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The 1954 French flap:

The index page for the 1954 French flap section of this website is here.

October 14, 1954, Kembs, Haut-Rhin:

Reference number for this case: 15-oct-54-Kembs. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Summary:

An article in the regional newspaper Les Dernières Nouvelles du Haut-Rhin for October 15, 1954, was headlined "flying saucer in the Alsatian sky."

The newspaper said that on October 14, 1954, at about 6:10 p.m., a representative was traveling by car with a friend on the road between Niffer and Kembs, when he suddenly noticed a bright object in the sky in the form of an egg and flying with an "S" trajectory in the cloudless sky.

It moved "at a fantastic speed at about 300 m altitude," it reportedly changed color from orange-yellow to bright white, and it left behind a large luminous trail. This "ball" is said to have gone towards the south.

The observation was cited by Aimé Michel, who unfortunately dated it October 15, 1954, and included in a so-called "alignment" of observations on October 15, 1954. This wrong date was subsequently copied by Jacques Vallée and many others; so that no one thought that this could have been the meteor at 06:10 p.m. on October 14, 1954; which was as widely seen in this region than it is widely ignored by ufologists.

Reports:

[Ref. dnh1:] "DERNIERES NOUVELLES DU HAUT-RHIN" NEWSPAPER:

Flying saucer in the Alsatian sky

Mulhouse. -- Yesterday evening around 6:10 p.m., while the representative C. A. was traveling with a friend, with his car on the road between Niffer and Kembs, he noticed suddenly in the sky, a bright object in the shape of an egg and describing an S in the cloudless sky. It moved at a fantastic speed at about 300 m altitude. The object changed color from orange to bright yellow - white. In addition, it left behind it a large luminous trail. The ball would have gone towards the south.

[Ref. nnm1] NEWSPAPER "LE NOUVEAU NORD MARITIME":

Scan.

The British Air Ministry
does not believe in flying saucers...

London, 15. - The British Air Ministry does not believe in the existence of flying saucers, cigars or other flying craft, in fact, while refusing to comment on the craft reported in France and in other European countries. [?] Ministry states that 99 times out of 100 there are natural explanations for similar occurrences reported in Britain. These are most often weather balloons, when no explanation can be given, the Air Ministry adds, it is generally because the testimonies of people who claim to have witnessed such appearances are insufficient.

However, no such craft has been reported in Great Britain in recent [?]

And yet...

Mulhouse, 15. - A salesman driving on Thursday evening, in the company of a friend, saw a luminous craft in the shape of an ovoid fireball.

This, according to the salesman, described a large "S" in the sky, moving at a dizzying pace and at an altitude of about 300 m. The craft which was preceded by a long luminous trail, changed color from orange to white, then disappeared.

Martigues, 15. - An eight-year-old child, who was with her mother and her aunt on the road to the hamlet of Saint- Pierre, near Martigues, saw in the sky a luminous craft of elongated shape, from which, she specified, came a kind of fireworks display. The parents have certified their child's statements.

Marseille, 15. - Two luminous craft flying at high altitude were seen in the sky of the Rove at the beginning of the afternoon of Thursday. Observers noted that these craft stopped for a few moments and then resumed their flight.

Draguignan, 15. - Several residents of Draguignan observed Thursday towards the end of the afternoon a luminous object crossing the sky at the speed of a meteor.

Casablanca, 15. Workers of Subsistances Militaires de Casablanca said they saw Thursday afternoon, above the city, a sort of phosphorescent cigar which, after having descended gently like a dead leaf, resumed its horizontal course at breakneck speed to finally disappear.

Angers, 15. - A resident of the town of Méral (Mayenne) stated he saw a shiny orange ball in the sky which landed on the ground. The flattened, dome-shaped disc, five to six meters in diameter, gave off a blinding glow, lighting up the countryside within a 200-meter radius.

The craft was transparent and a black shape was inside. The disc remained like this for ten minutes, reddened, and quickly disappeared towards the north. The observer then went to the place where the object had landed. There was, he assures, a sort of bright cloud that was slowly falling to the ground. When he got home, he noticed that his clothes were covered with a white layer of something a little sticky, like paraffin.

La Roche-sur-Yon, 15. - A farmer from Angle (Vendée) said he saw a shining craft in the sky which, as it advanced, changed shape and color. The craft was at a low height and a short distance from the cultivator. When the latter wanted to approach it, the craft emitted luminous rays which soon formed a screen behind which it silently disappeared. The same phenomenon was observed by several other people from Angles.

