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The 1954 French flap:

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

October, 1954, Walscheid, Moselle:

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

Summary:

The regional newspaper L'Est Républicain for October 19, 1954, reported on page 7, after having mocked stories of flying saucers and "Martians" of the moment, the "revealing" story that follows:

According to their correspondent in Walscheid, in the Moselle department, "one evening" when "the prayer was barely ending", the "city was alerted by childish cries, cries of anguish, fright... of those that create the atmosphere of dark novels, and immediately the walkers came running, and with them the huge news which circulated at lightning speed", "Martians were there who were about to attack Walscheid..."

The newspaper said that "it is with a trembling finger, the face dripping with tears, that toddlers, hidden behind the bravest of their elders, pointed out on a terrace there, behind the house, a 'commando' of a good dozen subjects."

"In the mid-twilight, barely disturbed by public lighting, one could indeed see the tall, angular, and at the same time voluminous shapes of those who were spying before the H hour of the invasion."

The newspaper reports that the resistance was quickly organized and the young men came running, equipped with a various weapons: sticks, axes, forks, "held with a steady hand, announced the solemn moment of the assault. And, in the noisy atmosphere of the moment, in the midst of cries and tears, more than one volunteer felt rising in him, with the excitement of the fight, the feeling of heroism and the certainty of victory."

"The assault was going to be given." Reinforcements had come up, that children in a hurry had been looking for, when, in the tumult, the owner of the house finally woke up, and appeared at his door. His sleep was interrupted, and he was immediately informed, with the usual care and attention, of the unusual presence of the Martians on his terrace, and, no doubt, at Walscheid, there was never more formidable laughter than that which burst forth and swept the amazed crowd."

"The stupor of some and the astonishment of others were barely blunted that finally came the news that was going to relax them."

And the newspaper explained that the "Martians" were actually the chrysanthemums of the inhabitant of the house, which he had covered against the cold because the radio had announced frost.

The story has of course been taken up in other French and even American newspapers, and cited as an example of "hysteria" in the UFO literature.

What seems at first sight to have been a misinterpretation explained without help from ufologist - a "negative case", was considered by some "skeptical" ufologists to be totally invented by the newspaper.

Reports:

[Ref. er1:] "L'EST REPUBLICAIN" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

From the top of Lorraine to Franche-Comté

The "Martians" are becoming more and more reckless...
... When they do not prove to the "Earthmen" that they have the imagination too beautiful!

Walscheid (from our correspondent). -- Each province, if not every city, had its "saucer" which its "cigar" that its Martian (true or false). Apart from certain graceful young girls, the latter presented themselves in various forms: small, hairy or without weight, round and disproportionate heads, piercing eyes, point of ear, in short, forms which ... a priori ... do not attract sympathy.

In Walscheid (Moselle) yet Martians of another form - but come to the facts. The prayer was scarcely finished, on certain evenings, when the city was alerted by childish cries, cries of anguish, fright ... of those who create the atmospheres of black novels. And all at once the walkers ran up and, with them, swelled the enormous news, which was transmitted like a thunderbolt: Martians were there, preparing to attack Walscheid.

Resistance is organized

And with a trembling finger, the face streaming with tears, the toddlers, hidden behind the bravest of their elders, pointed out on a terrace there, behind the house, a "commando" Of a good dozen subjects.

In the ambient shade, which was hardly disturbed by public lighting, one indeed distinguished the rather high shapes, angular, and at the same time bulky of those who spied before the invasion's H hour.

The resistance was soon organized, and the young men came running, equipped with the most various weaponry: sticks, axes, forks, held with a firm hand, announcing the solemn moment of the assault. And, in the noisy atmosphere of the moment, in the midst of cries and tears, more than one volunteer felt With the excitement of the combat, the feeling of heroism and the certainty of victory.

And peace came back

The assault was going to be given. Reinforcements had come, which children hastened to seek, When, in the tumult, the owner of the house awoke at last, and appeared at his door. His eyes still swollen from his interrupted sleep. He was warned at once, with the utmost caution, of the unusual presence of the Martians on his terrace. And no doubt at Walscheid no one ever heard more formidable bursts of laughter than that which gushed forth and broke over the astonished crowd.

