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Post-Arnold early UFO occupants reports in France

Please note:

Any additional information on these reports or additional reports is appreciated.

Near Rouen, July 1947, a gray oval UFO and two small beings:

For France, as far as I can find out, the closest to Arnold's sighting of June 24, 1947, might be in the first two weeks of July 1947.

The report was collected late, on May 30, 1972, by one M.B. Delabroye in Rouen and published in "Phenomènes inconnus" #4 of 1972. It was later mentioned in Garreau and Lavier's book "Face aux Extraterrestres" in 1975 (pp 85-86) and in "OVNI le premier dossier des rencontres rapprochées en France" by Figuet and Ruchon in 1979 (pp 50-51).

The reporter is said to be a woman, Mrs. S., who remained anonymous, aged 57, who saw an object already posed on the road at 2 km from Amfreville la mi-Voie, on the road to Rouen parallel to the river Seine.

The object was said to be within 100 meters of her, of oval shape, gray color with no crutches or landing gear, with some kind of circular aperture slightly at its back relative to the center. The size of the object was estimated to be of 1 to 2 meters in height.

Near that object, the woman said she had seen two beings of probably not more than 1 meter in height, who seemed busy at something but the woman did not understand what they were doing.

The woman was on her bicycle and approached the place, and when she was at one hundred meters she went down the bicycle and rang the bicycle's bell.

The two beings turned around as if they saw her then. They immediately rush to the object and got in by the aperture. The object took off silently and vertically up to a hundred meters in altitude, remains motionless for a while, while oscillating, and then went away fast ("à grande vitesse") taking the direction of the south-east.

While Figuet and Ruchon provide a digest of the report, Garreau and Lavier partially quote Mrs. S. saying:

"While arriving at a hundred meters of this thing, I stopped, and I rung my bicycle's bell. The two little beings stood up again, saw me. They rushed into their craft. The craft rose vertically up to some hundred meters. It immobilized while oscillating for a few seconds, then went away at fast speed."

The Alain Bérard story, February 17, 1949:

The case first appeared as a brief paragraph in French ufologist Jacques Vallée's catalog of UFO landings.

Vallée provides sparse information:


Feb. 17, 1949 - night - France (exact location unknown).

Alain Berard saw a large, bright object land near his farm with a green lightning flash. It became dark. As he approached the craft, the witness saw three figures with stocky short legs, apparently without heads. Frightened, he fired at them three times. A moment later the object took off vertically. (Oltre il Cielo, Vol. I)

In a French version of the same catalogue, the source is indicated as "Oltre it Cielo, Missili e Razzi, vol I, p. 445." This is an Italian magazine, that proposed a patchwork of science fiction and rather technical articles on the aerospace one and apparently articles on UFOs.

Jacques Vallée lists another case with this same source, it seems thus probable to me that the magazine is not the primary source and had published a general article with some UFO reports.

A ufologist in the search of early post-Arnoldian cases noted on this matter that the Italian ufologists could not find an issue of this magazine in which this story appeared, and adds that the magazine had begun its publication in 1967.

But an Italian website on the topic of science fiction magazines (www.sfquadrant.com/Edizioni%20SF/edital.htm "the principali collane E rivist di fantascienza italiane in processes cronologico: 1952 - 1959") indicate that the magazine started in September 1957 not 1967, that there were 155 issue sat variable intervals: 5 times per annum until number 136, monthly magazine and bi-monthly from 137 to 154 (February 1970) and a final number 155 published in September 1975. Another source (www.delos.fantascienza.com/delos59/numeri-1.html) also states that the magazine begun in September 1957. When I asked, the Italian ufologist confirmed that is started in 1957, that it was published twice a month in the beginning, and that although it was not a line by line search, the Berard story was not found. He also informed that there was a French edition of that magazine.

Then, diligent and erudites ufologists made a search for original sources of this case, and what follows was found.

The original source (quoted by Vallée)

The refernce indicated by Vallée was not correct. Issue No. 1 of "Oltro il Cielo" was dated "16 Sept. - 30 Sept. 1957". The first volume comprised the first 20 issues (up to "1 to 15 July 1958"), each of them having 28 pages, and keeping page numbering going on, so that that July 1958 issue No. 20 closed the Vol. 1 with page 560. The page 445 alleged by Vallée was in issue No. 16 (1-15 May 1958), and there was the regular UFO column by Rome ufologist Marcello Galassia (pseudonym of a famous musician), but there was no mention of the Alain Berard story. It was in an earlier issue.