Nîmes, 14. - Two people saw last night, on their way back to their home, a few kilometers north of Nîmes, a greenish gleam in a field. They approached and noticed the presence of a craft totally identical to a rugby ball and appearing to rest on crutches. The strange craft suddenly rose into the air, emitting a weak noise and gradually taking an orange hue.

Graulhet, 14. - A barrel maker of Graulhet declared to have seen Wednesday at the end of the afternoon, at high altitude, a silvery craft heading northwest, which he at first took for a jet plane, but not discerning any contrail, the barrel maker went to look for a pair of binoculars and distinctly saw a large flexible disc, which undulated on itself, while moving at high speed.

It was then that the craft seemed to explode in mid-flight. A silver ball, about one meter in diameter, escaped from the mass and continuing on its way, soon disappearing from view, while the rest of the craft fell in several pieces similar to sheets of various dimensions which hovered in the sky and some of which cling to the electric wire. About fifteen people testified about this singular case and fragments of material were collected. They appear as agglomerated silvery filaments which crumble when touched.

Melun, 15. - Near Montargis, on the National Road Nr 7, a resident of this town, declared to have seen in the sky a yellow mass of rounded and very bright shape.

The "saucer" is faster than the jet plane

Avignon, 15. - Early Thursday afternoon at 1:30 p.m., the population of Fontaine de Vaucluse, was in a turmoil.

Indeed, a "white disc" hovered slowly above the small city and could be clearly distinguished with good binoculars.

This white disc was surmounted by a spherical cap of the same color.

The lower circular border intermittently emitted two powerful fires, varying from white to purplish, passing through red.

The air base of Caritat (Vaucluse), alerted, immediately directed two jets which, soon, made their appearance, and after two turns on Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, gained altitude and dived on the "disk".

The radio installed on board the planes and which was in communication with the base, announced that the craft was in sight, that it was being chased, but that it escaped because its speed was greater than the theirs.

From Vaucluse, the disc could clearly be seen sweeping away, pursued by the two jets.

[Ref. lon1:] NEWSPAPER "L'OISE-MATIN":

Scan

SAUCER FIREWORKS
EVERYWHERE IN THE SKY OF FRANCE

One of them has been chased
unsuccessful by jets

If they seem to sulk the Oise with persistence, the "flying saucers" have shown themselves, say various testimonies, more numerous than ever during the last 24 hours in the rest of France. Two witnesses have witnessed, they say, curious demonstrations on the part of these machines and, in the sky of Avignon, two French jet fighters have unleashed a futile hunt for "saucers."

It is a barrel-maker from Graulhet, who first declared to have witnessed the explosion of a saucer. A silvery ball, he declared, then seemed to escape from the mass of the craft and continue on its way, while the debris of it fell in several pieces, like sheets that hovered in the sky. Fragments of material were collected; they come in the form of agglomerated silvery filaments which crumble when touched.

The second witness, a resident of the village of Méral (Mayenne), declared that he witnessed the takeoff of a saucer, which quickly disappeared towards the north. At the place where the object had landed, assures the witness, there was a kind of shining cloud which fell slowly to the ground.

When he got home, he said, he noticed that his clothes were covered with a white layer of something a little sticky, like paraffin.

Useless hunt

Finally, it is near Avignon, at the fountain of Vaucluse, where the residents in turmoil report that a white disc was hovering above the small town. The neighboring Caritat air base, alerted, immediately directed two jets which, according to the Secretary of State for the Armed Forces (air), returned without noticing anything abnormal.

Numerous testimonies

Also said they saw saucers, cigars or other bizarre contraptions in the sky: two people returning to their homes, a few kilometers from Nîmes; an inhabitant of Montargis, on the national road n ° 7; inhabitants of Marseille, in the sky of Rove; a farmer from Angle, in Vendée; workers from Casablanca, above the city; a representative and his friend, between Niffer and Kembs (Alsace); an eight year old child and her parents, near Martigues, and a baker boy from Calais, on the road to Saint-Omer.

The R.A.F. skeptical

Despite these numerous testimonies, the British Air Ministry in London has let it be known that it does not believe in saucers.

Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, official spokespersons for the English ministry said, natural explanations were found for similar appearances reported in Britain: they are most often sounding-balloons. When no explanation can be given, one adds at the Air Ministry, it is generally for lack of insufficiently [sic] precise testimony.

Spokesmen further indicated that no bizarre craft have been reported in Britain in recent weeks.

