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UFOs in the daily Press:

Photographic hoax in France, 1954:

The article below was published in the daily newspaper L'Est Républicain, France, page 1, on November 2, 1954.

See the case file of this photographic hoax.

The puzzling documents of Jean Gérault

For the first time a photographer says he operated close to a "saucer"

If every day brings dozens of testimonies of the existence of flying saucers, it must be admitted that nothing tangible had hitherto furnished a more concrete proof of their presence.

The few photographic documents that we owned were far too nebulous, too much imperfect, if not questionable, to give a real idea of the conformation of the mysterious gear. That is why we do not think we exaggerate by claiming that the narrative below and the three shots of a saucer that we present opposite, constitute, especially in the photographic level, the most important documents in the world, now part of the huge file of the "saucers".

This narrative and these sensational views, we owe them to a young photographer of the Lorraine, Jean Gérault, aged 23 years.

He did not suspect that he was preparing to live, in the North of the Lorraine, the most moving minutes of his life.

The appointment of Saturday evening ...

It was Saturday, October 23, that destiny was going to put Jean Gérault in the presence of a flying saucer.

That day, around 8:15 p.m., as he does every Thursday and every Saturday, Jean was walking in front of the Cinema Eden, in the center of Sarreguemines. He was waiting for two comrades with whom he had agreed to go and spend the evening.

Tired of waiting, he set out on foot in the darkness of October, under the cloudy sky, towards Welferding. A disappointment awaited him. There was indeed a party, but at Ippling, beyond Welferding. Jean Gérault realized that he just had to go back to his lodger, Mr. Léon Bour, 20 rue Alexandre Geiger.

A bright light in the distance

Exceeding the last houses of the locality, on the road to Forbach, in the direction of Saint-Avold took a few more steps.

And he was about to return when, in the distance, on the road, it seemed to him, Jean saw a bright orange hue, which intrigued him. It was as if a parked vehicle was calling for attention by eaving a single powerful headlight on.

The power of this headlight was astonishing...

"People may have started a fire," he thought. Moving on the road that crosses a basin in these places, Jean Gérault walked towards the light. He was perhaps at one kilometer away. He was still two or three hundred yards away from it when he had a stroke of the body. He had just realized that the luminous focus emanated not from the unusual beacon of a vehicle, but from a dome of which he already clearly guessed the outlines, and that irradiated a mass that the dome dominated with metallic reflections. He observed at the same moment that the unknown device Was not on the road, but a little apart, in the neighboring meadows.

Instinctively, he looked around him. But no one stirred in the dim light.

Like a plate turned upside down

Then he ventured, flowing from tree to tree, along the road, driven by a curiosity which, in him, disputed with terror.

He now saw the saucer very well. For it was a saucer, of the most calssical shape, that which is compared a little to a hollow plate turned over.

Thus, the heart beating and the breath short, half crawling in the ditch that borders the road, standing up behind each tree, he succeeded in concealing himself behind a trunk, at about a dozen meters from the craft.

The latter stood motionless, one meter or one meter fifty in height, above the neighboring meadow. It was not posed on anything, but emitted a slight purr, like that of an electric motor in operation.

The lower part, with metal polish, was limited, on the outside, by a kind of quite thin strip, metallic too, at least in appearance.

The upper part was a semi-cylindrical cupola made of a material similar to frosted glass.

A strong antenna, fixed to the lower part, stood quite clearly above the whole. The entire interior of the dome was illuminated, and in some places the rays marked the "frosted glass" areas, as if several light sources had projected their beams from the inside to the outside. Because of the consistency of what was inside.

Four shots

In the pocket of his gabardine there was a small camera. Trembling as he was, Jean Gérault did not want to miss the exceptional opportunity offered to him. "Twelve meters from the saucer, trembling from head to foot, I took like this two pictures... And then the camera fell from my hands. I bent down to pick it up, I took two other shots still, always in pose, and then, without asking for more, bent as much as I could in the ditch, I fled back to sixty meters of the craft."

Departure obliquely

"I do not know why, but it was from that moment that I realized even more the fear that was in me."

"Behind another tree, I then looked at the saucer a little better than I had done when I was photographing it." It is in these terms that Jean Gérault tells us the most dramatic episode that he lived on this Saturday evening.

A minute perhaps after his return, without anything special, except that the intensity of its light had announced its departure, Jean suddenly saw the saucer rise obliquely towards the sky, pass very quickly over the neighboring groves, and disappear, far before him in the low clouds.

"I did not reveal anything"

Still shaken by chills, wondering if he had really dreamed, the young man went back to Welferding and Sarreguemines. The road was deserted. No other witnesses had attended the phenomenon.

"I went for a glass of white wine in a cafe, to recover a bit of my emotions. Then I went back to bed. It could have been midnight and a half. A comrade who lives with me, besides, saw me arrive.

"I revealed nothing that happened to my comrade and nothing to the others of my entourage. I was afraid that I would not be taken seriously. And since I had to go to Vézelise the following Saturday, I thought it was better to wait for my father to develop my film." In the days that followed, Jean received no news suggesting that there had been other witnesses of the passage of the saucer. From Welferding, it is true, one can scarcely see what is happening in the bowl where the craft landed.

Until midnight...

Saturday, October 30, evening, in their laboratory, Mr. Henri Gérault and his son worked until midnight to the development of the film and the printing of the photographs came yesterday. They were coming back from Stenay.

And it is in the offices of our central editorial office in Nancy that Jean Gérault, a young man of sympathetic and serious looks told us the unordinary story that we just delivered to our readers.

Between skepticism and astonishment

It is not for us to judge. We have just given the fact with objectivity which, without doubt, will motivate an investigation. This investigation will be followed and we will give conclusions to Mr. Gérault, it is certain that we are divided, throughout his narrative, between skepticism, doubt, and astonishment.

The opinion of an aviation specialist

Lieutenant-Colonel Leroy, vice-president of the Aero Club de l'Est, to whom we submitted yesterday evening, the documents we published on the front page told us:

"The documents I have just been submitted to are impressive." I had known until now of only one serious photographic document: one that was taken in the United States, already a few years ago. It was an overall photograph of a craft in the air. At the sight of the American document one evokes the possibility of luminous phenomena due to the lens systems, encountered often in the sky. Whereas the photo presented here has many material aspects more precise and more concrete. We remain perplexed in front of the photos that one just put under my eyes, whose details can hardly be the effects of optical illusions. If it is a trick, this trick, in itself, already, would be a tour de force.

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