The first source for that alleged sighting was an article by Peter Kolosimo published in "Oltre il Cielo" issue No. 16, 16-31 March 1958, pp. 355-356, whose full text is:

There is, for example, the story of French peasant Alain Berard, who was completely unaware of flying saucers or cigars and who saw, on the night of 17 February 1949, a "large object" landing not far from his farm "with a flash of green fire illuminating the whole sky". Berard, who was at his bedroom window, did not wake his wife but took his rifle and descended into the courtyard and moved toward the "thing" fallen in the middle of his property.

"When I [it] passed over the few trees in the bottom of the courtyard - he later claimed - I saw a large, dark mass from which three figures moved toward me. I got very amazed because those beings, though moving upon short and stocky legs, HAD NO HEAD. While I tried to keep my blood cold, I pointed my rifle and shot three shots. The horrible figures remained still for a moment, then disappeared, mingling into the darkness of that giant black object, which a moment later took off, disappearing with another blinding green flame".

These were the literal claims by Alain Berard. As fantastic as they sound, it is not to be forgotten that several similar events have been recorded, especially in the last years, and reported by the press with a lot of details.

Peter Kolosimo indicated absolutely no source, he was used to that, and my erudite ufologist correspondant reminds that for that reason he was once called "dictator of the unverifiable".

Kolosimo republished the same story in his 1966 book "I prigionieri delle stelle" (Prisoners of the stars) on mysterious disappearances). Kolosmo also makes a summary of the case shorter than Vallée in his book "Ombre sulle stelle" (Shadow on the stars) at page 366 of the 1970 edition and page 358 of its 1966 edition.

Another erudite ufologist then indicated that the article was also published in the French translation of "Oltre il Cielo", "Au-delà du Ciel", vol. 1, #4, 1 - 15 May 1958, pp. 93-94 and 96 with the title: "Les prisonniers des étoiles" (Prisoners of the stars). The French version he provided is identical to the Italian version.

Micheline G., Cours-les-Barres, May 20, 1950

The first publication about this case goes back to 1966, by ufologist and journalist Charles Garreau, in the ufology magazine "Lumières Dans la Nuit" #86.

In his 1971 book "Soucoupes Volantes - 25 ans d'enquête" (Flying saucers - 25 years of investigation), pp 105-109, Charles Garreau recalls the case, which is also catalogued and summarized by Michel Figuet and Jean-Louis Ruchon in their bulky "OVNI: premier dossier des rencontres rapprochées en France" (UFO: the first file on close encounters in France), pp 52-53.

Charles Garreau received a letter by a woman, Micheline G. (he keeps her identity secret), who wrote to him:

It was on May 20, 1950, a date that I will never forget. In the afternoon, I had left the house of my parents to go shopping in Fourchambault. I walked on the way of the lifting which skirts river Loire. All was calm and quiet. There was not a bit of air [means: no wind].

Suddenly, there was like a big breath, a violent swirl, like a stormy wind, which made me shiver and gaveme the goosepops. I heard like a wild howl, high pitched, which did not resemble any known noise. I saw the top of the trees lie down, branches being agitated with violence, as well as the grasses. That did not last a long time. I then felt an unpleasant taste in the air. A bitter, acid, unknown taste. Then all went back to normal and quitness returned.

That had passed above my head, but I did not see anything. I resumed walking. While arriving at the height of a thicket of acacias, I was dazzled by a sort of very white light, brilliant like a magnesium flash. And suddenly, I saw appearing in front of my eyes two large hands, with long fingers, with bronzed or coppered reflections. They were like roughly sculpted with a knife. These hands descended towards me, as if they had been hovering above my head. With horror, I felt them to apply to my face, to slip to my neck which they tightened. I felt the contact of a very cold and very smooth "skin". These hands very harshly attracted my head backwards. I felt an extremely hard and cold chest like of iron, as if my attacker had a very hard carapace in a cold material.

I found myself all liying on the ground. I was dying of fear. My attacker started to draw me by the head while running behind on the way, in direction of a small meadow. He tightened my head so hard which I thought he was going to tear it off me. I had never believed to have such a resisting head! I was convinced that I was going to die. I was numb, without any reaction.