[Ref. cmn1] "CENTRE MATIN" NEWSPAPER:

Scan.

THE MYSTERY OF THE SAUCER

In Vaucluse, a luminous machine
escapes two jets

AVIGNON. - In early afternoon yesterday Friday the population of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, was in turmoil.

Indeed, a "white disc" was hovering slowly over the small town and one could clearly distinguish it with good binoculars.

This white disc was surmounted by a spherical cap of the same color.

The lower circular edge carried intermittently two powerful fires varying from white to purple color, passing by the red color.

Caritat Air Base (Vaucluse), alerted, immediately scrambled two jets which soon appeared, and after two turns on Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, they took altitude and dove on the "disc".

The radio installed on the jets was in communication with the base, it announced that the craft was in sight, it was chased, but it escaped because its speed was greater than theirs.

From Vaucluse, one could clearly see the disk go away fast, pursued by the two jets.

Here are also some other information about flying saucers appearances:

Mulhouse. - A trader in a car last night in the company of a friend, between Niffer and Kembs, suddenly saw in the sky a luminous machine in the form of an oval fireball. The latter, according to the trader, followed a large "8" in the sky, moving at a tremendous pace and at an altitude of about 300 meters the craft, which was preceded by a long trail of light, changed color passing from orange to white color, then went to the southeast.

Martigues. - An 8 year old child, who was with his mother and aunt on the road in the hamlet of Saint-Pierre, near Martigues, saw in the sky an elongated luminous machine, from which, she specified, a sort of fireworks came out. The parents have certified to the statements of their child.

Calais. - A baker boy of Calais said he had seen at 3:40 a.m., at the place called "St. Pierre Halte" on the road to Saint-Omer, a yellow and shining craft landing on the railway.

The oddly shaped object was, according to the baker, two meters high and four meters in diameter.

Nimes. - Two people saw last night, returning to their home, a few kilometers north of Nîmes, a greenish glow in a field.

They approached and noted the presence of a vehicle identical in all respects to a rugby ball and appearing to rest on crutches. The strange apparatus suddenly rose in the air while emitting a low noise and gradually taking an orange hue.

Graulhet. - A barrel-maker from Graulhet stated to have seen late yesterday afternoon, at high altitude, a silver craft heading toward the northwest, he first thought it was a jet plane, but discerning no contrail, the barrel-maker fetched binoculars and distinctly saw a broad flexible disc that undulated on itself while moving at a high speed.

That's when the craft seemed to explode in flight. A silver ball, one meter in diameter, escaped the mass and continued on his way, soon disappeared from view, while the rest of the craft fell into pieces similar to sheets of various sizes that hung in the sky and some of which clung to telegraph son. Fifteen people have testified to this singular event and material fragments were collected. They were in the form of agglomerated silver filaments and crumbling to the touch.

Melun. - Near Montargis on National Road No. 7, a resident of this city, said he saw in the sky a yellow mass of rounded and very brilliant form.

Marseille. - Two luminous craft flying high were seen in the sky of the Rove earlier this afternoon. Observers noted that these apparatuses were immobilized a moment and then resumed their flight.

Draguignan. - Several residents of Draguignan observed towards the end of the afternoon, a luminous object crossing the sky at the speed of a meteor.

Casablanca. - Workers of the military logistics of Casablanca stated to have seen this afternoon, above the city, a kind of phosphorescent cigar that, after gently going down like a dead leaf resumed its horizontal course at breakneck speed and eventually disappear.

Angers. - A resident of the village of Méral (the Mayenne), said he saw in the sky, a bright orange ball which landed on the ground.

The disc, with a flattened dome, of a diameter of five to six meters produced a blinding light, illuminating the countryside in a radius of 200 meters.

The craft was transparent and inside, one observed a black shape. The disc remained like this for ten minutes, turned reddish, and quickly disappeared to the north. The observer then went to the place where the object had landed. There was, he says, a kind of brilliant cloud that fell slowly to the ground.

Arrived at his home he noticed that his clothes were covered with a white layer of a slightly sticky material like paraphine [sic].

NO "SAUCER" IN BRITAIN WHERE NATURAL EXPLANATION ARE GENERALLY ENOUGH

London. - The Ministry of the British Air does not believe in the existence of "saucers", "cigars" and other flying contraptions.

While refusing to comment on the craft reported in France, official spokesmen stated that natural explanations are usually given to these phenomena in Britain and that only insufficient explanations let the mystery survive.

No mysterious object was reported in the skies of Britain in recent weeks.

