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The 1954 French flap:

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

End October, 1954, Creil, Oise:

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




It was a railwayman disguised with a can, impermeable suit and a green lamp. The station of Creil saw the other evening its warehouses become the theatre of the most beautiful panic which proceeded there by memory of railwayman. One of them, indeed, a lampmaker, George Olivier, to make a good joke to his comrades, had disguised as a flying saucer pilot. Having cut a sort of houppelande in an old nylon raincoat, equipped with a helmet made in an old oil can bored of three holes, equipped with a flashlight whose bulb was painted in green, and two antennas, George Olivier penetrated in the hangars. The appearance in the night of this phantasmagoric being with the phosphorescent eyes produced an amazing effect. Railwaymen, frozen on the spot for a short while, found their courage and started to chase the gnomet. Catch it, shouted a conductor which had taken the direction of the operations, there is a newspaper which gives a premium of one million. When he was about to be circles, the Martian run around wildly, rushed at its prosecutors, utterring shouts and using the famous paralysing green ray. However, the score of prosecutors had enough forces to start a mad retreat to the station where they immediately held a war mission briefing. They were preparing a new tactic when George Olivier, without his disguize, joined them. "Did you not see the Martian?" he asked his colleagues. "Yes I saw it, I even touched it," answered Olivier. "And you did not take capture it?" "No, since the Martian, it was me." And the prankster, bursting into laughters, enjoyed a long moment the astonishment and the disappointment of his comrades. The heads of department of the merrylamp maker of the S.N.C.F. have, it appears, ambiguously appreciated the joke. But George Olivier had taken care to indulge in this prank before the normal hour of his duty.


Mr. Lucien Lejeune, mayor of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, has just taken the following decree which was approved by the prefect of Vaucluse and was made executory yesterday.



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. gbr1:] GRAY BARKER:

A French railway worker, George [sic] Ollivier [sic], of Criel [sic], made himself a home-made Martian suit (See illustration), using an oil can for a helmet on top of which he had mounted a green light. The weird outfit frightened people so greatly that it was reported Criel was in the hands of the Martians.


Michel Carrouges explains that in Creil, in Oise, a railwayman manufactured a mask with old cans, various additions amon which an electric bulb painted in green. He then showed himself onr evening popping out of the corner of the station and frightened his colleagues railwaymen by lighting his false green ray. He rushed towards them while uttering shrieking vocals.

While people fled, he took advantage to quit his disguise in discretion so that he managed to get his laughs from the effects of his practical joke.

Michel Carrouges offerred this case in his chapter devoted to the hoaxes inspired by the 1954 UFO flap, indicating that it is in the newspaper France-Soir of October 29, 1954 that the story of this hoax was published for the benefit of the public.



One of the most significant hoaxes had as authors two journalists who narrated their joke in Samedi-Soir.

One night in October 1954, dressed in diving suits and armed with fireworks and other devices, they "landed" five times near the road along a Brive-Cahors-Montauban-Toulouse-Graulhet route.

Several people testified seeing "beings" armed with ray guns. "I perfectly saw a saucer like a big red ball, a witness said. Out came two 90 centimeters tall beings. The Martians ran to the saucer that flew under our noses like a big rocket."

In the same month of the same year (we were in a period of a great wave of saucers), a railwayman of Creil made a mask with a fake can and painted the bulb of a flashlight in green.

One night after his duty, he appeared at the station and lit his "green ray." His comrades were petrified. The next day, they told him the terrible apparition.

However, no doubt that if one had investigated the observers of the journalists-divers or the railroad green ray, we would have concluded in the sincerity and perfect balance of the witnesses.

[Ref. mft1:] MICHEL FIGUET:

Michel Figuet notes in his catalogue of solved Close Encounters:

It was a prank by a railwayman, E. Zurcher p. 176.

[Ref. lgs1:] LOREN GROSS:

M. George Ollivier, a French railroad worker who lived in the town of Criel, made a "spaceman costume" out of odds and ends. Although crude, the result managed to scare the socks off many of his neighbors.

[Photo caption:] Hoaxter Georges Ollivier

[Ref. emt1:] ERIC MAILLOT:

Eric Maillot, while searching cases of witnesses paralyzed by green rays of martian zapguns, which he thinks are hoaxes inspired by the movie "the war of the world," indicates that "lucky me, I found again the tracks of three UFO cases emitting green rays." Among them, he cites:

"Creil in october 1954 (date not specified) "green ray", which is supposed to be in a book by Carrouges (Les apparitions de Martiens p163) according to an old letter by M. Figuet."

[Ref. uda1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that on 29 October 1954 in Creil, France, there was a "Close encounter with an unidentified craft and its occupants. An unidentifiable object and its occupants were observed at close range."

The source is indicated as Carrouges, Michel, Les Apparitions de Martiens, Fayard, Paris, 1963.

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

Case Nr. New case Nr. Investigator Date of observation Zip Place of observation Country of observation Hour of observation Classification Comments Identification
19541029 29.10.1954 Creil France CE III


Hoax, known as hoax in the first place.


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

Creil, Oise, hoax, railwayman, green ray, disguize, green, lamp, oil can, Georges Olivier, occupant


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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross January 29, 2006 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross March 1, 2010 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Addition [uda1].
1.1 Patrick Gross April 5, 2010 Addition [mft1].
1.2 Patrick Gross September 25, 2014 Addition [hia1].
2.1 Patrick Gross December 8, 2016 Additions [gbr1], [ubk1].
2.2 Patrick Gross December 12, 2016 Addition [lgs1].
2.3 Patrick Gross December 18, 2019 Addition [tbg1].

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This page was last updated on December 18, 2019.