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UFOs in the Press:

The 1954 saucer flap in the daily Press:

The article below was published in the daily newspaper The Marion Star, Marion, Ohio, USA, on page 34, on October 28, 1954.

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Men From Mars All Over

Flying Saucer Reports Sweep France

By CROSBY S. Noyes

PARIS (NANA) -- Readers of the classified-ad columns of the Brest Telegram blinked recently at the following notice:

Reward - Offer of 10 milions francs ($28.000) to anyone who brings me a live inhabitant of the planet Mars. Contact Pre at Locronan (Finistere).

It may be that M. Pre has his tongue in his cheek and a good deal less than 10,00,000 francs in his pocket. But considering what is going on in Europe these days, you never know...

Cedric Allingham, in his interest had been more mercenary cleaned up. Allingham is a Scots. He is also a professional ornithologist and an amateur astronomer. His big chance came last Feb. 18, about 3:30 p.m., in the course of a stroll between Lossiemouth and Buckle in Scotland. The flying saucer landed on the heath only a few yards away.

"A magnificent machine," Allingham reported later. "About 50 feet wide and 20 feet high. Made of metal, shinier than aluminum. As I walked over, a trap in the lower part opened and a man jumped out gracefully. I waved at him and he waved back. Then we just sort of stared at each other for a while.

"We both looked pretty much alike - about 5 feet 8 inches, around the same age (32), short, dark hair. Clothes, of course, were quite different. He had on a sort of tunic covering him completely to the neck, leaving only his hands free. One thing especially caught my attention: his nose, or rather two small tubes which emerged from his nostrils, connected by a metal bar no thicker than a match.

- * -

THINKING FAST, Allingham decided that his responsibility both as a scientist and an earthling required him to take the conversation initiative. By way of an obvious opening gambit, he pointed a questioning finger toward the sky.

"The man nodded affirmatively and smiled," Allingham related. "He had a charming smile. I said 'Mars' and he repeated 'Mars' in a voice which can't be described but could be compared to the sound of spring water."

After this promising beginning, the conversation lagged. Further questions produced little in the way of new information about life on Mars or the working of flying saucers. It was established, however, that the Martians had also made trips to Venus and had landed on the moon. Finally, the Martian, who showed an astonishing lack of curiosity about Allingham, decided it was time to leave.

- * -

BEFORE GOING, however, he agreed to a few snapshots of himself and his machine. Unfortunately, for all his knowledge of bird lore, astronomy and interplanetary small talk, Mr. Allingham turned out to be no great shakes as a photographer. His developed film showed only the blurred but surprisingly human-looking back of the retreating space traveler. The picture of the saucer has all the definition of a badly poached egg.

Although Allingham has written a book about his experience and stood the best chance of earning Mr. Pre's reward, he has no corner on the Martian market. Within recent weeks, European newspapers have been flooded with scores of hardly less intriguing reports.

On the night of Sept. 10, near Quarouble in northern France, an oblong machine about 10 feet long landed on a railroad track a few yards from the house of a farmer Marius Dewilde. Two small man-like creature emerged, dressed in costumes that looked like divers' suits. As M. Dewilde walked toward the machine, he was paralyzed by a green light. By the time he recovered, the machine was high in the sky. Further investigation showed symmetrical scrapes on the wooden railroad ties, suggesting that the object had rested on a tripod undercarriage.

The same evening a farmer named Antoine Mazaud of the plateau of Millevaches in southern France turned in a similar report to the local authorities. Walking home, Mazaud had found himself suddenly face to face with a small, mysterious stranger, wearing something that looked like a crash helmet. Farmer Mazaud prudently extended his pitchfork. The stranger, on the contrary, held out his hand in a gesture of friendship, walked up, uttered a few sounds and kissed Mazaud on the cheek. Before the farmer could recover his poise, the amiable intruder had climbed the roadside hedge and entered a cigar-shaped contraption which took off with a faint buzzing sound.

- * -

ON SEPT. 24 at 10 a.m. in the Gardunha mountains near the Spanish border, three Portuguese peasants were startled by a fast-flying sphere which landed in a field 200 yards from them. This time, two tall creatures emerged in shiny metallic outfits and started collecting grass and stones in a brightly polished box. Spotting the peasants, they strolled over and invited the men by gestures to climb into their machine, where moving shadows could be seen behind the semitransparent center section. When the offer was declined, the strangers disappeared through a hatch. A few seconds later, the sphere took off vertically and rapidly disappeared.

On Oct. 8 at 7:15 a.m., a roadmender named Gustave Narcy was bicycling to work near Wassy, a Paris suburb, when he noticed an unusual looking creature climbing out of a 30-foot cigar. Narcy's description was very precise. The stranger was 3 feet 11 inches tall. His body was covered with hair. He was wearing a large orange corset and a helmet made of plush. A moment of mutual staring ensued after which Narcy said good-morning. The stranger apparently unreassured, scrambled back into his fuselage and flew away. An investigation on the spot revealed skid-marks on the grass and a strange milky substance.

- * -

REPORTS LIKE these are run-of-the mill, chosen at random from literally gundreds of similar incidents that have been brought to the public attention within the last two weeks. The stories have an interesting mixture of variety and consistency. The flying whatnots are always luminous by day or night. They are described as saucers, mushrooms, cigars, barrels, bananas, spheres and chamber pots. The pilots vary in size as well as wardrobe, ranging from dwarfs to giants. In all cases, the visitors have been pictured as mannerly but timid. In several cases the use of harmless weapons has been reported - in several others the intruders have shown an interest in collecting vegetable and mineral specimen near at hand.

The scientists have come up with plenty of explanations. A report from Russia that the past summer has been unusually hot on Mars has led to the journalistic deduction that the Martians are coming over for a breath of fresh air. The summer in western Europe has been anything but hot. In Africa, the vice president of the astronomic association of Nairobi suggests that Mars is conducting a geographic survey of the earth concentrated presently on Europe and Africa. The politicians are also getting nto the act: in France, Jean Nocher, Gaullist deputy from the Loire district, has formally demanded an investigation by the Secretary for Air.

All of which, probably, proves very little. Except that people in Europe today have more serious things to worry about than rearming the Germans. And that if M. Pre of Locronan is daft, he has, at least, plenty of company.

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