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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 Nord-Eclair, Roubaix, Nord, France, pages 1 and 2, on October 15, 1954.

See the case file.


Was the Lys "saucer"
the work
of a prenkster?


A worker from Pecq (B.) discovered
in a field a craft formed by
balloons and an illuminated hot air balloon

Is it the "flying saucer"
seen by Lys residents on Sunday?

It was last Sunday, in the evening... a certain number of people were gathered in the room of the cafe run by Mr. Fernand Risselin, 139, rue du Colisée, in Lys-lez-Lannoy. What were these people talking about? "Martians", you bet, lights in the night, mysterious craft, atmospheric phenomena.

Suddenly, around 8:15 p.m., a man hurriedly entered the cafe, shouting:

- Come see, a flying saucer!

Thirty consumers rushed outside and attended an unusual display. In the sky, an orange ball coming from the direction of Lille and moving towards Leers-Nord (B.) swelled gradually to diminish then progressively in its celestial course.

The phenomenon - according to the concordant statements of several people - lasted several minutes.

This could not have been a collective hallucination. Many people saw - with their own eyes saw - the mysterious appearance. The fact was undeniable: a flying saucer had passed by there...

The next morning, early in the morning, young Robert Helveinstein, who lives on avenue des Combattants, in Pecq (B.), went to work at the waters Service, in Estaimbourg, where he is a storekeeper.

The young man's attention was drawn to an unusual, bulky object, which seemed to hover in the fields, level with the ground.

- Oh, a flying saucer!

Intrigued the young man approached and found at his feet a strange aerostat, if however one can give this name to a motley assembly of strings and balloons. The body of the craft consisted of a kind of hot air balloon, made with wallpaper. Inside the sphere a dry battery was placed, powering three small light bulbs, used for lighting bicycles. And to lift it all, a crowd of balloons had been hung all around, some of which, in the shape of little men, bore the mark of a large shoe factory: PAPILLON-BONTE, 167, rue de Lannoy, in Roubaix.

Presumably the craft had held the air all night. The light bulbs still glistened weakly and as the balloons became flaccid, they only supported the whole with difficulty, and only succeeded in making it make small leaps close to the ground.

- That's it, a flying saucer! said the young man, disappointed.

He picked up the craft, distributed the balloons to the kids on the way, and threw what was left of the plane into a corner of the Estaimbourg water department.

So ended, pitifully, what could have been the "flying saucer" of Lys-lez-Lannoy...

This "saucer!" is certainly the work of a prankster who wanted to play a good trick on his fellow citizens.

Obviously, it is not absolutely proven that this "saucer" is the one that aroused the curiosity of many Lys residents on Sunday evening. But the thing is likely. We even understand that the said joker dropped two identical aerostats. The other, unbalanced, would fallen near its departure area, and would therefore have gone unnoticed.

And it is certain that this strange construction, dimly lit by the small bulbs with which it was fitted must have struck the imagination, especially at this time when "saucers" are seen everywhere! Especially since several of the balloons that provided its lift - those of the Papillon-Bonte shoes - vaguely has human shapes. Seen from afar, under "the obscurity of the stars", should they not immediately be identified as Martians? By getting them, we do not know how, the "builder" of the saucer knew what he was doing!

Does this mean that all the "saucers" are, like this one, only the product of a mystification? We will be careful not to take a stand! But a conclusion is essential, however: let us be circumspect, and do not immediately mistake bladders for lanterns, nor a balloon of the "PAPILLON-BONTE" shoes for a Martian!


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