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The Belgium flap:

The Jupille-sur-Meuse sighting, December 12, 1989:

A man in Jupille-sur-Meuse in Belgium who was sleeping in his bedroom in the night of December 12, 1989, woke up at 02:15 a.m. because of a dull, "throbbing" sound, which he initially thought could have been caused by a dysfunction of the heating system of the house.

He was curious as to the origin of the strange sound, grabbed a flashlight and went outside investigate. He quickly located the source of the sound: it was a large, oval-shaped craft, grey, very matt and not shining at all, hovering between trees along a nearby road.

Several small lights in a sort of carved strip along the object were flashing on and off and changing from blue to red color and back again. At one end of the object, there was a sort of hole at which a rudder or paddle-shaped device was attached, while the other end was more rounded. At that end of the object, there was a window of dark color looking like made of Plexiglas. On the bottom surface, there were three bumps in which were projectors that were off at this time of the sighting but were turned on later.

The witness later described the object as like something "out of one of the novels of Jules Verne."

As there was a bright moonlight, he could see along the surface of the object something like a logo formed of three ellipses crossing themselves, located right behind the Plexiglas-looking window.

The witness estimated that the size of the object was of approximately 20 meters, that he was at 80 meters away from it at the closest moment, and that it had something blurry or undefined about it although he was sure it was a real object.

After several minutes, the object took a little more height, then headed slowly in the direction of a neighbor's meadow. As the object made this move, it directed searchlight beams toward the ground, corresponding to the bumps the witness saw before. The object was then hidden by the neighbor's house, at one point shooting a shaft of light up into the sky. Then the sound and the lights were gone and there was nothing else to see or hear.

The witness was now very frightened, and fearing he was seeing something he was not supposed to see, he oddly decided to go back to bed.

He woke up a few hours later and called the gendarmerie, and they soon arrived in the company of army personal and local police officers. They found a gigantic circular impression in the meadow, where the grass had turned yellow and cut out in the middle part of the impression. However, the investigators searched for the cut grass in vain. The investigators cordoned off the area, collected ground and grass samples and took photographs of the trace.

The witness later reported that the investigators seemed curiously uninterested in what he had to say about his sighting, "as if they knew what it was all about."

An official report never surfaced since to my knowledge. Civilian ufologists of the SOBEPS learned that two other witnesses in the area heard the throbbing sound that night, and a local journalist said he did see an unusual light there that night but he did not go outside to find out what it was.

Wilfred de Brouwer, who was a Colonel and the chief of operations of the Belgian Air Force at this time, was interviewed by Jan Vanbrabant, a "skeptical" ufologist, who asked him during the interview about the explanation by balloons of Belgium flap sightings and mentioned this December 12, 1989, sighting, in this December 17, 1999, interview which was published in 2004:

Vanbrabant: "Several statements have been by people who saw some balloon-like construction above the triangles. On December 11, someone in Jupille-sur-Meuse has even said that he had seen a Zeppelin craft run against a tree and that an helicopter had come that evening, from the Army, to look at it. Do you know something about that?"

De Brouwer: "No, I am not informed about that. When something like this happened, which is possible, then maybe it happened as an action of helicopters, those used by the Army on their own initiative. I am not informed of that. And if an intervention has happened then that was outside my knowledge. When was that? Do you know the date?"

Vanbrabant: "December 11, Jupille-sur-Meuse."

De Brouwer: "I do not know it. I do not know the case. I had, however, heard about it. But, I cannot say anything myself about that because if an air force staff action had happened there, then I would have known about it. What happened or did not happen in that case, is now perhaps less important, but what was important, was that there are still other reports, different reports, where it can sometimes have been a balloon. That hypothesis has not been excluded. Certain sightings were possibly of a balloon, or were a balloon."

"Skeptic" Belgian ufologist Wim Van Utrecht later suggested that this sighting was that of a Zeppelin which was in difficulty, as indicated by the logo, the window, the noise and the projectors, adding that later on an helicopter circled the area.

"Skeptic" German ufologist Walter Werner later still wrote that while most sighting of the Belgium flap are explained as AWACS planes and balloons, this sighting must have been a lie by the witness because it was represented as an ancient Airship with external rudders on the sides and because the witness said it looked like the "Nautilus" from the Jules Vernes novel.


Not having enough information, all I can do is set up two lists of issue, one about the speculation that the object was a blimp and one about the speculation that the object was "a UFO" in the sense that it would be similar to other such UFOs as reported within the Belgium flap. Any reliable additional information on the case can be sent to me at

Problems with the blimp speculation:

Problems with the "UFO" speculation:

Many other questions exist without an answer. For example, how could the witness describe that the "paddle-like" device was attached to some hole from a 80 meters distance? How big was the logo? What design was it exactly? Was it of a lighter or darker color than the object's body? Was there any attempt at getting angular sizes? Was there a background that allowed a precise maximal distance of the object from the witness, and if so, was there any attempt to get the maximal size of the object as a background allows this?

None of these issues are convincingly fatal to the explanation either by a blimp or an alien spaceship; which explanations are both speculations that are not supported by readily available investigation or counter investigation reports. There is an obvious lack of information, in the information I could gather so far, thus I do not see how I could offer a definitive conclusion one way or the other.

Another explanation was put forth, by ufologist Renaud Leclet: it was a Sea King helicopter.

This explanation was announced on several discussion groups during years; it was said to be shown in a text by Renaud Leclet, never shown to this date. when asking to see this text, the answer was invariably that it cannot be shown yet because the death of Renaud Leclet left it unfinished, because it required additions by various authors who were working on it, because some wished that an English translation was published simultaneously to the French version.

In the same order of difficulties, I sent requests - perhaps wrongly directed - to get more information on the case, to ufologists of the "skeptics" side and to ufologists of the "proponent" side who would perhaps have more data on the case. The only answer was by one proponent ufologist who told me that he would look about that and let me know. But nothing surfaced.


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This page was last updated on April 8, 2008.