas of Loctudy claimed that he met a four-foot flying saucer pilot with a hairy oval face and eyes as big as crow's eggs.

A workman, Louis Ujvari, met a flying saucer pilot near Epinal who spoke Russian and asked how far it was from the German frontier.


Saucers with sirens

The saucers seem generally to be piloted by males. One exception was reported by a schoolmaster, Mr. Martin, who said he met two beautiful Martian girls on the island of Oloron [sic] off the French Atlantic Coast. They were about four feet, four inches, and wore leather helmets, gloves and boots.

The strange visitors from outer space are said to be equipped with "ray guns" which stop witnesses in their track with an electric shock effect and temporarily immobilize automobile engines, but no really unfriendly act by them has so far been reported.

Frenchmen are less well disposed towards their uninvited guests and some accidents have occurred in the hunt for Martians. At Sinceny, Jean Faisan fired two shots at his farmer neighbor, Maurice Ruan, who was repairing his car one night, narrowly missing his head but damaging the radiator.

Faisan explained that when he saw a figure illuminated by two lamps he thought he was in the presence of a "Martian repairing his flying saucer." He ran for his shotgun and fired.

In the village of Troussey, sugar beet gatherer Alexandre Ronneji, who had not had a haircut for several months, was manhandled by a crowd who mistook him for a hairy Martian.

At Tain-l'Hermitage, in central France, a wineyard worker decided that his neighbor, M. Neyret, looked "extraordinary" in the dusk and attacked him savagely, beating him so severely that one ear was torn off. Only then did he find that Neyret was not a Martian.

Press cartoonists and practical jokers are having a field day over the whole affair. Newspapers and popular weekly magazines fill their cartoon pages with saucer jokes.


Flying Saucer-ers

A worker at a Paris railway depot started his mates on a Martian hunt by capering about in a welder's helmet with a green light inside.

But the king of the saucer jesters was a retired miner of the village of Beuvry-Les-Bethunes, near Lille, who built some flying saucers in his backyard. He made his "saucers" out of gray paper on the fire-balloon principles and lit a paraffin-soaked rag at the base. The warm air lifted the "saucers", some of them over nine feet in diameter, and off they went with the wind showing orange and yellow lights from the flames.

Police found him out after one of his "saucers" had landed near a haystack and almost set it on fire.

Attempts to explain the saucer phenomena have varied from "mass hallucination" to a suggestion that they are new experimental aircraft built in cigar form which can take off vertically.

Another theory is that, under certain atmospheric conditions, exhaust fuel from jet aircraft solidifies and may form "saucer" shapes. It has been said to reach the ground in the form of a rubbery material which dissolved on being touched. Such a material has often be reported to have been found on saucer landing sites.

[Ref. hws1:] HAROLD T. WILKINS:

However, everybody who regarded these disturbing visitors as merely the sport of hoaxers, "spoofing dupes," took heart of grace and confidence again, when the police of Lille trailed a rascal of a miner at Beuvry-les-Bethune, who said he had made saucers out of strong grey paper soaked in gasoline, and having lit a fire under them, sent them - 1000 of them (sic) - into the wind, with yellow and red lights. The police found one on a haystack. While this may be partly true, it would be distinctly unwise to jump to the conclusion that what these people saw all over France, a pretty big country, were just a miner's prank.

[Ref. gbr1] GRAY BARKER:

One thousand of the strange sky craft were manufactured by a Beuvry-les-Bethunes miner in his own backyard. They were balloon, made of strong gray paper, and filled with hot air by attaching paraffin-soaked rags to the 10-ft. "saucers." The balloons displayed orange and yellow lights, and were responsible for many of the saucers stories until one of them almost set a haystack on fire and got the inventor into trouble with the police.

[Ref. via1:] "VIMANA 21" UFOLOGY BULLETIN:

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 6: TO MYSTIFY HIS FELLOW CITIZENS, A PRANKSTERS MADE FLYING SAUCERS -

Lille - A miner known in his commune as a joker, retired, did not miss the opportunity that the mystery of the flying saucers offered him, to have fun at the expense of the inhabitants of the neighboring localities. Inspired by the Montgolfier system, the happy retiree made machines that had a diameter of 3 m, an envelope made of a sheet of gray paper, very carefully glued. The base of the saucer was formed of a small receptacle where rested a tuft of tow soaked with a flammable liquid. It was then sufficient to ignite the tow to see the craft rise and disappear in the direction of the wind. It was after the discovery of one of these machines that the gendarmes were led to suspect the pensioner. One found a lot of models of saucers at his home. He said he made and launched more than 1,000 machines.

