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The 1954 French flap:

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October 16, 1954, Amiens, Somme:

Reference number for this case: 16-Oct-54-Amiens. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Summary:

The regional newspaper Le Courrier Picard for October 19, 1954, wrote:

We reported yesterday the statements of a waiter, Mr. Roger Anquetil, on the passage of a "red ball" in the Amiens sky, Saturday at 9:15 p.m.

This observation was confirmed to us yesterday by Mr. Claude Thuillier, residing at 36, rue Dame-Jeanne. Mr. Thuillier, who was on Saturday evening on the Pont de la Solitude, clearly saw a small ball, but of a brilliant white, followed by a long trail of sparks.

Mr. Thuiller adds that this ball, which moved horizontally very high and very quickly, was visible for about five seconds.

In their 1979 book "La Grande Peur Martienne" ("The Great Martian Scare"), the two "skeptical" ufologists Gérard Barthel and Jacques Brucker noted that on October 16, 1954, at 09:15 p.m., there was an observation whose description was that of a meteor; which has not been investigated. Further on in their book, they claimed that "the few serious investigators" who had admitted the fact that it was a meteor that had generated this type of sightings were the technicians from the Air Force's scientific bureau.

In fact, in 1958, Aimé Michel had, in his book on the wave of 1954, in France, alerted about the passage of a big meteor over France that day at 09:30 p.m., without however precisely listing observation places.

In the 2000s, Luc Chastan, who published a database of sightings in France, said that according to "Lumières Dans La Nuit" (the issue and date not being given) that in Amiens in the Somme department on October 18, 1954, at 9:00 p.m., a witness "observed near the citadel a globe of fire descending vertically and at a very high speed, which lasted a few seconds, then various colors appeared to the witness and all suddenly went off. There was another witness to the phenomenon."

Reports:

[Ref. cpd1:] "LE COURRIER PICARD" NEWSPAPER:

Scan.

A new mysterious machine
crossed our sky yesterday

Each day its "saucer"... Once again we received disturbing testimonies yesterday on the enduring mystery of flying junk. While waiting for the enigma to be finally clarified, we are forced to be content with a narrative of the phenomena observed, taking care to sort out the jumble of comments, only the statements whose sincerity and objectivity are not in doubt.

The last testimony which has just been communicated to us emanates from a Amiens resident who wishes to remain anonymous but whom we know enough to totally trust him. He too - like so many others - "hardly believed in it."

Certainly not a known craft...

"It might have been 4:25 - 4:30 p.m., he told us. I was near the Pré-Porus and the Camon Bridge.

"A person, who was on the spot watching a plane passing very high in the sky, suddenly uttered an exclamation. I looked up in the direction he indicated, that is to the right of the river, towards the city.

"Then I saw a brilliant elliptical object. It was certainly very high and appeared to me the size of a large ashtray. It was going fast, faster than an airplane. Its flight line was horizontal and it left no trace behind, no smoke, no condensation.

"I didn't hear any noise, but at this distance I can't say for sure that it didn't produce any noise."

And our interlocutor adds, responding with a caution that fits well with his sincerity:

"I cannot define this thing. But it did not allow any comparison with an airplane. It was, moreover, I believe, larger than an airplane and in any case did not resemble any known craft."

Moving in an East-West direction, the craft gave the impression of oscillating, of tilting on its horizontal axis, offering to the eyes a variable surface.

The witness who told us about the matter had time to call his wife before the object shining like silver disappeared in the clouds. The whole thing had lasted a few tens of seconds, certainly less than a minute.

Five people, in the end, claim to have seen, at about the same place, the "appearance" described above.

Confirmation of other passages

We reported yesterday the statements of a waiter, Mr. Roger Anquetil, on the passage of a "red ball" in the Amiens sky, Saturday at 9:15 p.m.

This observation was confirmed to us yesterday by Mr. Claude Thuillier, residing at 36, rue Dame-Jeanne. Mr. Thuillier, who was on Saturday evening on the Pont de la Solitude, clearly saw a small ball, but of a brilliant white, followed by a long trail of sparks.

Mr. Thuiller adds that this ball, which moved horizontally very high and very quickly, was visible for about five seconds.

Also, Mr. Pruvost, of Rivery, let us know that he had, on Saturday evening also, seen the machine described by Mrs. Fournier, garage owner, place du Marché-aux-Chevaux.

A spherical object above Ham

A brave painter riding a bicycle saw Sunday around 9:40 p.m., near the Picard farm, at the exit of Saint-Sulpice, a spherical object followed by a light cone. But the appearance was brief. The time to dismount and it was gone.

Also, fifteen residents of Ham, gathered near the bridge of Chauny, observed in the sky, in the direction of Péronne, an orange gleam that didn't look like a star.

One of the witnesses equipped with binoculars claims to have noticed gushing from the luminous ellipse, like green sparks, orangeish white. The residents of rue de l'Arquebuse made the same observation. But while everyone declared that they did observe something extraordinary, no one would assert that they had distinguished flying saucers or interplanetary travelers.

[Ref. nmn1:] "NORD-MATIN" NEWSPAPER:

Scan.

