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UFOs in the daily Press:

The French 1954 flap in the Press:

The article below was published in the daily newspaper Le Nouveau Nord Maritime, France, page 2, September 16, 1954.


Are flying saucers
a manifestation of lightning?

Hamburg, 15. -- The eminent German astronomer Hans Haffner writes in the weekly "Die Zeit" that flying saucers, apart from hallucinations and aerial reflections, are balls of fire produced by lightning at high altitude. He says his theory fits with all of the flying saucer sightings reported so far.

"Let's put an end to the flying saucer psychosis," he writes. "Flying saucers are actually a natural phenomenon that occurs in the layer of air surrounding the earth."

Mr. Haffner, professor of astronomy at the University of Hamburg and head of section at the Hamburg-Bergedorf observatory, says that all of the flying saucers that have been seen so far can be classified into four groups:

1. Hallucinations, more common than it is generally believed.

2. Optical illusions, fooling even the lens of the camera. The alleged photographs of flying saucers are reflections often seen when taking photos against the light.

3. Weather balloons.

4. Unknown flying objects.

All the objects of the fourth category can be explained by what we know about the fireballs produced by lightning. This phenomenon rarely occurs, and we only have two or three photographs. The size, shape, speed, color, luminosity, lightness, electrical composition, and mode of dissolution of these fireballs are "remarkably similar" to the descriptions of flying saucers, Professor Haffner writes.

Fireballs often emit very bright rays of light, which again corresponds to the accounts of people who say they saw saucers. Likewise, fireballs can change shape and direction in less than a second, just like saucers. The changes in direction of the fireballs produced by lightning are easily explained by the influence of magnetic fields and by the faster cooling of one side of the ball. Finally, the fireballs always disintegrate suddenly, sometimes silently, sometimes with a loud detonation.


The three "apparitions" of the Amiens region, of Quarouble and of Bugeat, reopened the flying saucers file. And the Air police resumed their investigation.

Officers went to Quarouble and looked closely at where Mr. Dewilde claims to have seen the suspicious craft on Friday evening. They noted on the ballast, contrary to what had been first said, traces may have been left by a craft; which of course remains to be identified.

On the other hand, several witnesses stated that they saw, on the evening of the "landing", a luminous object moving in the sky.

This information should be compared to the testimonies collected both in the Amiens region and in Limousin. People also claim to have seen a luminous object at the time when the "flying saucers", seen respectively by two Picardy masons and by a Bugeat cultivator, took off.

The investigation continues.

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