The stupefaction of some and the astonishment of the others were scarcely blunted when finally the new Which was going to relax them came.

"Martians, do you mind, these are my chrysanthemums... The radio had announced the frost, so I covered them, that's all!"

And in the general appeasement, perhaps some will they always regret that they were not the brave fighters of a new war of sidereal level.

Redder than the setting sun

Saint-Loup-sur-Semouse (from our correspondent). -- The luminous nocturnal visions multiply to such an extent that we do not despair of seeing one day out of order on our planet one of those innumerable discs or cigars whose presence has been reported for quite some time. While waiting for this breakdown, if desired but very problematic, because according to many testimonies, these devices are extremely sophisticated, we are reduced to statements of those who had the chance to see one of these mysterious craft.

Thus on Sunday, around 08:30 p.m., people from Varigney (the Haute-Saône) going to the movies in Conflans, saw, after passing the railway crossing, a kind of fire even redder than the setting sun, but of almost square shape, according to one of the witnesses (others, however, assert that the machine was rather rounded). It was in any case motionless at the highest and farther part of the pasture along the road from Conflans to Saint-Loup, against the Bowling game of the Beuclair coffee shop.

Nobody then approached to see more clearly what it was. Only Mr. Jean Beuclair, alerted by Mr. Barrat, a barrister, entered the pasture and remained there for observation, accompanied by his eldest daughter, Jeanne, aged 16, who was standing about ten yards behind.

Without leaving any traces

Mr. Beuclair was to declare that he had seen this kind of globe approach noiselessly, very quickly, until it was less than twenty meters from him, descending the slope of the meadow. At that moment it seemed to him that the apparatus emitted white radiations and other reds, juxtaposed.

"These radiations," he said, "were insufficient to illuminate the meadow, but strong enough to influence my sight and prevent me from approaching".

And he goes on: "I saw two kinds of legs supporting the apparatus which, at a certain moment, folded. I shouted, but received no answer." Her daughter corroborates his statements in part, but she is less affirmative and less precise, having seen the "Thing" from further on.

On the objections of his wife and other members of his family, who were very frightened, although they saw nothing terrifying, M. Beuclair and his daughter withdrew.

When Mr. Beuclair came out a few minutes later, the apparition had vanished. The manner in which the craft disappeared thus remains mysterious.

The gendarmerie of Saint-Loup, who went to the scene, found no abnormal trace. This unique testimony, if it strengthened the convictions of some who believe in flying saucers, also increased the skepticism of others.

[Ref. fs1:] "FRANCE-SOIR" NEWSPAPER:

TERROR IN WALSCHEID (MOSELLE)

A COMMANDO OF MARTIENS ASSAULTS THE VILLAGE: IT WAS CHRYSANTHEMA PACKED AGAINST THE FREEZING

Nancy, October 19 (from "France-Soir")

The village of Walscheid (Moselle) had yesterday a legitimate emotion when children taught the parishioners who came out of an evening mass that a Martian commando had taken position in the village. With caution, some men approached the house where, they said, these strange evening visitors grouped.

In the night, under the dim light of municipal lighting, the tall stature of the strange beings was clearly visible on a terrace. As the women fled back into the church, alert was given, the men, making weapons of all things, surrounded the house. The hunters were clutching fingers on the triggers.

As the besieged did not move, it was decided to dislodge them. It was arranged that two columns would give the assault. The bearers of hand weapons, skillfully protected by men armed with rifles, progressed by leaps and bounds, shaving the walls, according to the best war methods, and, at a good distance, the usual summons were issued.

The Martians did not even move what might have been their little finger. But the owner of the house, who was thought to be at least tied up and gagged, poked his head out of the window and, half asleep, asked what was wanted of him. At the general stupor that soon turned into bursts of laughter, he explained that he had swaddled the chrysanthemums from his terrace to preserve them from the frost. He had thus dressed them, the night once fallen, and no one had noticed it. The imagination of the children did the rest.

