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The 1954 French flap:

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

September 19, 1954, Epinal, Vosges:

Reference number for this case: 19-sep-54-Epinal. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Summary:

In Radar magazine for October 17, 1954, there was a picture of a young man, Jacques Tollot, 14, "who works at pork butcher Mr. Thouvenot" showing the sky, explained to be an inhabitant of Epinal "with a tormented and nevertheless juvenile face" who designated in the sky an object that made a brief appearance at 06:30 p.m. as night fell. He is quoted as saying:

"I was crossing the bridge over the Moselle at Epinal, and suddenly I saw in the sky a craft in the shape of a melon that crossed the sky from east to west like a cannonball."

In his 1958 book on the French wave of 1954, the pioneering ufologist Aimé Michel reported that on September 19, 1954, at 06:30 p.m., "a single witness in Epinal in the Vosges" reported to have seen "a reddish disk surrounded by a lighter halo" above the city, "crossing the sky in a minute."

In the 1979 book of ufologists Michel Figuet and Jean-Louis Ruchon, it was "a huge dark yellow ball surrounded by a lighter yellow circle" according to the newspaper La Liberté de l'Est for September 23, 1954.

The ufology group CNEGU, referring to the same newspaper but for September 25-26, 1954, indicated that in Epinal, on Sunday, September 19, 1954 at 06:30 p.m. local time, Jacques Toilot, aged 14 at the time, butcher employee, from the bridge of the 170th RI, walking in the direction of the Place des Vosges, had mechanically looked up and then saw during a minute a huge ball moving "relatively" quickly towards the Castle coming from the station: "It was a dark yellow hue, surrounded by a large circle of a paler yellow."

The newspaper had asked him if he had not "been abused by the launch of a child's balloon or any other appearance", he replied firmly: "No, I saw it for a minute and then it disappeared."

Reports:

[Ref. lcx1:] NEWSPAPER "LA CROIX":

Scan.

More saucers

More saucers to add to an already imposing pile!

It is a doctor from Le Puy who would have observed twice, above his city, a silent, round and shiny object.

In Charron (Charente-Maritime), three fishermen (moon fishermen, no doubt) and a customs officer would have seen a formation of saucers, moving very low, above the shore.

Bayonne residents claimed to have seen three mysterious objects, of light color.

Six flying cigars (note that they were not acrobats) would have crisscrossed the sky of Haute-Fontaine-les-Baroches (Meurthe-and-Moselle).

Mysterious craft were also reported above Epinal and Le Puy.

Certainly, the skies of France are very populated...

The Passer-By spends his time scanning the horizon. He even caught a painful stiff neck.

Fortunately, the English have just developed a flying "cage-bed", which will be of great service to saucer researchers.

A word of advice to those who find themselves in the presence of a "saucer" or a "cigar": be very... "diplomat"!

THE PASSER-BY

[Ref. cpd1:] NEWSPAPER "PARIS-PRESSE":

Scan.

The gendarmes
are looking for a
"Martian" in the
Limousin maquis

From the Moselle to the Bidassoa, the "Martian" offensive is developing. It is now by squadrons that saucers and cigars fly over the territory. We counted up to six at a time, yesterday, above Lantefontaine-les-Baroches, in Lorraine. Several dozen workers saw them.

"We first saw," they said, "two 'cigars', then four more craft joined the first two. All of them stood perfectly still for a moment and finally disappeared instantly."

Their statements are confirmed by several other people.

In Bayonne, yesterday afternoon, three were seen. A peacekeeper, Mr. Corrions, who was in the Halles district, observed these three motionless craft, arranged in a triangle and slightly oval in shape. They were, he said, the size of a rugby ball and appeared to be at a considerable height.

In Le Puy, only one cigar, but the end was, it seems, glowing.

In Clermont-Ferrand, the same probably left behind a pink trail; in Langeac (Haute-Loire), it was a white glow.

In Epinal, it is no longer a cigar but a yellow saucer, "surrounded by a paler ring".

In the Charente-Maritime, three fishermen and a customs officer saw the other night a formation of three saucers which was scouring, while that with binoculars, yesterday afternoon, in Villebois-Lavalette (Charente), Mrs. Faubert and Miss Forgeron clearly distinguished a "slightly conical" cigar.

In the Limousin, terror reigns. In Roches (Creuse), the children no longer dare to go to school alone: a man of strange appearance who is hiding in thickets was seen. Two young shepherdesses also saw him near Chamboulève (Corrèze). One wonders whether the "Martian" who, the other day, kissed a Bugeat farmer and left without saying a word on board his saucer, left a companion who wanders through the Limousin maquis. The gendarmes are looking for the "Martian", but have not yet encountered him...

[Ref. rdr1:] "RADAR" MAGAZINE:

Saucers

HAVE THE FRENCH GONE CRAZY?

Our reporters and special correspondents have interrogated witnesses all over France, and here is the result...

This Epinalian with a worried and yet juvenile countenance (right) points out the position in the sky of an object that made a brief appearance in his life.

"It was 06:30 p.m. The night was falling. I was crossing the bridge over the Moselle at Epinal. Suddenly, I saw a melon-shaped object in the sky, traveling from east to west at the speed of a bullet."

So spoke Jacques Tollot, aged 14, who works at the butcher shop of Mr. Thouvenot.

The same day, and on following days, other good folk were seeing other "ships" plough the sky in all parts of France. The flying saucers' Tour of France had begun.

[...]