Then, instinctively, I said a prayer. Almost immediately, the horrible fingers slackened their pressure. The hands released my head. They vanished above me, in the same way that they had appeared to me. I heard on my left, in the brush, a gentle noise, like the crumpling of a body which crawls. I looked, in spite of my fear. I expected to see somebody, or an animal. I then had an incredible surprise: there was nobody, but I very clearly saw grasses and the nettles to lie down as under the steps of somebody who would have pressed them with the feet. I also saw very clearly the brambles and the acacias branches to be agitated and deviate, like letting pass a body, then to be closed again. I cannot express to you what I felt at this time. It was not an ordinary fear, but an indescribable fear in front of the unfathomable... I believed that I lost my reason or that I was in a nightmare, of which I was going to wake up. I felt a knot in my stomach. Finally, I succeeded in trailing myself out of the coppice and returning on the way, still so deserted. I had only one idea: to flee and find help. I could not run in the state where I was. I felt a kind of numbness, of destruction. I had been strongly commotioned, as when getting an electric discharge. That had already happened to me with my domestic iron.

I must have been walking like a drunk. I moved towards the maisonnette of the lockkeepers of Givry, which I keow for a very long time. At the time when I crossed the way, there was again a big breath, a strong tearing of the air. I was shaken of a bif shiver. I saw the top of the trees curve again. The air volume displacement wo such that I almost fell. I then very clearly had the impression that something huge passed at a very high speed above me. But I could not see anything, for I was dazzled by a very brilliant white gleam and I instinctively put an arm in front of my eyes. I felt at the same time like an electrical current in my body, and like a brief paralysis. The air was again filled of an unpleasant and indefinable odor. It was very brief. Quietness came back at once.

When I arrived at the door of the lockkeepers, a few seconds later, they panicked by seeing my state: I was bleeding, stupefied. I had violent colics, and felt like I needed to vomit. I could hardly speak. With difficulty, I told them of my aggression.

"You still have the prints of the fingers encrusted in the throat", noticed the lockkeeper.

He told me that they also, although being inside their house, had been dazzled by a great white gleam, little before my arrival.

They comforted me. I could, one hour later, leave them to return home. I was tempted to go to the gendarmerie of Fourchambault to tell what had happened to me. But I was afraid to speak about this fantastic aggression to the gendarmes. A sort of fear or prudency prevented me to do it. I thought that they would laugh and would make fun of me. But, in the evening, when my brother came home, and that he learned of my adventure, he alerted the gendarmes. They came almost immediately. As I feared, they started by making fun of me. Then, discovering my multiple bruises, they softened on me. They asked me to lead them on the premises. I did it, in spite of my extreme weakness. They found the place in the state I had described to them. But they discovered moreover, in the small meadow where my attacker had tried to trail me, a site where the grass had been like crushed and pressed, with dark traces here and there. By place, the grass was still burned and smoked. Stakes of fence were also burned and blackened, as well as the acacias, some of its branches were broken.

In the days that followed, the gendarmes of Guetin came to question me in their turn. I had to tell again what had occurred.

During more than a week, I had the skin of the face like cooked, burning as if I had a sunstroke. Then it became red, with small buttons, like urticaria. That did not last a long time. My skin started to peel, forming kinds of scabs. All that ultimately ws over. At the end of three weeks, my face had its normal aspect again.

At the village, I was calumniated, humiliated, scoffed. I had a nervous breakdown because of that...

The incident took place near the river Loire at the Givry locality, near Course-les-Barres, in the department of the Cher, close to the city of Fourchambault.

Charles Garreau, because of the simple style and the sincerity he saw in the letter, went to see Micheline G., a country woman who lived with her father, in a small house on the edges of the Loire. She was in her fifties then. He lengthily interviewed her "without needing to make her specify some of the details." He found that she had a vivid memory of the experience. He went with her on the premises and she reenacted the various moments for him, still with anguish in her eyes when she evoked these moments of terror. She said she had not blieved in flying saucers before the encounter, and had not even heard of flying saucers, which in the country in France in 1950 is plausible.

She ensured him that she could never forget this experience, that she often thought about it, wondering why she was suddenly released, explaining that she suspects that it is because her attacker might have believed he killed her and thus lost interest.

Des habitants du village qu'il a rencontré l'ont assuré que Micheline G. est une personne très simple, estimée, travailleuse, et incapable d'inventer une telle histoire (ce qui suggère que des habitants du village sont au courant et pourraient encore l'être aujourd'hui).

Charles Garreau says that residents of the village he met told him that Micheline G. is a very simple person, estimated, hard-working, and unable to invent such a story (which is at odds with the reported scoffing and which suggests that there still may be informed residents today at the village).

Garreau indicates that he visited the gendarmes of Fourchambault, and saw their official report of the hearing of Micheline G. at the time of the occurrence, an item that could make it possible to establish whether the story is really backdated or not, were such official documents accessible in France - they are not.

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