[Ref. qh1:] "LE QUOTIDIEN DE LA HAUTE-LOIRE" NEWSPAPER:

THE PSYCHOSIS OF THE SAUCERS: THE MARTIANS WERE ONLY CHRYSANTHEMUMS PACKED AGAINST THE COLD

An intense emotion seized the parishioners of Walscheid (the Moselle) when, at the exit of the evening mass, a group of children told them that a "commando of Martians" took position at a farm of the village. With thousand precautions, some men among the most courageous, left as scouts and indeed distinguished, on the terrace of the said farm, silhouettes as vague as suspicious, even worrying. A war briefing was held during which the manly elements of the population decided to go dislodge the aggressor. While the women took refuge in the church, the men gathered weapons which, though disparate, was not handled with less poise: sticks, forks, rifles, knives... In silence, using at the best the ground and its features, the attackers progressed, towards the Martians' positions and encircled them. No emotion appearing among the suspect silhouettes, the attack was decided. Two columns were formed and the carriers of non-shooting weapons progressed with caution under the protection of the hunters, fingers on the triggers.

WARNING IS GIVEN

At an adequate distance, summations were shouted. The Martians did not react. The summations were made again, more pressing, and soon a window opened, a man appeared. It was the owner of the place who, in a sleepy voice, asked: "What's going on? What are you doing there?" He was informed. He answered by an enormous burst of laughter, which was soon communicative to everyone... It was indeed explained that he had, at the fall of the night, wrapped the chrysanthemums on the terrace to preserve them from the frost. In fact, those were the suspicious silhouettes that had fired the imagination of the children.

[Ref. gb2] GRAY BARKER:

In the Lorraine village of Walschied [sic] women fled to a church in hopes of obtaining divine sanctuary, as their man attacked big chrysanthemums they had seen glowing weirdly. The flowers, which someone had covered with a brilliant cloth, to protect them from frost, were the men from Mars terrorized residents said had landed there in the garden. And there they were, pigmy size, with heads glowing, and just standing there, motionless.

[Ref. mc1:] "MICHEL CARROUGES":

In his chapter counting the material illusions, the author tells us of the incident in Walscheid, in the Moselle, which was narrated in the national newspaper France-Soir for October 20, 1954.

Children had given the alarm by claiming to have seen a "Martian storm troup." The villagers gathered. France-Soir wrote:

"In the night, under the weak light of the municipal street lighting, the silhouette of odd beings took shape on a terrace."

The newspaper tells that whereas women of the country had their refuge within the church, men armed with shotguns, the finger on the trigger, formed two columns for an assault. "Fortunately, one did not neglect to make the legal summations."

"It was at this point in time that the owner whom one believed at the very least to have been tied up and muzzled, showed his head at the window, and very sleepy, asked what was wanted. In the general stupor, which soon changed into bursts of laughter, he explained why he had wrapped the chrysanthemums of his terrace to preserve them from the frost. The imagination of the children caused the rest, and everyone had followed."

[Ref. lg1] LOREN GROSS - UNKNOWN US NEWSPAPER:

Scan

November 2, 1954

French Have Epidemic Of Disks

By Priscilla Buckley

PARIS, (UP). -- A flying saucer epidemic has Frenchmen seeing men from Mars.

The other evening in the Lorraine village of Walscheid a terrified band of youngsters stampeded homeward to report that the men from Mars had landed in a villager's garden. Womenfolk dashed into the church, hoping for divine sanctuary.

The men grabbed scythes, clubs, and the few available guns and marched against the garden. There stood the invaders, half human size, heads glowing motionless.

Turned out they were big chrysanthemums the resident had covered with brilliant cloth against the frost.

When the big scale visitation from the outer reaches began, the flying saucer was the model. Since then, luminous cigars, frying pans, disks, melons and even bells have hurtled through the French skies in increasing numbers.

Within the week the villagers of Momy (Basses-Pyrenees) took to the fled with makeshift weapons to deal with a flying saucer freshly arrived. They found a hollow pumpkin with a candle burning inside.

Two nights earlier a farmer in the Bordeaux area stopped to repair his car on a lonely road, and narrowly missed death when a resident mistook him for a celestial invader and fired both barrels of his shotgun at him.

Ten days ago Gilbert Lelay told his parents at Chateaubriant that a little Martian stepped from a flying cigar and readily gave him permission to look at it, but warned him not to touch it.