The source is said to be the newspaper Le Bien Public.

[Ref. lgs1:] LOREN GROSS:

"Paper flying saucers." Not all UFOs were "spaceships."

A [sic] Bouvry-les-Bethune miner, M. Victor d'Oliveira, manufactured and sent aloft over 1,000 ten foot high balloons made of strong grey paper, the hot air supplied by payloads of burning paraffin-soaked rags. The miner's creations were impressive in flight, appearing yellow and orange in color and no doubt were responsible for many saucer sightings. The "paper saucers" were a well kept secret until one balloon nearly set a haystack ablaze which attracted the attention of the police. 185. (See newsclipping)

  • 185. Tintin. Supplement No 315. 21 0ctober 54. p.8.

"FLYING SAUCERS"... MADE OF PAPER

It is the great joke of the day. Of all the azimuths fresh news are coming about the "Martians" and their "flying saucers"; which would be mounted, hold on tight, by "plants gifted of reason", the Uranides! This is at least what Dr. Oberth, the V-1 engineer, claims.

When by chance a truly mysterious and worrying machine will land on our earth, and wanders in our atmosphere, nobody will believe in it any more! An example among so many others:

A mine-worker of Bouvry-les-Béthunes (Nord), Mr. Victor d'Oliveira, 60, manufactured flying saucers himself... And the machines which he launched (secretly) in the sky of the Nord intrigued the inhabitants of the close localities extremely. They were small strong paper montgolfiers, inside whose an ignited piece of stuff heated the air and thus allowed them to fly away. The machine rose then and sailed with the liking of the winds, surrounded by yellowish and orange reflections of the most mysterious effect. Alas! one of these "saucers" while landing, almost set fire to a stack of straw... The gendarmes had quickly discovered the culprit and Mr. d'Oliveira had to stop his manufacture. One sees on the right one of these saucers-montgolfiers in the inflating process.

Explanations:

Hand-crafted Chinese lanterns.

Chinese lanterns are one cause of some old tales of UFO sightings: During the "airship" wave of 1896 - 1897 in the USA, during the wave of 1972 in the US Midwest, etc.

Since these miniature hot air paper balloons can be ordered on the Internet at very low cost - they also commonly found in France now in stores - there is no need anymore to take the trouble of manufacturing them yourself.

Above:

A Chinese lantern.

Of course, this file is not exactly a "UFO sighting" file, as the first source is about the explanation of unspecified sightings. Nevertheless I feel that such facts should not be concealed.

Beuvry-lès-Béthunes (Pas-de-Calais) (and not "Bouvry-les-Béthunes (Nord)") amalgamated with Béthune at the end of 1993 and took the name of Beuvry.

Cases more or less explainable by the Chinese lanterns of the Beuvry prankster:

Keywords:

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

Beuvry, Pas-de-Calais, Bouvry-les-Béthunes, Beuvry-les-Béthunes, Beuvry-les-Béthune, Victor d'Oliveira, gendarmes, police, fire, Chinese lanterns, Nord, montgolfiers, negative case, hoax, prank

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
1.0 Patrick Gross December 14, 2016 First published.
1.1 Patrick Gross December 24, 2016 Addition [dmi1].
1.2 Patrick Gross December 30, 2016 Addition [prs1].
1.3 Patrick Gross September 16, 2017 Additions [tbs1], [age1], [tnn1], [lej1], [tcp1], [cds1], [tbt1], [tdt1].
1.4 Patrick Gross April 3, 2019 Addition [via1].
1.5 Patrick Gross May 26, 2019 In the Explanations, addition of the "Cases more or less explainable by the Chinese lanterns of the Beuvry prankster" part.
1.6 Patrick Gross June 21, 2019 Additions [rdr1], Summary.
1.7 Patrick Gross December 18, 2019 Additions [ppe1], [ads1], [ent1], [tbg1].
1.8 Patrick Gross January 17, 2020 Additions [ppe2], [tdo1].

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