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UFOs in the daily Press:

The 1954 French flap in the Press:

The article below was published in the daily newspaper La Voix du Nord, Nord - Pas-de-Calais, France, page 3, October 6, 1954.

See the case file.


taking off!

And the manufacturer himself has revealed his secrets to us
old like kid's fun

(From our special envoy Jean HAUTEFEUILLE)

With anxiety, we scan the sky.

If it continues to rain like this on the garden of Mr. Victor d'Oliveira we will not be able to send away the "flying saucer". We are more precisely at the home of Mr. d'Oliveira's daughter in Beuvry-lez-Béthune, sheltered in a shed where Victor d'Oliveira, a happy retired mine worker, spends a lot of time and pleasure making curious machines also known as "Montgolfier."

But well, while waiting for the rain to stop, would Mr. d'Oliveira introduce us to the secrets of his activity?

You will know everything
about the flying saucers

- "It's very simple. I take large sheets of light paper, like tissue paper. I cut them in the shape of a diamond, I stick them in such a way that they can have, when swollen, the shape of a balloon. Here is one of these hot air balloons. It is three feet tall, but you know, I've made some that were six to seven meters high. Anyway, this one is ready. I'm hanging it on a beam, like this, by a piece of wire and I install below, an earthenware flowers pot in which I burn pieces of paper.

The hot air enters my paper bag through the hole I reserved and here is my inflated balloon. But, for it to fly away, it is necessary to renew the supply of hot air. So I combined an asbestos torch that I can hang in the opening of the balloon. I soak it in petroleum, I set it on fire and presto! As long as the torch is burning the balloon remains in the air."

- "How long have you been enjoying this little game?"

- "Since my youth, Sir, that I spent in Portugal. I then helped a fireworks man who made a lot of fireworks for the festivals. I always continued for my personal pleasure. I made thousands of them. Before the war, in Beuvry, the departure of my balloon was even part of the festivities of July 14. Especially in the evening, it's very pretty. The effect of updrafts it can suddenly rise vertically.

- "It never goes very far. Five or six kilometers, as far as Sailly-Labourse for example, it's a nice average. One day anyway, on July 14 precisely, we put a postcard in the envelope (of the balloon). It came back to us from Isbergues, which is 16 kilometers. This is the record."

- "But, isn't this hearth you are sending up in the air dangerous?

- "Not at all. Either there is wind and the paper burns in my hands, just when taking off, or else there is none and it rises. When it falls the fuel supply has run out. The fire is dead."

As it is no longer raining, we insist on witnessing the flight of Mr. d'Oliveira's "saucer."

A retiree's amusement

- "It is too windy, it will not take off. To please you, I will try."

Mr. Oliveira knows his stuff well. The "saucer" did take off before our eyes, but almost immediately a gust of wind set fire to the paper. It has only flown about twenty meters.!

However, Mr. d'Oliveira is the source of strong emotions in the region of Bethune. A few days ago, a mysterious "flying saucer" was seen at Sailly-Labourse. An equally mysterious envelope - marked by fire - was found near a haystack. Mr. Fougnies, country guard, informed the police who retrieved the debris from Mr. Monvoisin's meadow.

Mr. d'Oliveira has perfectly recognized his work.

But no one takes this fun tragically. We believe the retiree when he assures that there is no danger and it is even very possible that we one will ot hold against him the only admissible offense: making a fire within 100 meters of a house.

Is this the origin of mysterious craft?

Perhaps even, we should be grateful to him to finally bring a clear, simple and scientific explanation to the presence in our sky of curious craft.

Because there is no doubt that Mr. d'Oliveira is not the only one who knows the secret of making paper hot air balloons.

Two months ago, for example, in Essars, a "flying saucer rally" was organized. On the occasion of the ducasse, the mayor himself set fire to the wick. The first to arrive at the drop-off point earned 500 fr.

Perhaps one could simply wonder if Mr. d'Oliveira has not taken advantage of the strange rumours of the times to redouble activity?

We don't even believe it. Because this man, who plays flying saucers like others make rock collections, very sincerely confesses: "I do not choose by the days. I choose the weather."

That's right, during the last experience, he had answered the call of weather.

And sighing:

- "It's so beautiful. Sometimes it rises so high that you lose sight of it. And in the evening, with very thin and colored paper, it makes a ball of fire that takes on splendid nuances."

Well, well...

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