Near Toulouse, a mechanic, Jean Marty, 43, informed police he saw an orange saucer land near his home. It soon zoomed away into the night, but Marty found two sheets of paper on the ground, covered with cryptic markings which none could deny could be Martian literature.

The weekly magazine express [L'Express] offered a reward of 10 million francs ($28.570) to the first person bringing a real live Martian to its offices.

The more scholarly newspaper Le monde, lamenting the rash of flying saucers, mourned in print for "the days of our well beloved sea serpent."

[Ref. lg2] LOREN GROSS:

Late October. Walschied [sic], France.

Hysteria.

Reporting on the French UFO wave, Nexus, editor James Moseley enjoyed publishing the following for his American readers:

"...the Lorraine village of Walschied was terrified by a report that men from Mars had landed in a villager's garden. Womanfolk dashed in to the church, hoping for divine sanctuary, while the men grabbed scythes, clubs, and guns, and proceeded to march against the garden. There stood the invaders, half human size, heads glowing, and motionless. It turned out that they were big chrysanthemums, the resident had covered with brilliant cloth against the frost." 208.

  • 208. Nexus. Tome 2 Book I. January 1955. Fort-Lee, N.J. ed.: James Moseley. p.4.

[Ref. mf3:] MICHEL FIGUET:

Scan

Scan

AGD840126.

Case of 10/18/1954 not listed by J.-C. Fumoux

TERROR IN WALSCHEID (MOSELLE)

A COMMANDO OF MARTIENS ASSAULTS THE VILLAGE: IT WAS CHRYSANTHEMA PACKED AGAINST THE FREEZING

Nancy, October 19 (from "France-Soir")

The village of Walscheid (Moselle) had yesterday a legitimate emotion when children taught the parishioners who came out of an evening mass that a Martian commando had taken position in the village. With caution, some men approached the house where, they said, these strange evening visitors grouped.

In the night, under the dim light of municipal lighting, the tall stature of the strange beings was clearly visible on a terrace. As the women fled back into the church, alert was given, the men, making weapons of all things, surrounded the house. The hunters were clutching fingers on the triggers.

As the besieged did not move, it was decided to dislodge them. It was arranged that two columns would give the assault. The bearers of hand weapons, skillfully protected by men armed with rifles, progressed by leaps and bounds, shaving the walls, according to the best war methods, and, at a good distance, the usual summons were issued.

The Martians did not even move what might have been their little finger. But the owner of the house, who was thought to be at least tied up and gagged, poked his head out of the window and, half asleep, asked what was wanted of him. At the general stupor that soon turned into bursts of laughter, he explained that he had swaddled the chrysanthemums from his terrace to preserve them from the frost. He had thus dressed them, the night once fallen, and no one had noticed it. The imagination of the children did the rest.

Ref. : France-Soir, (October 20, 1954).
(Comm. Alain Gamard).

[Ref. mf2:] MICHEL FIGUET:

This ufologist noted:

CASE Nr CLASSIFICATION DATE HOUR PLACE ZIP CODE CREDIBILITY SOURCE
94 CE3 .. 10 1954 nuit Walscheid 57 E confusion, F.G.

[Ref. mf1:] MICHEL FIGUET:

In an update to his Francat catalog, Michel Figuet indicates:

10.1954 Waldsheid Confusion with chrysanthemum protected against the frost.
LDLN N. 249-250 p. 22-23. France-Soir for 10/20/1954.

[Ref. rr1:] RAOUL ROBE:

Case # 21

In October 1954 in Walscheid (57)

This case of mistake is classical of the 54 flap. Alerted by children who claim to have seen "a commando of Martians", people of the village gather. Under the weak light of the municipal bulbs, the silhouette of weird beings takes shape on a terrace. Women of the country take refuge in the church, men arm themselves with shotguns, the finger on the trigger, and form two columns to start an assault. The summations made, the owner that one believed at the very least tied up, passes the head by the window, and very sleepily asks what one wants from him. He then reveals the identity of the Martians: chrysanthemums of his terrace which he packed to preserve them from the frost. (Ref.: E. Zurcher, p.1975; East-Républicain for 10/19/54).

