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UFOs in the daily Press:

The 1954 French saucer flap in France in the US Press:

This article was published in the daily newspaper The Evening Star, Washington D.C., USA, on October 19, 1954.

In France, Rumors Are Flying...
Or Maybe They Are Saucers

PARIS. -- Readers of the classical ad columns of the Brest Telegramme blinked recently at the following notice:


Offer of 10 million francs (1000000) to any one who brings me a live inhabitant of planet Mars. Contact PRE in LOCRONAN (Finistère).

It may that that Mr. Pre has his tongue in his cheek and a good more than 10 million francs in his pockets. But considering what is going on in Europe these says you never know...

Cedric Allingham, if his interest has been more mercenary than scientific, might have warmed up. Mr Allingham is a [unreadable]. He is also a professional ornithologist and an amateur astronomer. His big chance came last February 18, about 3:30 p.m. on his course of a stroll between [... unreadable]

[(Allingham claimed to have met Venusians...] chances 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 September 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 farmer Marius Dewilde. Two small man-like creatures emerged, dressed in costumes that looked like divers' suits. As Mr. Dewilde walked towards the machine, he was paralyzed by a green light. By the time he recovered, the machine was high in the sky. Further investigations 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 Millevache in Southern France turned in a similar report to the local authorities. Walking home, Mr. 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 hands in a gesture of friendship, walked up, uttered a few sounds, and kissed Mr. Mazaud on the cheek. Before the farmer could recover his poise, the amiable intruder has climbed the roadside hedge and entered a cigar-shaped contraption which took off with a faint buzzing sound.

On September 24 at 10 a.m. in the Gardunha Mountains near the Spanish border, three Portuguese peasants were stratled 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 machines, 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. [In Portugal, a hoax. Case file here.]

"Flying Mushroom"

On September 30 at 5:10 p.m. Bernard Goujon and Armand Pichet were working on the road between Maisoncelles and Meaux when a "flying mushroom" eight feet wide settled gracefully nearby. Mr. Pichet, from a vantage point in the roadside ditch, urged Mr. Goujon to "run over and have a look." According to Mr. Goujon's report to the gendarmes, the mushroom seemed to be made out of aluminum and rested on three crutches. It took off as he approached "spiraling like an autumn leaf" and was lost in the clouds. Next morning the

authorities duly noted three deep imprints in the ground.

On October 5 at 7:16 a.m. another roadworker named Gustave Narcy was bicycling to work near Wassy near Paris when he noticed an unusual looking creature climbing out of a 30-foot cigar. Mr. 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 Mr. Narcy said good-morning. The stranger, apparently unreassured, scrambled back into his fuselage and flew away. An investigation of 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 literraly hundreds of similar incidents that have been brought to public attention within the last few weeks. The stories have an interesting mixture of variety consistency. The flying whatnots are always luminous by day or night. They are described as saucers, mushrooms, cigars, barrels, spheres and chamber pots. The pilots vary in size as well as wardrobe, ranging in size 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 specimens 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 journalist 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 in conducting a geographic survey of the Earth, concentrated presently on Europe and Africa. Professor Herman Oberth, the German scientist who designed the V-2, has a theory that the unearthly visitors are really intelligent plants called "Uranides", millions of years more advanced than human beings. The politicians are also getting into 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 Mr. Pre of Locronan is daft, he has, at least, plenty of company.

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