[Ref. aml1:] AIME MICHEL:

French ufologist Aimé Michel notes that on September 19, 1954, at 06:30 P.M., a single witness at Epinal in the Vosges reports to have seen "a reddish disk with a lighter halation" above the city, which crossed the sky in one minute.

[Ref. gqy1:] GUY QUINCY:

Scan.

September 19, [1954]

06:30 p.m.: Epinal (Vosges)

[Ref. fru1:] MICHEL FIGUET AND JEAN-LOUIS RUCHON:

The two authors report that on September 19, 1954, at 06:30 p.m., in Epinal in the Vosges, a huge dark yellow ball surrounded by a paler yellow circle was observed.

They indicate the newspaper "La Liberté de L'est" for September 23, 1954, as source.

[Ref. ldl1:] UFOLOGY MAGAZINE "LUMIERES DANS LA NUIT":

Scan.

14° CASE Nr F/98/88540919 (01)

EPINAL - Sunday, September 19, 1954
06:30 p.m. local time.

Witness: Mr. Jacques TOILOT, 14 years old at the time (butcher boy)

Sources: Article of la Liberté de l'Est for September 25-26, 1954.

"THE SAUCER OF THE DAY LOOKED LIKE SATURN"

"I saw it during one minute" the young butcher apprentice of Epinal claims.

"Sunday evening at 6.30, I was on the bridge of the 170th R.I. going in direction of the Square of the Vosges when automatically I looked up in the air. And I then saw an enormous ball (it appeared to me with a diameter a little lower than one meter moving at a relatively strong speed in direction of the Castle coming from the station. It was of a dark yellow colour, surrounded by a large circle of a paler yellow."

As we ask him whether it had not been folled by the sending of a kid's balloon or any other appearance, he answered firmly "no, I have well seen it during one minute approximately then it disappeared."

(Extract of the article)

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

3797: 1954/09/19 18:30 1 6:27:00 E 48:11:00 N 3333 WEU FRN VSG 5:6

EPINAL,VOSGES,FR:1 OBS:RED DISK/HALO CROSSES ENTIRE SKY/1min:NFD

Ref# 49 MICHEL,Aime: FS & STRAIGHT LINE TH: Page No. 62 : TOWN &CITY

[Ref. lcn1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the Vosges in Epinal on September 19, 1954 at 18:30 hours "an enormous dark yellow ball surrounded by a paler yellow circle is observed."

Luc Chastan indicates that the source is "M.O.C. by Michel Aimé ** Arthaud 1958".

[Ref. uda1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that on 19 September 1954 at 18:30 in Epinal, France, "A flying disc was observed. One red disc was observed by one witness in a city for over one minute."

The sources are indicated as Michel, Aime, Flying Saucers and the Straight-Line Mystery, S. G. Phillips, New York, 1958; Vallee, Jacques, Computerized Catalog (N = 3073); Hatch, Larry, *U* computer database, Author, Redwood City, 2002.

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

This database recorded this case twice:

Case Nr. New case Nr. Investigator Date of observation Zip Place of observation Country of observation Hour of observation Classification Comments Identification
19540919 19.09.1954 Epinal France 18.30 NL
19540919 19.09.1954 Epinal France 18.30 NL

[Ref. avv1:] "L'AVIATION DANS LES VOSGES":

On June 26, 1947, an American pilot told on the airwaves that, during a flight made two days earlier, he saw nine objects in the form of flat pebbles, very bright and very fast, flying in the sky of the Rockies. This mediatized story will have a considerable impact far beyond the United States. In the days that follow, similar observations take place in France and, from the beginning of the 1950s, a whole Anglo-Saxon literature on the subject is translated. Groups of "saucerists" organize themselves, form networks of investigators and correspondents, broadcast bulletins - like Ouranos - and one of them, the sci-fi writer Jimmy Guieu, animates a regular section on RMC [radio station]. It is also him who published in 1954, Editions Fleuve Noir, the first French book on UFOs: The flying saucers come from another world.

It was in this context that in the fall of 1954, a wave of sightings of unknown machines invaded the newspaper columns. In Epinal, on September 19th, a 14-year-old butcher's clerk saw in the middle of the city a dark yellow ball one meter in diameter and surrounded by a paler yellow circle, quickly crossing the sky between the station and the castle.

Explanations:

Map.

The description does not correspond to a child's balloon. Maybe it was a meteor, but we are not told about the presence or absence of a trail at all, and I have no independent testimony at this hours that would corroborate a meteor. So this is just a possibility.

I do not know where Aime Michel came out with the idea that "the craft" would have, in one minute, "crossed the sky" since the sources of the time give a minute as observation duration and do not speak of observing a crossing of the sky.

The map shows that the witness was traveling from the West to the East on the bridge of the 170th RI, saying that the machine was coming from the direction of the station (so behind him), passed, on his left, from west to east from his point of view, going east towards Le Château.

Keywords:

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

Epinal, Vosges, object, disc, red, reddish, halo, halation, duration, circle, yellow, pale, Jacques Tollot, Jacques Toilot, apprentice

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross June 16, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Additions [lcn1], [uda1].
1.1 Patrick Gross January 29, 2017 Addition [ubk1].
1.2 Patrick Gross September 26, 2019 Additions [lhh1], [avv1]. Explanations changed, were "Not looked for yet."
1.3 Patrick Gross January 8, 2021 Addition [lcx1].
1.4 Patrick Gross March 11, 2021 Addition [gqy1].
1.5 Patrick Gross March 15, 2021 Additions [ppe1], [ldl1].

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This page was last updated on March 15, 2021.