[Ref. rr2] RAOUL ROBE - CNEGU:

Scan

Case nr16:

In October 1954, at Walscheid (57), alerted by children who claim to have seen "a commando of Martians", the villagers gather together. In the dim light of municipal lighting, the silhouette of strange beings is noted on a terrace. Local women go to church to take refuge, men arm themselves with hunting rifles; the finger on the trigger, and form two columns to give the assault. The summons made, the owner, who was thought to be at least tied up and gagged, throws his head out of the window, and all asleep demands what one wants with him. He then reveals the identity of the Martians; the chrysanthemums on his terrace which he has swaddled to preserve them from the frost.

Explanation: this is a classic of journalistic hoaxes of the time. To note, the strong resemblance with the previous case!

Sources: Est Républicain for 10/19/1954; M.Carrouges "Les apparitions de Martiens" page 162.163; E.Zurcher "les apparitions d'humanoïdes" (1979) page 175.

[Ref. rl1:] RENAUD LECLET - CNEGU:

Le quotidien de la Haute-Loire. Thursday 10/21/1954:

THE PSYCHOSIS OF THE SAUCERS: THE MARTIANS WERE ONLY CHRYSANTHEMUMS PACKED AGAINST THE COLD

An intense emotion seized the parishioners of Walscheid (the Moselle) when, at the exit of the evening mass, a group of children told them that a "commando of Martians" took position at a farm of the village. With thousand precautions, some men among the most courageous, left as scouts and indeed distinguished, on the terrace of the said farm, silhouettes as vague as suspicious, even worrying. A war briefing was held during which the manly elements of the population decided to go dislodge the aggressor. While the women took refuge in the church, the men gathered weapons which, though disparate, was not handled with less poise: sticks, forks, rifles, knives... In silence, using at the best the ground and its features, the attackers progressed, towards the Martians' positions and encircled them. No emotion appearing among the suspect silhouettes, the attack was decided. Two columns were formed and the carriers of non-shooting weapons progressed with caution under the protection of the hunters, fingers on the triggers.

WARNING IS GIVEN

At an adequate distance, summations were shouted. The Martians did not react. The summations were made again, more pressing, and soon a window opened, a man appeared. It was the owner of the place who, in a sleepy voice, asked: "What's going on? What are you doing there?" He was informed. He answered by an enormous burst of laughter, which was soon communicative to everyone... It was indeed explained that he had, at the fall of the night, wrapped the chrysanthemums on the terrace to preserve them from the frost. In fact, those were the suspicious silhouettes that had fired the imagination of the children.

[Ref. dc1:] DOMINIQUE CAUDRON:

In Walscheid (the Moselle), villagers armed so and so wanted to defeat a troop of "Martians"... and discovered inoffensive chrysanthemums.

[Ref. ub1:] "UFO-DATENBANK":

Case Nr. New case Nr. Investigator Date of observation Zip Place of observation Country of observation Hour of observation Classification Comments Identification
19541020 20.10.1954 Walscheid France CE III

Explanations:

If the story is true, it is a "negative case", that is to say that whereas witnesses thought they had a UFO experience for a time, they were soon able to realize by themselves that they have been mistaken.

But it is quite possible, as suggested by Raoul Robé, that the whole affair was an invention of the press - it would then have been ivneted "ridicule" the stories of "Martians" and "saucers", to "show", dishonestly, that the witnesses are wrong or at least can be wrong - which no one would dispute I think. Are there Walscheid elders who would remember such an incident, or did it never happen?

Keywords:

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

Walscheid, Moselle, confusion, hoax, invention, multiple, street light, night, children, martians, flowers

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross March 19, 2006 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross March 1, 2010 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version.
1.1 Patrick Gross August 19, 2010 Addition [rr1].
1.2 Patrick Gross November 25, 2016 Addition [lg1].
1.3 Patrick Gross December 7, 2016 Additions [er1], [gb2].
1.4 Patrick Gross December 14, 2016 Addition [lg2], [ub1].
1.5 Patrick Gross January 22, 2019 Additions [fs1], [mf3], [mf2], [rr2].
1.6 Patrick Gross February 8, 2019 Additions [rl1], Summary. Explanations changed, were "Confusion, dissipated by the witnesses on the spot."

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