Saucers seen
in Amiens and at different places
of the department

Saturday around 9:30 p.m., a waiter going to take his service at Pré-Porus, Mr. Roger Anquetil, saw while he was following rue de Verdun, a ball emitting an intense red light and followed by a long luminous trail. The apparition, which only lasted a few seconds, moved from East to West. However, given the altitude of the craft and the lack of visibility caused by the fog, Mr. Anquetil was unable to provide a detailed description.

At the same time, Mrs. Fournier, who was in front of the garage operated by her husband at Place du Marché aux Chevaux, claims to have seen, at low altitude, a craft which spun at a prodigious speed. Is it the same one who made a turn and dived on Amiens?

This new witness states that the craft emitted no noise, but that it has an exhaust giving off sparks.

The weird craft consisted of a disc swollen in its center resembling two plates (one covering the other) and encircled with a milky white light. The craft disappeared in the direction of Poix.

It is precisely in this region that, around 7:15 p.m., Mr. Dewint, farmer at Courcelles-sous-Moyencourt, had his attention drawn as he drove on R. N. 29, by a luminous disc which seemed to land on the plain, at a great distance. He alerted Mr. Delattre, farmer at Fossé-Bleuet, who in turn could see this "rosy glow" and the two men, in the car, tried to reach the craft, but the network of roads did not allow them to follow it with the eyes constantly and they finally had to give up.

[Ref. jpc1:] NEWSPAPER "LE JOURNAL DU PAS-DE-CALAIS ET DE LA SOMME":

Scan.

Red ball, white plates,
pink disc... running at high speed
crossed the Picardy sky

Saturday around 9:30 p.m., a waiter going to take his service at Pré-Porus, Mr. Roger Anquetil, saw, as he followed rue de Verdun, a ball emitting an intense red light and followed by a long luminous trail.

The apparition, which only lasted a few seconds, moved from East to West. However, given the altitude of the craft and the lack of visibility caused by the fog, Mr. Anquetil could not provide a detailed description.

At the same time, Mrs. Fournier who was in front of the garage which her husband operates at the place du Marché aux Chevaux, claims to have seen, at low altitude, a craft which spun at a prodigious speed. Is it the same who would have made a turn and dived on Amiens.

This new witness declared that the craft did not emit any noise but that it had an exhaust giving off sparks "as when a car valve closes badly."

The curious apparatus consisted of a disc swollen in its center resembling two plates, like neon.

And before neighbors alerted by the witness were able to leave their home, the craft had disappeared at a prodigious speed, the approximate direction of Poix.

It is precisely in this region that, around 7:15 p.m., Mr. Dewint, farmer in Courcelle-sous-Moyencourt had his attention drawn to a luminous disc, which seemed to land on the plain, at a great distance. He alerted Mr. Delattre, farmer at Fosse-Bleuet who in turn could see this "pinkish glow."

The two men, by car, tried to reach the craft but the road network did not allow them to constantly follow it with their eyes and they finally had to give up without result.

[Ref. aml1:] AIME MICHEL:

Aimé Michel wrote about the October 16, 1954, 09:30 p.m. meteor:

THE TEST OF THE METEOR. October 16, as if it was purposely, a splendid meteor crossed the north of France towards 09:30 p.m. It was observed on a score of departments by thousands of people, from the Allier to Lorraine and from the Swiss border to Paris. Naturally many witnesses believed to have seen a Flying Saucer and said so. The newspapers printed "Flying Saucer in Orly", or "in Montdidier", or "in Metz." But once again the description made by all these weak brains appeared of a remarkable honesty.

[...]

The innumerable gathered testimonys show indeed that even when the witnesses called "Flying saucer" the observed object, their description is identical on 200.000 square kilometres where the visible phenomenon was visible: an "orange ball followed by a trail", a "large luminous ball with a tail", a "flying egg followed by a trail", a "bottle's bottom with a trail of thirty times its diameter", etc. The same phenomenon is uniformly described.

[...]

[Ref. bbr1:] GERARD BARTHEL AND JACQUES BRUCKER:

The two authors note this case of October 16, 1954:

"Amiens - 80 - 09:15 p.m.: no investigation. Obvious description of a fireball."

Further in their book, they claim that "the few serious investigators" who had admitted the fact that it was a meteor which had generated this type of observations were the technicians of the scientific office of the Air Force.

[Ref. lcn1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the Somme in Amiens on October 18, 1954 at 21:00 hours "a witness observes close to the citadel a sphere of fire going down vertically and at a very high speed. This lasted a few seconds. Then various colors appeared according to the witness and all dies out suddenly. There was another witness of the phenomenon."

The source is indicated as "Lumières dans la Nuit".

Explanations:

The 09:30 p.m. meteor that day.

Map.

Keywords:

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

Amiens, Somme, waiter, Roger Anquetil, ball, red, night, Claude Thuillier, Pont de la Solitude, small, white, brilliant, trail, sparks, horizontally, high, fast, duration

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross March 15, 2003 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross December 24, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version.
1.1 Patrick Gross October 26, 2019 Addition of the Summary.
1.2 Patrick Gross April 3, 2020 Addition [cpd1]. In the Summary, addition of the part coming from Le Courrier Picard for October 19, 1954.
1.3 Patrick Gross May 12, 2020 Addition [nmn1].
1.4 Patrick Gross June 27, 2020 Addition [jpc1].

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