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UFOs in the daily Press:

Saucers in the French Press, September 1954:

The article below was published in the daily newspaper Paris-Presse, Paris, France, page 5, on September 16, 1954.


A German astronomer:

"The flying saucers are only children of lightning ... or of the imagination"

HAMBURG, Sept. 15

According to the German astronomer Hans Haffner, flying saucers are most often fireballs produced by lightning at high altitude. He says his theory fits with all of the sightings reported so far.

"Let's put an end to the flying saucer psychosis," he writes. "It is 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 the astronomy section of Hamburg-Bevgedof, says that all of the flying saucers that have been seen so far can be classified into four groups:

Hallucinations (more common than is generally believed).

Optical illusions even deceiving the lenses of the camera. The alleged photographs of flying saucers are only reflections analogous to those which appear on certain shots taken against the light.

Weather balloons.

Unknown flying objects.

Three photos

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

Most fireballs produced by lightning are seen less than 200 meters high and have a diameter of 20 to 100 centimeters. But a greater amount of energy is released when the lightning strikes at high altitude, and of course the higher the fireballs, the larger they are. We saw some that were 260 meters in diameter at ten kilometers above sea level. Pr. Haffner adds that due to their rotation the fireballs are often flattened. However, the descriptions of flying saucers speak of objects which have the shape of discs or cigars and specify that they rotate on themselves.

The disappearance of the American captain

Fireballs often emit very bright rays of light, which still corresponds to the reports of people who say they saw saucers. Likewise they can change shape and direction in less than a second, just like saucers. Their changes of direction 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. This could explain the mysterious disappearance of an American fighter pilot, Captain T. Mantell, on January 7, 1948, who disappeared with his aircraft after chasing a flying saucer. Professor Haffner suggests that Captain Mantell may have collided with an exploding fireball.

The cigar of
Talkative Martian
flew over Limoges

LIMOGES, September 15. -- A resident of Limoges, Mr. Georges Frugier, 30, said he saw on September 10, shortly after 8:30 p.m., crisscrossing the sky from East to West, a red disc that let out a bluish trail.

However, the day and the hour of this observation coincide with the strange encounter of the farmer of Bugeat (Corrèze), Mr. Antoine Mazaud, who claims to have had a discussion with the passenger of a "flying cigar".

Mr. Frugier told his family about the display he had witnessed, but he encountered frank skepticism.

However, the publication in the press this morning of the adventure that occurred to Mr. Mazaud imposed a connection: Limoges is located northwest of Bugeat, direction taken by the mysterious machine, according to the statements of the farmer.

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