[Ref. aml1:] AIME MICHEL:

Aimé Michel notes that on October 15, at the fall of the night, two motorists who were driving on the national road RN 68 between Niffer and Kembs in Haut-Rhin, saw a very luminous object shining of orange color arriving. The object slowed down, then made a zigzag at an altitude that the witnesses estimated to be of 300 meters, changed color, then turned white, accelerated and disappeared towards the south-east.

[Ref. aml2:] AIME MICHEL:

In an article in 1963 on orthoteny, Aimé Michel adds:

Thus, at the first glance, something appears. On October 15 for example, there were 8 sightings: in Southend in England, in Calais, one in Aire-sur-la-Lys, one on Main Road 68 between Niffer and Kembs (Franco-German border), one in the mouth of Pô, one in the east of Paris, one on Main Road 7 in the south of Montargis, and finally in Fouesnant, near Quimper.

[Ref. aml5:] AIME MICHEL:

The same for the manoeuver in falling leaf: see for example the numerous cases so well observed in the end of the wave (Beaune-Chevigny, Niffer-Kembs, Frasne, etc.).

[Ref. jve5:] JACQUES VALLEE:

356 -007.50463 47.70000 15 10 1954 21 00 2 NIFFER-KEMBS F 131 C** 306

[Ref. jss1:] J.-P. SCHIRCH:

It is in Niffer-Kembs that an observation was made on October 15, 1954.

[Ref. ara1:] ANTONIO RIBERA:

The author indicates that on Friday October 15, 1954, one announced a series of observations in Western Europe, including one in "Nipfer-Kembs" [sic] at the Franco-German border on the road RN 68. He indicates that if these observations are considered separately they could be dreams or the inventions, the more so as there are only two witnesses for this case, but they are all on a line.

[Ref. jca1:] JACQUES COSTAGLIOLA:

The author indicates that on October 15, 1954, there were 8 sightings, 5 were in a line, one of them was on the RN68 à Niffer - Kembs.

[Ref. lhh1:] LARRY HATCH - "*U* COMPUTER DATABASE":

4148: 1954/10/15 21:00 1 7:30:20 E 47:42:00 N 3333 WEU FRN HRH 6:7

NIFFER>KEMBS,FR:2/CARS:FBL ZIGZAGS OVR ROAD:>>SE twrd Rvr:/r49p182+/r138#9

Ref#197 WEINSTEIN, D: French Newsclips 1954 Page No. 88 : ROAD+RAILS

[Ref. djn1:] DONALD JOHNSON:

Encounters With Aliens on This Day

October 15

[...]

1954 - At 9:00 p.m. a fireball was seen by two witnesses driving in a car as it zigzagged over the N68 highway between Niffer and Kembs, France. It headed off to the southeast toward the Rhine River. (Source: Aime Michel, Flying Saucers and the Straight Line Mystery, p. 182).

[...]

[Ref. lcn1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the Haut Rhin in Kembs on October 15, 1954 at an unknown hour, "At the fall of the night, two motorists who drive on the road RN 68 between Niffer and Kembs in the Haut-Rhin, see arriving a very luminous object shining of orange color. The object slows down, then does a zigzag at an altitude which the witnesses estimated to be of 300 meters, changes color, then changes to the white, accelerates and disappears towards the south-east."

The source is indicated as "M.O.C. by Michel Aimé ** Arthaud 1958."

[Ref. uda1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that 15 October 1954 at 21:00 between Niffer and Kembs, Rhine River, Niffer, France, "Fireball zigzagged over road, headed to the southeast toward Rhine River."

And: "An object was observed. It zigzagged through the air. One fireball was observed by two witnesses on a river for over one minute. No sound was heard."

The sources are noted as Michel, Aime, Flying Saucers and the Straight-Line Mystery, S. G. Phillips, New York, 1958; Vallee, Jacques, Computerized Catalog (N = 3073); Vallee, Jacques, Challenge to Science: The UFO Enigma, Henry Regnery, Chicago, 1966; Vallee, Jacques, Preliminary Catalog (N = 500), (in JVallee01); Hatch, Larry, *U* computer database, Author, Redwood City, 2002.

[Ref. djn2:] DONALD JONHSON:

Donald Johnson indicates that Aimé Michel found that on Friday, October 15, 1954, there was a sighting at a site on Route N-68 close to the German border.

[Ref. cvn2:] CHRISTIAN VALENTIN:

Former journalist Christian Valentin published in 2012 a very interesting book telling the story of UFO sightings, flying saucers sightings, in Alsace, from the beginning to 1980.

