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UFOs in the daily Press:

The ball in the sky of Metz, France, 1954:

The article below was published in the daily newspaper France-Soir, Paris, France, le 14 octobre 1954.

Case file here.


The military governor of Metz studies the report by Commander Cottel who saw a luminous device caught in the beam of a searchlight

(From our special envoy Henri PIGNOLET)

METZ, October 13 (by phone).

The military governor of Metz, General Navereau, commanding the 6th region, is awaiting this morning the report of Captain Cottel, specialist of the anti-aircraft ground forces, about the presence last Sunday in the sky of the city of a mysterious craft which during three hours remained in the evening in the beam of a powerful army projector.

This report, we can imagine with what words and what prudence the commander of the F.T.A.A. [A.A.] crafted it. Commander Cottel ran the radar station installed at the army stand at the Metz trade fair which has just closed. The station had a powerful spotlight which, during the whole fair, swept the sky of the city. A dozen men were around the device when, on Sunday evening, the beam of light suddenly stopped on a motionless globe in the sky, "glittering," said the commander, "like a Christmas tree ball."

The beam was vertical. The "thing" seemed to be at 16,000 meters. That is what connoisseurs say. There was no panic, it must be said.

"It's a balloon," said one of the servants of the projector.

- Impossible, "that" must be fifty meters in diameter.

Everyone agreed.

But then?

The radar had not caught anything

Then, as they did not want to believe in flying saucers, it was decided to clean the mirrors and even to change the coals of the projector. When it was turned on again, the ball was still there.

The curious, who had gathered around the searchlight, also saw "the Christmas tree ball". They saw it until, at about ten o'clock, they resigned themselves to turning the projector off. Besides, they were not alone, since the inhabitants of the Faubourg de Sablon were to report the phenomenon the next day.

The radar, however, whose beam had ceaselessly swept through space, had caught nothing.

- The "thing", explained a technician, is not metallic. It is not detectable by radar.

The day before yesterday, the fair of Metz, which had received more than 800,000 visitors, closed its doors. No more searchlight, no more radar set, no mysterious sphere. All that remained was the testimony of some fifteen people, the servants of the projector, an officer in the geographical service of the army and Commander Cottel, whose report, which was expected at the palace of the military governor, with the impatience ... and the curiosity that one guesses, will record this episoode of the history of the flying saucers.

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