In this book, he reports that the bilingual issue of the newspaper "DERNIERES NOUVELLES DU HAUT-RHIN" for Friday, October 15, 1954, reported this observation of October 14, 1954:

Flying saucer in the ALSATIAN SKY

Mulhouse: yesterday evening around 6:10 p.m., while the representative C. A. was traveling with a friend, with his car on the road between Niffer and Kembs, he noticed suddenly in the sky, a bright object in the shape of an egg and describing an S in the cloudless sky. It moved at a fantastic speed at about 300 m altitude. The object changed color from orange to bright yellow - white. In addition, it left behind it a large luminous trail. The ball would have gone towards the south.

[Ref. nip1:] "THE NICAP WEBSITE":

*Oct. 15, 1954 - At 9:00 p.m. a fireball was seen by two witnesses driving in a car as it zig-zagged over the N68 highway between Niffer and Kembs, France. It headed off to the southeast toward the Rhine River. (Source: Aime Michel, Flying Saucers and the Straight Line Mystery, p. 182).

[Ref. spa1:] SPICA UFOLOGY GROUP:

City Date and hour of observation General shape
Identification
General color
Hypothesis
Conclusion
KEMBS Friday 15 October 1954 information not communicated
Unidentified
orange
None
Unsolved -lack of info

[Ref. ubk1:] "UFO-DATENBANK":

This database recorded this same case three times:

Case Nr. New case Nr. Investigator Date of observation Zip Place of observation Country of observation Hour of observation Classification Comments Identification
19541015 15.10.1954 Niffer France Evening NL
19541015 15.10.1954 Niffer France 21.00 NL
19541015 15.10.1954 Niffer France 21.00

[Ref. dcn2:] DOMINIQUE CAUDRON:

The author considers "the myth of the SOUPO alignment", i.e. the claim by Jacques Vallée and Aime Michel that there was an alignment of 8 UFO observations on October 15, 1954, in Europe. The author shows that none of the cases is at the good date except perhaps one, that the alignment is doubtful and the observations also.

Concerning the case of Niffer-Kembs, he indicates that it was not on October 15, but October 14, quoting the newspaper "Dernières Nouvelles du Haut-Rhin" for October 15, 1954:

"Mulhouse. -- Yesterday evening around 6:10 p.m., while the representative C. A. was traveling with a friend, with his car on the road between Niffer and Kembs, he noticed suddenly in the sky, a bright object in the shape of an egg and describing an S in the cloudless sky. It moved at a fantastic speed at about 300 m altitude. The object changed color from orange to bright yellow - white. In addition, it left behind it a large luminous trail. The ball would have gone towards the south."

[So my catalogue was to some use to someone...]

Explanations:

Obviously, with the date, hour, location, the trail, the egg shape, the color change, this must have been the meteor of October 14, 1954 at 06:10 p.m.

Only the mention to the "S" trajectory seems to go against this explanation.

But I immediately thought, since witnesses were in a moving car, that there is a good chance that the road was curvy and created this illusion normally well-known to the ufologists.

I checked, and bingo! I found that the stretch of road between Niffer (top) and Kembs (bottom) is very curvy:

Keywords:

(These keywords are only to help queries and are not implying anything.)

Kembs, Niffer, Haut-Rhin, car, multiple, orange, luminous, manoeuvre, zigzag, zig-zag, white, low, trail

Sources:

[----] indicates sources that are not yet available to me.

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross March 12, 2004 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross April 24, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Addition [lcn1].
1.1 Patrick Gross February 11, 2010 Addition [jca1].
1.2 Patrick Gross February 28, 2010 Additions [djn1], [uda1], [djn2].
1.3 Patrick Gross June 30, 2010 Addition [jve5].
3.0 Patrick Gross April 27, 2014 Additions [dnh1], [cvn2], Summary, Explanation.
3.1 Patrick Gross 15 octobre 2014 Addition [nip1].
3.1 Patrick Gross May 12, 2015 Addition [spa1].
3.2 Patrick Gross October 26, 2016 Additions [cmn1], [ubk1].
3.3 Patrick Gross November 22, 2016 Additions [jss1], [ara1], [dcn2].
3.4 Patrick Gross October 31, 2019 Additions [aml5], [lhh1].
3.5 Patrick Gross November 6, 2020 Addition [nnm1].
3.6 Patrick Gross May 13, 2021 Addition [lon1].

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